The Good News

What kind of temptations do you face in your life? Overspending? Overeating? Being unmotivated? Gossip? Overindulgence of alcohol? Recreational drugs? Adultery ? Pornography? Hypocrisy? Idolatry? Envy? Putting your social life before your children? Putting your career path before your spouse?

Do you succumb because everyone else does? You’ll try to do better tomorrow? You deserve to treat yourself? You’re deserving? You’re undeserving? You’re selfish? Self centered? You’re just too scared or too tired to change?

If you are human one of these temptations has probably plagued you at some season in your life. Did you address it? Did you seek counsel? Did you change only to be back in the same pattern later?

Paul knew what He was talking about when he penned Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”. Paul knew that on our own accord we simply can’t do it. Oh, we can try. And we may succeed. For a short time. Inevitably, though, we fall short (Romans 3:23). God longs to be in relationship  with us. Without Him we are literally alone. With a great big gaping hole inside. Which we fill with various and sundry addictions.

Everything that God has His hand in or on is righteous and true. Every single thing that Satan has control of is the polar opposite. 1 Corinthians 14:33 clearly tells us that “For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace“.

I have never understood more clearly than I do now why we are attracted to chaos. Confusion. Addictions. It’s because the enemy is intentionally diverting our attention from what God so clearly promises us: peace.

There is never, nor will there ever be, peace in life without the Prince of Peace. Period. We can explain and justify any ill behavior. Why? Because Satan has convinced us that being of this world is the answer. Really? If the enemy is the answer then where is our peace? There isn’t any. None. Zero. Zip.

We become enslaved to the things that own us: cars, houses, credit cards, drugs, alcohol, work, our kids pursuits of greatness, vacations, real estate, affairs, clothing, hobbies. Satan makes us believe those things will bring us happiness and freedom. In reality we are literally enslaved. There is no peace. Only bondage. It becomes cicular. We rid ourselves of one addiction only to replace it with another.

I wish I could have the opportunity to talk to every person who is dealing with daily addiction. I wish I could verbally articulate the lie they are living. I wish I had the gift of making people understand that “letting go” is not loosing control. The control is already gone. The enemy is calling the shots. Freedom in this world? It’s a lie straight from the pits of hell.

God calls us to be in this world but not of it. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.”-Romans 12:2

BOOM! There it is! God loves us so much that he sent his only begotten son to die for us so that we may know what? What is good, pleasing and perfect in companionship with Him. If you are Satan and your goal is to imprison and deceive? Heck no! Not okay. You will do everything in your power to keep the people from walking in the promises of eternal life. The  enemy comes to seek, kill, and destroy. Christ died in our place to free us from bondage. To give us a new life in Him.

My all time favorite scripture is  1 Corinthians 10:13:

“No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bare. But when you are tempted, he will also
provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

Temptations and addictions are of this world. And without Him you will succumb. You will be enslaved. But with God? Yes, here on earth there will still be temptations. But He is good. He loves us. He knows our human nature. While we walk through trails? He promises us He will rescue us. Divert us. Redirect us. Heal us. Deliver us. And that? That my friends is the Good News.

“Commit everything you do to the Lord Trust him, and he will help you”-Psalm 37:5

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He Is The Answer

I wake up jump out of bed. I forget the realities of my body. Every morning it’s the same thing. Hot searing daggers shoot into the bottom of my feet as they hit the floor. Every morning I forget. And every morning it takes my breath away. I wobble as my body adjusts to the fire in my feet.

You are just waking up after a long restful nights sleep. I haven’t slept through the night in ten years. I toss all night as I readjust my body to the pain it feels when laying in one position for too long. If I’ve managed to get three to four hours of uninterrupted sleep I usually wake up with a headache from grinding my teeth at some point in the night. If I’ve actually slept four to five hours? I wake up with horrible back pain and pain upon emptying my bladder. My slowed kidneys having held in toxins, which are now circulating in my system, for far too many hours.

If I don’t sleep? I wake up feeling like you do when you’ve had an arduous workout. Except you find relief once you start moving. It takes me at least 2 days to not feel as if the muscles are pulling away from the bone.

