Times of Adjustment

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All of us face changes in our lives at some point. Some may be welcome changes and others may not be, but the one thing that is true is that God is already there ahead of us, preparing a way for us to walk into that change.

As  I walk out this new journey I am on, some days are harder to get through than others. I have lived with Fibromyalgia for over 10 years, but until recently, I was able to push through the pain and suffering and keep going, even when my body told me it was time to stop.

In April, however, I decided to retire early because along with the Fibro, I have other conditions that combined together, made it a struggle daily to just put one foot in front of the other.  There are days like today, that it has been all I can do to hold the tears at bay.  My emotions are all over the place. I remember how much I used to be able to do and I didn’t need a cane and/or walker to get around.  Now, even walking in my own home is somewhat difficult.

I know I am not the only one that suffers with a chronic painful illness that is next to impossible to diagnose and just as hard for people to understand.  Both times my children were born, the pain was great, but I would rather go through that kind of pain again and again, because it is only temporary and will soon subside and you can go back to normal again.

My sleep patterns are way off the charts. When I was working, I was up very early and went to bed late in the evening. Now that I am not working outside of the home, I have insomnia and can’t go right to sleep and then struggle to become upright during the day. When I am having a good day, I can tolerate the pain.  I have tolerated it for years. I do not take pain meds at this time because I want to be able to be with it as long as I can. I know there are some that suffer from this disorder that need it and that’s okay.  But I am such a lightweight, that when it comes to medications for pain relief, two extra strength over the counter pills usually knock me out.

I think what is so difficult is the symptoms vary in degree and severity from day to day. So, no two days are alike.  It’s hard to explain to your grandchildren, why you can’t take them to the park or do fun things anymore.  That has been on the decline for some time now. We find other ways to have fun grandma and me time, but it’s not the same.

A friend once suggested to me that being diagnosed with a Chronic Lifelong Illness, is somewhat like going through grief.  She was and is right.  I remember all the things I used to be able to do and now they are a distant memory.  Even doing dishes and cooking, are a chore because I can’t stand for any great length of time or my legs and back almost give out from the pain associated with the degenerative disc disease and arthritis in my lower spine area.

I find joy in writing and reading and spending time with God and learning His Word and sharing Jesus with anyone that asks.  I know God has great plans for me. I am just not sure where to start with these plans. It’s easy to write on topics you are familiar with or have a passion about, but how do you get ideas to write on topics you could care less about or have no idea?  So, I am slowly adjusting to this new call God has placed on my life.

Blogging helps me to see that even though it may be tough, I can make it. I see and read all the challenges that people face daily and I try to remember that no matter what I am going through, I can comfort others because I may know how they feel and I can glorify God in the process.

And last but not least today, I know that God will use what I am going through for His purpose.  Jesus said when he came, that we would face suffering and trials, but to trust in Him and with His strength, we could accomplish anything.

Blessings to you, may you still hear God speaking to your heart. And remember, any mess in your life, Jesus can take that mess and turn it into a message of hope and victory.

God loves you and He is always just a prayer away.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heart is Full

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My heart is full.  I think of the many blessings God has given me, just because he loves me. I have a great family who loves me, friends that support me and people that follow this random blog I post.

I have a home, nourishment for my body and the Holy Spirit living within me.

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that encourages me to dig deeper in the Word by the blogs you post and for all the prayers that are prayed over me and my family.

I have no words of wisdom to impart to you today, just  a very humble and simple Thank you.

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If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
1 Corinthians 13:1-3 NIV

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1 Thessalonians 5:18 New International Version (NIV)

18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus

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Thank you all for the many blessings you bring into my life, by your comments and thoughts. I love you all~

Carlene

 

Comfort Me Lord

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Being one that has the Spiritual Gift of Encouragement, I sometimes find it difficult to encourage myself, when times are tough.  I have no problem sharing the Word with others and doing my best to lift them up, and pray for them and with them, but when it comes to praying to God for myself, I sometimes feel that I am being selfish; putting my needs above others.

Last month, I injured my knee to the degree that after a week of trying to push the pain aside, and continued to walk on it or maybe I should say limp along; I finally conceded to getting it checked out.  I have always been the one that takes care of everything, not the one needing taken care of.  But through rest and many prayerful moments, talking to God, I have come to realize that we are not meant to handle anything on our own. Anything.

I have found that when I go through struggles in life, some of my own choosing and some that Jesus lets me go through, because then it reminds me that I must totally surrender my life and everything in my life, to Him.  And going through the daily struggles of life, we face in the flesh-in the world-with His guiding, we can than comfort others because we can share our testimony with another person.

