Do Not What If!

Worrying.  One of the quietest, easiest ways to waste a day lifetime.

Worrying about life and all of it’s ups-and-downs is a silent killer.  One of Satan’s greatest tricks, I think.  If he can get his hooved foot on our path of progress with a little worry, so much destruction can take place.  And his tool?  Two little words – “what if…?”

“What if I don’t get this right?”

“What if they think I’m not perfect?”

“What if they see me for what I really am?”

“What if she/he doesn’t do life the way I think is best?”

And the answers??

“What if I don’t get this right?” —- “You won’t.”

“What if they think I’m not perfect?” — “You’re not.”

“What if they see me for what I really am?” — “They will.”

“What if she/he doesn’t do life the way I think is best?” — “They won’t.”

Really, it’s that simple.  Every time.  But we don’t accept that easily.  We allow our thoughts to carry us into the abyss of worry.  Of control.  Truly, that’s what it comes down to.  It’s really the quesiton of, “how can I control this situation?”  Instead of accepting the freedom of Him shining through all of our imperfections, we obsess about them – and the shackles tighten.  We are more comfortable in chains than we are living as free men and women.

And we do this to others as well.  In trying to control their thoughts/actions/behaviors we put God in a box and decide that what we think is best, is ultimately better than any plan that He has.  As if the all knowing God Almighty, hasn’t taken his children’s broken and ugly lives and transformed them into miraculous evidences of His grace from the time the crunch into that forbidden fruit forever changed our destiny!

Througout the Bible, God gives us two very powerful words to trump Satan’s two very damaging words – “Do not.”

Jesus, over and over again, says, “do not worry.”  Not, “really, really try not to worry,” but “do not worry.”  Pretty cut-and-dry.  With all of the gray areas in the bible that the church, for centuries, has tried to turn into black and white, we take this very simple demand and we ignore it with our “what if’s.”

God, forgive my what if’s.  Forgive my doubt and my need to control.  I want to trust you as much as I say I do.  Thank you for the black and white “do not.”  You knew we would struggle with that, thank you for not giving us any reason to wonder if worrying was a task we should have to take on.  Thank you for Jesus, and help me to look more like Him.

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Learning to Wait and Shedding the Weight

Wait.  One of the hardest things for me to do.  To sit and wait on God.  Ugh. 

I am a doer and a seer!  Not a natural sit-and-be-still kind of gal.

But we (me and God) have really been working on this one.  In all areas of my life.  My spiritual life, my love life, my friendships, my house, my money, and my weight loss.

I have battled an eating disorder off and on for about 15 years.  It’s a control thing.

The last 3 months I have wanted to lose weight but wanted to do it the RIGHT way.  I wanted to wait to lose the weight and not do the things I had always done to speed things along so that I would see faster results and “control” the situation.

I have been paying attention to my eating, working out at Fit Body Bootcamp (love it, by the way) and just treating my body the way that God wants me to.

And I am happy to report that I am 26 lbs down!Image

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I’m not usually one to take pictures of myself with my phone in the mirror…I think it’s kind of silly.  But, this is a special occasion because I finally feel happy about me!  Not just because I’ve lost weight, but because of who God is transforming me to be inside and out! 

“Moses answered the people, ‘Do not be afraid.  Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today.  The Egyptians you see today you will never see again.  The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”  Exodus 14-10-14

I trust you, Lord!  I will be still.  Thank you that my Egyptians are long gone!

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He wants to show us Olivette!

What you need to know before I share this story is that my mother lives her life in a precious world with a white picket fence around most situations.  This is one of my favorite things about her – she finds joy in all things!

A few years ago, my mom and I went to Chicago to visit a few family friends.  We were driving through the Polish community where our friend, Lauren, lived and she is telling us about all of the places she is going to show us during our visit.  Lauren goes on to tell us about restaurants, shops and then says, “I’m going to show you all of it!”  As far as me and Lauren’s mom, Kim, were concerned, we knew exactly what she said – that she was going to show us “all of it.” But my mom, in all her lolipops and rainbows thinking, hears Lauren say, “I’m going to show you Olivette!” To which my mom smiles, takes a deep breath, clasps her hands together in her lap and joyfully repeats, “Olivette! Ahhh….”  I immediately see her transported to a lacy Victorian era where Ann of Green Gables is skipping through the flowering meadows.  Lauren then says, “No – all of it.”  Mom, only thinking she mispronounced this lovely land of wonder proclaims, “Oh, Ollavette!” Lauren then says, “No, Mindy.  I’m going to show you ALL. OF. IT.”  We all break out in laughter (yes, mom too) as this had not been the first time, nor would it be the last, that she had trailed off into her own world of joyful appreciation of the beauty that her imagination had created! 

How often do we treat God in the exact opposite way as mom did the Polish community in Chicago? 

He wants to show us Olivette!  He wants to  give us the feast!  The crowned jewels!  The robe! The ring!  And we respond by eating the crumbs under the table and wearing the robes of sin and oppression!  We choose the darkness over and over again when all He wants to give us is the light of truth and freedom.

There is a promise He has given us and we call Him a liar with our actions and our responses to His gifts.

Forgive me, Father.  Forgive me for not opening my eyes to your beautiful promise.  I want to see your glory!  I want to see Olivette!!

 

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Where are you, men of courage?

I’m not a man-hater.  I certainly do not think or believe that women are faultless – that I am faultless – in the reason why so many men of our day lack courage. 

Today, I don’t have a complete thought on this.  I don’t have a posed question with an appropriate response.  Just the question – why?

