What Is Your New Beginning?

Ever wish you could just start over? A life do-over? Another chance to make a different choice or decision? I know I have.  It’s tough when something hits that is unexpected, or when the devil is trying to take you out. He is sneaky in how he gets us to think the worst of situations and leadS us off the path. And sometimes, it doesn’t take much to do that, nor doesn’t it take much time to work out those thoughts and feelings in wrong actions. Then he gets us with the guilt. Yes we are very blessed to have the option to start again. We have opportunities to re-invent ourselves over and over again in our lives.

I believe that there are different kinds of “new beginnings”. God tells us in HIs Word that His mercies are new every morning. To me, that means that each day I wake, I have an opportunity to live differently than I lived the day before. I may have made mistakes yesterday, or had bad thinking yesterday, or made bad decisions yesterday, but that doesn’t mean I can’t do this present day in a different way with different decisions and different attitude, and a dependence on Him to direct me this day. THAT’S both a good thing and a blessing that we have in our lives.

So… when I asked myself this question of what my new beginning is, I came up with a couple thoughts.  As I have shared before, I believe there are hardships that come into our lives that are for a reason. We might be going along in life thinking its all ok and WE have everything under control. So we have this, “I got this!”, mentality. We are pretty proud of ourselves. It might possibly be that God is bringing us up short in order to help us realize that we aren’t listening or even consulting Him on the issue before us as we should. His message may be to get your eyes off you and on to ME.

Another reason may be that there is something He wants to teach us. I know sometimes if its a hard thing for me, I have a tendency to try and ignore what I think I need to do a while longer because of feelings or thoughts I have about it because I KNOW change is required. Changing is hard and I know what it takes to make changes. It requires me to humble myself and realize that His plan isn’t mine and I might have to humble myself for His plan; surrender. That is always best. I might not even have a choice, as in my case with the skin cancer. That stopped me in my tracks! I had no choice but to move forward with what the doctors told me I had to do. Absolutely no choice there. I was hurt, angry, scared, anticipating some of the worst, and feeling a bit like a whimp in my faith. I was bummed out that it was my face where everyone could see. But this is where the Holy Spirit gently reminded me of all that God has walked through with me. He has never left me.  When I did surrender all of that, I felt the Holy Spirit tell me it’s ok to feel those things, but I needed to turn that over to Him. In other words, He didn’t expect me not to be afraid, or worried, or angry, but He did want me to share that with Him. Then He could comfort me or speak to me about the areas of concern. In this journey, He did that through many people. He listened, and now it was my turn to listen to Him about a path I could not see the end of. Trust. I had to trust Him, the doctors and now the process.

We tend not to be very good listeners. We don’t get quiet enough to hear His whisper. We hear a testimony and we say all the right things, but we don’t allow it to sink into the deep parts of our soul as an way for God to encourage us towards a deeper faith. I still have an area to keep turning over every new day. I am still dealing with going out in public… I look way less weird than I did last weekm but I still feel vulnerable about it. Does that mean my faith is less? No. I don’t think so. However, I DO believe this process is something God is working out in ME. A new level He is escavating in me. I won’t ever be the same; not just because of skin cancer and the surgeries, but because it has once again brought me to a place of surrender. As Joyce Meyer has been known to say, “New level, new devil.” So of course he wants to try to make that a stronghold for me. I feel God’s strength working in me for victory every day I get up.

So my new beginning is being an overcomer. For what, you ask? The skin cancer, the surgeries, the healing, AND the vulnerability of being seen as I am. Facing the questions in people’s eyes. BUT…God reminds me of the story I can tell! We all have a story, and in my case, this wasn’t in the my script. God rewrote this chapter, because someone else may need to read it.  As I think about the new beginning I have in my healing process, I am all the more convinced that I may need to be more bold about sharing what God has done. I am asking Him to show me where I need to study, and what He has for me to do. I am asking Him to help me to accept this chapter He has written as the Author of all things. I wake asking for His mercies for my new day. It is changing me.