28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.-Matthew 11:28 (New International Version)

God reminds us through His word, that we are to come to him. He is our resting place. He is our refuge in times of trouble and he is also a loving Father, that wants nothing more for His children to come to Him, regardless of why. Many people, and I have been just as guilty, seem to run to God when life isn’t going the way we think it should, but he also wants to share in our joys as well.

Whereas, the devil wants to take our joy, our hopes, and dreams and toss us back and forth like the waves on the high seas.  Satan knows what doubts we have, and if we let those doubts become thoughts and we linger on them, it is then, that he tells us lies, lies we usually believe and fail to see what is going on, until it seems like there is no way but failure. Don’t fall for it.

In 1 Peter 5:8 this is a reminder, from the Lord:

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Trust in the Lord, rely on Him.  Cast all your cares on Him. All of them. Letting go and letting God do your work and fight your battles will really improve your life. I know because I let Him fight mine. It took me a long time to learn that simple fact. And, yes, there are times I need a gentle nudge and reminder.  But God gives me grace. And His grace is enough.

May you be blessed,

Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We Are Called

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Matthew 22:37-40 New International Version (NIV)

37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’[a] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’[b] 40 All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

 

We are called to love one another. And I see all this stuff in the news, and the world around me.  I see people being mean and hateful to one another, I see evil daily as I watch the news and I think to myself, how difficult is it to simply love one another as God loves us.

I know that as a Christian, some people have expressed to me, how can you possibly love all the time and believe me, it is not always the easiest thing to do, but it is the only way to be. Every time, I think about being unkind or not loving, I think about what Jesus did for me on the cross. Now that’s LOVE. He died for me. But He wasn’t a sinner. He never did anything wrong, but HE took my punishment on the cross, for all, once and for all.

It’s easy for fear to creep in, and doubt, if you let it, but that’s exactly what Satan wants. If enough people have fear of someone or something that is “of the world” and not of God, than the enemy of our souls can make you those lies seem like truth, but they are not. 

God promises us in HIS WORD that HE will never leave us or abandon us. He tells us that when our burdens are heavy, to give them to Him and HE will give us rest.  Due to the electronic age, the world is moving faster than ever and as much as I enjoy being able to have access to the World Wide Web; I believe that there are many things that people publish or write online to induce fear and panic and because there are no editors to check and double check the facts and sometimes triple check before running something, like they used to do before the internet came into existence, many people believe everything they read and don’t stop to think. This applies to many areas, unfortunately.

Regardless of what you read,it may not always be true, but the Word of God is the same as it was yesterday, today and will be tomorrow. That is one thing that has never changed. Trust in the Lord, and lean not on your own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).

I can’t tell you why things happen or why God allows some of the things that go on in the world and around us, but I can tell you that for those that HE loves and follow Him, he will turn every bad “thing” or experience into good for HIS purpose.

I am reminded of Jesus talking and telling his disciples to love your enemies and pray for them. What good is it to just love those that love you?  If we are to be more like Christ, we have to love everyone. Let Him pass judgement.  

God Loves You~in your mess~in your brokenness~in your joy~in your sorrows~all the time, every breath you take is His gift to you; what you choose to do with that gift is entirely up to you.

I can do all things through Christ, He strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

May you be blessed today and always.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Trusted Friend and Companion

This is my Bible. My trusted friend and companion and it has been missing in action for over a week now!  I was so happy to finally locate it today, and when I think back on it; I do recall putting it exactly where I found it, but in the panic and chaos that ensued looking for it, I failed to remember one thing, I can’t do anything and I mean anything in my own strength!
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God is my Light and Salvation! He is my strength and my shield! He carries me when I feel like quitting and strengthens my resolve when I feel like giving up or throwing in the towel.  He protects me and keeps me safe and grounded! I am so thankful that I have Jesus Christ, MY  Savior, that will do all that for me and so much more!

He is my rock and he keeps my feet from slipping and tumbling off the slippery slopes that the devil attempts to place in my path and Jesus keeps me on the narrow path, the path He has laid out for me.  This is third Bible I have had in my 50 years. I was given one when I gave my life to Christ,many years ago and when it became worn and frazzled, I retired it and got another one. I recently picked this one up a few years ago because that second one had many of my personal notes and reflections in the margins.  Some notes were reminders to me and some that I wanted to share with others. I’ve tried journals over the years, and usually lose them or can’t locate them when I want to refer back to something that I need, so, I highlight verses and chapters, make notations and know that as long as I have my friend with me, I can find what I am searching for.

Many people I know, have that one verse that they cling to, the one that gets them through and this is my favorite one (I have many, but this one reminds me of the Love Jesus has for me).

