Saturday, December 31, 2016

Songs of Joy

     After years of confusion, I awoke from the strangeness of things with insurmountable joy. I realized my downfalls over the past few years and what became of the things I had become accustomed to in my daily life. I was seeking the approval of man. You see, growing up I was always a bit of a dreamer. I loved dreaming of "far off places and daring sword fights" like Belle with her nose stuck in a book. I dreamed of fairy tales coming true and was always a bit of an adventure seeker in the most feminine way. At a young age of 17, my fairy tale started to amazingly become true. I met my handsome prince and we were made just for each other. God knew what he had in store for us meeting at such a young age and giving us dreams of a different kind of future. We loved being together and so we tied the knot at the age of 22.

     Shortly after, I started having children and accomplished more dreams of a large family. But somewhere along the way, I began living less for what we dreamed and more for the approvals of man. I picked up on ideas that I needed to care what the world thought of me more than I ever knew. I worried about cleaning on an overboard schedule worried that if someone came into my home and saw an ounce of mess, they would judge me as being a lazy mother. I tried going along with the demands others made for me without putting up necessary borders along the way. I felt if I didn't do XYZ, others would view me as not enough or I wasn't "Christian" enough. Sadly, as the years have gone by, I lost a bit of myself. I lost the adventures I wanted to take and put aside the hobbies I enjoyed in an effort not to disappoint anyone.

     This past year, I realized I couldn't always keep up anymore. I struggled as I fell to despair trying to figure out why I wasn't able to do more. However, God brought people to remind me through words or things done that I didn't need to do it all. "You do what you can" were words spoken to me. Then, after lots of time in tears and wondering how to get back to where I used to be, my husband reminded me of what I've lost... my confidence. My confidence was lost in the need to do everything right in order to please others. I've always been a bit of a people pleaser trying to not upset anyone. When I was reminded of what I used to have, it sunk in. The words were true and I slept on it.

     Then I awoke with flashbacks to who I once was and realized once again what I can still be. I was always a square peg in a round hole. I don't need to worry about what others think. Instead, I am learning to return to who I am deep down inside. I am thankful for the gentle nudges God gives me through others in an effort to live for Him. I don't need the approval of man because God gave me approval already.

As I dream once again, seek adventures like never before, and work on letting go, I am thankful for who God made me to be. I love the life He's given me and the lessons I'm learning along the way. I read this verse a few days ago that really came alive for me.

Psalms 126:5-6 Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy. Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them. 

I've been sowing with tears, but I reap with songs of joy. I am filled with joy for my savior who continues to love me beyond the mess that I am. He offers grace and mercy through his everlasting kindness. Through whatever trials and tribulations you are experiencing, just know that as you come out the other side, He will once again fill you with joy you never thought possible.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

New Year Dreams

Oh, my life is changing everyday, in every possible way. 

We never know what lies ahead of us, and yet through this life journey, we carry with us things from behind. Life events cause good and bad to happen, relationship changes, and new beginnings. This last year for me was filled with lots of this as I think back to all that may have happened. Some things were planned, while other things were thrown my way without my agreement. Yet, it all happened in ways to allow for change and growth.

And oh, my dreams, it's never quite as it seems, never quite as it seems. 

There are things I dream of happening and other things that prevent those dreams from becoming reality. Just when I imagine things to happen one way, life throws in a mix of something else, most often unexpected. So I dream and long for what I wished could have been instead. Sometimes, this causes anxiety beyond what I can bear. Sometimes, I realize that this is part of the growth God is leading me through to bring me closer to Him. Sometimes, it's opportunities to make changes in myself for the better. And sometimes, it's a chance to let things go to become something new.

I know I've felt like this before, but now I'm feeling it even more, because it came from you.

When I go through those unexpected hard times, I feel a pull from my savior drawing me closer to Him. There is no other way but to be drawn to Him. The alternative is to something unfortunate that leads to ultimate death. The way to my savior comes with a feeling of hope that leads to a future filled with everlasting life and happiness.

And then I open up and see the person falling here is me, a different way to be. 

The harder things became this year was a chance to fall harder into His arms. He held me when I didn't understand or know what to do. He listened and whispered his love for me, "Oh child, I'm here. Everything will be okay." So I trusted Him and didn't let go. I understood His intentions for me and stayed strong through it all.

I want more impossible to ignore, impossible to ignore.

And while I came to my savior each time, I knew I wanted more than what this life here on earth could ever give to me. I am here for a purpose and I'm apart of His plan, even when I didn't think I always mattered. He continued to nudge me and remind me that even through trials and tribulations, I served a purpose.

And they'll come true, impossible not to do, impossible not to do. 

While some dreams don't always carry out, there are dreams that I will continue to pursue. My dreams of new relationships with people who care to have time for me. My dreams of mountain filled air and wandering the countryside with my family hand-in-hand are my future. My dreams of a simpler life filled with less materialism and more good company are on my heart. My dreams of fun-filled days of laughter and celebration for the life He gave to me. My dreams of my children walking in the truth. My dreams of being surrounded in good company. My dreams of heavenly hope while I brace the future with my savior.

