Practice What I Teach

Hello to you on this stormy day in Washington!

You know, God always allows us to learn a lesson from our daily life if we let the Holy Spirit teach it to us. My lesson over the last couple of days was that I better listen to my own mouth and what I teach and share and apply it to my own life.  Here is the story…

I have shared that we are moving and how God orchestrated this whole move and the selling and purchasing of our new home. Amazing circumstances that He worked out. So here is the rub…after working so hard to get the condo ready for a new owner, we do not get final closing on Monday as planned. So this also pushes the closing on the new home out the same amount of days. This was due to no fault of ours, or the buyer. It was error on the part of realtors, mortgage people, and the association to which should have provided that information. We aren’t the first owners to sell a condo there. So what happens to me? I am ready to kick behind and take names. How irresponsible of them all, let alone how unprofessional. They all blamed each other. Not one person came forward and said I’m sorry this was my mistake. Now, I have to admit to being totally exhausted and my body hurting from all that we have been doing. I try to leave a home better than I found it when possible and so I work hard to do that. However, it bummed me out and I didn’t want to do one more thing within the walls of the condo yesterday. I just wanted to complain about how ridiculous it all was, and could have totally been avoided. The buyer was probably planning on being out of her place where ever it was too and now had to extend it some days.

So…now where did my faith go? Where did my trust in the God who made this all possible disappear to? In this morning of rest, it was made clear. I lost it and replaced it with all the other emotions that do not do me any good. Did He not perform a miracle in this making it Fan the Flame of Changeall happen? Was He less faithful in this the changes than before? Maybe, just maybe, there is a reason we do not see that this delay took place. Maybe it was just to teach me this lesson. It changes the help we can get to move and delays getting our things in the new house, but we are still moving, and still selling the condo. I believe that I was so focused on what we wanted to have happen, that it was all about me. We always pray about various circumstances in our lives, but when God does it His way, which is usually not our way, then we get all fired up and think He isn’t in it anymore. He is. I’m the one that left my faith at the door from a phone call. Boy did I need to fan the flames of my faith!

This verse comes to mind: “Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for Him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes.” Psalm 37:7

Now I don’t think there was wicked schemes going on in this circumstance, but it was definitely the case of someone not doing their due diligence. However, my attitude is the one in question also. The Holy Spirit did a pretty good job of poking me about it too! God is in our delays, keeping us from things we may not know. He is in our sorrow right beside us. He is active in protecting us. I certainly had to have a Holy Spirit “behind kick” to bring me back to where my heart needed to be. I’m not proud of how quickly it went sideways, but I have also learned to come back to the Lord and ask forgiveness a lot sooner than I used to. These experiences are how we learn life lessons. We can be rather dense at times and in our stubbornness, we have to learn the same lessons over and over to understand a simple truth. Would you agree?

Don’t be like me in how I reacted to the delay. Be like me where you come back to God quickly and tell Him that you trust His timing. You trust Him to take care of you. You trust Him to keep you from being lonely. You trust Him to work in the pain. You trust Him in helping you with parenting. You trust Him in your finances. You trust Him to meet your needs. You trust Him in these perilous times. You. Trust. Him. With. It. All.

It’s quiet where I am today at the cabin. God used this morning to speak to me about my attitude while I had no distractions. In order for me to benefit from hearing His voice, I have to be obedient to pivot in my outlook, surrender my emotions and thinking, and turn it back over to Him. Then, in my case, be willing to share my “not so good behavior”, so that, others might identify and be encouraged to give it up to Him also. It reminds me of when I was a child and did something I shouldn’t do and my parents told me I had to go to that person and apologize or ask forgiveness for what I had done. I didn’t want to do that. But they were teaching me that we are responsible for our actions. God was teaching me this morning that I am responsible for how I react. And so, I was asked to share this with you because God wanted to teach me this lesson. I was to be, vulnerable that you might learn from me the way that God can also work in your life.

What do you need to pivot from today? I hope by sharing this scenario, that you too, will find peace in your circumstances. It’s time. Stand strong.

Until next time…

~JoAnn

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