For many years I have prayed, contemplated, and waited each “beginning” of each year for MY WORD. The word He wants me to focus on in order to be in His will. His will is the only place that I ever feel peace.
This last year I’ve grown, changed, and learned. I have discovered things and pondered things. Life is always changing. That’s the only thing other than salvation that’s guaranteed on this side of heaven.
I truly believe that through my Pastor’s message this morning that I felt clearly the word I need to focus on.
HOPE – I need to believe that the BEST is yet to come.
I need to let the things GO that I’m allowing to make me bitter. Bitter or Better. It’s a choice.
I need to remember that all of my life has led up to this point. Everything I’ve learned, discovered, been through will help me where I’m going. As long as I’m where I’m supposed to be.
Multiple ways to describe it.
Hope. Anticipation. Belief.
Faith is necessary.
I must believe that the best is yet to come.
This one word…. HOPE, it forces me to let go of the hurts and fears and bitterness and look forward to the BEST.
You see, the WORD of God never fails. It never will fail. (See Luke 1:37 NLT) With God, nothing is impossible.
There are many areas in life that I could apply this verse to. Many areas where I need to apply this verse. Here is what I’ve learned and finding this verse is a result of looking for an answer in His Word.
In life there are seasons and not just seasons of people. There are people that come and go and seasons that are high and low. There are people who stay. There are those who hurt us and who we hurt. Some accidentally, some on purpose. You learn that you can only fix you and you can only change your heart.
There are those who are like sandpaper and those who we mesh with. But we don’t get to choose who we should be kind hearted to… even when they hurt us. Then there are those who are oblivious to the fact that they pour salt in our wounds over and over. But we can’t live in a bitter state and rise above at the same time.
Bitter or Better. I remember Granny Shiver saying: “You can let it make you bitter or better.” when sharing about life issues. It’s always stuck with me. In the back of my mind. And praise God that His Word is always available to me. When I want to wallow and try to figure out why… I can just turn to the Word and find “why not” or why to not wallow in my feelings. Sometimes it takes longer than others. Sometimes it’s my last resort instead of first instinct. That’s real life.
There’s more to this thought of mine that I’ll be sharing here on my blog. Until then, maybe you needed this reminder, too.
People will let us down, but God NEVER will. Grace. He gives it to us abundantly.
The seasons and people in our life can grow us, if we choose to let them make us better and not bitter. I’m working on becoming better. It’s only possible with God.
Life will give you many twists and turns. The ride will sometimes be smooth and other times will be bumpy. You will face things that you never expected. You’ll learn that not everyone is who they appear. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll scream. You’ll stand up and stand firm. You will make mistakes. Lots of them. You’ll be shown mercy. Lots of it. God will be the one constant. He will be the only ONE who will never let you down. He’s the only ONE capable of that for anyone. You will face fears and you’ll face things that some will never know about. You’ll love big. You will be blessed so much. God will give you so many gifts. Life will reveal things that you never imagined. You will realize again and again that you are never the ONE that is in control. You will have moments of frustration. You will experience depression and anxiety. You will think it’s a secret to keep. You will speak up and be transparent. You will realize that life throws the twists and turns and that sometimes you will struggle. You’ll speak up and be bold. You will share pieces of your testimony at the right times. The times that God leads you to do so. You’ll share your struggles because you know the things you experience can help someone else. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll soar. You’ll fly. You will struggle with the deep thoughts and you’ll keep sharing. This is why you are here. Little girl. You keep going. Keep striving. Keep leaning. Keep standing. Your FATHER is always by your side.
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. (Proverbs 4:23-24 NIV)
My mouth. Sometimes A lot of the time, it would do me good to just count to 10.. Or 10,000. Depends on the moment.
Hear me when I say that I’m a work in progress. Hear me when I say that it is usually with my husband and our daughters. As in, I’m like a babbling brook overflowing with however I feel at the moment.. With the ones who share my space.(anybody else relate?) My tribe. Poor things. They see me when I’m tired. They see me when I’m at my breaking point. Poor things see me and hear me when I’ve had all that I think I can bear. Bless ’em.
