Monthly Archives: November 2011

Silently Guarding

It’s one of “those” season in my life. One filled with confusion and lies being whispered into my ear as soon as I take a break from guarding myself. I’m mentally worn out, and any energy I would normally use to write a post is just nonexistent.

I’m clinging with all my might to the promises proclaimed in Psalm 91. The Most High is my shelter and my refuge. I’m counting on the fact that His angels are guarding all my ways.

Will you pray for me? I know that my God is faithful to deliver me out of this trying time victoriously. I trust that my faith in Him and love for who He is will only be stronger and more precious. But I need wisdom to approach and listen to the appropriate sources as I search for the answers I’ve been challenged to find.

Waiting on my LORD,
Kelly

Meditation Mondays – My Refuge and Fortress

He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the LORD, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

For He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.

He will cover you with His pinions, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness is a shield and buckler.

You will not fear the terror of the night, nor the arrow that flies by day,

nor the pestilence that stalks in darkness, nor the destruction that wastes at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you.

You will only look with your eyes and see the recompense of the wicked.

Because you have made the LORD your dwelling place – the Most High, who is my refuge – no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.

For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.

On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.

You will tread on the lion and the adder; the young lion and the serpent you will trample underfoot.

Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.

When he calls to me, I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will rescue him and honor him.

With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.

Psalm 91

ap·pre·ci·a·tion

(uh-pree-shee-ey-shuh-n) noun

1. gratitude, thankful recognition
2. the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value
3. clear perception or recognition

(Thanks to dictionary.com for these insightful definitions.)

The fact is, there just aren’t beautiful definitions for the precious words gratitude or thankfulness. The phrase, “the act of being thankful” just doesn’t inspire me or cause me to go into a state of soul searching. What it means to be thankful or grateful, however, is something far greater than the simple definition.

In my search for prettier ways of saying thankful or grateful, I came across a word that’s just not as pretty, but its definition is incredibly deep and challenges my soul to the core. Appreciation.

My eyes continually go back to the second definition: “the act of estimating the qualities of things and giving them their proper value.” This defines gratitude in such a rich way. The thing is, gratitude is a choice. It does not come naturally in all circumstances. However, when I choose to assess the true value of what I have instead of looking at its face value, then I can’t help but feel so incredibly grateful for what I have.

After going through a trying season, I inevitably come out on the other side with a far deeper appreciation for all that I have because I’ve gotten a glimpse of what it would be like without it.

As I look at all the cracks in my house’s walls and the marred places in the flooring with the idea of appreciation, I see that each flaw makes up part of my home. I can appreciate my home as a whole because it is what houses my family and the memories we make together each day. Additionally, I don’t have time to stress about the crumbs or fingerprints all over everything because when I look at the value of the culprits while I’m assessing their true value, I get a clearer view of what is worthy of my attention.

I’ve been working to make my view of thankfulness be one of sincere appreciation. Doing this takes more effort than simply listing off everything like I’ve done in the past. I appreciate the deliberate focus that it requires, and I pray that I never lose sight of this target.

 

Meditation Monday – In Everything Give Thanks: Put it in Context

We have this tendency as human beings to focus so much on one thing that we miss the bigger picture. At least I do. I’m not talking about blocking out distractions. Distractions make us lose our focus, and they need to be blocked out. However, just as with anything else in life, we have to find a balance.

Here’s what got me thinking about this today. My theme verse for this Thanksgiving season has been 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

For some reason, focusing on that verse today was not setting as well with me as I thought it should. So I started conversing with God about it, and as a result I felt Him urge me to read the chapter again. As I did, I started thinking about the end of this verse that has been my focus, “for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.

“What is the this that is God’s will for me?” I heard God put that question in my head. I’ve assumed without much thought that it was to give thanks in everything. Yet, as my eyes were again drawn to the verses leading up to my key verse, I realized I was missing a bigger picture. The this actually includes so much more! The beginning of the sentence actually starts in verse 16 (and the beginning of the paragraph listing everything originates all the way back in verse 12). So I actually have a rather long list of things that I’m to do in order to find the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning me. But let’s look just look at the sentence that starts in verse 16.

Rejoice always,

pray without ceasing,

in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Let’s be real; being thankful in everything is tough. It requires concentrated effort. Yet it’s not all that is required of me this Thanksgiving season. I cannot exempt myself from all of the other expectations because I’m working to fulfill the tall order of giving thanks in everything.

I must not forget to rejoice always. There’s not a holiday devoted to “Rejoicegiving,” nor is there a “Pray Without Ceasing” holiday weekend (complete with Black Friday madness). These two intentional acts are my responsibility every day of the year, no matter what.

I don’t know about you, but this is not a natural way of doing things for me. I much prefer to look at the one verse that so conveniently fits into the holiday spirit, but if I ignore the context, I’m missing a much bigger blessing.

So, on this Thanksgiving week, I encourage you to not only have a grateful heart, but one that is doing it while continually rejoicing and without taking a break from praying.

