Everything Changes

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The season of life has been tough. I have struggled in every area of my life. I have struggled with my faith & trust in God, my relationships with others, my health, & my work & finances. All of these areas have changed thru this season of struggle to change. Change is inevitable.  It’s the one thing I can count on to happen throughout life. I do not like change. I am a very routine person. I like structure & order. It helps me organize my day in order to be productive. I feel accomplished at the end of the day when my “To Do” list is completed. But, on those days when something pops up that I did not plan for it wrecks my plan for that day. I feel anxiety & stress take over me. I hold so tight to my plan. I cannot see any good in the unplanned circumstance that just randomly popped up on my to do list. It can completely unravel my day, but for the most part I get thru it. 

Life changes are totally different. When my life circumstances change, my life as a whole changes. This can flip my world upside down if I don’t let go of my plan. I have gone thru some major changes this season. My 3.5 year relationship ended in January. My health took a turn for the worse. My faith had more holes in it than all golf courses in the tri-state area. I lost my main source of income, & I might have to sell my home. All of these things sound pretty bad on paper & can feel bad too, if I don’t look at them thru God’s perspective. In the beginning, I looked at these things thru my human eyes & my plan. These things didn’t fit into my plan. I cried, screamed, prayed & cried some more. Why God? Why were you letting these things happen to me? What did I do wrong? Where is the sin in my life that I am practicing or haven’t repented of? I asked God to show me the problem so I could make it right. I wanted things to stay the same. Change doesn’t always happen because I did something wrong…things just change it’s a part of life.

God has showed me that change is inevitable, but He is never changing. He is the same yesterday, today, & tomorrow. I can count on Him when my life circumstances change. He knew the change was coming. It was not a surprise to Him. James 1:17, “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” He is in control of the change. And if I believe in Him, trust Him, & obey Him thru my life changes then I am safe. He also taught me that change is not bad even when it feels bad. That feeling is fear, which comes from the enemy. The enemy wants me to fear the things ahead instead of activating my faith in God by letting go of my tight gripped plan. Gods plan is the best plan. My plan is mediocre at best. Gods plan is a life journey filled with adventure & excitement. Change is scary. It’s an unknown path filled with all kinds of things that are unfamiliar. It’s not part of my routine or my plan. Therefore, I don’t want to step into this unknown area most of the time. I hold on to the things I am comfortable & familiar with. I don’t like being uncomfortable it makes me feel vulnerable both of those feelings produce fear in me. Fear of the change, but I know God & can trust Him through all these unknowns. I may not know the path ahead, but He does. When I hold onto my plan I miss out on the His best plan, blessings He wants to add to my life, & a life of abundance in Him.

Letting go this season has been hard. I have fought every single day to trust Him & trust His plan for my life. Gods word says He brings good out of all things even changes that seem bad…Romans 8:28, “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Honestly, I saw the bad at the beginning of my changes, but God has showed me His goodness thru it. He blessed me in more ways than I could ever imagine by going thru this change. He added more than He took away. He gave me more than the enemy tried to plunder (destroy & strip of its possession). He filled in my faith holes with belief, trust, joyful obedience, patience, perseverance, & most importantly His love. It has been a long 7 months or so, but I can say it was worth the struggle, tears, & pain I had to go thru in order to change. I have more faith, my relationship with God has increased in love & trust. In the past 2 days, God provided me with a new job & tuition money to go to Downline in the fall. All of this literally came out of nowhere. He’s been telling me to wait on Him, quit striving, stop moving, let go, & be still, so I would know that He is God & I am not. I waited on Him & was kept safe. I went into the unknown with my faithful Father. He provided exactly what He knew I needed & so much more than I asked, thought, or imagined. He opened up the floodgates of heaven & poured out a blessing on me until there was no more need. Some of these blessings were tangible, but so many were intangible & worth every bit of my struggle to let go & step into this season of change. Change is inevitable, but how you choose to go thru it is a choice. Are you going to choose to trust God who is in control of the change & be blessed? Or trust yourself, hold tight to your plan & miss out on the blessings God wants to add to your life?

