Wednesday, May 9, 2018

It Comes in Waves...

When I said, “My foot is slipping,

    your unfailing love, Lord, supported me.
When anxiety was great within me,
    your consolation brought me joy. (Ps. 94:18-19)

Ask me at any time how I am doing right now.  The answer you would get varies by the minute.  Sometimes I am fine, and really fine.  Sometimes I am angry.  Other times I am worried.  And on occasion I am good.

Why the emotional roller coaster?  About a month ago now, my husband was laid off.  It was a totally "out of left field" punch in the gut!  There has been no rhyme or reason for it.  It was undeserved and personal.  And it wasn't just my husband.  It was family members too!  

The first week was rough.  Really rough.  It was a lot of revengeful chatting, late nights filled with tears, having drinks with friends to commiserate, regretting the woulda/shoulda/coulda.  We were processing through grief, fear, anger, a lack of understanding or answers.

As each day moves forward, we do as well.  One foot in front of the other.  My husband right away started cleaning and updating the resume.  Filing for unemployment.  Fighting to get his personal belongings back, (which he was NOT given a chance to retrieve before being escorted from the building).  We started searching for things to sell.  Looking for odd jobs to make a little cash.  Cutting budget items. 

While I have complete faith God not only knew this was coming, AND has a plan to move us in a direction that brings Him more glory and our good...It DOES NOT stop me from sometimes letting the fear take hold. Especially over our financial picture.

Everyone knows that you should be prepared for events such as these financially. It is where we all are hit the most tangibly. We were working hard on that.  But we weren't quite there.

We had just bought a house early last fall.  We have a son in college, credit cards to pay and medical debt.  We were fiercely attacking the things that we needed to after major movements like that. We hadn't quite gotten recovered before WHAM! No more income coming in for who knows how long. All saving, paying down debt, everything came to a screeching halt until further notice.  

We know God provides all things! He is the Jehovah Jireh.  Our great Provider.  We have already seen it happen!  

The first example was a two weeks ago. My husband graduated with his Bachelor's Degree that weekend.  We had planned to have a nice dinner with a special group of people after the ceremony.  Our intention the whole time was to pay for dinner.  When Hubby got laid off, we weren't sure what would happen.  We chose not to say anything either way both out of embarrassment and uncertainty. We decided to let God sort it out, praying for his help. God granted us the desired of our heart to bless the people who have supported and loved on us.  Right before dinner, I was handed the means to ensure dinner was paid for from a completely unexpected source.  It covered what was needed without taking out of own limited resources, and gave us the privilege to bless our loved ones. It was humbling. It was tangible evidence that God was present with us in our circumstances. It meant so much to us.

To see the relief and joy on Hubby's face was good enough for me.  We know God cares about even the little things.  We know that it will be alright. 

Even with our confidence in Christ as our Provider, the emotions still rise and fall like the tidal waves. 

We have been down this road before.  In a much different place where our lives were already stretched too thin.  It was 7 years ago, albeit feels like a lifetime.  We were beyond broke, struggling in our marriage, on the brink of losing our home (which we did 2 years later), and being crushed by outside pressure and judgement from people we trusted.  

It was a really hard time, and there were some very dark places. We made it through, learning so much about God's provision and about each other too.  It stretched and pulled, now stronger for it.  


When Hubby called the morning of April 11th, I knew...we were heading back to the trenches.  We are in a different place along the journey, but fear took hold fast.  I didn't want to go back.  I didn't want to go through that again.  I had nightmares for a week.  I tiptoe around my house, to keep my distance, afraid of either being a basket-case, or being angry.  Hubby does too.  We are always on the brink of something, and often we take it out on each other.  we know we aren't to blame, it just happens.

The pressure to appear strong is exhausting.  I don't want to live under scrutiny again.  I am back in that place where I feel every penny spent earns judgment from others whether it is their business or not.  Every decision makes us question what direction we might be headed. 

This is NOT the worst thing that can happen, and I know that others deal with far heavier loads.  I do not make light of that.  Each of us are given only according to God's purpose.  Whatever that might be and regardless of being able to make sense of it.  He is working. Always. Intentionally.

