New direction and New paths open up in 2017

God is always stunning and amazing to me when I let go and put my life in His hands.

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January came and went and a quiet start was God’s plan for this new year. As I sat recovering from pneumonia and with lots of time to think and put the coming year before God, I felt a deeper call to be quiet.  I began to understand He had started the year in this way on purpose. I mean of course He had, He has a purpose and a plan for everything but once again it all came together.  He had been preparing my husband and I for changes throughout 2016 but we were not sure where He was going or what He wanted us to do.  We just faithfully listened and kept moving forward.

God is always stunning and amazing to me when I let go and put my life in His hands. In 2016 we had a record year of travel it was amazing and wonderful to outstretched-cupped-handsconnect with so many family members and friends and to see many beautiful places.  I could feel life making great shifts and I vacillated throughout the year between scared and excited but mostly excited.  We were on a new path with significant change. My adult children were pursuing new directions and hearing God in their own lives,that in itself was exciting to watch.  God was doing things with my husband and his career and his view of it. He was changing where I put my focus and what I pursued day-to-day as I moved forward.  I think throughout the year we would stop and go “Huh, where is God going with all of this.” As I reflect in writing this I see each of us saying to the other throughout the year “Just do what is in front of you today, you don’t know where God is going with this but He loves you and has a plan.” Even that in itself is amazing and one of the reasons I know God had me start writing this blog. He reveals new things to me each time I write. He always has through writing this is just a new dimension. Now as 2017 opens and new horizons appear before us I don’t feel scared but the fact that big changes are actually before us makes me pause and take a breath.

I have spent so much time of my life fearing what was coming and how I would handle it.  I would try to look at all the scenarios I would possibly face and in some way try to prepare for them mentally or by the way I handled my life.  In different ways throughout the years God has been trying to get me to loosen my grasp on this way of doing things.  Often I would find my mind thinking on some disaster that might occur,this way of thinking came to me early in life.  Throughout my life there were these huge ,somewhat out of nowhere, events that would happen changing my life diametrically and in some ways not for the better for a time.  This left me always trying to prep and avoid the unexpected.  The thing I learned over the years is life does not happen in the way you prepare for it.  While you are looking over here something pops over there.  In little steps God held my hand as I walked this road and tried to navigate all these twists and turns on my own.

Looking back I can see Him asking me to follow Him let Him take the lead.  It is funny to think of the times I did and the times I didn’t and the differences of where I ended up each time.  Having my 7 kids was one of those following moments transitioning from teens to adults was one of the times I took my own path.  I have the results of both displayed before me one has beautiful and amazing results despite the inherent difficulties throughout the years and the other was fraught with confusion and heartache.  As I came out of this and surrender myself to following Him again the paths before me began to open up but my instinct to plan and protect myself hung on.

God is so amazingly faithful despite all the little dances we do to orchestrate our own life.  So as I sat healing and being quiet learning on a deeper level to take one day at a time,news came.  Here is where we can miss His provision. I am thankful I have not been fighting with Him about being incapacitated with this illness. I am thankful I have been sitting quietly as He asked and waiting on Him.  In this valley a new vista opened up and word came down that after 28 years with his company and moving with many, many changes over the years,permanent changes were in the works.  The company was selling his division.  It is unheard of to be with a company almost 30 years these days but it has been such a gift from God as we raised the 7 gifts.  There was so much God had been showing us throughout 2016 preparing us for this change without saying exactly what it would be. There are so many options before us now as we look at the changes but we both feel ready and understand God has been preparing us and He has a plan.

So now as we look at 2017 the path looks very different and the quietness makes sense. We will not be proceeding from where we werjoroy500ncc-toni-lluche in 2016 but on a whole new road. We will have huge decisions to make as career and life take a new turn. As things we have done for almost 30 years associated with one large company changes. On one hand I want to close my eyes and I don’t want anything to change; as much I have been craving change now that it is here I feel a bit daunted my how many areas of our life this will affect. This is not just a job change at this point and at this stage of life. But this year of letting go and trusting God happened for a reason.  Last year all year I could hear Him urging me trust me look at your heart you aren’t trusting me you are relying on your own abilities. Little by little in His sweet gentle way He has led me along and now we stand here looking out at a new horizon and I want to follow. I don’t want to take control and try to guide this. I have done that too much in life and as I look back I am firm in my understanding that, that way does not work. I am clear that the worlds way of doing it ,experience it yourself, you have to go through these things to know, is the lie that started with Eve. For the moment and I hope forever I am done with that path; I have seen and experienced the difference of trusting Him and there is no comparison. Each holds difficulty and struggle but one has joy and strength and amazing gifts attached and the other has just heartaches and confusion. 

A month and a half has flown by in our journey through 2017. I am thankful for the quiet brought on by illness. Thank you Jesus for the time to reflect. Thank you for all the change and thank you that we can look to You in the face of it all.

Freedom in Brokenness

When your body betrays you and you have nothing with which to accomplish life in the way you are accustomed it can be devastating, or so it may seem at first.

afq5-t0zgtq-veeterzyEach time I have been physically broken I come back to a place of spiritual brokenness that frees me from the slavery that so easily entangles me. I am released from the mess that I make of my mind when I get back to striving on my own. In my physical brokenness I learn more about trusting God. How basic is that and yet He calls us deeper all the time. What we know now is only a shadow of what is to come.