Once up I hobble to the kitchen to start coffee. As I walk the fibroma tumors jab into the arches of my feet. I can no longer digest artificial sweeteners, chemicals or dairy. I measure out the precise amount of stevia and coconut milk I can ingest. I sip my coffee and wait for the caffeine to stimulate my bowels. If it does? Win win! I’ll be able to zip my jeans up today. If the coffee doesn’t stimulate my digestive tract? I’m left unable to zip my jeans and a horrible burning in my gut that will linger for hours. Each morning is a gamble.

Next I make my smoothie. Not because it’s a fad or it makes me skinny. I’m fat from toxins, fluid, inflammation and meds. I drink a smoothie because this early in the morning I will choke on anything heavy. Proteins will cause my esophagus to spasm. Breads and cereals are out because of the celiac disease. Anything with unknown chemicals are not an option for fear of allergic reaction.

Once I’ve finished my breakfast and coated my stomach I swallow two pills for my kidneys, a pill for my esophagus, a pill for my thyroid, a pill for migraines, a pill for nausea, a supplement for hair loss. I then drink 6 oz of straight fiber to keep my intestines moving.

I can now begin my day.

I take a shower. If the hot water loosens up my joints I shave my legs and wash my hair. Although if I stay in the hot water too long it starts a Reynauds attack. This is when my blood vessels over react to cold or hot conditions. The vessels spasm in my feet and hands. The pain is akin to scalding water. Once out of the shower I carefully apply lotion over my wrinkly face and tightening thickened skin. If my arms and neck loosen enough I blow dry my hair before muscle cramps set in my hands, neck and shoulders.

Next I go through a five step process to cover all of the pigmented spots on my face. Cover the open sores on my hands, fingers and top of my feet. I carefully apply lip color in a five fold step. I’ve masterfully learned which colors will work to hide my purple lips. They are purple from lack of blood flow. It doesn’t bother me but I find it does concern people who look at me. If I have lipstick on it’s never a topic for conversation.

Before I leave the house I make sure I have my epipen, migraine rescue meds, nausea medicine, antacid and medicine alert list with me. I’m out the door with several bottles of water to keep my throat moist, to help me better swallow. Water is also my life line–keeps my bowels moving and my kidneys flushed. If my stomach spasms during all of this it’s back to the bathroom I go.

This whole process takes two to three hours every single morning. Every single day. For the rest of my life.

If I go out to lunch I can’t eat a salad if there are anchovies or any sort of seafood on the salad bar. I will go into anaphylactic shock. I can’t eat anything with gluten or I’ll be vomiting and or doubled over in abdominal pain within thirty minutes. I can’t eat a chef salad or any salad that uses prepackaged deli meats or chicken because the nitrates will trigger a migraine and or esophagus spasm. Every single bite I take is a gamble as to whether I’ll end up in the ER. I can not spontaneously go out to eat anymore. Unless I personally know the chef and or staff I just order water.

Every single aspect of my life is planning. Everything. When we travel it has to be within a drive able distance. The pressure from flying causes hemiplegic migraines which mimic stroke. When choosing accommodations I have to research what is closest to the ER. Which hotel has hardwood floors (less likely to have mold). Is there breakfast? Do they serve seafood? Can I get fruit? Can I bring my own blender? Is there a refrigerator in the room that can house my live probiotics? Do they have a walk in shower? Do they have individual heating and air units (mold and mildew) or central air?

I use the “around me” app to figure out where all public restrooms are in case I have bowels spasms. I try to locate a fresh market or whole foods within close proximity to our hotel enabling me to have access to safe food if I cant eat in the restaurants we are dining. If there are none? I don’t eat at all. If I don’t eat I can be guaranteed acid build up and esophagus spasms and a migraine. Not planning is not an option.

Your day probably consists of going to the gym or work. I go to physical therapy once a week to try and keep my muscles and skin fluid. Another session once a week to work out the fibroma tumors that are growing on the bottoms of my feet and wrap themselves in my fibrous tissue of my back. The following day is a weekly massage to work out the pain of the previous two day’s physical therapy. One day a week I have a pedicure and manicure to try and cut away the ever thickening skin on my cuticles. If I don’t do this? My fingertips split to the quick and my cuticles pull away from the nail bed risking infection. I usually have a doctors appointment once a month for chronic bladder infections, bowel disfunction and chest fluid.

I no longer drive out of town by myself unless a family member will be in the town I’m traveling too. Anything can trigger an allergic reaction or a stroke like migraine. Unless it is in town I have someone with me in a moving vehicle at all times.