Jeremiah 29:11-14

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and  come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity.”

And when I say this verse to myself, I am reminded that the Lord of Lords and King of Kings has a plan for me. That I am worthy enough for Him to have made plans for my life. Plans that I prosper in all I do, plans to keep me safe from harm and plans that give my life hope and a future, an abundant one at that! And all I have to do is seek Him, pray earnestly to Him, trust Him and HE will listen to me! But the key here, in my opinion is I must seek Him with my WHOLE heart, not a part of it, but ALL of it.  And whatever is holding me captive, in bondage, HE will set me free.

That means to me, that all the things and thoughts that I let bring me down and entrap my way of thinking are false. It says in

1 Peter 5:7-9New Living Translation (NLT)

7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.

8 Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9 Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers[a] all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are.

The devil will do anything to entrap us.  He will use any means to bring doubt to us and the situations we are in, and make us think, if we let him, that we can’t accomplish God’s plans for our lives.  It is such an easy trap to get caught in.  We must live in truth and we must walk in truth and God is truth. His word will never fail. It is the same today as it was over thousands of years ago.  He is everlasting and never failing.

I have many other Bibles, that I use, I have study Bibles with notes and commentaries; that are very helpful, especially when I read something and may not understand the concept that particular scripture is teaching.  I have concordances that I can research and Greek and Hebrew meanings of words so I can truly understand what God was saying when he breathed these words and books into existence from Bible Times; but nothing is as comforting to me, when I can hold my Bible in my hands and know that certain notations made in the margins are when I could hear God speaking to me and wanting me to remember it; specifically for me.  I have a Nook that has several Bibles downloaded onto it. It’s great for when I am on the go and have limited space to carry books, but I will always be the type of person that loves to feel the paper between my fingers as I read my Bible.

My Bible is my trusted friend and companion. My God and his son, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit that lives within me, my heart, are my friends and family. They are always with me. Even when I misplace the printed Word, I carry the Word with me everywhere I go. I am so very thankful for everything God gives me, everything.

I would encourage you to pick up a copy of The Holy Bible. Read it, devour it, let it speak to you, like it speaks to me. There is no right way or wrong way to read it. But when you read it, if you don’t understand something you are reading, seek counsel from a trusted friend or mentor; perhaps a pastor from a local church where you are located. Also, one thing I learned over the years, using scripture to help another, don’t take the scripture out of context to fit what you think God wants people to know. Sometime’s in the best of intentions, people can unknowingly hurt someone by taking scripture out of context it was intended for.

As a child of God, it is not only my joy, but my responsibility, to encourage and build people up; not tear them down and condemn them. It is my calling to love.  

Matthew 22:37-40 New Living Translation (NLT)

37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.”

If I forget these two simple commands, then I am missing it. Period.  

May the God of Love, fill you with HOPE and JOY and PEACE today and always. May you know that He is always with you and HE loves you right where you are! Blessings to you!

Blessed & Loved

Today is our mother’s 72nd Birthday. I called to wish her a Happy Birthday earlier in the evening; wanted to be the first to officially recognize it. It’s an older child kind of thing and my mom said, thank you but it’s just another day, nothing special.

But it is special, because it is the day the Lord gave her life, and without her in existence, none of us would be here today.

She is a woman of great strength and love. She has always shown us and our families unconditional love no matter the circumstances, no matter if she agreed with our choices or decisions we made. She has ALWAYS loved us. As I become older, and perhaps a bit wiser, just a tiny bit, I realize that I wouldn’t have made it as far as I had without her wisdom and blessings in my life. She taught me to be tactful, which I was never really good at, and sometime’s I still need work on. She taught me to look through the lens of love and not through my eyes. She taught me that sometime’s what we see isn’t what is truly going on. People have a way of closing down to protect themselves when they are tired of being hurt and sometimes you have to look past the anger and fear, and be willing to be patient with them until they trust you enough to let you in.

Her life as a child wasn’t easy, she went through a whole lot of changes before she reached the age of 10; but instead of having the mentality, life will always be hard, she chose to make her life better. No matter how old I get, I think of the hard things she has gone through and I realize that she is who I so want to be like, when I grow up. Yeah, yeah, I’m 50, I should be all grown up by now, but there are days I still need my mom.  She challenges me to be a better person by reminding me that I can’t do things on my own. That I need to turn ALL my worries and troubles over to God. I remember one Christmas, she gave each of us a neatly decorated box, our God Box. When we had worries or struggles, we were to write them on a piece of paper, say a prayer and give them to God. I don’t have the box anymore, too many moves, and the Lord is the only one that knows where that box is….truly. But that selfless act of love, taught me to give my worries and cares to our Father in Heaven and wait for His reply.

