… close & open

“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27 20131216-172503.jpg

I always get really sentimental around the end of the year.
I believe it’s because my birthday is in early January, and I feel as if I have the opportunity to end one calendar year and begin another, fresh calendar year before I’m ushered into a new birth year.

I like it that way.
Almost like walking into your home after it’s been cleaned. You just feel better.

Everything sparkles.
There’s no clutter.
Everything is put in it’s proper place.
The need-nots (a new word I just made up for things you don’t need) are tossed.

When you clean house, you have an awesome opportunity to really see.
You realize what you don’t need and what you do. You find things you forgot you had but really valued….. And, you have so much more space.

You get rid of things you thought you needed.

The older I get the more I realize how much stuff I don’t need…… And, I’m embracing the freedom that comes with not being bound to so much stuff. Stuff (for me) is fun shoes, clothes, bags, vacations, lots of friends or likes on Instagram, multiple retweets on twitter or double digit comments on a Facebook status, anything new, & everything girl.

Ehhhh…… UNNECESSARY STUFF.

We are so good at collecting and hoarding so many things that we really don’t need, but are horrible at getting a good grip on the things we do need.
I can be horrible at getting a grip, but so wonderful at collecting and buying and making!

This year, I want to end this calendar year with a good grip on understanding that stuff will never satisfy. I enjoy likes on Insta & the back & forth on Facebook, but at the end of the day, and in the grand scheme of things…… Those posts mean nothing.

We work hard at making sure the pictures or status’ we post are “likeable”- that they look as if we’re having fun, or focused, or whatever we’re attempting to convey at the moment. The right angles, the right filters, & perfect wording get us what we’re looking for —> confirmation, validation, attention, conversation, etc. Emotional responses that make us feel accepted.

But, a few minutes pass and it’s over. It’s done. Friends & family forget about your post, mindlessly scroll right past it, or just plain don’t like it. They aren’t in the mood. They didn’t find it funny. They’re mad at you. They are uninterested. They logged off & never saw it. And, there goes our confidence. And, quick.

My point.
Stuff never satisfies. Not for long. Never fully. There’s no longevity. No true depth.

But, in Christ.
We find all that we’re looking for and more than we ever imagined existed. A perfect protection. An incomprehensible peace. And, a forever friend.

He isn’t going to forget about us three minutes after we come to Him. He won’t ever scroll past us- he sees us. And, he truly cares for us. He doesn’t miss a beat. He became like us, but he is not like us. He loves us in a way we won’t ever understand. And, gives us a comfort that will have us calmly riding out any storm we find ourselves in.

I want to grip that. Yea, I know it logically. I know it better now than I did before. But, I want more.

But, I’m always craving more. More of his peace and comfort when he’s taking me through…. I want to trust Him mightily. When He tells me not to fear and do not worry – I want to believe without a shadow if a doubt that I can in fact not worry. We can NOT worry. We can NOT be afraid. But, not by our own power. We have to trust Him.

We can notfear. We can not worry. We can trust Him. And, believing Him is the only way to do that.

That life of hope & encouragement begins with a choice to accept what Christ so freely gives.

I want to end and begin with an unwavering heart.
There’s safety in the shadows of His wings. And, I need to find myself there because Lord knows I’m scared.

… here’s to pushing further away from the need-nots and choosing to cling closely to the giver of everything good.

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… quiet perseverance

I found two amazing scriptures on Pinterest today that only complimented each other but follow so perfectly the scripture from yesterday.
A scripture and a promise this Friday.

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This one.
I love Hebrews. If you haven’t sat down to read it, or have read bits and pieces, take time to read entire chapters when you can. This book is so full of wisdom and encouragement, heart ache and redemption…. It’s a good one.
But, anywho……..
The verse after this scripture talks about how Jesus looked past His work on the cross, and saw the joy that was to come. Then our writer tells us to look to Jesus when we struggle so that we can continue without growing tired. Look to our Savior who endured the most humiliating and excruciatingly painful death death, who endured His own people betraying and leaving him, who was a constant target of ridicule. If he endured so much, can we not endure the struggles and heart aches put in our path as we work to complete the tasks God has set before us? Can we not look at these very real struggles and hurts as brief and passing so that we can continue to work joyfully as unto Lord? God gave each of us a task, He has a plan for us all. All we need to do, is like my friend Wynne says, is “say yes”. And, believe that whatever road blocks are put in our path, they are to mold us to look more like Christ and bring that much more glory to our Father.