 

Father,

 

Thank you for showing me that change can be good because You bring good out of everything. Thank you for changing me thru this struggle & helping me to see things thru Your eyes. When I hold onto my plan I am basically telling You that I know what I am doing. I got this God. Forgive me for holding tightly to my own way. You are God & I am not! Thank you for being with me every step of this season. Thank you for the blessings that cant be taken away from me. You have added so much to my faith & relationship with You. I know these things are secure in You. Thank you for blessing me with a job & money to cover Downline. I wouldn’t change anything about this season. You know it’s been hard for me the entire time. Trust & fear are my biggest issues, but You showed me how mighty, loving, gracious, merciful, & forgiving You are towards me. You have given far more to me than was taken away. You give & You take away & both are blessings…all is grace. Thank you for loving me perfectly & pouring out your grace for me to see in a different light this season. Father, I love You & I trust You! I pray these things in Jesus Christ precious name. Amen.

 

 

 

 

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Why Are You So Afraid?

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I am afraid of snakes, spiders, & tiny bugs that are hard to see. Most people are afraid of these things too…right? But, I am also afraid of just about anything going wrong in my life too. I am becoming more fearful with age. I thought wisdom came with age not fear? As a young child & teenager I was fearless for the most part & to a fault. I loved being outside, four wheelers, jet ski’s, high diving into a swimming pool head first, triple back flips off a trampoline, & breaking all the rules. I wasn’t scared of anything or anyone. Whereas, now I analyze everything with the possibility of something going wrong. I fear change of my circumstances & I sometimes fear people. I fear what others think of me. I fear not living up to the expectations of others. I fear I won’t measure up & at some point my best won’t be good enough. This causes me anxiety & steals my joy. Fear is paralyzing me. I am a believer who has been saved by the grace of God. He chose me, loves me, & protects me. He will never leave me or forsake me. So why do I have so many fears?

Fear is defined as something unpleasant, pain, anxiety, threat, dread, being afraid, & being unwilling or hesitant to do something. I feel all of those things on a daily basis at times. I fear losing income due to being self employed. I fear something bad happening to Savannah when I am not around her. I fear future events such as Savannah going off to college & leaving me all alone. I want to get married one day, but I love being a single mom to Savannah. We have a blast! But what happens when she goes to college? How will my life function without her? Will I be lonely & alone the rest of my life? Will she ever come home & see me? Will our relationship change? These are the crazy thoughts that run thru my head at times. These questions cause fear to bubble up inside me. What does God say about all these fears of mine?

God actually says, “DO NOT BE AFRAID!” “Do not worry about tomorrow…” God clearly says in the bible not to worry & do not fear multiple times. I think do not fear is in the bible 365 times. Do not fear is a command from God. Do I obey this command? Apparently not. It is a sin to worry & fear anything or anyone other than God. When I fear other things I am giving my fears more power than God. I might as well be saying that my fears are way bigger than your resources God. You can’t handle these problems. I’m in too deep. These are all lies from the enemy! God is way bigger than ANY problem or person causing me fear! He has all the resources I need. He knows exactly what’s going on in my life. Actually, He allows the storms to happen. God is in control of my storms. He is the ultimate authority. Therefore, He is the only One worthy of my fears. The disciples saw this first hand in Mark 4:37-41, And there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up. Jesus Himself was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke Him and said to Him, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?” And He got up and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Hush, be still.” And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm. And He said to them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?” They became very much afraid and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey Him?” They became Very Much Afraid…afraid of Jesus because even the wind & the sea obeyed Him. God is in control of all the storms. If I believe this truth then I should not be afraid. I do believe it, but have struggled applying it in my life. 
It takes faith to believe the fear will come true. So why not activate my faith in God instead of my faith in my fears. I’ve prayed, “God I believe, but help my unbelief” pretty regular over the last 6 months.

