The Stuff of Life

Yesterday I had a bit of a meltdown. Somewhere between the creative staging of each room of our house by the real estate photographer (which involved moving ALL of our personal items/knick-knacks out of the way!), and the thought of showing this house we live in – in said manner… I began to feel overwhelmed.

As soon as the crew left, I was overcome with a familiar dark cloud. Now let me say, I loved raising my kids, even with all the chaos surrounding…. but the “stuff” they brought to our home was another story. It grew on me like a weight. I wondered how long I’d have to keep bags of hand-me-down clothes, shoes and toys, and where on earth new Christmas presents would go. It was a constant juggling of things: a secret cleaning out, giving away and organizing. 15 years passed before we moved the kids to another house. What a monstrous job, but oh the joy to give and give and give away!!!

Now that moving had begun I was feeling that overwhelming burden of stuff….again. I ran to my closet, a great place to pray quietly (even when no one is home). I cried out to the LORD, “I’m overwhelmed,” then I waited for His comforting…

My first thought was,

“What is your problem? Didn’t you just do this 2 years ago? Didn’t you glean and purge and finally find peace? Aren’t these the things you decided were your ‘treasures’ -to keep? You can either be burdened by them all over again or thankful for each memory and grateful they’re still here as reminders. These things are only temporary anyway… You can’t take them with you!

My, my what a change of heart. I asked God for forgiveness for my grumpy, silliness, and immediately thanked Him for changing my outlook. I popped up and came back out to some shelving that held photo books of our family, shells from beach vacations and pottery projects the kids had made for me. I saw with new eyes the love we all shared in gifts given to each other. I even found renewed strength to carry a few more boxes out to the car.

“Thank You again LORD for Your mercy and grace whenever I need it. You are a great God full of wonder and gentleness toward me. I love that You care and hear and answer when I call for help. Truly, everything comes from You, happens through You and ends up in You. All Glory!” (Rom. 11:36)

One bite at a time, that’s how you eat an elephant, and if we learn a little something along the way… Well that’s just good for the stuff of life!

ForGlorySake! Anna

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Manna

For more than 10 years I’ve hosted a women’s Biblestudy in my house. What started as a mom’s play group among friends, morphed into a real searching of God’s Word as our kids grew older. We have studied many books of the Bible from several gifted writers and speakers. I love the workbooks that come with these studies. This is where I seem to hear from God the most often.

Our current study is by Jennifer Rothschild (Missing Pieces). She said something this week that has stuck in my head. Manna. Manna was God’s daily provision of food to the Israelites during their wilderness wandering. Jennifer creatively equated this to God’s “daily bread” Jesus said to pray for each day. Since God is our Great Provider, she asked, “What is the Manna (or provision) God has brought into your life today?” and “Like the Israelites, are you so focused on what you’re NOT receiving from God, that you’re missing out on the incredible blessing of what He HAS offered?” Hmmm.

Our family has a lot of change in the air, as I’ve mentioned before. I think I’ve been overlooking the blessing of it all. I just haven’t been able to muster up the motivation to pack. Between working all day and general home-life I feel pooped. I think I’m secretly waiting for the Moving Fairy to appear and blink everything away-hah. God has provided for us again and again through so many stages and issues of life. I can trust He will be my strength again now.  Stacks of boxes and the memory of backache and disheveled-upheaval are no match for the strength He will give me. My reluctance to disturb the peace and quiet at home will not overcome all that He is waiting to pour out on us. He understands… like 2 years ago, this must be done. It IS necessary!

My Gratitude List begins today with: strong arms, legs, and organizational skills. It’s said we are only good at a couple of things in life, so know your strengths! I’ll stay clear of any finances or major house reno. Instead, I’ll take what God has given me today (the good, the bad, …even the messy) and try to remember it All is a provision from Him.

The LORD WILL continually guide me and satisfy my desire in the emptiest of places. He WILL give strength to my bones and I WILL be like a watered garden, like a spring of water who does not run dry! (Isaiah 58:11)

Emptiest of places?? What could be more empty …than an empty house? Have Your way, LORD.

ForGlorySake!AnnaIMG_3665

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Glory? I’m moving

Writing the words on my calendar: “Ben’s fiancés wedding shower today @ 2pm” just blew me away. My eyes blurred thinking about our sweet son, nearly 4 years sober and our beautiful daughter-in-law-to be. Again Romans 4:17 rang in my ears… You are the God Who brings the dead back to life and makes something out of nothing. Only God can bring about change and blessing like this.

I furiously wrote in my jurnal: ” You ARE faithful, You ARE good, Look at all You’ve done!!! (As if He needs reminding…) We were NOT lost, we were NOT forgotten, You did NOT leave us like we were! You bore EACH sin, You carried EACH sorrow, You healed EACH desease & I have the people IN this very house to prove it! How can I doubt that You hear me now? How can I stress over what’s ahead? Or pout over another move and change for our family? You know best and I want YOUR plan  and YOUR timing. I trust You- I’m all in.

As Isaiah 26:7&8 says in The Message, “Who You are and what You’ve done is ALL we want.” Or as The New Living Translation states, LORD, we show our trust in You by obeying Your ways, our heart’s desire is to GLORIFY Your name.” 

!!! I love when God brings a verse home to me, like a punch. Sometimes after I read, it takes me writing my thoughts down to see the big picture. Haven’t I prayed for years and years: “Show me Your Glory!” (Ex.33:18)? …And He has been, but I am to be a reflection of that Glory as well…

In my trust, in my contentment, in my attitude.

