Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Feathers Everywhere & Seeing God

I sent a text to a friend. I wanted to encourage her and so I said, "I hope God shows you today how much He loves you and that he sees you. I hope you see a feather as a reminder."  She wished the  same back to me. I prayed silently to God, show my friend that you see her and you haven't forgotten her.

A couple of hours later, she sent me this text...

Feathers and Y's have been showing up everywhere! After a hard day. After a disappointing day. After a downright no- good- day-let-me-throw-in-the-towel-day.

Why they Y's you ask? What do they mean? Well, Jennifer Dukes Lee, started me on the Y's. Y is for Yahweh-God.

A few years back she started noticing the Y's. In trees, on signs, sticks, roads. You name it and she saw it. It was like God's way of reminding her that He was with her.

I picked this up on a morning walk in the woods with Trey. Yep, he thought I was crazy for picking up a stick and then even crazier after I explained what it was for. But I would  not let him get rid of it! :) It now sits proudly on the window sill of our condo.

Here's just a few of the feathers I've found since this text with my friend.

God is with us, and sees us (El Roi). I hope this encourages you today to keep believing! There have been so many more feather sightings,  but I stopped taking pictures of them :)

When I see them I feel like we are being surrounded and protected by angel armies, just the thought gives me chills.

Linking with my friends at: Soli deo Gloria, Winsome Wed, #TellHisStory, Coffee For Your HeartThought-Provoking Thurs

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Somewhere In The Middle Is Where You'll Find Me

The Middle-Story of my life!

Throughout my life I seem to find myself somewhere in the middle. (Maybe it's from being a middle child? Something to ask a therapist about one day ;) )

The middle would not only describe me and my personality-not bubbly but not Eyore either-but also life.

One month ago we were experiencing mountaintop living-no middle ground to be found.

There's something about the mountaintop of life. God answers prayers, things start happening and you wonder, how in the world did I get to be so blessed?What did I do to deserve such goodness?

When God answered a prayer that was a longing in my heart; to move closer home. I didn't think it would happen, in my mind all I could see was right in front of me and there was no way moving was in the cards. 

But it did. And it happened unexpectedly and so fast we almost got whiplash!

Valley living is what I like to refer to as living in the middle. It's a waiting period. A standstill. Stuckville.

We are waiting for our home in Texas to sell, (until then we can't move forward with a new home) waiting to find the perfect home-aka one we can all mostly agree on. Waiting for life be settled and a new normal to start.Waiting waiting waiting...and maybe a little whining.

Waiting and being patient are two things required in life, and two things that have never come easily to me.

God puts me in these waiting seasons and it makes me anxious, angry, and so many other things at one time.

The wise words of Paul, being content in every circumstance comes to mind (Phil 4:11) and I close my eyes, inhale and exhale deeply. I try, I really do. And most days contentment and joy is mine for the taking.

My life may have a lot of middle seasons, and maybe yours does too? They seem to never end sometimes.

The waiting for dreams to come true, relationships to pan out, forgiveness to replace the hurts and anger, the job desperately needed, the right diagnosis from the doctor after months and months of tests.

The middle can feel like agony and make everything feel distorted, like looking in one of those crazy mirrors at a circus. Life seems disoriented and problems are WAY bigger than they actually are.

It's easy to lose sight of the small blessings that are right in front of you because you can only see what's not happening

But the middle is necessary. We know God does His biggest work when He's quiet.

I'm learning the middle stretches my faith...and patience. It's also the place where I question everything I am, I do, who I am. What matters and what doesn't. It's a reality check of my plans, reasons, and purpose.

I don't like the messy middle, but it does make me appreciate those mountain top moments even more and not take them for granted.

Today if you find yourself in the middle, know, I'm there too. More times than not in my life, this is where you'll find me.

Sometimes on fire, sometimes lukewarm and always trying to move forward and not go back.

When walking through the refining fire I have to learn to better embrace it instead of going to my default of whining and wondering when it will end. Go back and read the first line of Shelly's quote again.

Since when did my faith become about needing to be certain that things were going to work out? Where does that leave faith?

God is going to work out ALL things for those that love Him. That includes me and you!

Here's my prayer for being in the middle.

