Do You Have Hope In the Darkness?

 

Here I am writing to you from my new space today. We have moved and are still settling in. However, I am writing from my desk where I have a very peaceful environment and space. A true answer to prayer! I’m sharing it with you along with this message because I believe the two go hand in hand. Let me share with you why I think this way.

We have long known that our environment has much to do with how we feel.  That means how our surroundings feel to us, what is going on in those surroundings, the relationships going on in the surroundings, and the messages spoken. So if that is the case, why are we not doing everything we can within our means to make that a priority in our lives, as well as, those who live or come into our environment? Why don’t we make a priority for OURSELVES? We know its value to us and to our future and daily lives.

Enter this present day: with everything that is going on around us, isn’t it even MORE important for us to have a place where we can feel safe? A place where our souls find rest and comfort? It sure is! It makes a big difference in how we think and navigate these times. Today, I have the light shining into my room, candles burning as rememberance of what He has done, a line of twinkle lights lit that just make me happy, a tall glass of ice tea, and surrounded by things I love. I don’t want to have my face anywhere but looking up, and as I do, then God reminds me to look around.  He wants me to see what I have; what He has done for me. He doesn’t want me concentrating on what I witness in this chaotic life around me. I came across a photo I took a few years back. As I looked at it, I felt in my heart that God was reminding me that HE sees in the dark. When the fog of chaos rolls in, when the darkness is more prevalent than the light, He can see where we are in the dark! He knows where I am. He wants to be my light.  He IS Light. I believe He was telling me to look to Him as the Light in the darkness when the times around me seems overwhelming. Where there is light, there is no darkness. You can go into a room that is dark, and when you turn the light on, the darkness goes away and the light enters the room.

So I make my sourroundings a continuation of that message. I always have. I spend a fair amount of time in my home, and now, even more so. Because of that, I want it to be a place of refuge for me, my husband, and anyone else that needs it as they visit, however long that may be. I want them to leave with a feeling peace that tugs on their hearts when their visit ends. I want them to be encouraged and uplifted. They may not even know what it is that makes them relax, but I do. God is here. Jesus is here. The Holy Spirit is here. AND…this house was given to us by God; without a doubt. I feel a little like Abraham and Sarah when they got a child at such an elderly age as they were. They never thought it could happen. But God. He blessed them with a child. I feel the same way. At the age of my husband and I, that God would so graciously gift us with what I feel is the best home we have had yet. Not just the home, it’s surroundings and all, but also what we have been able to do with this home. The sense of peace here. So… I know it has purpose in our lives beyond our daily living. Isn’t that how God is? He wants the best for us.

So trusting Him means that I have to trust Him all the time. Just because we have this wonderful house, doesn’t mean we aren’t going to have troubles. This is where I think we get mixed up. We think that because we are followers of Jesus, that He will then give us rose ladden paths and nothing bad will happen because He will take care of it before it does. Don’t we think like that? Yes many of us do. And so when the storm hits, we are immediately asking God why why THAT happened. He is the same God in the storm as He is in the calm. He is the same God who was with me during skin cancer surgeries as He is when He gave us this home. So… blessing = Nothing bad happens? That is NOT the case. I think we even know it, we just don’t want to reconcile it. That is our darkness. We are thinking about only the room we are in that is dark. But outside that door stands Jesus…knocking. If we open the door, the Light will come in and it’s not dark anymore. We may still have shadows at times to deal with, but He hasn’t left us in the dark without being there with us. Sometimes maybe we get battered and bruised up because we have taken our eyes off of Jesus. My times of feeling distraught is usually when I am looking more at what is going on around me then what He is doing right in the spot where I am; even what He may be trying to work on WITHIN me.

If we believe the Bible is true, we know what’s coming. That means that we need to keep our eyes on Him and let Him direct our lives more than we trying to control it. How, you might ask?

