Browsing Category

Book study

7 In Book study/ Faith

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week 9

EmbarcingChange_Week9

If I can be honest, I have spent much of the last five years of my life questioning God. I know that He already knows my thoughts and what is in my heart, so I might as well be real with Him and ask the “whys” when so much has happened that I just do not understand.

So many things were taken from us, or we had to get rid of in order to “scale down”. I believe that God is in control of our lives and knows what is best. But that does not negate the fact that it hurts.

I was listening to a worship song this week, “Blessed Be The Name Of The Lord”. There is a line in the song that speaks of how God gives and takes away, but blessed be His Name. And while I agree with my whole heart that God is to be blessed no matter what, when the losses stack up and you don’t see yourself moving forward yet, you can begin to question where God is in all of it.

God gives and takes away, but blessed be His Name. #embracinglifestransitions Click To Tweet

“Life comes and makes waves of demands, and you think you’re holding on well. But out of the clear blue, a wave bigger than the rest places you in its shadow before collapsing over and knocking you down. It’s not what you expected, so in order to make sense of it, you ask all the questions that rush over and through you along the wave.” Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

Even though I believe it’s okay to ask the questions, I am learning that most often we must change the questions we ask.

Instead of asking “Why is this happening to me?”, ask “What are you trying to teach me, Lord?”

I love how in the story of Esther, one question that was asked of her by Mordecai was all Esther needed to shift her perspective. Esther’s story shows how the right question can lead to deliverance during change.

Change_butterfly

I’m not yet at a place where I can stand in front of the mirror and ask the types of questions that will bring me deliverance. But I’m working through it. I know what the right thing to do is. But sometimes it’s hard to see past the pain and look forward with hope again.

Sometimes it's hard to see past the pain and look forward with hope again.… Click To Tweet

I do believe God wants to teach me how to “thrive through change”, but I’m still hurting.

I believe God loves me.
I believe that He is for me.
I believe that He will bring me through.
But I’m hurting.

I have questions.
I don’t understand why the losses.
I don’t understand why the struggles.

I know that He will bring me through.
He is gentle and cares for my heart so incredibly well.
I know He will grab a hold of my hand once I’m able to offer it to Him.

Do I trust Him to bring me through?

I want to.
I know I need to.
I think I fear more disappointment.

I’m not sure my heart can handle one more loss.

There isn’t too much more I can say about this chapter. God is still working so much of this in me. To be able to thrive through change and to recognize that I’m being groomed for a new purpose. I’m not there yet. I think I’m still the little girl standing in the corner with her arms crossed asking God, “Why?”

Until such time as I am able to fully release it all back into His hands, I’m clinging to this verse,

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. (Jeremiah 29:11)

How about you my friend. Are you thriving through a season of change? Are you content in knowing God is preparing you for a new purpose? Or, perhaps, you are like me and still working through the pain.  I would love for you to share in the comments below.

Thank you for being here. I truly appreciate each and every one of you. Even though I’m working through my stuff, I hope and pray you are blessed by my words. I’ve chosen to be raw and vulnerable in my writing, and your visits here are a gift to me.

5 In Book study

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week 8

I bet you thought I’d never get back to this study, right? I am so sorry. I really have dropped the ball. My life has taken yet another turn downward, and I’m busy keeping my head above water so that I can breathe.  I am going to finish this book study. It just will be a few more weeks longer than I anticipated.

friends

This chapter is so timely for me right now.  My friends, both my in-real-life friends, and those that I have yet to meet face-to-face, are helping to keep me sane through this newest season of difficult change. Without these gals in my life, I am sure I would be a puddled mess on the floor, unable to rise up and face the daily challenges presented head on.

By yourself, you’re unprotected. With a friend you can face the worst. Can you round up a third? A three-stranded rope is not easily snapped. (Ecclesiastes 4:12 – The Message)

friendship
If you are like me, what you feel like you want to do in times of hard change is hibernate. We think that by being alone we are safe and keeping our burdens away from others. But this couldn’t be further from the truth. There is safety in numbers. When one of my friends is hurting, I hurt, and I want to do all I can to comfort and help them to see Jesus through the hard places. Why wouldn’t the same be true for you and me?