This is my life. I’ve never shared fully the detailed effects of living with a chronic disease. But it’s important you understand, that no matter how bad life is, someone else is walking through difficulties as well. This has been on my heart recently. The national whining. The new it’s all about me generation. The political garbage of believing everyone deserves to be equal.

Guess what? Life is not far. It is not easy and it is not equal. Instead of whining? Ask God to show you how you can make the best of your circumstances. Get over yourself. What I’ve found these past ten years is that “why” no longer matters. “How can I make it better?” still leaves the focus on me. “What can I do  for someone else?” takes me outside of myself. It allows God to do His thing through me.

I no longer can enjoy what you take for granted. I can no longer be spontaneous.  I can, however, still bless those I love with kind words, planning, cooking, decorating and writing. There is no self pity. There is no longer anger (okay not completely true somedays I still whine). And, frankly, there shouldn’t be…not  from any of us. Life is a gift. Each of us just live it out differently. Some of us unwrap it every day with expectancy. Others overlook the beauty of just being here. Whichever way you approach the package? It’s still a gift that He has graciously and lovingly bestowed upon us.

Ten years ago a sunrise or a sunset were beautiful when pointed out to me. Today? I seek them. I look for Him. They remind me that in an ever changing, complicated and confusing world God is still the same. He’s still in control. He knows the end  game. There are no surprises to Him. He knows better than I what the purpose of all this is. He rises with me and ends my day. He is beautiful. He is faithful. He is my alpha and omega.

It is true I am, some would say, trapped in this body. Yet I’ve never been so free. He is the answer people. He is the answer.

“Faith tells me that whatever lies ahead of me God is
already there”-Psalm 119:165

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Live Like You’re Dying

What do you do when someone confronts you with untruths? Do you defend yourself? Are you simply silent? Do you believe them? Do you laugh it off? If you have the privilege to live long enough someone is bound not to like you. And it is likely that, if you live long enough, somebody will attack your character.

 

I’ve known people in the past that have character assassinations on a pretty regular basis. They are so grounded in who the Lord says they are. The attacks don’t phase them.

 

I grew up with a friend who thrived on daily drama. Seriously upset if she wasn’t the topic of conversation. She loved stirring the pot. She thrived on controversy.

 

I have another friend who has spent her whole life trying to make sure that everyone likes her. Her fear of being disliked is akin to my fear of the stomach bug. She subconsciously does everything in her power to assure no attack ever comes. To never ever have confrontation in her life. But good gracious she’s exhausted.

 

David Jeremiah once said:

“How we respond to problems in our life exposes our values, priorities, and especially our spiritual beliefs. Our goal in life shouldn’t be to eliminate problems–that will never happen. Rather, our goal should be to keep them in perspective and respond in a biblical fashion”.

 

I love this quote because it is truthful and it is easily applicable. If we respond from our emotions we most surely will rely on our feelings. If we respond based on God’s word we can rest in undeniable truth.

 

My mother in law gave me the smartest advice I’ve ever received. When we first moved back to my husbands home town, almost three decades ago, she lovingly advised :

“never talk about anyone unless it’s in the confines of your own four walls. Your home is your confessional between you, your husband, your children, and God. What is said inside your four walls is sacred and should remain there. Whatever opinions you or your family have that are unkind need to remain in the sanctuary”.

This is also the same lovely woman who told us “No matter how poor you are buy one piece of art or antique furniture that you love each year of your marriage. When you reach middle age your home will contain only things you love and lots of beautiful memories”. In other words, my mother in law is one wise woman.

 

My husband and I have followed her advice on suggestion #2. Unfortunately, through my late 20’s and probably early 30’s, I didn’t heed her #1 advice. I gossiped. Probably more than I’d care to admit or remember. I most probably hurt some precious people. And ultimately it hurt me. It was a painful lesson. It was a necessary lesson. Immaturity, insecurity in who I was, the need to feel liked, the need to appear more than, and the need to ward off confrontation were what drove my poor decisions. And boy did I pay the price!

 

Just as David Jeremiah stated we must respond to attacks and controversy from a biblical position. What does that mean? Hopefully you are bonded with friends with whom you no longer need to gossip and cause controversy. But in the event that you are accused of any kind of social wrong doing gossip, lying, etc. you must approach it from a biblical standpoint.