Hey. I could turn it around and say that while they see me at my worst, I too, see them at their worst. It’s true.
What is in my heart will overflow out of that leaky faucet of a mouth I tend to have here at home amongst my tribe. My tribe. Home should be our safe place. The safe place.
Whether I’m rambling or not thinking before speaking, or saying what I feel without feeling what I say, it’s a heart issue.
Listen. I know good and well that I’m not the only woman or person that needs to learn to keep my words sweet. Or even just keep my words.. In my mouth.. Zipped up. Words are what gets most of us in trouble.
Just like the way a piano key is pounded or gently tapped or softly pressed, our words have the same effect. The tone we use can change a mood entirely. It’s a choice. Tone. Timing. Temperature. Yes, your words, my words, they even have a temperature!
Hot words –> When angry
Cold words –> When wanting to hurt
Warm words –> To soothe and show love
You get the point.
Words. I love words. Can you take a wild guess at what one of my main love languages is? Yep. You guessed it. Words of Affirmation. I LOVE words. I mean, I’m a writer for goodness sakes. I love words. I love to use them to encourage others. I love to pray. I love to share the gospel through words. Sometimes my words are not encouraging to my little tribe here at home though.
I should probably work on that with my man. Usually it’s when I’m tired or being selfish that I snap on him. Even if I’m not in the wrong, I still have a choice when using my words.
I should probably work on that with my daughters. They learn what they live. When I find myself getting on to them about their smart mouths or tone with each other, I stop and think for a second. Hey. They get it from us. They get it from me. They learn what they live.
My God is so merciful and gracious and good. I can hardly believe sometimes that HE would choose to love a sinner like me, in spite of me. HE loves me, he knows me, he made me, he loves me in spite of all of my failures and inadequacies.
And if I want to truly SHINE JESUS, my words better reflect JESUS.
Maybe you find yourself feeling the same way at times. Ashamed when you fail. Frustrated because the levy broke and ugly or hurtful words spewed out. Embarrassed because you should have it together by now. But you don’t. And I don’t. HE is not finished with us yet friends. Praise God HE is not finished.
We can fix our leaky faucets. With God. We can be intentional about our choice of words. We can think before we speak, text, tweet, or post. We can listen more than we speak. You know the old two ears one mouth saying, the one about listening twice as much as we speak. We can choose to overlook an offense as the Proverbs tells us. We can do some heart surgery. Inspecting ourselves. Looking deep within. Getting to the root. Immersing ourselves in The WORD of God and in prayer. Communicating with the One who created us.
If the saying “You are who you hang around” is true. And it is. Then maybe we would all do well to “hang around” God more.
No matter the circumstance, we all have a choice in how we react and whether we bridle our tongue or not.
I’m grateful for my God. The One who shows mercy to me when I mess up. And I’m grateful to the ones who remind me of Jesus.. The ones who show me mercy as well.
Maybe it’s time for a heart check.
Is there an area involving words that you need to work on in order to shine Jesus? Do you need to apologize to someone for the way that your mouth may have offended them? Do you need to spend more time with the One who made you? I know my answer to all three questions. Yes.
We never know what the future holds. Only God knows. Life can change in a split second. Our words matter. The way we choose to use them matter.
Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. ~ Ephesians 4:28,29 (NIV)
“Leave behind footprints in concrete not footprints in sand that wash away…” ~Heather Dawkins
A thought that came to me the other day.
I was on the treadmill.
Provoking thoughts usually come to me at the strangest times. While mopping or vacuuming or exercising usually.
That might provide some insight into why there have been so few posts lately.. 💁😂
Anyways.. For some reason the poem about footprints in the sand came to mind. I immediately thought of my life & the footprints I am leaving. And just like that, The “footprints in concrete” thought appeared.