From Great Grandmother

A dear friend in Norway when she saw my latest picture said, “Just like a fine embroidery, JoAnn.” THAT really touched my heart. As I thought about it, it is so true that what the devil meant for harm and chaos, God has so intricately embroidered as a beautiful thread into my face right out there for anyone to see. Yes. There will be questions, and wonderings, but that is an opportunity to share God’s ways and love. Yes, and just like in my case where He used another person to let me know He heard my prayers and concerns. That is an amazing part of this new beginning for me. That very message encouraged me more than I can say and I have the light that I have lit every day since.

So don’t despair of the hardships. Instead ask Him what He wants to teach you through it. Give up having your way, and take on His. You may not even be walking in His ways right now. If not, I would urge you to do so. Could it be the reason that you mind, soul and spirit is a bit ill at ease? Are you going through something difficult? This may be Him drawing to relationship. Don’t miss His hand extended out to you. Reach out.

Every day I wake up and tell God how thankful I am to be here to be able to give of myself in whatever way He may ask of me. I ask that He will lead me to someone who needs encouragement that day. Every night I thank Him for His love and direction through the day and for the lives I pray I may have touched. I also thank Him for the Holy Spirit Who gives guidance and direction to me. I have learned to be a better listener of His direction. That my friends, is living large!

What do you think would be a new beginning for you? What do you need to surrender so you can live more fully for Him on a daily basis? I will pray over your comments you leave.

Until next time,

~JoAnn

When God Speaks

 

 

Now THIS post is one that gets me totally excited because I love when I see God’s work in action, especially when it is what I call a direct message. We are used the the private messages on Facebook or the Direct Message on Twitter. We use those so that we can say something to someone without the whole world knowing what we are sharing. It is directed to you only. But… what if you get a direct message from God?!? What do you do with that?!?!?!??

You most certainly obey.  That is what happened this week with my friend and me. As some of you may know, I shared a week or so ago about my approach toward hard times and challenges. This journey with skin cancer has been a hard journey. However, it has always been a policy of mine, for myself, that as I make it through a hard challenging season, I give myself a life marker. It may be an activity, something I purchase, but it is always there to remind me. It’s purpose is to remind me of what God has kept me from, as well as, what He has brought me through. So…I had shared a story about my wanting to get this beautiful votive when I was on my way to Norway this last Spring. I saw it in Amsterdam and loved it. But, I didn’t want to spend money at that time since I had my whole trip ahead of me in Norway. So it stayed in Amsterdam. What I shared on Facebook was that, as I prayed my way through this journey of surgeries and one last upcoming surgery, I felt I should purchase that beautiful Glassybaby and then light it often to remind me of what God brought me through and kept me from once again. I had talked it over with my hubby too. The flower petals remind me of God’s soft touch in my life, and whispers in my ear that He will never leave me. The colors of opaque which reminds me that I won’t always see clearly in the moment I’m in, but He sees it clearly. Then, those shades of red I so love to remind me of His blood shed for me both in the beatings He bore and the sins He covered on the cross. Yes. This would be a great life marker. (And I love candlelight anyway)

Now for the exciting part that makes me want to dance! A friend read my post on Facebook and told me she commented that she was praying for me and for my healing. As she prayed, she felt the Lord say that she was to purchase this votive for me. She traveled all the way to my Bungalow, which is quite a jaunt for her, knocked on the door, and left it at my door! I messaged her a bit later after tearfully opening that gift and thanked her for such a wonderful, thoughtful gesture and what it meant to me particularly on this day. If you know Glassybaby, you know it is no small gift. She said, “In my prayers, God spoke to me to get this as a gift for you.” The best part of the reason was the why. Here are her words:

Enjoyed in the dark of my bedroom before sleeping.

“God wanted to make sure you knew that He was listening.”

Wow!!! Well, the flood gates opened as I read that on my phone. I was overwhelmed with the love that God would have for me, that He would use this wonderful lady who was obedient to what she had heard, to go out and shop for this gift, and then drove it all the way to my house to share it with me. God encouraged through all that…just to let me know He was listening!!