Today, I read Jeremiah 30:10 “Fear not, O Jacob My servant,’ declares the LORD,
‘And do not be dismayed, O Israel;
For behold, I will save you from afar
And your offspring from the land of their captivity.
And Jacob will return and will be quiet and at ease,
And no one will make him afraid.” This verse spoke loud & clear to me about fear. God clearly told me do not fear or have anxiety, do not worry or be afraid of something bad or unexpected happening to you, do not be nervous about anything. He also told me that He is going to save me, rescue me, preserve me, keep me, and prevent anything from harming me. He revealed to me that once He saves me/rescues me from all of these circumstances going on in my life that His glory will be revealed (Isaiah 40:5). I will have freedom over worry, anxiety, & problems. No, He didn’t say that I would be worry free, anxiety free, or problem free. He said I will have freedom! I will no longer be paralyzed or held captive by these things. I will have freedom from the effects of my problems that arise in my life. He will work in such a way thru my current circumstances to reveal to me, confirm to me, & prove exactly who He is to me. So that I will not fear anyone or anything ever again. He is faithful. He is sovereign. He is my provider of all my needs. He knows that right now I need to know that He will come thru. I need to know that only He could have provided for me in such a way to reveal His glory to me & the rest of the world. When He accomplishes this I will be quiet (calm/still), at ease (free from anxiety & worry), & no one will make me afraid (tremble/fearful). I will only fear Him.

I am tired of being so afraid of everything. Life is meant to be full of peace & joy. Fear steals all the enjoyment out of life. Fear causes pain. Fear paralyzes me. Fear comes from the enemy. Fear causes me to doubt God. Fear tells me that God is a liar. The enemy is the liar! God is truth & CANNOT lie. His word is TRUE. His promises are REAL & TRUSTWORTHY. God has been telling me to Wait on Him. Every time I open the Word, get on FB, or someone sends me a text. It’s got something to do with waiting on The Lord, Be still & Wait, Cease from striving, let go, stop moving, rest, be still & know that I am God (Psalms 46:10). I prayed a few months ago for freedom of worry & anxiety when life flips upside down is beyond my control & that I would trust God to provide for Savannah & me. I asked Him to provide what we need & so that I would believe Him at His word without feeling anxiety & fear. I believe that He wants me to wait on Him & rest in Him while He is working behind the scenes on my behalf to provide for me what I need. I believe that to be true because His word says that He will provide all my needs (Phil 4:19). He knows I need freedom from my anxiety & fears. I believe He spoke so clearly to me today thru Jeremiah in order to confirm & reveal His promises to me. Therefore, I will wait on God & rest in Him while He works to reveal His glory to me. All honor, glory, & praise to Him!

CAT

It’s Not About Me

1Cor10-31

Who do you live to glorify in your life? This is a tough question to answer honestly. When I was asked this question I couldn’t answer it. I had to really think & pray about it. I do think about bringing God glory, but I know that it’s only in certain parts of my life. I would love to say I live to glorify God full time, but I know that is not true. I know I live to glorify myself a lot of the time. I am not actively thinking about who gets the glory when I make every decision that comes my way. I usually weigh my decisions on what is best for me & my life. How does this effect me? What’s the best path for me? I think about God being glorified thru certain parts of my life, but not so much in every part. I am too small to glorify. I will end up being insignificant in my attempts to glorify myself. I will end up being unsatisfied and miserable. I know this to be true because I have actively lived for myself the majority of my life. I know that when I do seek to bring God glory thru my actions & choices that I am full of joy & satisfaction. Since I have experienced this type of satisfaction, why do I continue to choose to glorify self instead of God? I believe the answer to that question is simple. I am not actively thinking about who I live to glorify in & thru my life on a regular daily basis.