He will provide the strength we need until the purpose and provision is complete.  We walk through the process in FAITH as we WAIT for God to show us where he is working.  I know HE IS! 

This post is raw, vulnerable, but honest.  These emotions come in waves.  But my foundation is secure.  I am still grateful each day for the littlest things.  I am watching for God to meet our need.  Would I love a winning lottery ticket that will cover the financial obligations on our plate right now? Sure! But luck is not something to count on.  

Only God knows what we need and I have to trust that He sees more than I can.  I have to WAIT for His timing.  My Jehovah Jireh will take care of us.  While we work to do our best, He will do the rest. The provisions may not come as I expect, or look like what I hoped for, but they will be infinitely better than I planned! That is something I can count on!

Psalms 91-94 has been a source of encouragement for me recently.  Read it and be encouraged too. 

Psalms 91-94 (Bible Gateway, NIV)  

Monday, March 5, 2018

Discovering Me...

It has been a very busy couple months of the year so far.  I blink and the time has whizzed by with hardly a notice! 

Much has happened during this time, giving me an opportunity for perspective.  I have been doing a lot of thinking about where I am now in my life, and where I want to go.  What defines me? Who am I really?  What is important?  What investment am I contributing to God's kingdom? 

My son reminded me (as if I could forget) that this year is a BIG one!  I turn 40 this year.  Most who know me, getting older doesn't bother me, it was being young.  Often, when people would ask how old I was, their response was that I was such a baby. So young.  It always felt like I didn't get credit for all that I have walked through in life.  Or maybe it reminded me of things I regret.  

Either way...

I hate that.  Many in my age group have young kids still.  My oldest is a Sophomore in college, and my youngest will graduate from high school in 4 years. Hubby and I are making plans for when we are "empty nesters."  I may not have much gray hair, but I have earned the battle scars from life to not be called a baby.  At least now, when people ask I can simply say I am in my 40's. Ha!

As my birthday approaches, I am finding that my outlook on what matters and what doesn't is changing.  There are places in my past that I have allowed to define me. I find myself thinking alot about words and actions of others, even as a child, and how I let that determine what my worth was.  What I could be in life.  The way God sees me was always filtered through those things.  I was never enough.  I have to earn being loved. Why?!  The only purpose that served was to allow my view to be clouded. It wasn't truth.  It was/is living in fear of failing and disappointing others. 

I had a friend say once that being in your 40s you finally stop caring so much about what people think.  We stop being ruled by their control and fear.  And I can say, that I think there is a lot of relief in that statement.  Truth even.  As much as I hated being "young," I am discovering now how freeing it is to finally put to bed the hold others have on me. I have known that was true for a long time, but grief can keep you from doing it. 

A precious conversation recently pulled this thought full circle for me. Even though this has been something that I have wrestled with so many times throughout my life, something profound stuck out.  Some of the reasons we hang on so tightly to what others think/say, is that without that pain, we don't know who we are.  It is scary. While the intellectual in us knows that we have to let go of what we can't change, the child in us is crying out and still hoping it will.  What kind of power do I want to let my past have over me?  I don't have to let it define who I am anymore.  I can chose to stop letting it have power over me.  

The tangible memories designed to remind of failure, of that past, they will no longer have power over me. There isn't any reason to keep them.  I will burn it.  No more chains.  Regrets, hurts, all of it.  I won't let it control me anymore.  I refuse.  IT'S TIME TO REBUILD!

It doesn't mean that it never happened.  It simply means that I will not let it be the filter for who I am.  Who am I in Christ. (2 Cor 5:16-17) God doesn't think of me as who my past says I am.  God doesn't feel the way my past does. (Isaiah 43) He will take the ashes from those places in my life and make it beautiful! Not because I deserve it, but because HE LOVES ME!  I am worth the gift He gave through the death of His Son. (Romans 5:8-10) I am worth pursuing a relationship with.  I am worth an adoption to His family, to be a part of His kingdom as His Daughter. (Romans8:16-17)  A place at the table.  