Why are men of our day so afraid to fight?  Why are men of our day so uninterested in the journey, the struggle, the long-haul?

What happened in their childhood, or what didn’t happen, that formed them into fearful, uncourageous, self-seeking beings?  What have we done, as women, to aid in this downfall of the men of the church?  What are they missing?  Satan is attacking our men and convincing them that there is something better on the other side of the fence.  He is telling them that they will find love and respect in the bed of the younger-prettier-skinnier-taller-shorter-more voluptuous-DIFFERENT woman.  He is telling them that fighting for what is GOD’S is not worth it.  Why are they listening?  Why are they abandoning their children and leaving them to fend for themselves? 

Are women perfect?  Absolutely not.  Are women leaving too?  Yes.  Is this the more common practice?  No.

For some reason, left-and-right, men are walking out and uprooting what God had planted and watered.  Instead of letting the God-designed beauty of family be nourished and grow in His mercy and love, men are all-too-often taking a weed-whacker to the very stalk – the very core of the family unit.

Why?

We need to be praying for our men.  We need to let them lead.  We need to pray that their eyes are opened to the excitement of the fight.  We need to pray for our warriors, our watchers on the wall, our heroes.  We need to pray that the fire is reignited in their hearts to be strong, courageous and brave soldiers of Christ.

We need brothers to encourage, fathers to nurture, and husbands to stay.  We need all men to fight.

God, help me to be an encourager to all men in my life.  Help me to remain faithful in your great plan.  I want to keep getting better, and not bitter.  I pray that the men in the church will get excited.  I pray that the women in the church will submit to you and allow you to fill the void in the hearts that long for love and acceptance.

 

 

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Aimee

Aimee is my new friend.

Aimee is 25-years-old.  She has a smart husband, a precious baby boy and a darling home.  Aimee is a strong, independent, soft-spoken girl who never asks for help.

Aimee has been a caretaker and pillar of strength for her father and her siblings for many years.

Aimee has cancer.  She found out 4 weeks ago.

She has breast cancer that has metastasized to her bones, her liver, her kidneys and her thyroid.

Aimee does not ever complain.  As she lies on her bathroom floor alone because her husband travels for work and her baby has to be cared for by relatives, her body purging anything that she has tried to eat as the chemo surges through her veins trying to rid her of this invasion, she asks me how I am doing.

Aimee still tries to grocery shop and passes out and has to be taken by ambulance to the hospital.

Aimee drives herself to a new church where she can be around a people that have something in their hearts and behind their eyes that calls to her, but has to pull over multiple times on her way in order to be sick on the side of the highway.

Aimee seeks life and cures and Jesus.  I want to be more like her. 

I want to drive to church when I “don’t feel like it.” I stay home if I have as little as the sniffles.  I want to care for others, not after, but in the midst of my grief and dispair.

I want to seek life in the kingdom, cures for my helpless habits, and my savior, Jesus, with reckless abandonment!

I want nothing to hold me back – not man, or disease, or self. 

Lord, thank you for Aimee.  Thank you for bringing her into my life.  Please heal her.  Please ease her heart, her mind and her body.  And if you have a different plan, please help us understand that your will is always better than ours.  And, Lord, please bring her to be with you.

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May Flowers

Oh, April.  You definitely brought showers.

Showers of grief.  Showers of pain.  Showers of confusion and uncertainty. 

April, showerd me with brokenness. 

But – May is here.  And May brings flowers.  Flowers of newness.  Flowers of rebirth into a life that God is sculpting so perfectly before my eyes.  Flowers of beauty that I never knew existed in a relationship with a Father that loves me and doesn’t leave me when chaos and crisis are calm.

And this flower is bursting forth!  My arms are reaching up to the Son and are seeking Him to rain life into me!  My roots are firmly planted in Holy Ground and I am ready for growth like I never knew I would see!

I have realized that I used to live most of my life thinking God went away after the problems ceased.  After the shock of devastation was over, God retreated back to His castle in the sky and I was left here to pick up the pieces.  I did, afterall, know so much better than He how all the peices should fit…

What I know now is that He didn’t want to go anywhere, but I would usher Him away.  I would scoot Him out of the driver’s seat and take control.  Oh, I would call on Him when I needed Him, absolutely.  But once I could wrap my tiny, earthly arms around what appeared to be the entire situation, I would take that bull by the horns and tell God, “now you sit back and watch how this works.”

What a faithful God that would allow me that stubborness so that I could eventually see that my broken ways were keeping me stuck in a life of being overwhelmed and scared.  All of the time.  Like, every day, all day long.

So, when May came, I thought He would leave.  But, I stayed on my knees – my fragile, beaten-down pedals stayed lifted high, hoping for some hope of life.  And, He stayed.  He stayed and He held close the heart that knew earthly abandonment, and expected the same from the Creator.

And now, I know that the same Creator that gave life to birds, and fish, and trees, and weeds, and worms, and man – gave life to this flower of my soul and has been oh-so-patiently waiting on the day I would bloom.

I don’t know what life looks like now.  And, for the first time in my life, I am – what I thought was impossible and seemed so distant for me – at peace without a plan. 

I don’t have a roadmap.  I don’t have a list or a spreadsheet with what this all looks like. 

Yet, I BELIEVE Him that HE keeps His promises!!  And He promises me that there IS a plan for me and He will show me one day at a time. 

So, Lord – I’m ready.  Take me to the places you’ve prepared.  I am willing to sit back and enjoy the ride.  I want to be Yours, not my own. 

Thank you, for the April showers!!  Thank you, Dear Jesus for May’s flowers!

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