What would my life look like if I actively thought about this question daily? How would my life change if I chose to ask what glorifies God in every decision throughout my day? My life & the lives of others are directly affected by my choices, my responses, & my words. How does what I’m about to say glorify God? Lord knows I need help keeping my mouth shut! Sometimes keeping my mouth shut brings God more glory than opening it. I pray God will keep a guard over my mouth in those times that I need to keep silent in order to glorify Him (Psalms 141:3 Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips). I need to respond to the choices I face daily in a way that chooses to bring God glory.

I want to choose to respond to plain & simple daily decisions in a way that glorifies God the most as well as the big decisions. It’s scary. It’s living on the edge of uncertainty, but I know it’s worth it. It’s the only thing that satisfies me. In order to do this I have to live in complete dependence on God which is the safest & most secure place for me even though it doesn’t always feel so safe or secure. God created me to depend on Him & to glorify Him. So it’s only natural that I live in such a way that truly reflects this in my life. However this is not natural for me & it is very hard for me to do! I am a control freak. I have a “type A” personality. I want a plan to follow that outlines every twist & turn. I am learning that I don’t need to know the plan. I just need to trust the One who makes the plans. Trust glorifies God. I have peace when I trust Him & have to depend on Him for everything. Yes, I said, Have to depend on Him. Fully depending on God only seems to happen when I have no other choice. I do depend on Him daily, but it’s different. During these times I have to depend on Him, I am fully surrendered & dependent on Him to do whatever it is that I am facing. When I trust & depend on myself my peace disappears & I am afraid of the unknowns. My full dependence & complete trust in God glorifies Him. I need to remember that when I’m faced with circumstances beyond my control. I can choose to depend on myself & be fearful or I can choose dependence on God which produces peace & ultimately gives Him glory.

I know we were all created to glorify God, but I want to know what I was created for specifically. What is my specific purpose in life? What did you create me to do? I prayed these question right before I listened to Andy Stanley’s podcast, “Passin’ it On”. It amazed me how quickly God answered those questions. He told me loud & clear that I was created specifically to glorify Him in all my ways. In my success, my failures, my struggles, my waiting, my entire life. When I am praised for my success I need to reflect the glory back to Him. When I struggle and people see me or ask me how things are going I need to reflect glory and praise to Him that He’s making a way, providing, and carrying me thru. When I argue with a friend or family member I need to glorify Him with my words. When I am faced with a parenting problem I need to respond in a way that glorifies Him. He wants my entire daily life from the beginning to the end of that day to bring Him glory. He doesn’t want me to compartmentalize my life into areas that can bring Him glory. Every area can bring Him glory if I apply this truth by actively seeking to glorify Him in all my ways.

Lord, I want to glorify You instead of myself! Forgive me where I have glorified myself whether I knew it or not. Forgive me for living for myself and my wants and my needs. I want to glorify You in all my ways & everyday! Father, You know I need a job or something that produces income for me to provide for me & Savannah. I don’t know which way to go right now. I don’t really have any options to choose from at this point other than to glorify You in the wait for You to provide for another source of income. What glorifies You the most is the choice I want. If I were to have a job that provides another income such as cleaning contracts does that glorify You? Or if You provide me with a job at HP or somewhere else that makes less, but allows me to pursue my God given desires/passions such as helping others whether by helping them get to know You, encouraging them in their walk with You, or helping them reach their health/fitness goals. Neither one of these are actual options at this point, but I want you to provide me with the option that glorifies You the most. Whatever it is Lord, I want to live a life that glorifies You! So until You provide me with a job/income that I need I will glorify You during the wait. I will glorify You during the wait for the desires of my heart to be fulfilled, & all that I’m faced with today! I wont do it perfectly, but I will try my best. Help me to do this each day. Help me see the choice that reflects where You get the glory! Help me to reflect all the glory back to You in all that I do. I know all the good I do comes from You! Thank You for all that You do in me, thru me, & for me that brings You glory! I love You Father! In Jesus precious name I pray these things! Amen!