  • Turn off news and Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or anything other means of places that feed your fear base.(Or anger base)
  • Quit following half the places or people you follow, so that, you aren’t bothered or upset by their posts, opinions or reteric if that is causing stress or fear for you.
  • Reading His Word daily. God wins!
  • Reading devotionals and good books.
  • Listen to good uplifiting music.
  • Surrounding yourselves with others who encourage you in these directions.
  • Share what God is doing in your life with others.
  • Continuing to enjoy the places around you that give you peace.
  • An online Bible Study opportunity.
  • Invite a friend over and distance if you are one that feels this is necessary.
  • Take a hike or walk. Stay active.
  • Do some projects that need to be accomplished.
  • Do a car picnic with your family by the water.
  • Not be afraid. Fear is a weapon satan uses to keep us from trusting and having faith. Keep doubt at bay.

It’s not a perfect list, but it can go a long way toward giving you a more peaceful feeling each day. I’m thankful that God has given me ways to keep going and following His path instead of running willy nilly in every direction. Confusion IS fear. Nope, not going there. Satan wants to keep us in the dark; to keep us afriad. But I am much more powerful than his darkness, because I have the Light.  I have Jesus right with me through it all. I can speak out the Word. If I believe it, the darkness and fear leave and He will direct my attention else where to places I can serve or encourage.

Let the Light shine into your dark place. Don’t ever give yourself over to the power of darkness in any situation. If you look at the lead picture in this post, you will see my car sits there. How approprate for the message He gave me since my car is called “The Captain”. The area is surrounded by darkness but The Captain is lit by light and headed into more light as you can see up ahead of the car. That’s my Jesus. Leading me into the light of life. I just have to get behind the wheel and drive where He leads. He wants to pull up to your door today and get right in the middle of your darkness and turn it into Light. A place of light where you can see Him walking it out with you.  Only…you have to actually give Him your hands on the wheel and let Him lead. Jesus isn’t your co-pilot. He is in charge. Too many times, we take the wheel and go where we think we should go, when God wants to take the wheel and give you the ride of your life!

That is why my car is called “The Captain” because I let Him take hold of my hands on the wheel. I pray before I drive The Captain anywhere. I am willing go! I give Him my best effort every where He takes me. I might make excuses here and there along the way sometimes, but He patiently waits while I take a short detour to ask for understanding, and then I get back in the car so to speak. I find it is much better to let Him drive. I’m more likely to get to my final destination that way.

What about you? Do you need hope in your dark place? Do you know and believe He is there with you? It is my hope that this message is a voice of encouragement for you today.  You CAN have hope without fear, and I also want to remind you of what you know…that your hope is with God, not this world.

Until next time…

 

Just A Moment…

 

Have you ever had one of those moments where you think, “Life just doesn’t get better than this!”?  The kids are off to school without too many incidents, or you just have the house to yourself, the house is quiet, you have your favorite morning coffee or tea-cup in your hand, and you just sigh…life is good!  It’s about what is happening, or is not happening at the time.  How many of those kind of moments do you have?  Time has stopped long enough, and you have stopped long enough, to catch and notice that something special just happened in that moment.  You might even sink into your favorite chair and savor it, or be driving down the road with a big smile on your face!  What do those moments look like for you?  What is it that makes up your special moments; a moment that speaks to your soul?

One of my special moments is something I set up for myself in my day.  It’s part of my regime.  When I get up, I have a breakfast of some sort and then I make myself a mocha.  I come into my living room with my mocha and start the fireplace, light a candle and enjoy the quiet of the house, and read my devotions.  I look around in gratitude for what have and what I see.  I don’t speed through these moments because I want to savor them… and let them seep into the rest of my day.

I do this at my desk also.  When I am working at my desk or writing, I have a candle burning in my cabin, sometimes music playing in the background, and I enjoy looking out my windows and see nature all around me.  I notice those times as special moments that keep me grounded.  It gives me perspective, and if I allow it, it can change my perspective as well.  I can say truthfully, that this slowing down process has definitely changed my life.  I don’t just sit during those times drinking my mocha.  I look around, appreciate what I see, what I have, and say thanks for it.