What do I do now?  That is the best part.  This year is a BIG one, but not just because I am turning 40.  I have a chance to discover.  What do I want to be when I grow up?  What purpose has God given me to invest in His kingdom?  I can wrestle now with a better view of eternity.  To fuss over what truly matters for the sake of Christ, and what doesn't for the sake of preference.  

It isn't because I am turning 40 (which I am excited about!!!), I suddenly believe.  It is something better.  I think God's time was just that He allowed enough to happen for me to finally want to put it all down.  It will not be wasted, and He has purpose in the battle scars.  But the grip it has had in my life is finally loose.  I can allow tears sometimes, but I don't have to stay there.  It isn't what I am.  For me, maybe turning 40 is just a marker for when I can look back.  It will be the defining moment...

“Your journey has molded you for your greater good, and it was exactly what it needed to be. Don't think you've lost time. There is no short-cutting to life. It took each and every situation you have encountered to bring you to the now. And now is right on time.” 

Friday, January 12, 2018

A Momentary Trouble...

Clearly I had something else that needed to be done today than what I had planned.  Wonder why I think that? 

My car.  Dead again. Yep.  Once again, my car is not usable.  The frequency this keeps happening is... well WAY TOO OFTEN!  

We have had this car for almost 8 years.  For the first half of that time, we didn't have any issues with it.  Then it started...

First, the seatbacks fell off.  Ok, no biggie.  We got the clips to put them back on. The just came off again.  We tried something else.  Nope! They just won't stay on.

The radiator needed replacing. Then the alternator, some wiring rats chewed up, timing belt, the starter, then replaced the engine, the windshield, the radiator AGAIN, the alternator, recall on the airbags-fixed; the list is long.  That isn't including the normal wear and tear, regular maintenance, etc.  

We have patched, repaired, patched and repaired this car diligently, with the best we can do.  But yet, here we are...dead again.  It is likely just the battery this time, but still not what I wanted to deal with today. 

I can deal with many different struggles.  I have learned hard lessons, that I know I will have to go through again.  But this one trivial situation, to some..well...

What gets me every time?!...EVERY TIME! car trouble.

I don't understand.  We take care of our cars.  We do our best. Yet it seems that there is some bad luck we can't shake when it comes to cars.  My hubby and I have had more cars that anyone should, with only one person I can think of as the exception.

There is no grand epiphany about why we continually get tested on our car situation.  I wish there was.  

Do I believe God is in this? Yep.  Of course I do.  He knew that I would get up in a grouchy mood this morning, get my things together to head to my water aerobics class.  He knew I had plans today to spend with a friend who always makes me smile (so it would have been good for my grouchy mood too).  BUT, He also knew that I would get into my car, turn the key and not even a click, blip or flicker signaling life in my car.  That means grounded at home.

I do believe that God has a reason for allowing this to happen AGAIN...I have NO IDEA what that might be. So how can I respond to this?

There is a verse that comes to mind right now, that I hope will be a big encouragement to me today, but to you too...

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 (NLT)

17 For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! 18 So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever.

I want to encourage you.  Whatever you are going through this morning, this day, this week, this year...Hold tight to the truth that the struggle won't be wasted. He will see us through he big stuff that weighs us down to the little annoyances we deal with daily, even silly car troubles.  This promise gives hope in the situation we face today. Our struggle refines us, deepens our faith, and gives us courage to press on.  That doesn't happen instantly, but when you look back, you will see.  His fingerprints will be all over! He is working!!!

Am I frustrated?  Yes. Am I worried? A little. Do I want to get rid of this car and get a new one? Probably.  But will all this solve my problem? Likely not.

I need to fix my gaze on things that can't be seen.  Not on my circumstance.  Maybe someone reading this needed to hear this.  I hope so.  Iron sharpens iron. God is bigger than any circumstance I face.  I need to respond with the courage and hope I have in Christ, even through the emotions.    I look forward to the glory our struggles are producing! When we finally won't have to play tug of war with this world.  Until that day, I need to hold fast to truth! God is in this.  I will get up and try again.

Today was a small struggle.  But tomorrow might be bigger.  Either way, it will be alright.  God has my back. to see about charging my battery...