Change often brings places of emptiness that weren’t there before. We need help to navigate these new waters, keeping our heads in the upright position and remembering to breathe. Change is flat out lonely at times.

Friendship is a strong cure that helps us walk up, down and through the change that life brings.… Click To Tweet

God uses our friends to heal the wounds brought on by change.

Friends make hard days more manageable because they walk the winding roads with you.

No matter a woman's season of change, it matters that she has friends. #embracinglifestransitions… Click To Tweet

God wants us to have friends and fellow sojourners who see us as he does. So when we think we might not make it through, these encourager-warriors know the potential we have inside and urge us to carry on in God’s will for our lives. They not only urge us to thrive, they also take our hand and lead us toward a better way to do so. – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

I don’t know about you, but when I’m going through hard change, I need to be reminded that God is for me, and that I will make it through. There is a special bond formed among a community that is grown from shared adversity.  We were never meant to carry our burdens alone.

Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. (Galatians 6:2 – The Message)

When you sit in the middle of change, a friend is one who assures you, comforts you, and holds you.

They are worth opening your heart up for.

Kristen asks this question,

How can we open our hearts to spend time forming friendships so that in the process we are better equipped to handle change as we serve others?

The answer is simple.

Open up….Show up….Lift up

Open up your home to others. Invite others in and be willing to share your life with them.

Show up at places where there are other people. Where in your neighborhood do women gather? Coffee shops, malls, church, schools, parks? Perhaps you can get involved in a Bible study at church, or a play group, or gather a group of ladies and pray walk the mall with the intent to meet other women.

Lift up every friendship concern to the Lord. Be honest with the Lord about your stressful friendship seasons. Ask Him to help you to be a better friend, so that you can serve others well.

Gaining and keeping friends takes work. We must be intentional in our pursuit of Godly relationships and continually ask the Lord to help us in this area.

I am so thankful that God has brought so many beautiful and faithful woman around me to speak into my life in seasons of hard change.

How are you opening up, showing up and lifting up as it relates to friendship in this season? I would love for you to share with me in the comments below.

4 In Book study

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week 7

MatthewHenryQuote

My life over the last several months can be likened to a roller coaster. When life is good and things are going well, I’m up. I’m happy, full of joy and have a step in my pep. But when faced with life’s challenges, change, or hardship, I can tend to lose my zeal for life, while giving in to the lies that the enemy puts in head,

“Things will never change.”

“You aren’t worthy of love.”

“You are going to lose everything.”

“Don’t bother dreaming.”

“You might as well lie down and quit.”

Ugly lies, but harsh realities for me more often then not.

Turning off the voices in my head has been a constant battle as I continually try to tune into God’s frequency.

Broken and bruised, and with nowhere else to turn, I surrender my weakness to the Father. I can’t do this life without Him. I need Him in times of strength, but most importantly in times of weakness. It’s in my lowest times that God’s power rises to the forefront of my mind and reminds me that He remains.

When change comes, why wring our hands when we can cling to grace? he is there for us in each and every time of need. (Heb. 4:16) – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

Jesus knows our weakness, he's felt weakness, and he isn't turned off by our weakness.
Jesus knows our weakness, he's felt our weakness, and he isn't turned off by our weakness.… Click To Tweet

If I am going to rid our minds of the enemies lies, I must wield the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God. God’s Word is a source of strength in times of weakness.

But being disciplined to read the Word every day is easier said than done. Distractions come, meeting me head on, and before I know it I’ve given over to beginning my day without breathing in the Word.

The days I am breathing in the Word, I am breathing out a better day. – Kristin Strong, Girl Meets Change

My one goal this New Year is to read the Word of God every day. This doesn’t necessarily mean I will spend an hour or more soaking up God’s truth, but it means that I will read every day and meditate on His truths so that I can change  my outlook about my current season.

Reading God’s Word will give me the peace that I so desire, make me a better wife and mother, and help me to pray from a heavenly perspective.

Letting go of the lies that so easily overwhelm us is a choice. When we choose to believe that God is faithful, we are choosing to surrender our fears about the future and change into His capable hands.

Let us take up the Sword of the Spirit and believe that change is not in the way of God’s plan for our lives, but is on the way.