And now I tell you openly, you have my heart so don't hurt me. You're what I couldn't find. 

As I forgive and learn to let go of past relationships and hurt, I remember my Father's love for me. He has my heart and will never hurt me. Human love is filled with hurt and sorrow. But His love is optimistic and pure. There is nothing else in this world that can compare.

A totally amazing mind, so understanding and so kind; You're everything to me. 

Others will fail me and relationships are hard. I mess up as others do each and every day. But His love never fails. No matter the things I say and do, He forgives and accepts me as I am with kindness. He offers grace and mercy beyond what I could ever give to others.

Oh, my life, is changing every day, in every possible way. And oh, my dreams, it's never quite as it seems, 'cause you're a dream to me, dream to me.- The Cranberries

As we near the end of 2016, I reflect on all that it held. This was a difficult year for me as I learned a lot about myself in the process. I faced very unpleasant words by others. Often times, I was completely ignored by those who made no time for me in their life. I struggled my way through a lot of loneliness and sadness as I tried to understand certain aspects of life changes around me. I faced difficult health issues with my children and I was filled with fear for them. I balanced a lot on my own and struggled through feelings of rejection. There were times I had to step away and deal with my anxiety over it all. And often, I felt very alone as the bad overtook my thoughts.

One very impressionable person that I read about, Fanny Crosby, who dealt with blindness her entire life was once asked how she could be so happy near the end of her life. She responded that she lived each day with forgiveness and trust. That really resonated with me as I thought back to much of what I went through.

Some new things I am working on for this upcoming year is learning to forgive and trust. I am learning to let go of things that won't happen while embracing new dreams. I am learning not to let others make me forget my dreams and to continue on. I am learning that I have so many reasons to be thankful right in front of me. So I won't let those pessimistic and discouraging to bring me down. I am learning to dream new dreams. And I am learning to live each day with abandon for my savior.

Never give up, even when times are tough. Never give in to those who expect too much. Never let go of the people who matter most. And never stop dreaming and trying to make those dreams a reality. We only have one life to live here on earth. Never live with regrets and that is my motto for the new year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

From Weary World to Hopeful Haven

O holy night! The stars are brightly shining,

After a long, painful day of an internal battle for my soul, I think back to all the emotions good and bad that encapsulated my mind. At times, I felt joy over the good things in my life. Other times, I felt sorrow for the things of this world. There was anger for the unkindness and dishonesty that I see at times by others, even worse from my own heart. There were prideful thoughts and those things that caused me to look at others with discontentment. My anger overflowed through my mouth straight from the heart when things became too much. And yet, I was able to re-collect myself by day’s end with thoughts of my savior rescuing me from my sins.

It is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth.

With nighttime comes reflection and a remembrance of hope for things to come. In my heart, I have the goodness of my Father’s forgiveness and mercy for my daily mistakes. I have been redeemed by the blood of the lamb who came to rescue me. The gift was free and offered to me as well as all of creation.

Long lay the world in sin and error pining,

Knowing that the way of the world is death, I choose life. I choose the hope I found in Jesus, the one who was born one holy night. One look at the stars in the evening is a reminder that He’s with me all the time. He is always there and ready to welcome me with open arms. No matter the unkindness, anger, or dishonest things I ever do through the weakness of my soul, he has shown favor and love for me. The more I draw close to him, the stronger I become as He is the source of my strength.

Til He appear’d and the soul felt its worth.

For all the days and times that I feel unloved, unwanted, disrespected, insignificant, or abandoned, He nudges me some way, somehow to remind me that I have worth. Where the world wants to motivate me to feel like I don’t measure up, He reminds me that my life’s purpose is not based on the opinions of man.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices,

Every day, I fail either those around me or myself. It comes with the territory of being human. I say things I shouldn’t have said or acted upon my emotions unnecessarily. Meanwhile, I struggle to keep up with daily demands. I run myself into the ground being busy and I eat things I shouldn’t have eaten for a split moment of satisfaction. But hope conquers the things I cannot do. In the places that I fall short, He fulfills me.  It doesn’t matter that I cannot please myself or the world. My hope is in a better place.

For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Each morning, no matter how tired I am, I get a chance for a new start. His mercies for me are new every morning that I am alive. Everything that I said or did the day before gets a fresh start. That beautiful, amazing day that Jesus came in to the world allowed me do-overs in the best possible way. I am free! I am forgiven! I am loved! I am HIS!

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born; O night divine, O night, O night Divine. -by Adolphe Adam
Whether it's gossip, dishonesty, unkindness, impurity, anger, depression, gluttony, envy, pride, laziness, greed, or something else you struggle with on a daily basis, you, TOO, can live a life free from guilt. When you choose the way of Christ, you live with abandon. All it takes is a simple prayer and a life change. And when you are already apart of His life, remember one amazing thing. Our hopeful haven found in heaven will bring with it everlasting new mornings with the One who loves us best.