Know When to Seek Refuge from the Storm

Yesterday, my husband and I were out on the lake in a sailboat. It’s not a huge sailboat, just a 22 Catalina, but it is a perfect one for us, as we haven’t ever really sailed before this one. Joey has pretty much taught himself, and he does a pretty good job. I love sailing across the waters with him. It’s our little world of solitude from the mundane and the chaos this life can sometimes bring.

It had been an absolute beautiful day. The winds were gently blowing. The waters were smooth and peaceful, and the sky was absolutely breathtaking at sunset. We were definitely “maximizing  our goof off time!” It was so much fun!

Yet, about 15-20 minutes after the sun had set, and the sky was still saying goodbye to that great big amazing ball of fire, a storm front came up without much warning. The sky turned an ugly shade of gray and the wind picked up, threatening to turn gusty at any moment. In the distance, we could see a couple of fronts on top of each other, and the lightening was striking all over. We were pretty sure the worst of the storm was skirting around us; however, the bottom front was arched right above our heads and closing in fast. In a little 22′ sailboat is not exactly where you want to be found as a thunderstorm blows through!

Joey started the motor, had me take the tiller and motor wand in hand as he lowered the sails and battened down the hatches. He worked with incredible speed and skill. I watched in amazement as I kept looking to the skies and praying under my breath that we’d make it back to the dock in time.

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Thankfully, we made it back and docked just in time, walking off the boat, up the ramp, and closing our car doors just as the first raindrops began to fall. As I drove away from the marina and toward the safety of my home, I was reminded of how big our God is. I was reminded how good our God is, and I was reminded of how often He is a shelter from any storm we might encounter. We just have to remember when and where to seek shelter! Had Joey decided he wasn’t going to get out of that storm as quickly as he did, or had he decided to just linger a little while longer, trusting his own abilities a little too much, we could have surely been in some trouble.

Life will always have storms that blow in, and sometimes, with absolutely no warning. You may be right at the verge, but you’ve just got to know when to get out of the storm that’s brewing. You may even be caught in the onset of that storm; however, our God has always provided a refuge and a shelter to which you can run. You’ve just got to make the decision to run early. He will protect you, and He will uphold you regardless of the thunder that rolls and the lightening that may flash.

You can trust Him. 😉

Your Wake of Tears

Your words constantly tumble out, as if no one truly understands. 

Your mouth moves methodically,never caring where the next victim lands. 

Your phrases spin detailed webs to catch your prey and bleed. 

It is like a blood-letting, all believe the lies you cast are exactly what they need. 
When will you see the tragic damage your envy has brought?

What destruction has your venomous language been wrought?

Why do you persuade and manipulate, claiming all the time it’s not yours still?

Who will be the next one on the list as you close in for the kill?

For an endless time, my eyes have witnessed this harm, the anger your ambition brings. 

I can no longer remain within the vicinity of your grasp and strings. 

I am leaving your wake of tears for I have shed too many to regain. 

It is in wisdom and grace and love and peace where my heart will now remain. 
Penned – MG – 5/20/17 

Love Me Challenge #17

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Silence In nature…

This.

This feeds my soul. I love to sit on our back deck just staring out into the woods. I love sitting by the lake, looking over the tranquil waters. I love lying by the seashore listening to the tide returning day and night.

This feeds my soul… the beauty in the sunrise… the glory in the sunset… the brightness of the harvest moon and the first stars that shine. These are nourishments of my soul.

The birds that chirp in the morning light… the deer that leaps over log and rock… the rabbit that scurries across the forest floor… even the black bear that meanders about looking for summer’s first berries.

These.

These bring peace, comfort and calm to my soul.

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Choose Your Weapons Wisely

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Monday I posted about winning the battle against the enemy, but it made me wonder…Sometimes, I wonder if we, as Christians, give the right answers to those who feel like they are losing the battle of life. I mean, to the common reader on this site, what does this mean, “winning the battle”…”we’ve been given the weaponry”…”pick up your sword of the Spirit and your shield of faith?” I know for those of us who have grown up around church and the things of church and Christianity, these words might be a common vernacular; however, for others, these might make as much sense as a foreign language.

So, today, I’d like to share a little of what I have come to know. I want to share a little of my storywhat He means to me, and how I have learned to fight and stand tall in this fight of faith. I hope it will help you, whomever you are, and I pray you will be encouraged to seek more of Him to find the truth and love that I have found.

TRUTHS:

Life can be hard sometimes, and being Christlike doesn’t necessarily change that.

Being a Christian does not cause our lives to be perfect.

Loving God does not make all bad stuff go away, never to effect us.

Relying on Him doesn’t mean we won’t have doubts and fears.

Trusting in Christ takes just an ounce of faith and a whole lot of surrendering of our will.