I think it’s because of the large amount of time I’ve spent reminiscing since my Daddy died. Replaying events over and over again. Thinking on those footprints he has left that are like concrete in my mind.
Footprints in the sand wash away. The footprints in concrete remain. Daddy left some beautiful concrete footprints.
Which led to me thinking on just what kind of footprint was I going to leave.
Some will be the sand kind. Some will be the concrete kind.
But will they be the beautiful remembering kind?
I’ve not lived a perfect life. I’ve made mistakes. I’ve failed. I’ve fallen.. But I have learned. Isn’t that the blessing?
Even the ugly footprints that we hope will wash away can be where the largest blessings emerge from. The blessings of lessons learned, growth, and hopefully maturity as well.
The concrete footprints are the legacy we leave behind. The lessons learned. The love we gave. The lives we touched along the way.
So I can’t help but wonder, just what kind of reminiscing will be done when my footprints in concrete are left behind.
Do you wonder about your legacy too?
We live here for such a brief moment in the whole scheme of things. Time is such a mystery. We toil and worry and rush around.. But in all the rush, are we doing what is lasting? Are we making lasting footprints? The kind that live on and on and on?
I want to leave behind footprints in concrete not footprints in sand that wash away.
The beautiful remembering kind.
Ponder the path of thy feet, and let all thy ways be established. (Proverbs 4:26 KJV)
Behold, upon the mountains, the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace! (Nahum 1:15 a ESV)
One week into the social media break and it’s funny how it came after my 31 Days of Being Present in Real Life series. The one that I purposely did NOT complete. Yeah. God does have a sense of humor.
So, here I am. Learning things about myself. Listening so much more to God. The noise is tuned out much better now. More “spiritual whitespace”. And while I am on that subject, I read a book by Bonnie Gray called Finding Spiritual Whitespace a few weeks ago. AH-MAZING. She is a beautiful soul, I can tell by her comments and sweet replies to my comments..It’s so neat how this internet works isn’t it? You can reach through the world-wide web and virtually meet people..but, I am digressing. That book was written from the depths of her soul. She writes so poetically and beautiful and from her heart.
I am learning what my version of “spiritual whitespace” looks like in comparison to God’s idea for me. I do want GOD. I want HIM more than the way I used to make time for HIM. I want GOD more than that mindless scrolling through a newsfeed that really isn’t “news”. I want GOD more than likes or comments or replies or fame or fortune or knowing what everybody is doing. I want GOD more than I want me and more than my idea of wanting God looks like. Then and only then can I be completely at peace.
A soul one with GOD, with nothing in between, is a soul at peace.
I am learning that obedience truly does lead to blessing. Even when obedience means cutting away some good things in your life. Even when it means removing for a short time something that isn’t necessarily a “bad” thing..just a distracting thing. Because GOD said so.
I am learning that even though I do have a good time of study in the Bible and a quiet time every morning, that God still requires more.
Because my idea of what is enough really isn’t enough at all.
I can look back over the past year or so and see where God is working and moving in my life and the life of my family and I am so excited to see what is next! Maybe a little scared too if I am honest. Maybe anxious is a better word. I just feel it in my bones and I am ready and I can’t wait to see what all God shows me and speaks to me through this time with HIM. Sweet time with my Savior and Lord. Tuned in to HIM.
I believe when GOD speaks we better listen. When GOD commands we had better obey. And that….
When GOD whispers, if the noise is too loud, I can’t hear HIM.
James 1:22 (NLT) ~ But don’t just listen to God’s word. You must do what it says. Otherwise, you are only fooling yourselves.
Romans 2:13 (NLT) ~ For merely listening to the law doesn’t make us right with God. It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight.
~ Is it too loud for me to be able to even hear God? Too much noise?
~ Do I really WANT GOD or just my idea of what wanting God looks like?
~ Am I willing to focus more on God than on other stuff?
~ Is God calling me to fast anything in order to hear HIM more clearly?