When your body betrays you and you have nothing with which to accomplish life in the way you are accustomed it can be devastating, or so it may seem at first. You find yourself in a new place striving to find new ways to do what used to be second nature.  You realize how much of what you did in life you took for granted. For me the prayers I begin praying are that I will get my ability to do things on my own, back. The thing is, lately the answer I have been getting is “I love you, let me love you.” I promptly respond by letting Jesus know the way He can show love to me, my Love Language so to speak, is to give me back the ability to do things myself. That is not the freedom He wants me to experience right now. He knows I know the freedom of hard work and doing things myself. He wants me to go deeper. What He wants to show me is the freedom to watch Him work, He wants me to trust Him.

My mind does a double take of sorts when He says this. “Wait what?! How can I be following Jesus and not trust Him.” The verse about renewing and transforming comes to mind immediately. There was a time when I did not know how to do any of the things I now take for granted and do easily. In the years He spent teaching me these things I was on my knees ,literally, daily. I was clueless how to accomplish what He asked and I had no desire to do it outside of Him and His design. In the quiet of physical brokenness I listened as He spoke. Through the years I had moved from inability and reliance on Him, to strength and striving in my own power and abilities. I had developed a new habit of throwing up prayers and not waiting for the answers. Going through the motions of being Mary but really being Martha. Each time I have recently found myself in this place of physical brokenness I have been waiting foot tapping for God to get me out of it so I could get things done. His answer was again “No, trust me. I will do what needs to be done.” I will fight the battle while you stay quiet.

1za_mc846yu-ben-whiteTrusting Him is not new, but I am being called to a new place where I will face new challenges and Jesus wants me to be free. He wants me quiet and not carrying the burdens I have been choosing to carry. He wants me free to look to Him and listen. Free to see what He wants to do next in my life. So while being physically broken is hard. I am thankful, without it I wouldn’t be here writing this today and feeling excited to watch God work.

Where are you at today are you physically broken? Are you striving to do things in your power? Take a moment and listen Jesus is calling and He wants to take care of you. When I am broken I take more time for prayer so leave me a comment and let me be praying for you.

An Avenue of Renewal

The passionate feelings we feel in the physical world are but a shadow of what we have with Him.

Marriage for me has been a gift. A main avenue through which the Spirit works to renew and transform my mind.  The parallels that run through marriage and our life with Himsillhoutte-couple run deep.   They are  a training ground of spiritual expression.   Even as I write this I am astounded by a revelation as He opens my mind to a deeper truth of something He has been teaching me for years!

My spouse can never fulfill me the way the Spirit can.  He can never meet my needs at the deepest level the way Jesus can and wants to.  Song of Solomon is expressed the way it is on purpose.  We have turned all our focus on the physical, getting our needs met, making sure we are happy and with people who build us up.  That puts a lot of pressure on us!  I have seen posts and books about an affair proof marriage keeping your man interested in you. Now I don’t want to take away from what some of these wise women are saying, addressing certain weak areas of self focus.  I am speaking of freedom. Freedom in marriage is  a deep abiding reliance on Jesus to meet our needs.  It is a faith often so hard to grasp we are weeping at His feet, but the end of this road is a vision of grandeur. Sometimes the work He is doing isn’t on us, we are just a part of the process and in the end we get to stand in awe.  Casting our care on Him seems so clique but really only in letting go and being free do we see Him and what He is doing in our marriage and in our life.  When we are working so hard in our own power to make things work we can’t see Him.  All we see is the effort we are making and we are looking for the expected response.  This only ever leads to deception and disillusionment.  Gideon watched God work, Moses held up his hands and watched God work, Peter, Paul and the apostles laid their hands and said words. This is not work and human effort. We gain nothing on this road and in our marriage it is no different. This is not a new story or a new way.

So let’s put down our expectations. Let’s be free and look around and see what God is doing. Is your spouse not saying what you need or want to hear right now or some other loved one? Let’s live free to ask why.  I am loved, I am cherished where is this darkness coming from. Should I speak to it? Can I express love in the face of it? So often for me the answer is no. The best I can do is hold tightly to my control and not respond. Let me tell you I fail often! What should I be in prayer about?  So often I can see how my spouse should be handling our relationship differently and what His best behavior is but really the question comes back to me?  This is really between God and I. The spiritual manifests itself in the physical and satan just amps it up makes it bigger than it is.  heavens

So today I am going to take a moment and sit before Jesus and listen to the Spirit.  What does He want me to see? What army is He conquering while I am looking the other way and complaining about what I don’t have? Today I am going to look freedom in the face and see the chains the Spirit wants to break. The chains that are binding me and keeping me back from loving those He has put in my life because I only infinitesimally grasp His love for me.

I am thankful for the reminder I don’t need my spouse to act in a certain way or say certain things. I can love because I am learning more each day how I am loved.  I am thankful as I have been for years that God chose to show His love for me through my spouse and then my children and He continues in so many ways.  I am thankful I am not responsible to live with the spin in my head and to rely on those around me who have their own challenges, I can rest in Jesus. When there is no clear instruction I just rest and for that I am thankful. I am thankful that as I watch Him handle these challenges in my physical realm with my spouse He takes me deeper inside of my relationship with Him where He is healing me and bringing out what He intended when He created me.

Are you challenged in your relationships? Is it hard to hear God? Is your feeling of love coming from those around you and you just are not feeling it right now?  Leave a comment and let me pray for you. This is an ongoing struggle. Let go today and open yourself up to God’s true intent for you? See the you He created.