Sunday, December 31, 2017

For Auld Lang Syne

I am sitting in front of the television tonight watching what most in America probably are.  We are all counting down to midnight.  We wave goodbye to the old, and look forward to the new. Are you excited?

The last couple days I have been reflecting on 2017.  What has this year been like for you?  For the world, it has been a roller coaster of crazy highs and lows.  I know for many of my tribe that has rung true for them personally too.

 Their challenges were tougher, the battles were more violent, the emotions tenser. My heart hurts for them. We had challenges too.  We had so many changes. We dealt with uncertainty.  But we laughed too. 

We are grateful for so many things, even the tough. Every circumstance gave us an opportunity to trust more.  God was the whisper through the chaos, the soul in our laughter, the light in the dark.  We know that no matter where we find ourselves, God is not unaware, and He is in the midst.  We are grateful He is.  We take refuge in that promise. 

I look forward to the New Year now.  I have plans. Hopes.  A dream.  It will take diligence to check off the items on the list.  So maybe for this year, I am breaking my habit of NOT having resolutions, but being decisive about the resolutions I will make.  

I hope you can look back on 2017, be grateful for the lessons we learned, and made some real resolutions for 2018 that are worth the work they require.

 I wish the best for all God can give for each of you.  Hold tight to His promises especially on the tough days, but even on the great days. 

Looking forward to sharing with you in the coming year! Happy New Year, dear friends!! 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Waited Long Enough.

Sorry to have kept you waiting so long. It probably felt like I wouldn't finish the story.  Well, now I will.

Waiting requires Faith.

This year has been all about waiting.  I have been reflecting on this year and all the ways that God has woven truth, provision, hope, peace, and joy through our lives.  Each time we found ourselves in the middle of something, I found God's hand.  Sometimes it was by simply reaching my hand up in the darkness pleading that God find it. And sometimes it was the only thing I could see. In the midst of whatever place we were in, FAITH was required.  Simple belief in God. Belief in all He promised. We had to trust to that God will not let go.  Then we wait for His provision.

I am under no illusion that our family is set apart to endure hardship.  We all do.  And each to varying degrees.  The beauty is knowing that it doesn't matter what it is, big or small, hard or just a simple challenge- They are NO MATCH for our Great God.  Our Father already has set in motion the intended result of our circumstances, and the process we go through will be for our good, HIS glory!

Now, waiting doesn't mean to sit around and anticipate a knock on the door.  Often our waiting means work.  Lots of work.  

With our house situation, it required hard work.  We had to be strategic in our spending, paying our credit cards down, saving a little cash.  We had to be diligent in our decisions, and not just take the first thing that comes our way.  

There were lots of times well intended friends would tell us to just make a move.  Even when the idea seemed appealing, my gut would tell me to be still.  I had no peace about moving forward.  With our constant roller coaster of when we might have to move, or if we were staying went on for over a year! That is a long wait.  So please don't misunderstand me.  Waiting is hard.  Waiting takes time.  Waiting requires FAITH.

When things really began to ramp up, was this summer.  We had been told mid-May for sure the house would be sold by the end of July.  This was good news.  We had a deadline, but we still had to wait for God to show us the next step.

I remember one night.  Stress had mounted for both my hubby and I.  We were exhausted from the plates we were juggling on all levels.  We started discussing what to do about our housing situation.  Hubby was trying to be the level head, voice of reason, so to speak.  I was not.  Quite the opposite.  Just because I believed God was in our midst, that the waiting would pay off, and provision would come, did NOT mean I was not going to face emotion.  At this point I was frustrated.  I felt like we had waited enough and I wanted an answer.

Hubby asked me what I wanted out of this.  My reply was just this...

"It doesn't matter what I pray for, ask for, or want.  God is going to do what He is going to do, and His way.  So we might as well just figure out what to do based on that." Hot tears trickled down my face as I pleaded deep in my heart for hope.  I did believe God would do something, but I was so tired. I felt pressure in every aspect of our life.  

Come the end of June.  Still no place to move to.  No idea.  We really wanted to buy and not rent again.  We didn't want to keep going with this round of when we have to move again.  But we didn't know if that was going to be possible.