 

First and foremost you must be right with Jesus. You must repent of your sins. And I don’t mean throwing Him back up on that cross in the name of the law. I mean just as your children will come to you periodically “Mama, I really wasn’t at Jane’s I’m so sorry for lying please forgive me”. Likewise that does not mean you intentionally sin knowing that you will be forgiven.

 

If you obey Him you can rest in His peace in all of your decisions. Our goal as a sinful people is to let Jesus mold us into who He says we are. That involves sometimes being silent and sometimes it involves discussion. Jesus wants us to approach one another in humility and forgiveness. Matthew 18 is an incredibly powerful chapter on inclusiveness and reconciliation.

 

Tim McGraw’s song Live Like You Are Dying could truly have been an anthem for the church. If we live like we are dying? Well, we speak sweeter. We offer forgiveness where none is due. We literally die to our sinful nature in anticipation of our heavenly home. We acknowledge our past and present sins, conscientiously live in the here and now, and anticipate our heavenly future. We treat each other the way Jesus treats us, Amen?

“If another believer sins against you, go privately and point out the offense. If the other person listens and confesses it, you have won that person back. But if you are unsuccessful, take one or two others with you and go back again, so that everything you say may be confirmed by two or three witnesses.”-Matthew 18:15-16

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Insert Smiley Face Here

I had someone contact me this past week asking if I could talk. She wanted marital advice. I assured her I was not who she needed to talk too. Like, hands down, not her answer. In our town, in our age group, there are some extraordinary examples of loving marriages with longevity. “Talk to those couples” I told her. She went on to explain that I was who she needed to talk too. She wanted to know how my husband and I have managed to stay happily married for almost 27 years. “Especially in the face of all that y’all have experienced in the past several years?” This made me laugh. “Oh my, you don’t even know the half of it” I thought to myself. Insert smiley face here 😀. She wanted to know our “secret”. I didn’t even have to think about my answer. “God” Literally. No magic potion. No fairy dust. We’ve always had a great affection for one another. But even that “spark” wasn’t enough to sustain a long term marriage, of any substance, once the enemy set his foot in our home.

 
Several years ago my precious husband and I separated. Well, I didn’t think he was real precious then. And, if we are being candid, he probably would have described me with a word that starts with the letter “B”. At the time we had one daughter in boarding school and one in college. We had separated for all of, I think, a week. He texted me and said “Can we talk? I want to come home.” We were both miserable. But my pride was so strongly misplaced I told him “No”. I wanted him to suffer. Yep, that “B” word was probably quite accurate. Insert another smiley face here.😀

 
What drives two people, crazy about each other since they were legal to vote, to be unable to see eye to eye? Two people who had been best friends, crazy in love, loved their children? Two people who consciously planned out their goals, their expectations, their dreams? Two people active in their church, their children’s school, and their community? Two people who adored each other and their family? How did we become so detached?

 

 

We sought Godly counsel and marriage counselors. Every professional said the same thing “Y’all are at an impasse. It’s not resolvable.” One counselor said “What makes you think you should stay married?” Both of us responded exactly the same “We believe in marriage. We love each other. We don’t like each other right now. But we don’t want to give up.”
And we didn’t. We decided to ditch outside advice. I’d like to tell you we held hands and prayed together. Sang kumbaya. That we ran down to the beach for a romantic weekend. We didn’t. My husband came home. And actually we slept in separate bedrooms for several weeks. I could hear him snoring in the guest bedroom. I prayed constantly for him to change. Isn’t that hilarious? Not me. Him. I’m sure he prayed constantly that I would just shut the bleep up.

 
I will say this young wives and mothers: Put God first. Period. Next, love your husband. Keep your marriage your number one earthly priority. Then your children. When our girls were young my in-laws graciously took care of our girls about one weekend a month. We put romance on the calendar. Yes. Yes, we did. We actually wrote “it” on the calendar. Plugged romance into our blackberries ( remember those?) Sometimes to a fun destination. Sometimes a weekend in a hotel in the Capitol city. Other times just a quick overnight to the beach. We put us first. As long as we did that consistently we were on the same page. We penciled in these date weekends until our oldest hit travel ball age. The youngest had just started showing ponies competitively.