Dear Lord,

I pray that when I find myself in "the middle"season of life You will renew and remind me of what it means to have faith. Help me  to rely on my faith when my circumstances are screaming that nothing is going right. Lord, help me to stay in the faith and know who I am and remember who You are. You are the God that sees and the ultimate provider. You long for me to know You and trust in You. I am yours. Today, tomorrow, and forever. You are between my faith and plans. Between the boat and the waves. You are the only safety net that I need.  I trade my fears, my failures, and my not-enoughs, for You. Please Lord, more of You and less of me. 

Lastly, I want to thank you for the middle seasons, I know they are there to refine me. Make me stronger and help me grow. Help me to embrace the middle and the lessons to be learned.

In Jesus' name,

Linking with my friends, Soli deo Gloria, #TellHisStory, Holley Gerth, Winsome Wed, and Thought-Provoking Thurs

Friday, September 19, 2014

I'm Wide Awake

Wide Awake is more than a Katy Perry song...

Awaken to God’s call on your life. He says, “I have something so different for you. Open your eyes to see what I’m doing in your life. Believe.” Do you believe God does have a plan for you? We have the ability to help people to touch lives. Revive them and wake them from their spiritual slumber. Bianca Olthoff
What does it mean to live wide awake?

It is to dream of a better world, a different world.  And dare to do something about it.

I question, I ask myself often. Am I doing enough in my corner of the world? Am I making a difference?

God has been showing me that a God-sized dreamer sees the needs of those around them and sets out to do something to fill that need.  It may not be to be a missionary across the country or starting an organization but it can be within my own family, neighborhood, or city.

Help me to live differently Lord, to love differently. That is my prayer, and the heart behind my own personal blog.  Live and love differently because of Christ.
Life is a work of art. The canvas you paint first is your life. Then your life becomes the brush from which you paint that part of the world you touch while you are here on this planet. You are an artist.  (Wide Awake, Erwin Raphael McManus)
To live, really live, we need to wake up and hold our hands palm up to all that God has for us.

Will you join me over at God-sized Dreams to read the rest? I hope to see you over there!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Here's To Mr. C and Teachers Everywhere

*School has started back all over the country and I thought what better way to start the school year than with a guest post from a former teacher, now writer. Please welcome a new writing friend, Hally Franz. I met Hally in our critique writing group. She is a wonderful writer and writes regularly over at her website, Bloom, Bond, Build.


As I sat down to write this devotion, something happened. It’s the thing that happens more frequently these days. Perhaps it’s due to aging or simply cramming too many things into this taxed brain of mine.

 It was a case of brain freeze, and not the kind one gets when drinking a thirst-quenching, but painful, blue slush.

It’s good we are all back in school! It’s time to get those minds working again. Time for routine and order in our lives. Time for a little time apart. 

As I send my seventh- and eleventh-graders to school, I pray they will have productive and fun years. Then, I thank God for some peace and quiet for my taxed brain.

I recently thought about my sixth-grade teacher. He was a tall, young, black man. In the 1970’s, particularly in our rural community, that was an unlikely description for one of our teachers. The vast majority of elementary teachers were women, and even fewer African-American teachers. I’ll call him “Mr. C.”  

Mr. C. was one of my favorites for a few simple reasons. First, he was cool, but no one messed with him. There were no discipline issues in his class. Of course, there weren’t many discipline issues in any classes at that time. (My second and third are better.)

So, secondly, Mr. C. made it a habit to announce those who had the best test grades. That practice may not be very PC today, but I loved it. I wasn’t always named, but it happened enough to be a motivator. 

Thirdly, there was one day a couple of years later when I passed Mr. C. in the hallway. I had grown taller and thinner since sixth grade, and he paid me a nice compliment. That feels good to a chubby girl.

It’s funny what we remember about our teachers. Sometimes, it’s the smallest, seemingly insignificant things that touch the hearts and minds of students. Veteran educators have learned this.

They know the importance of their words and examples to their students, and they take it seriously. Mr. C. went to his Heavenly home a few years ago, and it made me sad.

I am happy, dare I say gleeful, to have turned my children over to their new teachers. And, while I pray for their year, I will also pray for the teachers. What a blessing they are.   

A former teacher and high school guidance counselor, Hally appreciates the importance of educators in our children’s lives. Now a stay-at-home mom, freelance writer, and part-time church secretary, she and her husband, Tim, have a 13-year-old daughter and a 17-year-old son. Hally is both an adoptive and a biological parent, a 4-H leader, a cheer booster, and an enthusiastic book club member. Visit Hally at her blog: bloombondbuild.com!


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