 

CAT

Ill Equipped

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Blogging is so scary for me because I do not feel like I am smart enough or know enough about scripture. I have felt gentle nudges from God over the last 9 months or so asking me to speak, write, teach, or lead something, but I immediately say NO!! I will help all day, but I do not want to be in the front of anyone!! I cant even pray out loud God!! But I believe thats the enemy attacking me with my past & my fears of not measuring up or looking foolish if I were to say something wrong. Or what if I offend someone God? I have done that a lot in my past relationships. So, I tend to shy away from opening my mouth when I do feel the Holy Spirit prompting me.

Yesterday, I was heading out to workout when I grabbed my bluetooth keyboard, sat down, & started typing what was going through my head. When I finished I was a little dumbfounded…I said now what? And what was all that? Where did it come from? I shared it with my small group that meets on Tue. nights via email. Immediately the enemy started attacking me. No one is going to read it. They are all going to either lie to you or laugh behind your back about how many grammatical errors you typed. I then turned my thoughts to God, & said, “I prepared it & poured it out. How they respond is out of my control & doesn’t really matter. What matters is that I sent it, even if they reject it.” Later that day the emails started coming in with such encouraging & loving words of support. They encouraged me to start this blog. I am truly grateful for all the love & support from each one of my friends & family. My Yes is on the table God. I will be blogging about my random, heart-felt, God inspired thoughts, experiences with Him, & myhealth/fitness journey. It wont be perfect, but it will be real. 

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He has a Plan:

I lost my main cleaning contract about a month ago. It was the bulk of my income. It has not been replaced, but God has provided in other ways to provide for us what we need for the day. As of today we are taken care of by the grace of God. I own a commercial cleaning company & a title abstracting company. I have worked for myself the majority of my life. My life verse for the past 2 years has been Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters,”. I do truly want to work for The Lord. 

I am passionate about God, health/fitness, & helping others. But I have never thought about using health/fitness for Gods glory until recently. The day I lost my cleaning contract I got a call from a woman who goes to HIghpoint in response to an email I sent out asking for prayer. She asked me if I had ever considered doing some type of healthy lifestyle change program at Highpoint. Naturally, I said NO! My first thoughts were…Why would I do that? Highpoint doesn’t have a fitness program. I cant make any money doing that & I need a job with money right NOW! But then something inside of me started brewing…HP doesn’t have these programs & it’s definitely needed in the community. Most people truly want to be healthy. They just don’t know what to do or how to do it. It’s too overwhelming for most people because they jump all in & come out saying thats just too much or too hard for me. So they fail & give up on their health goals. The next morning during my priority time, I had a vision of a lunch spot at HP that served healthy foods. My head was now completely full of thoughts & ideas that wouldn’t stop. I started writing every random thought down & of course praying hard for Gods direction. Then I started calling people & talking to people who I knew would tell me if I was crazy or not. The response was all positive. I set up an appt. with Andy Savage the next week. He & I had a phone call appt. on the following Tue. He loved the ideas & asked me to prepare some type of plan/outline for this program. I emailed him a powerpoint & my notes along with a few other leaders in the church.  Andy responded to my email yesterday. He loves the potential, but now Ive got to provide him with the programming, structure, & logistics of how & what all is needed in order to get this up & running. I am beyond excited about where God is leading me & others who want to be involved in this adventure. 