 
Our new approach to that season of life was divide and conquer. I took one child he took another. One of us was watching horse shows all weekend while the other was watching a ball game. Our weekends were consumed with our children’s aspirations of athletic excellence. We bought into it. And, don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful season in life. We cherished that time with our daughters. Memories to last a life time. Good memories. Fun times. Great friendships with other parents were made. But little by little we lost us. Conversations were about our kids. Calendars were penciled in with pictures of field hockey sticks, basketballs or ponies. No more red hearts symbolizing our sacred weekend getaways. We were in hotels alright–each with a different kid often in different states–not together.

 
Loving our kids to death just about killed our marriage. We were always a united front when it came to our kids. But as a couple we had lost intimacy. There wasn’t one defining moment. It just happened. Some how, some way, the enemy got a foothold into our marriage. Young wives and mothers put your husband and your marriage first. You’re welcome. Insert know-it-all smiley face here.😯

 
I don’t know when it happened. It wasn’t one big thing. It wasn’t one love story moment made for life time TV. We both just decided to stop acting like selfish children. We vowed to keep past wounds in the past. For real. We don’t ever revisit “you said & you did”. Honestly, God just showed up. I’m sure He was always there. But for whatever reason, maybe He was waiting for us to stop acting like six year olds, we forgave each other.

 

 

We each vowed to do for the other what made us feel special. I cook 4-5 nights a week. I have dinner ready when Robin walks in the door. I know this makes him feel taken care of. Appreciated. He’s hungry when he gets home and he’s cranky (hangry). Prepared food literally lights up his entire face. Sounds old fashioned? I figured it out. He makes decisions all day long. Big ones that effect peoples lives. When I have food ready someone has made a decision for him that he can enjoy.He brings me flowers every single Friday. I look forward to it more than you can imagine. They’re different varieties and colors every week. They make me smile every time I walk into the kitchen. He grocery shops for me now. I’m claiming that one! I know it’s probably because he can better stick to a budget. Don’t care–just love that it’s done.

 

 

We don’t schedule romance anymore. For the most part it just happens. Probably not as frequently as my husband would like. Insert winking smiley face 😉. But I don’t hear him often complain–so there you go.We’ve been together since we were 18 years old. That’s a lot of mistakes. A lot of trial and error. A lot of pain. But a whole lot of love. A great friendship. And a lot of fun. We had a really strong foundation in our marriage. We really had good intentions.

 

 

I’m just going to put this out there: putting our kids first, for that short season, was detrimental to our marriage. And if we are being really honest? Making them the center of our universe probably was detrimental to their decision making.

 

 

Warning: I have a theory. As a married couple you become yoked as one. Through that yoking God shows you humility and servitude to and for your partner. You love and respect that person. You want to make them happy. When the biblical order of marriage and life gets rearranged? You become unyoked.  Have you ever tried to separate a yoke from egg whites in a pan? You can’t do it. Crack a full egg into a hot pan. Let it sizzle, heat up. Take your fork and try to just make a fried yoke by separating it from the center of the frying egg. It runs all over the place. Eventually you just have to make scrambled eggs. Everything becomes a scrambled mess.  It all ran together with no definition of separation. Just sort of thrown together. It’s still good. It works just find but its not great.  And there lies the rub–you separated the yoke and convinced yourself that just okay was good enough for today.

 

 
Do we each still have our own issues to work on? Absolutely. Do we each still have idiosyncrasies that drive each other crazy? Yes! That’s called life. Is it now all butterflies, unicorns, skittles, and rainbows? Insert laughing hysterically smiley face 😂.  Um, absolutely not. Would I change any of it? No, not for a moment. We have two grown daughters that are truly joys to be around. We, now, have a biblical marriage. There’s no one I’d rather spend my days with than this man. No one.

 

 
It’s funny, if you do marriage God’s way there really isn’t that much work. And, yes, I’d be the first one to say “Oh, Dear Gawd, paleez!” But it’s true! Pray together. Pray for each other. Pray for your children. Keep romance alive and well –even when you don’t feel like it. It makes your spouse feel like the most important man on the planet. It makes your spouse think you are Wonder Woman. Who doesn’t want to be Wonder Woman?