Friends, THIS is our God! I can’t even describe my feelings as I lit that votive and thought about what God had just done. How He cared enough about me, to give direction to another, so that, He could give me a message that I needed just at this time! AND…it was the same day that I found out that the spot on the left side of my nose was not indicating cancer! Now that’s a celebration my friends!

I absolutely ADORE this votive and what it represents, and love this sweet lady who was obedient to what God asked of her. But the BEST part is that God cared enough to give me a personal message through His chosen messenger! Thank you Jan from the bottom of my heart! May God bless you over and over. I will light it often, and always be grateful!

I have had many of these experiences where God has used another to speak into my life at a time when I needed a Word from Him. But… that is for a future post!

 

Until next time…

~JoAnn

 

 

Living It Out

As I wrote in my last post, we all have the bumps in the road that shake us up.  I didn’t write that post for sympathy or so others would feel sorry for me.  I wrote it because we all have them and I wanted to remind you that it is human to have negative feelings about what you are going through, and that you are not alone.  What isn’t good is when we decide to leave God out of the scenario.  So… I shared the my personal situation with you so you could know my struggle, and that you too, can take it all to Jesus and ask Him for the strength to endure and get to the other side.  God will help us get “through”.

With that said, my Mohs Surgery is scheduled.  I will go October 14th at 8:10 a.m. and they said to expect a long day; it may not be, but it could be given they take some, test and then determine if they need to do it again to take more.  To say that I am not looking forward to it is an understatement.  However, I AM choosing to accept what is, and asking God for a one and done; that they are able to take one go at it and have an all clear, that is my hope and prayer.  God is good and knows what’s best, so even in that, He may choose another route for me.  I’m just taking it one step at a time.

UPDATE:  I got a call this morning, Monday, that there is an opening this Thursday at 10:30 AM, and so I took it.  Not sense in waiting when I can have it over with, I say.  So, God is good and knows how I dislike waiting for this kind of thing.  He heard my prayer and gave me an all clear for this week!

In the meantime, I am have some exciting adventures going on in our life that have kept me looking to the future of fun.  We are doing some upgrades to our Big Rivers Cabins the last week or so and its

It was pretty dark in this little cabin and so my son put up white and trimmed out the window and also put tile behind the stove that is grey in color.  It looks very clean and fresh.

He also faced the dark cabinets on top with white and will paint the doors and I will add new knobs and pulls to dress it up.  Not quite finished, but almost!

New flooring through out and it will have white bead board on the walls and a chair railing piece on top.  It will look pretty nice when it’s completed.

And finally, my rain chain has gotten put up!!  I have one that will go up here on the patio I hope that is umbrellas.  But this will be fun to hear and watch at the cabin!

looking pretty good.  Our dark kitchen is becoming much lighter, thanks to my son.  I’m happy he has secured some flooring for us to put down in one of the cabins, and we will enjoy a wonderful new kitchen nook table and chairs and a couch/sleeper.  We will be up town for sure!  God has been so good to provide these options for us and we have so much to be grateful for!  See the balance???  If all we concentrate on is what is what we don’t like going on in our lives, then we will miss seeing all that He IS providing for us.  I never want to miss the opportunity to be grateful for what He does for me and my family.

One of my latest finds is a vintage phone that I added to our Bungalow, and that has been fun!  My grandparents and aunt and uncle had one in their homes and it was so fun to find one in great shape. Another little God wink for me after my news. I see God meet our wants along with our needs all the time, and that blesses me big time.  If you are one that enjoys a good hunt for a shopping find, then you may also like to friend a group I set up on Facebook called, JoAnn’s Finds, and follow me as I go on my hunts for a great find in thrift stores, antique shops, or online.  It’s a fun addition to the places we live and do life. I watch for items that my friends are looking for as well, which is another part of the fun! Keep doing the things which will turn your eyes to focus on what matters. It is good for us to keep the fires burning in our hearts…it keeps us pressing on no matter what is going on in what we see before us or experience. At least, that is how I roll.

Keep fanning the flame!

Until next time…

~JoAnn