So, I guess moving – again – isn’t that big of a deal, even with a wedding hot on our heels. Bring on the boxes! I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.

ForGlorySake! Anna

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Isn’t it?

To be read to yourself:

Isn’t it amazing to think He created me?

Isn’t it overwhelming to realize He loves me… unconditionally? Me.

Isn’t it unbelievable to fathom He made a plan involving me and formed it all before  He began the world?

Isn’t it incredible that His eyes never look away,  He never misses a thing; He will never leave me?

Isn’t it funny that I can not surprise Him, overwhelm Him or stump Him?

Isn’t it curious that He uses ALL things: the everyday, the difficult, the seemingly horrible… all for my benefit… all for His glory?

Isn’t He intriguing? He always sees a way.

Isn’t He patient? He never gives up. 

Isn’t He merciful? Lavishing grace.

And what does He ask in return? 

Love. Only my love.

…Love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence and …love your neighbor (the “others” He created) as well as you do yourself.” (‭Luke‬ ‭10‬:‭27‬)

Rather a good deal, isn’t it?

ForGlorySake! Anna

  

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The Spirit

For Glory Sake!

Where do you run when your world is topsy-turvy? What do you reach for when circumstances swirl in chaos? How far do you allow yourself to be swept away in a current of worry before you look for something to ease the strain? Some of our pacifiers are harmless… more or less, but others…

Finding relief is a wonderful feeling, yet I have learned from involvement with our son’s rehab support group, many things we choose to sooth end up hurting us and others.  While drugs and alcohol obviously top the list, other indulgences like over-eating and outbursts of anger are not always mentioned. These things may make you feel better for the moment, but as everyone knows their consequences leave scars.

So what do we look for as healthy stress-releaving alternatives? Physical activity, reading, meditation, and a variety of creative and artistic expressions are options. I use all of these, but particularly meditating on…

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Jewel

My dear friend, I’ll call her “Jewel,” has a heart for children the size of Texas. She’s forever caring for and housing little needy ones in addition to her 8 (2 of which are now grown & moved out). 

Not long ago after the adoption of yet another “gift of God,” her family was asked to take “for a time” other small family members related to that baby. This seemed completely overwhelming. How would they all manage? 
Finances became critically stretched, not to mention space in the small 4 bedroom home. Babysitting problems grew as there was no vehicle large enough to transport all the family at one time. 

As Christmas was fast approaching, I saw desperation in my friend’s face. How could they adequately provide for all these little ones God had entrusted to them?

Unknown to the family of now 13, someone submitted their story to a local Christian radio station and just before the holidays a crew of folks bearing “answers to every prayer” knocked on Jewel’s door…
Miracles do happen! Sometimes it’s at our breaking point, but God is a giver of grace, especially when we’ve said “yes” to whatever He’s asked. Many times in our efforts to obey, we find ourselves overwhelmed. I’ve certainly been there! Yet, God is aware and He will supply ALL our needs (as He did Jewel’s) according to the riches of His Glory in Christ Jesus! (Phil 4:19)
“Sometimes obeying God in a matter will be the hardest thing we’ve ever done in our lives. We are not wrong to feel. We are only wrong to disobey. Hash it out with God. Ask for the cup to be removed. But resolve to do His will, no matter what. Glory is at stake.”- Excerpt From: Moore, Beth. “Believing God Day by Day”

ForGlorySake!Anna
  

God will provide

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Gifts from Losses

I’ve heard that the 1st holiday following a death is the toughest… Christmas is here and my parents aren’t. They’ve always been a part of our celebrations, and it seems strange not to have them around. Our joy over their final rest definitely outshines any sadness, but still, it’s a loss.  

27 years of marriage has brought a few to our family. Everyone has their own list. All those things you hold dearly and take for granted until they’re suddenly gone. For me, ONLY God has been left to tie to. Total dependence on Him seems obvious and yet terrifying. Why? Because, I know He’s the One Who’s been in control the whole time! When life has looked like a chaotic mess, I’ve wanted to yell “You’re fired!”… yet I decided long ago God is the ONLY One qualified to be my God. I can’t do life without Him!

Again and again in those moments of pain, I dove into the Scriptures. Why would He let this or that happen to us? Can He really be trusted? Did anyone in the pages of the Bible ever feel like me? Each time my soul has been stirred as I read, especially by all that Jesus came to do… because His Father “loved us.” 

My eyes see a bigger picture. God cares more than I can imagine. Yes, He is trustworthy, faithful and with me for the long-haul. Through my “losses” I’ve learned to look for His mercies daily. I’ve learned to thank the LORD anyway and to Trust Him in spite of the chaos swirling. I Hope beyond what I see as I wait for His outcome. Faith isn’t random, it’s specific. I trust in a mighty God Who has held me in the past and is forever gently unfolding His Glory in the present!

“We know that in all things God works for good with those who love him, those whom He has called according to His purpose. Those whom God had already chosen He also set apart to become like his Son, so that the Son would be the eldest brother in a large family. And so those whom God set apart, He called; and those He called, He put
right with himself, and He shared His glory with them. In view of all this, what can we say? If God is for us, who can be against us? Certainly not God, who did not even keep back His own Son, but offered Him for us all! He gave us His Son — will He not also freely give us all things” (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭28-32‬ GNB)
LORD, grant us eyes to see, by Your Spirit.

ForGlorySake!Anna 

  

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