 

 
Slowly you’ll find you are serving each other before yourself in all aspects of life. Without complaint. With joy. There are no more runny egg yokes. There are no more sub-par scrambled eggs. The yoke is light, easy, and perfectly cooked. Insert heart eyes smiley face here.😍


“Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and  you will find rest for your souls.”-Matthew 11:29

  

Giving The Enemy Traction

An Eagle does not fight a snake when it is on the ground. It swoops down and picks the snake up and carries it up into the air. A snake has no stamina. Couple that with the fact that in the air the snake is disjumbled. Confused. It has no balance in the air. It is unable to get its bearings. It is weak. Vulnerable. Unlike when the snake is on the ground.

On land the snake is powerful, wise, and deadly. But when the Eagle swoops in? Lifts the snake up? Disorients him? Places him back down in another geographical area on the ground? The Eagle wins the battle. Don’t you find that ironic? Satan (the snake) is called “the prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2). And yet he is actually powerless in the air when fighting with the eagle (God). Satan is a master at deception.

One of the first things you learn in any kind of recovery is that you are powerless without the help of God. You also learn that you can’t beat addiction without changing your surroundings. That could mean your physical address. Or your friends. Or your work place. Or all of the above. Once clean you are constantly trying to beat addiction at its own game.

I like to think of addiction as a snake. It is cunning, deceptive, reclusive, combative when provoked, and often deadly. When in a full state of addiction your life is up in the air. Your future is up in the air. But if you can confuse the addiction by creating new surroundings? That’s when God can swoop in. Take over. Save you.

How often do we have a problem that we keep on the ground? We run it by our husband. Next we discuss it with a friend. We make a third phone call to a sister or mother. Before long the problem becomes a big drama fest. Anyone? We have played right into satans hand. Unknowingly we have given the enemy traction with our spoken grievances amongst one another.

What if we took all of our fears, disappointments, anger, and sadness to Him? Just stopped what we were doing. Right there in that moment. We confuse the enemy. He’s waiting to pounce. Instead we close our eyes and petition the Lord’s ear. We tell Him the problem. We allow God to swoop in and fight the battle for us. Think about all of the energy we would save! All the time not lost to petty worry. Petty complaining.

Take your battles to the air. To the heavens. Don’t even attempt to fight your battles on the ground. Take your petitions to Him. Let God be the Victor. He’s already paid the price for you. Why in the world would you put Him back up on that cross? Offer it up and let Him swoop in!

“For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”-Hebrews 2:18

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When Push Comes To Shove

We had just purchased our first home. A 1950 cottage with a ton of character, great moldings, high ceilings and oil heat. Our first born daughter was 22 months old. My husband had found a position with a brokerage firm in our town. “Back in the day” those positions were really competitive. It was a privilege to  interview much less land the job. The one catch? It was 100% commission. It was terrifying. However Robin wanted to trade stocks and bonds as a career. He was confidant that he would succeed. I trusted him and knew he would be successful. I went back to work while he grew his business.

One day, while we were both at work, our housekeeper thought it was too cold in our home. So I called and had oil delivered. When they came to deliver the oil Doris told the man to fill it up. The service man had left a hand written bill for $400. Equivalent to almost $800 today. I was in an absolute panic. I think our entire take home pay at that time was $1000. How would we be able to pay it? Let alone pay our mortgage, insurance, utilities, nursery school costs, groceries and our babysitter on my salary?

When push comes to shove who do you depend on? Who do you call first? Ask for help first? Do you panic? Or are you calm as you try to figure it out? 1 Peter 5:7 tells us to “Cast all of your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” I remember reading that as a young mother and thinking “that’s awesome but I need real help. Immediately. Like yesterday!”.

 

My mother called to talk to her grand-baby and to check in with us. She asked how we were. I told her about the oil bill. I explained how absolutely panicked I was. She said “Lillibet, you just need to trust that God will take care of it. ” Eyes roll from the first time, know it all, mother from my end of the call. She was right. Honestly as twenty something  year old I wanted to hear “That is terrible how can we help?” I didn’t really have time to pray about it nor did I want too. I just needed to be able to pay the debt for the oil.