Often when we are working so hard to get through and serve in whatever capacity God has given us, we do grow weary. We tire out. We get to a point that scares us to death. We feel that we’re walking a new path alone. And, sometimes are. Sometimes, we’re working to do what’s never been done…. And it gets scary and tiring and lonely.
But this……

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I wondered why so many times we are told that God is with us. Not to be afraid. To JUST GO! (An Alaina-ism) or SAY YES!!! (A Wynne-ism).
Sometimes we can “say yes” but allow so many molehills to become mountains and we don’t actually end up doing much.
But God promises that He is with us.
I liken it to a group of girls going to the restroom together or college aged kiddos taking a class – we want to do it with someone. There is strength and confidence in numbers, right? The class is much more fun with your friends and you never know who you’ll run into on the way to fix your hair & apply more gloss!! Lol.
God knows us. He knows that we will want companions and support and encouragement. And, although He gives us communities to be Earthly voices of wisdom and who will sit on our beds and talk (cry/wail??) it out or just bum it out on the couch to watch movies—– He also knows that we will need the confidence of someone who will never leave us nor forsake us. A voice that is above all others, one that carries more weight and more melodic than the loves of our lives. He knew we’d want someone with us who knew where we were going. Who could tackle any enemy, mean girl, or give us enough confidence to approach the most amazing opportunities that makes our insides quake.
And, then He says, He will silence us with His love.
I literally LAUGHED OUT LOUD!!!!!!
Because we tend to freak out, over analyze, over talk, talk ourselves out of, complain, and just downright work ourselves into fear and frustration.
But, He will quiet us! Our anxieties, the “what ifs”, the voices of reason that try to prevent us from stepping out on faith. Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. But, The Lord envelopes us into His arms and comforts us, he rocks us and silences us with His gentleness, mercies, and love.

What an amazing promise.

… And um…… How many of you went back to your middle school years and thought about all of the circumstances you wanted friends with you? Or, thought about a time you freaked out about something and someone had to calm you down? Lol.
Perfect picture, yes?

Have a great weekend, y’all!!

…. Here’s to complete gratitude for the amazing examples God has given us to show us what it looks like to trust & obey without reservation knowing His glory will be seen by all men… And, that he promises to be with and comfort us as we run the race He has assigned us.

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… hard things

I love reading blogs… learning the different things that various families and people are experiencing … looking at the pictures (And, I’ve shown so few – I apologize!!!) …. exploring these families’ traditions and the in’s and out’s of their lives. Although I peruse quite a bit, I only follow two families and their stories are astounding. Their lives’ experiences are painful yet to “see” how they have managed to enjoy the sunlight is something I am in awe over.

Each difficult experience that we carry out with courage and grace reminds us that we can do even more, if we just try.

Yes, we surely can.
Everyday.

This quote is the lock screen on my phone and serves as a silent reminder that I can do the very things I FEEL I have no patience, tolerance, skill, ability, or (momentary) desire to do.

I CAN… exercise some self control and self discipline. I don’t have to allow my feelings to override my logic.
I don’t have to “act out” when I’m disappointed, upset, or frustrated. For acting out is how those who lack self control and maturity behave.

Those are the thoughts that cross my mind, the ones I say to myself over and over again when I want to give in…. when I’m stressed to the max and just want to shut everything down and either cry or scroll through Twitter or Instagram to calm down from “over stimulation”. When I don’t think I can take or do anymore. When I feel like I’m drowning. When I just don’t feel like I can handle everything that’s on my plate. When my heart is broken and it’s a struggle to get through the day without a crying. When I feel like I’m on an island. When I feel as if I’m not enough. When you don’t feel that _____ will ever happen…..

All of these feelings and the circumstances that bring those feelings to the surface…… those FEELINGS do not trump what I know and believe to be true.

Though these feelings may be real, they do not rule.

The days will be long and hard, stressful, and brimming with pain but they will end. And, a new one will begin.

The hard part of not allowing my feelings to rule is learning HOW to not act out because of how we feel. It’s difficult to LEARN how to do things that are the complete opposite of what you “know” to be true.

I’m not sure if many of my coping mechanisms are worth sharing but what I know works everytime is to take a deep breathe, share your heart, cast your cares, and lastly…
I posted here that I live in limbo… living both incredibly happy and incredibly sad at the same time. I wish I knew how those two emotions can simultaneously coexist….. but, they do. And, when the sadness begins to override the happiness I share my heart, cast my cares, and verbalize who God is and what I’m grateful for…. then, my perspective changes.
I trust who He is and His plan for my life…. I trust that I am in His hands, in His care, and that He’s mindful of me. He hasn’t forgotten about me. And, above all, He loves me.

… here’s to getting past the pain, the shattered heart, and all the hard stuff knowing that all these things work together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.

AND….

… here’s three cheers to getting the hard things done and a.mayes-ing while doing it. I do hard things because tough times don’t last but tough people do. *** flexes my biceps ***

 

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