How about you my friends? Are you holding tightly to the truth of scripture and choosing to walk forward in freedom? Are you struggling with fear? I would love for you to share in the comments below. I would love to pray for you.

2 In Book study

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week 6

Thank you all for sticking with me through this study. I got behind in my reading and forgot to post (again) last week. I have some very concerning personal things happening in my life right now, but I’m just going to try to keep plugging alone. I will finish the study, I promise. I hope you are being blessed as you read.

When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don't throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.

I cannot tell you how many times over the course of the last couple of weeks I’ve wanted to hand over my ticket and get off the train. Sometimes I just don’t understand God — why He allows things to happen the way they do. I haven’t been the best at dealing with our current situation (more on that later). I haven’t been in a place where I’ve been able to trust God.

But then I have to ask myself why not? I’ve been in this place before. Sure, it looked different but technically the same.  And God was there with me, and He always provided. Always. So what is there to fear?

As I’ve been overcome with worry and fear, I’ve lost sight of all that I truly have to be grateful for. Even in the day set aside to rejoice in the birth of our Savior, I struggled. I fought for joy and lost the fight. I chose to give in to fear instead of keeping gratitude in front of me.

Gratitude provides a window to a windowless room. –
Kristen Strong, A Girl Meets Change

I love what Kristen shares about gratitude, as she was forced to wait for word of her daughter’s surgery in a windowless waiting room.

Gratitude is the way of hope, especially during seasons of difficult change.

Life can become dark and cloudy during seasons of difficult change. When I allow my heart to be filled with hopelessness, anxiety and fear, the only thing that will cause the light to shine in my heart again is gratitude.

Gratitude is the path one must take to bring hope to a hopeless situation.… Click To Tweet

Gratitude again brings the sun and fresh air to those windowless times in our soul and reminds us of what we have. The focus on what is missing blurs, and the focus on what is present sharpens. – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

Even though I know that God is close to us in our current season of change, it’s hard to understand why He’s brought us here in the first place. Things were going so well, and then my husband hurt his knee and has been unable to work for a few weeks. We have no answers. We have no income (well, we have some but it will hardly pay the rent). We have lots of fear and anxiety. We find ourselves wandering around in this dark season of change, wondering where God is in all of it, instead of thanking Him for what He’s doing in the midst of it.

No matter what happens, I know that God will not leave our side. I want to learn to be grateful, in all circumstances. I am praying and asking God to help me.

How about you my friend. Have you been able to have a grateful heart through intense seasons of change? I would love for you to share in the comments below.

7 In Book study/ Faith

Embracing Life’s Transitions // Week 5

I’ve never been one to admit defeat. I don’t like feeling or appearing weak in any circumstance. But I know that I am. And I know that if I am going to learn to fully embrace change, then I must learn to accept my limitations.

“I may be a person who has imperfectly learned to thrive through change, but I can’t say I thrive on change.” – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

_Life's limitations are God's invitation to change our expectations._

If I am going to be completely honest, I am still kicking through seasons of change. I often look at the season and think, “where did I go wrong”, or “what could I have done differently”. I focus on what was, instead of believing that God has His best for me just around the corner.

I focus on what was, instead of believing that God has His best for me just around the corner.… Click To Tweet

“I believe that I shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.” (Ps. 27:13)

There were/are times when I wonder if I will fully embrace His goodness here on this earth. Part of me believes that I have lived the best days of my life already. Yet I know that this is far from truth. God still has good things for me. And He promises that I will see His goodness this side of heaven.

I want so desperately to come to a place of accepting change and finding the blessing within it. When I choose to look behind, I miss what He has for me up head.

I want the Lord to teach me how to not see the limitations that change bring as boundaries, but as places to acknowledge my weakness and accept the fact that I need Jesus to help me go the distance.

When I choose to look behind, I miss what He has for me up head.

“A limitation is a grace space for me to lie down in and soak up God’s presence. It is a garden spot for me to reflect on God’s believability.” – Kristen Strong, Girl Meets Change

 I love this quote by Kristen.

When we fully come to realize our limitations, and give them over to God, we can enter His rest and peace will come.

When we realize that, in and of ourselves we cannot accomplish anything, we can come to focus on the fact that with God, all things are possible.

What is God teaching you through your limitations? I would love for you to share in the comments below.