How often do we push Jesus aside in order to try and resolve our own problems? How often do we call a friend or spouse to dialogue how to solve our problem? How’s that usually work out for us? (note Sarcasm). One of several things was happening in my oil scenario:

(1) God was trying to lovingly teach us how to problem solve
(2) God was trying to teach us about blind faith
(3) God was trying to teach us that we were not the solution to our own problems
(4) God was trying to show us that when He’s in control there is no place for fear
(5) God was saying “trust me”

If we approach problem solving from a biblical view the resolutions become pretty clear. If God says He will help us? He will! The very first place we should go to problem solve is our bible. If we are overwhelmed call a friend in Christ who is seasoned in prayer and scripture. Ask them to point you to areas of the bible to help you.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t trust ourselves. We have to trust Him. If we approach problem solving according to His biblical standards? Well, that’s a no brainer! The issue will be reconciled according to His will. And it may be hard. We may face backlash. It may be painful. But we can rest peacefully knowing that we can stand on God’s word.

If we bring our opinions into the solution there is room for chaos, distrust, gossip, accusations. When we use God’s word to problem solve we know that the solution is based on truth, His word, and it is infallible.

I wish I had a climatic ending to the story. I don’t. Honestly? I don’t even remember how we paid the bill. And I guess that’s the point. He paid ALL of our debts for us so that we wouldn’t have too.

“Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an
opportunity for great joy”-James 1:2

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Current Mood

Do you have someone in your life who is incredibly moody? Bet you $100 you do. It’s frustrating. Maddening. Confusing. My guess is that you walk on egg shells around them? Or you just avoid them all together. Because usually being around someone like that is exhausting. First you want to help. Then when you are shot down your feelings are hurt. Some how they manage to illuminate their issues onto you.

The world tells us to confront. To engage. To argue. To discuss our feelings. But honestly? It’s not your problem. It is their problem. Galatians 5:22 tells us “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control”. As followers of Christ we are to act in a spirit of love towards others. We are to demonstrate joy and peace in our lives. We are to be patient and kind. We are to dwell in goodness, faithfulness, and gentleness. And, drum roll, self control.

We are not physically able to do all of the above on our own. And Jesus doesn’t expect us too. He came to fulfill the law. To die for our sins. To take those sins away. If we have the Holy Spirit living inside of us? That is the only way we can act in this manner. I take exception to self control however. This is not biblical, just my opinion, self control is a choice. We can choose not to be moody by exercising self control. God blessed us with the freedom of choice. To choose right from wrong using our God given free will.

We’ve all experienced, one time or another, a bad mood. Your children or spouse snap back in response to the tone you’ve set for your household “Why are you in such a bad mood?” You reply “I don’t know! I just am. I’m sorry.” Scripture abounds with examples of those whose mood and outlook were affected by their setting.

Saul, king of Israel, became inordinately depressed by the pressures of his office, yet often was incited to faith and optimism by the influence of music (1 Sam 16:23).

David could be inspired to great reverence by the influence of godly people such as Nathan. However he was thrown into a moral dilemma when he watched Bathsheba, from the roof of his palace, bathing
(2 Sam 7, 11:2-4).

Peter broke sharply with his bias toward Gentiles after his rooftop vision and missionary experiences. Yet he was drawn back into the same prejudice through the influence of less enlightened Christians (Acts 10; Gal 2:11-13).

These are all examples of our behavior. Our moods. They effected not only the sinner but those who surrounded them. Like us they all had a choice. I’m not sure when this big ole world decided that we no longer need accountability. But we have corporately decide that. Rarely, in any situation, do you hear anyone taking responsibility for their actions. Their choices.

I am a prime example. I was a gym addict for a decade. When my first symptoms started in my autoimmune disease I was in a lot of pain. Frankly, I should have kept going. I had used working out as a way to keep my head clear. But the pain was debilitating. This effected my self esteem and my mental status. I would snap at my kids and my husband. My moods were out of control because I felt so bad physically and mentally. I would always apologize BUT I would blame it on illness. I had no accountability. My family suffered the consequences of my decision not to choose self control over my emotions. I figured it out eventually. I made a choice to take my grievances to God and not my family. I’m by no means perfect. There are still days when I catch myself complaining.

Think about Jesus before He was sentenced to die. He knew He was going to be murdered. He knew some would betray Him. He knew people would mock Him. But He never complained. He cried out to His Abba Father! Before we cry out to our family and friends in distress make the choice to cry out to Jesus! He will understand your exact problem. It won’t ruin His day. He will let you vent without hurting feelings. He will most likely place an angel in your path to help with finding resolution!

“In everything gives thanks” -1 Thessalonians 5:18

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