She camped with me during our Campfire Girl Outings, took me to many a marching band practice, showed me how to sew on a button, or cook a meal, do laundry so my whites didn’t turn out gray or pink and always was laughing and full of love. Even though I speak to her almost daily, either through voice, or text or Skype, I can never convey how much I truly love this woman.  She gave me life. I don’t recall hearing the saying, “wait til your father gets home” because I knew that she could dish out discipline, just as well as he could. She taught me about respecting my elders and being respectful. She taught me that once trust is broken, it is very hard to gain back. She taught me that working and earning a wage, wasn’t just about a paycheck with dollar signs, it meant something. She taught me the difference between “wants” and “needs”. She taught me that even though you may have very little, as long as you have family and love, you are pretty darn rich. Friendships are bonuses!

Over my last 50 years, she has taught me so many things, I could not possibly list them all, but the one thing I know for sure is today is not just another day. It’s a day to celebrate her! I can’t be with her on this special day, so I am writing this love letter of sorts.

Mom,

You have always been someone who has amazed me in so many ways. Your selfless acts of love that go unseen by many, have not been forgotten by me. You have been my strength when giving up seemed like the only option. You have loved so immeasurably by putting your life on hold, when I didn’t understand what love was. You showed me tough love at times, but the one thing that stands true is you have always loved me, with no strings attached. So, regardless of whether you think it’s just another day, it’s no big deal, I am going to have to disagree. I wish you the happiness and peace on your birthday. I know it is hard with daddy not being here, but I know he would not want your day to go unnoticed.

Happy 72nd Birthday to my best friend, I love you mom!

Love always,

Carlene

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Seasons

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As I get older, I realize that we all go through seasons in our lives; bends in the road and the realization that sometimes we are fearful for what might be around the bend, because we cannot foresee it, until we have followed it through, but God can. It says in his Word that he knows everything about me. All my hairs are numbered and he knows each one!

For me, having a Savior, Jesus Christ, that knows such intimate details about me and knowing that HE is always with me, is very comforting. Knowing that even when I can’t see beyond the bend in the road, HE can. The biggest challenge all of us face from time to time, isn’t fearing the bend in the road or the season in life we are in, but remembering to TRUST HIM.

It’s easy to say that to others, don’t worry, don’t fear, but sometimes following our own advice isn’t nearly as easy. If you are like me, I still want to be in control. And if I can’t let go of something and truly turn it over to God, then it’s like me saying, God, I know you got this, but………………….There’s the crux of the whole thing. Either I trust Him with everything in my life or I don’t.

In my walk with the Lord, I am learning, sometime’s ever so slowly, that when I put my faith and trust in Him, I have peace that I cannot gain from the world. Jesus knows that we struggle, he knows the struggles, because he too faced those humanly struggles while he was here on earth, but the difference is, Jesus always trusted in the Father to be the one to turn to. It doesn’t take but a moment, to pray and ask for help; it’s in the moments when you are faced with a life changing decision (sometimes it’s only in your mind, that it’s life changing) (or it may truly be a life changing moment) what kind of reaction will you have and how will you handle it. Who will you turn to???

Recently, during a season in my life, I could hear and see all the chaos around me, but I chose that I would trust in the Lord. I prayed for discernment and wisdom, clarity to make the right decision; knowing that when I reached that scary bend in the road, I still wasn’t sure what was best, but I knew with all my heart, he would grant me peace about the decision I was facing or he wouldn’t. And one thing, I have learned in the many years, He and I have been together, is if I don’t feel His peace, than I know I need to think of other ways to handle something or make decisions.

No matter, where you are in your journey with Jesus, even if you’re not sure you are on a journey yet, know this:

Jesus loves you! He will meet you whenever and  in whatever condition you are in. He longs to have that one on one relationship with you. He longs to be the one you turn to when you are happy; when you are sad; when you are down right scared; when you don’t know if you can take just one more step or hang on one more minute; HE is there. Waiting with open arms-waiting to engulf you in HIS arms and welcome you into HIS flock.

Luke 12:6-7 New Living Translation (NLT)

“What is the price of five sparrows—two copper coins[a]? Yet God does not forget a single one of them. And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

So the next time, you try to do it on your own, remember there is a Savior, who knows the worst and the best about you and HE just wants to get to know you better. He will guide you through everything you are facing or will face. He already knows what’s around the bend; HE is waiting to be invited by you to take the journey.

Deuteronomy 31:6 New Living Translation (NLT)

So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic before them. For the Lord your God will personally go ahead of you. He will neither fail you nor abandon you.”

No matter, where you are, remember always Jesus Loves You!