We got the notice SIX times that we had to be out by July 31. SIX!!!  I think we got that loud and clear.  So it was time to get started with the next steps.

We weren't going to know if our hard work with finances was going to allow us to buy unless we checked it out.  A good friend of ours recommended a great place to go, so we started there.  Within a few days, we knew.  We were cleared to buy! That was such great news!!!

Now, where?  We wanted to stay in the area we were living in.  We wanted to bring our daughter closer to home with schools.  We wanted a support system again.  All things we have wanted all along.  So we started looking.  Just about then, my hubby had to travel for work.  MOST of the month of July.  That meant all the packing, shopping for houses, dealing with kids, etc was now on my shoulders.

Ok, I can do this.  Off he went for work, and off I went to work.  I looked at 32 homes in 2 weeks.  I packed and packed in between. Friends came to help here and there.  Everything that we saw was terrible.  Because of the hot market, we were getting pushed farther out of the area we wanted to stay in.  We finally got priced right out of the county.  

The day before Hubby was to be home from his work trip, I found a house farther away from where we wanted.  It had been on the market for 8 days! That was an eternity in the current market.  No one had even seen it yet! I figured something must be wrong with it, just like all the others. Reluctantly, I asked to go see it.

The first time I walked in, I was speechless.  It wasn't perfect, but it was much like the house I have dreamed of  building someday.  It was the best house I had looked at, even with its imperfections. Of course, Hubby had to see it.  So we came back the next day. I had reservations, but I felt peace about moving forward.

The next 30 days were the longest during this whole time.  We put an offer in. The sellers moved like molasses.  Everything was a chore to get signed, or responded to.  From our side, the process was pretty seamless.  Not even hiccups with the loan process. (not our experience before) We still had to be diligent with our money so not to mess the financing up.  We had to move out of the house we were in currently.  Because of the timing, our new house would not be available to move into until the end of August.  So, we spent three weeks with very gracious friends.  

Just when I thought the hard part was over, in the middle of all this,  I fell.  Yep! Broken/sprained my left foot and ankle.  It was epic.  But instead of being able to enjoy resting and waiting for the house to be ready, now I was grounded. 

I had to depend on people to do the lifting, unpacking, painting, setting up, everything that was required for this process.  It wasn't until a month after we moved in before I could do much for myself.

I wasn't sure what to think about all this.  All that time waiting, believing that God knew what was going on and what would happen.  It wasn't where I wanted or had expected.  It didn't check off a list of perfection we all hope for when we anticipate the result of our circumstance.


God knows more than I do.  He knows the deeper places in me where I don't go and what I need.  This house meets a need.  Not just a place to live, but a HOME. A place of healing, hope and love.  God knew exactly the end result.  Even if everything isn't perfect, it is right where He intends us to be.  The Joy came...I see it was in the journey too.  The faith I thought I had, only grew more.  I believe God.  I believe that what He sets out to do, even through me, He completes it.  

We will always be waiting for something.  Always.  Holding on to truth of who God is, that means FAITH.  It isn't something I can boast about.  My waiting, the faith I have in God, didn't produce the results.  God did that.  Only He could.  Each piece of this puzzle came together only marked with HIS fingerprints! 

And He still isn't finished...

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Hurry Up and...wait...

Wait.  Just wait.  The word that plagues us to dig deep for patience we never pray for. Right?  And most of us are not good at waiting.  "I can't wait for...(insert here)."  I actually despise that phrase.  My kids are always saying something they can't wait to happen.  It comes across as if somehow the present isn't good enough.  As if the excitement of THIS moment is nothing compared to whatever is to come.

Sometimes waiting isn't exciting.  It can be difficult.  Waiting for results, waiting for help with your crisis, waiting...waiting...wait.

Waiting requires faith.

Hebrews 11:1

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen." (ESV)

What is faith?  The dictionary defines faith as "complete trust or confidence in someone or something."  

Waiting requires faith.  

Many in our close circle know that we have been dealing with an unstable housing situation.  I wrote a few posts on it a while back too.  Over the last three years we have been at the mercy of other people deciding if, when and how long we can live in any particular home.  So frustrating, to say the least. 

