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

Lesson From A Thrift Store

IMG_1576_1Happy February to all you!  I hope you share love with those around you this month especially, rather than think about it being just a couples day.  Nope, it is a month of sharing the love with everyone special to us!

On to the post:

One of the things my hubby and I enjoy doing is going to antique stores and thrift/second-hand stores.  We really love it.  His passion is the books mostly, mine is everything else!  I just love theIMG_1573_1 hunt!  Anyone else???  So… yesterday as I was walking through the dishes and glassware, which I usually go to first, I found four more of the cape cod thumb print dishes that I collect!  I was so excited, and they were in great shape.  Well…except for the fact that they were really dirty and cloudy with what looked like scratches on them.  That can make most people have second thoughts.  But I have learned to look past all that because I know what is underneath.  At the very moment I picked up the first dish, I felt God speak to me.  He said, “You are like this dish.  This dish was once beautiful and valued by the owner.  They used it and set it on the table for the beauty of the table scape, as well as, so others see its beauty and enjoy it.  But that owner now may not be able to use it anymore, and others don’t see the value in it and have put it in a throw box.  Now, here it sits all dirty and cloudy and not very attractive.  But YOU come along, and you know and see its value.  You know what it CAN be.  It is so valuable to you that you put it in your cart to purchase.  Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, my Son, you are like this dish.  I created you to be this beautiful creation.  But because of the dirty, sinful nature that you were born into, you had no luster, living a bit of a cloudy life, and generally, would grow up living a life outside of My plan for you.  I wanted more for you.  You weren’t meant to sit on a shelf somewhere unused. So, I sent My son Jesus to give you a clean heart; to completely cleanse you from the top of your head to the bottom of your feet.  Jesus cleansed your heart, made you shine, and gave you the luster and clarity to reflect Me!  You are a person of beauty.  He made you whole.  Just like you KNEW the value in this piece, I saw the value in you and sent my Son to die for you.  I knew what you could become.  And now, You have eternal life.  You may find yourself falling back into habits that cloud your brilliance, but all you need to do is ask Jesus to cleanse you once again, so your light will shine, just like this dish will shine and reflect when you clean it.  I want you to share this illustration.”
IMG_1574_1I can tell you, after that lesson, my value went to heaven and back!  When I came home and washed those dishes up and saw their facets and beauty, it reminded me of what Jesus did in my life.  He knew also, that I may have the tendency at times to let life cloud and distort the beauty within and around me.  I need to remember to go to Him and ask for a clean up; soap me up good, so that all that residue will come right off with the water of his Word, and the Holy Spirit’s direction.  It is a matter of asking in faith, and He will do it.  I can sometimes go along and not even realize my view is getting dusty and cloudy, until I try to see something, or be used of God.  It is then that I realize I’m off track a bit.  I need a good cleaning!  I’m not seeing clearly.  The devil lays in wait for just a shard of space to remind me of my dirt.  Does that sound familiar?  Tell the devil to take a hike!!  Get lost!  Open your door and kick his behind out!  I don’t want to listen to the wrong thing and lose my confidence in what I am capable of doing through Christ.  He is my Source.  He is the cleanser of my body, mind and soul.  I need then, to allow Him to take me through another clean cycle whenever the Holy Spirit nudges me.  He has designed me to catch and reflect the light.  His light.  I have begun to ask that of Him everyday.  Just like we need to dust and clean our homes, I need to do the same thing in my spiritual life.  Praise the Lord that He never discards us.  We are always His treasure!

What a great lesson.  I have constant reminders of this lesson in my china closet that I see on a daily basis.  It is so fun that God will use an everyday thing to teach such a valuable lesson.  The most exciting thing about drawing close to God is that He will use the things closest to our hearts to speak directly to us.  I pray this illustration that He gave me to share, resonates with you and brings encouragement to you.  “So let your light shine before all men, in order that they may see your holy lives and may give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”  Matthew 5:16  It is well with my soul!

May God cause you to shine like crystal, and reflect His glorious light.  Walking the journey with you…

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Ok, Lessons from a Turtle?

IMG_6818I’m not sure why, but this last weekend when I was down at the ocean, I saw a little decor turtle and felt I was supposed to get it and bring it home with me.  I am a very visual person and so I have many things that I keep around me on my desk and in my office that are reminders to me of how I should live and think regarding my daily life.  Here are a few thoughts that came to mind as I wondered about the reasoning behind making that purchase.  You can google many ideas about lessons from a turtle, and some of them will be a part of why God may have laid that on my heart.

  • 1.  Turtles may be slow but they will get where they are going.

We all know the story of the tortoise and the hare.  We know that lesson!  We may know it by heart.  But, we sure forget it quickly when it is something we want.  All living things have a time of growth.  A tree doesn’t just become a tree.  It takes a long time to get tall and sturdy.  So it is with us. We are and should be constantly growing.  How fast is not as important as taking a steady pace, and we keep at it.

  • 2.  They are very determined.

When baby turtles are born, they go by instinct to the nearest water.  They face all kind of challenges to get there, but they are determined to go through the scary trials to make it.  Sand may be hard for them to get over because even the smallest hill of sand presents a challenge to them as tiny creatures.  They may be eagle food, but they instinctively have that determination and drive to get where they are going.  They don’t give up at the first sign of challenge; even at that young age.

  • 3.  They have been called a symbol of peace.

I would guess this reasoning has to do with the quiet, but sure way of living.  If you watch a turtle, they are very observant.  They watch you carefully and they are aware of what is around them  This reminds us to slow down our pace in life and look around.  Enjoy what we see as we go.  Hurry is not peaceful but slowing down is, or can be.

  • 4.  If there is something they are having difficulty with, they will focus on that issue until they can figure out what to do.

As a child, my cousin had a turtle and that turtle was older than me by several  years at that time, and they still had him long after I became an adult, married and had children.  Amazing!  One time I watched that turtle struggle with a stick that had been put in the wrong way, and now was in its way and messing with his environment.  Oh how he would struggle to right that stick so it would be in the correct place.  He didn’t give up until it was moved correctly to his liking.

  • 5.  They must stick their neck out if they want to get somewhere.

That’s right!  If we want to grow, we have to stick our neck out and try something new or different.  We have to put ourselves out there!  But many times, we may be like the turtle in fear, and pull our necks back in,  and in our case, tuck and curl in defeat.  However, if we want growth in our life, and a better relationship with those around us, we have to stick our neck out there!

  • 6.  If you were to pick a turtle up that is going on one direction, and you turned it around to the opposite direction, they will turn around in their shell so they can keep going in the same direction they were headed.

What does that tell us?  That turtle knows its direction; it has an inner sense of direction.  No matter which way it is turned, it knows the path it needs to take.  We need to have our compass to true north; that is, to the direction of God and His promises.  We want to “know” in our hearts and mind what direction that is.  And if we are truly in tune with God, just the like the turtle, we can always know which way is the right way to go.  U-turns are awesome, aren’t they?!?

So, I brought that little turtle home with me to have on my desk, so that I too, can remember the message of the turtle and the reasons why God may have put that on my heart.  I hope you will remember the lessons of a turtle and let it be a life lesson for you as it was for me!  God is good to teach us in big and small ways if we are tune, and listen to Him, and respond.

To life at a turtle pace…slow and sure…walking the journey with you…

~JoAnn