Focus in the New Year

Recently, I came across one of those photos that many of you have probably seen as well. It’s an image of a colorful landscape that has a blue dot in the center of the picture. Beneath that image, there is another that is almost identical; with the only differences being there is no blue dot and the image itself is dull with no color. The instructions say to stare at the blue dot of the first picture for, something like 30 seconds. Then, after doing so, you are to turn your focus to the dull image. If you’ve followed the instructions correctly, the dull image magically begins to appears to have the same exact colors as the vivid one. But, slowly the color disappears and you have to go back and focus on the blue dot all over again if you want to see the dull turn to bright. It hit me today how very similar that is to our walk with the Lord. Like the blue dot, if we keep our focus on Him, we can fully see all that is good vividly and in all its colorful splendor. At the same time we are able to look at the darkness of this world and add a color of hope to it all. But, when our focus waivers we can no longer do either of those things. We begin to lose sight of all that is good and lose hope for all that is dark to be redeemed. We must keep our focus on Him in tact. It is the only true, long-term way to experience all that He has done; is doing; and will do. He is the Lord of color; of light; of hope and in Him is our only hope to be freed of the dullness and darkness that exists in our lives and in this world.

As this year comes to an end, and as I acknowledge the shaky ground I have been on since my mother passed away in August 2016, one of my resolutions for the new year is to redirect my focus; placing it on the Lord first –  not second; third;…or last as has been the case more times than not.  If you find yourself in the same boat; my hope is that you will be able to re-focus as well. 

XOXO,

Carol

Romans 8:5 For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.

 

Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

 

 

A Message to Grief

Nov 27, 2016

My mother passed away on August 7th of this year.

Just typing that is surreal.

It is by far the most difficult thing I have ever gone (and am going) through.  I thought I was doing “okay”, but then Thanksgiving came and boy was I taken by surprise by the new level of grief that has hit. So, in trying to wrap my head around it all and the degree of crazy that I can sometimes feel, I wrote a message to my grief. It helped.

If you are currently mourning the loss of a loved one, and experiencing the emotional roller coaster that it can bring, I hope this will help to bring you to a place of peace. I also want to encourage you to find a grief support group in your area. Grief is hard, but it is necessary. Let the tears cleanse your soul. Trust in the knowing that God is with you and will guide you through it. Also, be mindful of the enemy. I have learned over the last few days that he will often disguise himself as grief.  He wishes for you to not heal and is very content to keep you down; robbing you of the current joys that surround you. My prayer is you will recognize and rebuke him in those times.

Peace to you,

Carol

A MESSAGE TO GRIEF

Grief:

I’ve met you before; but only in passing.

I’ve watched you take residence in someone’s heart; and

have offered my prayers, my kisses, my hugs –

all in an attempt to help remove you from that place.

Then,  I have

shaken your hand;

bid you farewell; and

walked away –

leaving you behind, but with the knowing that I would see you again.

For as long as there is death and loss, you also will exist.

But, you’ve come too soon, my bittersweet friend;

And this time it is mine whose heart you have entered,

Serving as a constant reminder to me that the loss which preceded your arrival is, in fact — real.

You rear your head at unexpected moments, demanding to be acknowledged and refusing

to allow me to live in a fantasy world of denial.

You cast a shadow of darkness in my day.

A shadow that creates a sorrow like none other I have known.

Still, it is in this place where my Lord and Savior meets me.

He reminds me that had I not loved first, you could not find me.

He provides me the strength to embrace you rather than ignore you; and

Bids me to “be still” as He captures all my tears.

It is in this reality where He stays with me,

And where ultimately, through His light I see all the goodness;

hope; and

beauty that remain –

Not only in today, but eternally.

For at the right time, you will be gone;

But He, along with His promises, will never leave me –

And this, dear grief, is the how and the why I press on.

                                                                                             CRE

 

Hopes and Dreams

“Don’t quench the dreams and visions the Spirit puts inside of you. Human nature is to subdue our hopes in order to protect ourselves from disappointment, but God gives longings and hopes in order to fulfill them. Jesus’ promise applied not only to a few apostles but to all who would read His Word. The God who knows the future will lead you into yours be giving you glimpses of it. Notice them and follow His lead.”

 

Prayer: “Spirit of God, You know my future and how it fits with your Kingdom plans. Please show me enough to draw me into Your purposes. Give me God-sized visions that we can fulfill together.”

As written in Experiencing God’s Presence; Chris Tiegreen.

When Your Anxiety Has Anxiety

Turning the Page

Okay, so I don’t really know if it’s possible for your anxiety to have anxiety, but the point is that sometimes anxiety hits, and it hits hard.  

In the past, I probably wouldn’t have admitted that anxiety is something that I struggle with, partly because I wasn’t fully aware of this struggle, and partly because I can be prideful.  I don’t like to admit that I’m weak, that I need help.  But here I am admitting to you that I am WEAK, that I am in desperate need of the Lord’s help.

Anxiety and fear are rooted in lack of trust.  The anxiety that creeps into my heart, anxiety about different areas of my life, along with the fears that pop up, demonstrate my lack of trust in the Lord, in His plan and purposes that are far greater than any plan and purpose of man.

We are not merely advised

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As He Speaks to me; May He Speak to you

23

This past week the Lord, knowing all of my struggles – the greatest being the unexpected passing of my mother 7 weeks ago – has been impressing Psalm 23 upon me. Specifically, I have heard the His Spirit speak verse 1 : “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.”

Today, at the encouragement of my husband, Michael, I sat out back sitting in silence. The purpose: to de-clutter my mind and JUST BE WITH GOD.

Thirty minutes into this exercise, He impressed Psalm 23 on me again. This time, I pulled out my bible and read the entire Psalm. He prompted me to write out a more simplified version and to take the words He was giving me and recite them out loud as a reminder of the declarations contained within them. He wanted me claim them; because through Him they are mine to be claimed. So, I did;  and should you wish to claim them too, here they are:

The Lord

cares for me

– provides for me

– guides me

– protects me

I do not want for anything, because [in Him] I do not lack anything.

Rest and Peace are found in Him.

My Spirit and Soul are fed through Him.

He quenches any thirst I have.

Through my obedience, in Jesus’ name, He leads me in the direction I should go.

Even in the most difficult times, when the noise of the world; self; and evil are deafening, I can trust Him fully; and be rid of all fears.

I am invited to His table EVERY DAY – to taste and experience the endless richness of what His grace and mercy serves–

Not only in this life, but for all of eternity.

_____________________

How beautiful of a reminder is that?

May you memorize this and keep it close.

God Bless You All. ❤