So…when I got this little book with a BIG message in the mail yesterday, I sat down and read the book.  It carries such an impactful message that I believe very strongly in.  I don’t want to overlook opportunities to enjoy special moments, which may be alone with myself,  with my boys or grandson, spouse, and friends.  Do you know that these moments can be created?  It’s not just for those who have nothing else to do.  It can be for anyone.  You can create your own special moments, just by being aware they are there.  You may still miss some, but when you are intentional about creating those special moments, more of those moments will happen.  Fun, huh?  Here are a few of them that came to mind:

  • It might be the next time you are baking cookies in the kitchen with someone.
  • Catch the moment with a picture and then share it.
  • Throwing a ball with a child and see their joy.
  • Text a love text to your child/grandchild and get a sweet one back that you save.
  • Sending a new to a loved one in the mail, knowing it could encourage them in their day.
  • Adventures by the creek so you can watch them explore and see their reactions.
  • A walk in nature where you slow your pace and breathe deep, see the light shine through the trees.
  • On a walk with your special someone holding hand as you walk.
  • Sitting by the bonfire outside with family and friends enjoying their company with mugs of hot chocolate.
  • Cuddling in bed before starting your day.
  • It might be in the car when your child or grandchild says something sweet, and it just makes your moment.
  • It could be in a secret message or sign that you have that only your family knows, and you share it together.
  • Or as we did last Sunday…go for a drive and see some place you haven’t explored.

It does require us to live intentionally, as this book talks about.  You might have to ask yourself some questions about what activities can bring about that kind of atmosphere for you.  I made some of those changes as we moved to a different area.  I knew at this point in my life that I needed more quiet, and I wanted more country in my life.  I didn’t want to live on a noisy corner anymore where I would here loud talking and peeling of tires at all hours of the morning.  Where we live now has been peaceful for me.  I have trees and green all around me.  I have wild life that come to visit.  I stop what I am doing to watch and enjoy them.  I can drive about 30 minutes and be at the ocean.  But I had to be willing to make that move to have more of what I needed in my life.  It meant being further from family and friends.  I don’t like that part.  Not at all.  But I am beginning to understand that sometimes we are placed for a season, and for a reason only God knows.  I have learned to be thankful for those times.  God gave me The Captain (my Mini) so I can make trips up to see my kids and family whenever I can.  I am creating those special moments in my life because it is important to me.  I also love having them come down, as well as, making it special for them while they are in our home!

Maybe you like where you are, but you haven’t made the time to really enjoy it.  I would encourage you to take the time to look around.  Whatever makes your heart sing is what you need more of in your life!  You may be thinking, she can do that at her stage in life.  Yes I can.  But if busy people can also do this in their daily lives, and still notice and create special moments, I’m giving you a head start into contentment in your future WAY earlier than what I learned!  It has taken a lot of years to learn to live in that kind of environment, and plenty of sacrifices have been made to live a life that also feeds my heart and soul.  But I will say it is worth it!  However, I’m still learning.

God has me doing some new things this year to create more margin in my life for what is important. He will keep molding us and changing us if we allow it.  I’m always thankful to learn a new thing.  God even tells us He is doing a new thing.  I put my arm out and say, “Go ahead God.  I’m in!”

I leave you with a couple of questions:

  • What really excites you more than anything else in your life?
  • What do you enjoy being around, or what environment feeds your soul the most?

Now, think of some of those special moments you have loved in your life.  Who wouldn’t want more of that in life?  It will change your perspective and you will always feel more aligned with your life.  You won’t have to feel guilt over not doing it any more because you will begin living this way each day.  How do I know that?  Despite some very hard times and experiences in my life, I have learned the above is true.  It is what makes my heart squeeze with excitement.  It is what makes it beat a little faster.  It makes me expectant of what God will put in front of me each day.  And it certainly makes me a better person to be around. Make some “It doesn’t get better than this!” moments of your own!  We can’t stop time, but we sure can make use of it in ways that makes us happy we are alive!  I would love to hear your answers to the questions!  Share by leaving your comments below on the blog.

Just a moment…

Take a chance.  Walk through the door.  Put your arm out ahead of you and say, “I’m all in Lord!  Let’s go!”

Food for the heart and soul…

~JoAnn