 

Five Minute Friday – Grow

 

 

 

I knew it would happen. I knew from the second that I discovered your existence you would grow. I enjoyed it so much from that instant. The first time I felt you flutter within my womb, I nearly cried and laughed simultaneously. As you grew into my rib cage and kicked me with all of your tiny body’s strength, I watched in wonder.

The day of your birth arrived at last. Each contraction meant I was that much closer to finally meeting you. You had finally grown big enough to come join your dad and me in this world. That instant when I saw you first, I could not believe that something so precious had grown within me and you were here at last.

The desire for you to grow at such a rapid rate waned for me from that day on. I loved the way you were maturing with your smiles and crawling, but each new milestone meant you were growing more independent. I had to let go of one more part of you, and I felt my heart grow sad. Just a little sad, for this is part of life. Each inch and day that you grow older, you become more handsome and precious to my heart.

 

 

 

I want for you to grow into a handsome, independent, Godly man, but that means letting go of more of you each day. Though you will outgrow my lap before I know it, you will never outgrow my heart.

Behold, children are a gift of the LORD, The fruit of the womb is a reward. ~Psalm 127:3

You should really consider becoming a part of Five Minute Fridays with The Gypsy Mama! Each Friday we take five minutes to stop our normal way of doing things and just write for the joy of writing on a given topic. Take a few minutes and check out some of the other Five Minute Friday posts by some sweet ladies out there! You will be blessed by it.

Making Thanksgiving Count

Source

Do you ever feel like a holiday just comes and goes without you even realizing it? If you could just take another couple of days to prepare yourself for what it is and what it means, you’d feel much more fulfilled when it was over rather than remorseful that you just missed all of the specialness by a smidge? That’s how I usually feel about Thanksgiving.

I love the holiday, what it means, its heritage and overall purpose, but I always seem to miss the full benefits of it by just a little bit. Oh, I’ll picture the Pilgrims and the Indians sitting around their feast. I’ll list off all of the things for which I’m grateful on that fourth Thursday of November, but then the next thing I know I’ve moved on to pulling out my Christmas lights while finishing up my Christmas shopping. I’m beginning to wonder how much more meaningful Thanksgiving would be to me if I put as much thought into preparing for it as I do for Christmas Day.

What if I spent time focusing on empathizing with the originators of the holiday? We think times are tough in the days of a recession, but come on now. Those men in the goofy hats had far more to stress about than their 401Ks. Those mamas were feeling a level of grief and exhaustion few of us ever will. Meanwhile, I scan the ads for who has the cheapest turkey and try to narrow down my favorite fall desserts to add to the menu.

So I’m making an effort to move past the busyness that assaults our stores, streets, and planners for the remainder of the year. I’ve been praying that God will give me a new perspective on Thanksgiving and gratitude as this holiday approaches, and to be honest, I’ve been enlightened in some areas I never before considered.

Check in tomorrow for part of what I’ve been learning. Be sure to subscribe by email if you’d like to hear more about my journey into this Thanksgiving. Just add your email address to the box in the top right margin.

 

Meditation Mondays – Persevere

I’ve spent a lot of time going through the motions of doing the right things (like reading my Bible every day) and going to the right places (like church three times a week). These weren’t lost years of my life, for I learned important things and met wonderful people, nor do I plan to stop these vital practices, but there was something big missing. The sad part is, I didn’t truly realize it.

Slowly, I’ve come to understand a bit more what it means to be living with an incredible amount of power thanks to the Holy Spirit. As soon as I began to not only understand that concept, but believe it is true, I’ve had an explosion of opportunities to comprehend the Bible more when I’m reading it on my own as well as when I’m at church learning. The key was to live out what I said I believed, and prove it with my faith.

One of the areas I’ve been challenged in since I started to really make it a point to live by faith was perseverance. I don’t have to inform you that persevering to live by faith in God is not easy! In fact, without God’s power in your life, it’s impossible to do it throughout the entire course of your life. There will be that point when all of us will hit a brick wall and think we just can’t go on anymore.

We all have those brick walls of varying heights and thicknesses throughout our lives to test our perseverance. The question is what we will do when the brick walls loom over us in their taunting ways.

Sometimes I sit at the bottom of mine for a while. I know how much work it’s going to take to scale that massive thing and I just don’t want to. Then I become miserable and think I should at least try…until I look up and see that the wall seems to have grown another 50 feet or so. Even when I put my shaky fingers and clumsy feet in position on the mortar, I wonder if I can actually do this. Thankfully God gave us verses like Hebrews 10:39 to remind us what we’re really made of.

“But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and preserve their souls.”

I’m not downplaying the size of the wall, nor the sticky or slippery circumstances that may be making the wall more hazardous, but I know this. No matter how beat up we may become in the process of climbing over the walls that stand between us and peace, we will come out more beautifully refined on the other side. It will probably be excruciating as we use muscles we’ve never before known existed, but that pain will pale in comparison to the devastating life of mediocrity we are doomed to if we stay camped out on the side of the wall we know so well.

So if you have the faith in God, are you claiming the truth? You’re not of the breed who shrinks back, you have faith instead. If that faith is there, that means the power to climb brick by treacherous brick is just waiting to be used. Will you climb?