Once you decide to trust, He makes up the difference between our ability and lack of faith.

Our Christianity isn’t based on good feelings, happiness or getting what we want.

He has given us promises on which to stand and build up our faith.

His promises are true, steadfast, uncompromising and unchanging.

He is a God who is full of unconditional love, unwavering mercy and unrelenting faith.

He is a God who is forever reaching to us and eternally seeking to draw us back to Himself.

I could quote Scripture after Scripture of who He is and what He is about. I could recite verse after verse of His goodness, His promises and His commands; however, unless, you actually develop a relationship with Him my words won’t make much of a difference for you. Until you come to know Him, truly know Him, as your Savior and your King, as your Refuge and your High Tower, and as your Prince of Peace, what I have to say will not really make an impact on your heart and mind.

Oh, but if you can just have a moment with Him. If you can call on His Name just once, and grasp even a glimpse of the love that He has for you, I promise you, you will be forever changed. All I can tell you is just try Him. Reach out to Him. Call on His Name, and see what He might do.

 

 

Our Heart’s Desire

The soul longs for solitude; yet, it loathes the loneliness. We seek out friends to fill the empty space only to push them away when times get tough. We pull them close for the thrill seeking adventures and shove past them for the broken dreams and torn up paper houses. It’s a constant push and pull to gain the happiness for which we seek.

The mind yearns for stability; yet, it rejects true wisdom and grace. We search for the highest success and desire the richest affairs only to plummet to the depths of despair as we fail the test over and over again. We chase after dreams and compare with the elite, always trying to get ahead only to cheat and compete, biting and clawing at anything or anyone who might come close. It’s a constant push and pull to gain the happiness for which we seek.

The heart cries out for peace and comfort; yet, it wars against silence and truth. We wander, wonder, wishfully believing the noise will bring answers. We go to this philosophy and that fountain of knowledge, always avoiding the absolute, the only true Way. We grasp at this intellect, that debate, and those arguments, never embracing the very One who died once and for all. It’s a constant push and pull to gain the happiness for which we seek.

Can you not feel your soul reaching for His righteousness?

Can you not hear your mind shouting for His faithfulness?

Can you not see your heart bleeding for His unconditional love?

 

He simply stands there, arms outstretched, awaiting your release.

 

 

Merry Christmas 2016!

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Maybe it’s because we’ve had warmer temperatures this year, or maybe because it seems to have come so quickly, but it still doesn’t quite feel completely like Christmas to me. Today is Christmas Eve! I guess, I better start feeling it, or I’m just gonna miss it this year! Haha. 

So, MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOURS! We hope you have a wonderful time with family and friends! We pray your Christmas is blessed with making wonderful memories and joyous moments together. 

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It Is Our Story To Tell

“…that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:19-21

I have a friend who is dealing with the pain and agony of cancer that has spread across her body. Last month, I was notified of a friend who lost her 16 year old son in a house fire. Just last week, I ran across a FB post from a past church member who lost his wife tragically in a car wreck. It seems more and more I hear of friends going through a divorce, family members who are faced with illnesses and children who are lost and undone.

These stories hit close to home. I am a wife. I have a 15 year old and an 11 year old. Living is hard sometimes, and I find myself wondering why it’s so sorrowful at times. Yet, these tragedies make me realize so many around me are hurting. These moments of grief remind me that we weren’t made for this. We weren’t meant for these illnesses, these tragedies, this death. We are here but for a season…  

This world is dying for peace, for healing and for love. If we will just look around us, we will see so many hurting souls right in front of us. Christ came to this earth that their stories might end differently. The story of Christ’s birth, life, death and resurrection are the very thing that can bring healing to their brokenness. These details don’t somehow miraculously make all things perfect. This account doesn’t instantly change your circumstance or your plight.

Yet, when you find Jesus, and you believe in Him, He does one special thing for you. He brings you HOPE. Hope to face the storm and come out on the other side. Hope to face one more day. Hope to see the sun on the horizon. Hope to breathe again. Hope to live beyond this current life.

His story is one of HOPE, and if we know Him, we should be sharing this with everyone we meet. You never know, that person beside you might very well need it the most!

Fall Into It

Ahhh, it has finally begun to feel like FALL around here! I love this time of year. It’s the time for cooler weather, beautiful blue skies, crisp, clean breezes and the change of colors on the leaves. Then, they will begin to fall. I’ve not always enjoyed falling, for sometimes, it can cause pain, injury and long recovery times. However, as I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize, if done right, falling has its advantages. In this season of change, turmoil, and the unknown, I’d like to encourage you to fall just a little…or maybe a lot…

Fall into PEACE

Fall into peace like you’re falling back onto your incredibly soft pillow top or down mattress. You’re about to get the best night’s sleep you’ve had in your life! Perfect peace doesn’t depend on the situation or persons surrounding you. It is a quiet knowing of the soul that says, “Everything’s gonna be alright.” It’s a settling within that is beyond the storm that may rage on the outside. It’s that moment when “all Hades” has broken loose, and you sit back and just breathe, because you know within your heart and soul that no matter what may come, “All is well with my soul.”