The first time, the owner got sentimental about her house and wanted to live in it again.  After seven months, (barely time to get settled), we packed up and moved again.  We though that would be alright.  The next house we thought we would be in a good place for awhile. We wanted to settle for a bit and move when WE wanted.  The house had several problems, including the property manager, but we were determined.  

After that first year, the owner decided to sell.  For the next 1 1/2 years, we went month to month, wondering when he would sell.  There were a couple months that we weren't sure he was serious.  Still dealing with numerous issues regarding this house, the owner and I had to deal a lot directly, and every month it was the same: "I am going to sell soon."  It started to feel like the Dread Pirate Roberts from Princess Bride. "Good work, Wesley.  Sleep well.  I'll most likely kill you in the morning."

At some point he wanted us to buy the house.  Claiming that we would get a great deal if we did.  We thought we could try, but we had to wait.  Since we sold our house as a short sale, there was a waiting period before we could buy again.  

So we waited.  Every month.  We waiting for something.  Waited for any aspect of our situation to change.

Thankfully, God knew exactly where we were.  He was not out of touch for any piece or any moment.  He knew we were waiting.  That waiting required great faith from us. Even if we didn't think we possessed such faith. 

Deep down, under all the chaos of circumstances and emotions, I knew that God was bigger than it all.  I knew that whatever He had set in motion, it was going to stop moving at the exact moment He wanted it to.  I just couldn't grasp the end result.  He intended us to stay in waiting.  And He had a reason.

What have you been waiting for?  Do you wish that you just had more faith?  Do you believe the lie that you don't have enough faith in God for this circumstance to change?  

Believer, let me ask you this then:

Do you believe God's Word?  You have faith. 

Do you believe that God has done what He said in His Word?  You have faith.

Do you believe that God is who HE says? Then, friend...YOU have FAITH!

If you don't believe these things, WHY?  You should!  God is everything and more that the Bible says.  He has done more that you can imagine through his creation and the people who have come before us. GOD'S FAITHFULNESS is proven!

This is the Gospel, the "good news:"

**Not one person deserves to be saved.  Not one.  None of deserve anything.  And we can NOT save ourselves. The cost of our sin, big or small, is death. final death. But God, before the creation of the world, already had a redemption plan in place.  He KNEW that we would need a Savior.  He loved us THAT MUCH to follow through with the plan.  So that we would know Him, His love for us, and have FAITH. To believe that He WAS and IS, and IS TO COME. He started and will complete His plan.  Because of Christ's blood we can be made right with God.  To have a direct relationship to the Father.  That is the gospel.  The gospel requires faith.  To simply believe.   If you Believe, then you are saved. ( see John 3:16-17)

I love what the NLT says for Hebrews 11:1.

"Faith is the assurance that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us the assurance of things we can't see."

Waiting requires faith.  It requires us to trust Someone completely for the results, no matter what they are, because there is nothing we can do to change our situation.

And are going to have to WAIT for the rest of the story.... 

Monday, October 23, 2017

Lead me to the Rock

How many times a week do you wake up feeling defeated about the day? Thoughts of the overwhelming task lists, meetings, appointments, projects that "have to get done," all before we have even had our FIRST cup of coffee. (Let's be honest...we all have a second, third, etc...right?!)

I feel that too.  Most mornings I wake up more tired than when I went to bed.  Having tossed and turned all night about the never-ending "List." I have a list in my head, on paper, in my calendar, and the added lists from my family that I have to do too.

It can be discouraging to feel defeated.  We get desperate trying to get it all squeezed in.  We fumble through each day, only to sack out on our beds at night beating ourselves up for all that we didn't get to do.

There was one particular morning, two weeks ago, this feeling pressed harder than usual. I was up way earlier than anyone prefers, and already ticking off the to-dos in my head.  I also had bible study that morning.  I really wanted to skip it.  I was feeling so defeated before I got started, and I wasn't sure I really had the time.

You see, we had just moved.  A big move.  We bought a house, (will talk about that journey another time) and fall is here.  That means WINTER is just around the corner.  Our house needs quite a few things before winter gets here.