I still don’t have a new job or new income to cover my income lost, but I do have joy, peace, & a passion for something way bigger than me. I am full & my cup runs over in abundance with the blessings The Lord has given me thru this trial. This can only be from The Lord. I believe He is fulfilling the desires of my heart & leading me in this direction because it’s completely against my nature which is to pursue money. No income could fill me or satisfy me like The Lord is satisfying me now. He is providing for me what He knows I need & what He knows satisfies the desires of my heart. I keep hearing Him whisper, “Be still, Let go, Quit striving, Wait on Me to do a mighty work that glorifies Me (God) so you & the world will know that it was Me who did it.” And I keep telling Him, “Ok. I will trust You, obey You, & when I am afraid I will trust You Lord…please remember Your servant & provide for me financially through this journey.” I pinch myself every few days to remind myself that I still don’t have a steady flow of new income to pay these bills!! But I do have confidence in Gods resources. He has everything I need & He knows what I need.

Everything natural in me says you are crazy & they are going to foreclose on your house if you do not go hunt down a job. People are going to think you have snapped & lost your freaking mind if you keep telling them these things. And now you are publishing your crazy thoughts for the world to read!! You have lost it!! (FYI…I have applied for jobs & gotten some leads but nothing has panned out just yet.) But something else inside me tells me to believe God for what I have asked for & it will be done. I believe God. I know Him & love Him…I trust Him to show up & to show out. I serve an amazing God; a God of abundance who created me for His glory. I am believing Him for all of this & more. I pray you will believe & pray with me. His will. His way. His glory!

CAT

Wisdom in Pain

Fear GodPain is a part of life, but it truly sucks! I hate it. I hate what it does to others. I hate that pain separates us from God & others. I hate that pain causes us to sin against God, others, & our own body. I know pain is also an essential part of life. We live in a fallen world. Therefore, we have to experience pain. If we lived in a fallen world without pain then we would never stop doing the things that hurt God, us & others. If pain didn’t exist we would not have protection against the things that could harm us daily. Think about a child who doesn’t know that the stove is hot. How would that child learn to stay away from the stove if there was no pain in the hot eye of the stove. The parent teaches the child not to touch the stove because it’s hot. The child doesn’t listen to the parent. The child touches the stove. The child gets burned. It hurts & leaves a burn mark. This teaches the child not to touch the stove again because it causes pain. The hope is that the child will learn from the first experience, but far too often it takes more than one painful experience for the child to grasp the lesson.

It’s no different with us who are children of God. He instructs us with His word & teaches us right from wrong. He guides us with His truth. We learn by reading & applying His word to our daily lives. But if we don’t read & apply His truth then we end up experiencing pain in our life at some point. Many of us (me included) experience unnecessary pain over & over again because we would not listen & apply His truth to our life. His commandments are for our ultimate protection & will go well with us IF we listen to Him.

We all want wisdom at some point in our life. But do we do what it takes to get it? Wisdom comes from God. In order to get wisdom we must seek God. How? By reading His word daily & renewing our mind. The first step in gaining wisdom is putting God first in our life. Then we must fear Him. At first, fearing God sounded a little weird & opposite to what I think of His character, but it’s the first step in gaining His wisdom. I have learned that when I fear God instead of a person or circumstance that I am showing Him respect, honor, obedience, & trust. I am saying You are God & I am not. I will submit to Your ways & trust that Your way is the best way. For example, if I am fearing what someone thinks of me by not standing firm in my convictions of gossiping then I feared that person’s opinion more than I feared what God says about the sin of gossip. Proverbs 29:25 (NIV) says, “Fear of man will prove to be a snare (trap/evil), but whoever trusts in the LORD is kept safe”. Fearing others leads me into a trap that leads to sin. Fear of God leads me into obedience & trust which keep me safe. I can fear God by standing firm in my conviction of not gossiping which honors God. Or I can participate in the sin of gossiping which hurts God, others, & myself. Leaving me with feelings of guilt & shame which produce more pain in my life. Fear of God is for our protection. It leads us away from sin & pain.

As I stated previously I hate pain, but without it I would choose sin over & over again. Therefore, I am grateful God gave us pain as a consequence of sin in order to protect us from committing the same sin over & over again. Wisdom is gained when we fear God, listen to Him, apply His truth daily, & learn from painful experiences; it is for our ultimate protection.