Fall into JOY

Fall into joy like you laughed as a child, when you “turned over your tickle box,” and couldn’t stop laughing if you tried. True joy is not only laughter, it’s attitude. It’s a perspective. It’s an outlook on life that looks past the circumstance. When true joy bubbles up, it can’t be contained. It can’t be hidden. True joy changes your mood. It changes the way you see things, the way you see the future and your destiny. The Word of God says Jesus came to give us “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” This kind of joy changes hearts, changes sight and changes lives.

Fall into GRACE

Fall into grace like a refreshing stream or swimming pool on a hot summer day. It’s a gift. It’s totally free. We can’t earn it. We can’t work for it. We can’t do anything to get more or less of it. It allows us to breathe freely, and it helps us to continue breathing when we’ve lost a loved one, and we feel there’s no more air left to take in. It helps us stay on the straight and narrow when hell is knocking at our door, and it gives us strength to stand when we feel the enemy has busted down that door and is about to overwhelm. Grace gives a way of escape, tenacity for the journey, and  a rest for our weary souls. 

Fall into LOVE

Fall into love like you fell into a piles of autumn leaves as a child, or maybe, those snowbanks to make snow angels. Either way, you wanted nothing more than to keep falling over and over, and there was no fear of pain or injury. You wanted nothing less than to get right back up and fall again. That is just how our love should be, falling deeper and deeper with each new day…with God…with our family…with our spouse…with our children…with LIFE!

Do yourself a favor this autumn, fall a little deeper into PEACE, JOY, GRACE and LOVE. You’ll be amazed at where you’ll land.

 

*Originally shared here (and the next 3 days), just “tweaked” a little. 😉

 

Debris Clean-up

Terrible storms and natural disasters have wreaked havoc across our nation the past few months. Hurricanes, tornados, floods and even earthquakes. When storms like this hit land, there are incredible clean up projects that have to be set in place to get things back to normal. If the debris is left, it can cause delays, confusion, more damage and even injuries or death. Trees have to be cleared, power lines have to be restored, roads repaired, homes and bridges rebuilt. The restoration process can take a while, but it must be done if the people desire to live again. 

Storms in our lives will bring lots of debris, too. Anger, bitterness, rage, fear, pain, brokenness. Just as the disaster crews have to clean up the debris from physical storms, we must clean up the debris in our own hearts and minds from crisis that happen in our lives. 

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Maybe it’s a new mindset we need. Maybe it’s forgiveness we have to give. Maybe it’s self control we have to learn. Maybe it’s even time we have to wait for a wound to heal. If the debris isn’t cleared, it can often cause even more damage, not only to ourselves but, eventually, to all those around us. Whatever the debris is, if we want to be whole, and we want to live again, we must clean it out. 

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 52:10-12

The great advantage we have is we don’t have to do this alone! Jesus is always waiting for us to call on His name. He is right there longing to soothe our weary soul and mend our broken heart. All we have to do is call on His name. All we have to do is lean on Him, and He will pick us up and carry us through! He will help us clear the debris and learn to live whole again. 

The neat thing that also happens when this is done, we can share our story with others, and their lives will be impacted and changed as well! “Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You.” Psalm 52:13 When this happens, not only are our lives cleaned up and changed, but those with whom we’ve shared our story are changed. Then, they begin to share, it starts a domino effect on the world around us! How exciting would it be to see many come to know Him because of our simple clean up?!

“This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.” 1 Timothy 2:3-4


What Will You Choose?

What are you choosing today? Are you choosing life, or are you choosing death? Are you choosing joy, or are you choosing sorrow? Are you choosing peace, or are you choosing chaos?

You might say, “Well, you don’t know my circumstances. I can’t choose anything! I am a victim.” Yet, I have to disagree. You may not have control of your circumstances, but you do have control of YOU! You can choose how you handle those circumstances, and you can choose how you react to whatever you are facing.

Just as you cannot control or change the wind and the storms that come, you may not be able to control or change bad things from happening around you or even to you. However, you have complete control over your emotions and your actions. You can decide, right now, how you will react to those bad things. Will you “flip out,” refusing to be consoled or comforted? Will you become angry, lashing out in anger? Or will you take a deep breath, step back and assess the damages, and approach the situation with peace and wisdom? Will you handle the chaos with the kind of strength and grace that helps someone else along the way?

You have the ability to choose today. Choose life. Choose peace. Choose joy. Your choices not only impact those in that present situation, but they can impact others for generations to come.

What will your choices leave behind?