I broke/sprained my foot/ankle, (yes, I did both...) right in the middle of this process.  That meant the normal nesting a woman goes through to get her house in order was a HUGE challenge.  I have healed quite a bit, so I can get around better, but there is much that I still can't do.  Or will ever be able to do.

My darling hubby is doing his best, but work, school and other pressing projects takes more of his time right now.  

This particular morning, I got up, and my heart was already racing.  I just felt defeated.  There was no way that I could get the house in order before winter, do the laundry, dishes, work on Christmas projects (yes, in October already...gotta get an early start!), grocery shop, bible study, etc...

The list kept getting longer and I started to panic.  And of course the first thing that the enemy wanted was for me to skip the very thing that I should do first.

I got myself together, still racing heart and heavy soul, and headed to bible study anyway.  I had no time for it, and I definitely didn't feel like doing it.  

Keep in mind that going to bible study was a huge feat for me in the first place.  I don't know anyone there, and it is a terrifying to try and integrate myself among God's people again.  The wounds are still healing from before, but I know that pressing on through that would be a stretch, and so worth it.  I just had to do session at a time, and let God work through the rest.  

So heading to this group, on a day when I believed so little of what I could accomplish, I found a Goliath moment.

It was a BEAUTIFUL fall day.  I adore Fall in the PNW.  Everything is so bright, colorful and it frames one of my favorite views perfectly.  Mt Rainier. (pictures do NOT do justice...)

Where we live now, we are a little closer to the mountain than we were before.  we can see the mountain from just about anywhere. But, THIS particular day, I believe God made sure that Mt. Rainier would stand taller than ever before in all her glory.  

This mountain brings me peace.  Comfort.  Joy.  Not because of the mountain itself.  She simply is a giant rock.  But because of the grand display of who GOD is!  How intimately He knows the mountain. Every crevasse, every slope, every snowflake adorning the cap.  HE knows it.  After all, He designed it, placed just at the right place so that she could shine by the best light.   

This day that mountain took my breathe away.  Every panicked thought in my head halted in the sight of that Mountain.  God was there.  He saw to it that her view was always in front of me no matter which way I turned.  

I got to bible study, in awe of God's handiwork, then sat back watching Him unfold that same handiwork in my heart.  My to do list didn't change, but I did.  Being overwhelmed became more of a being in the moment.  I can't change the demands, but I can change my response.  I found God asking me to just breathe.

Jesus said, "Come to Me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest." Matt 11:28 NLT

It doesn't mean we won't have to-dos, meetings, appointments, etc... It means that we simple need to breathe.  To force ourselves to do the very thing the enemy wants us to skip.  To sit at Jesus' feet. Sometimes for me that means getting in my car, blasting my music and sitting somewhere to marvel at a glorious mountain.  Writing, reading, creating, something that even for a few minutes I can rest. Sit before Jesus. God will give us the strength to accomplish everything else.

God, who takes such care in creating and placing that mountain there, certainly knows the "mountains" placed in my life and knows where I am.  He doesn't promise us that we will have it easy as a believer.  I think far harder of a time, actually.  But His provision is the moments that take our breathe away.  His provision is in the noise, the chaos, the tasks, the hurt, the silence, everywhere.  He orchestrates everything in our life to show us to simply breathe.  To be still. He is the GREAT ROCK.  He is more than our minds can imagine and our hearts can search out.  He cares about the tiniest to the greatest detail of our lives.  He sees the path before you and is ALREADY in the provision you need to travel it, and He is already at the end waiting to reward you for going the distance. 

This song came on the radio that day.  As I looked at the mountain, I saw the ROCK.  Nothing about that day changed, except for me.  I needed to just breathe.

 Just Breathe (Jonny Diaz)

Psalms 61:1-3
Hear my cry, O God;
    listen to my prayer.
From the ends of the earth I call to you,
    I call as my heart grows faint;
    lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
For you have been my refuge,
    a strong tower against the foe.

*Psalms 18:1-3; 2 Sam 22:2; Psalms 92:15; Isaiah 26:4; Matt 7:24;