times of transition

The 16 Year Old Me

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Life is a journey

I’m often surprised in life with how things happen in ways that I never expected. For most of my life I have been a planner. In fact, by the time I was 16, I had my whole life planned out. I wonder how many of us do that? In Sunday school this week our Senior High students got to finish up a series on Godly Career Development with a panel of church members. Listening to them share their stories, I found myself chuckling at the way we, as people, try to figure our whole lives out when God has other plans for us. None of them had their lives turn out as they has planned as teenagers. It made me think about a recent visit at my parent’s house.

For Christmas we stayed a couple of days with my parents. We were reminiscing about Christmases gone by and how the years go by so fast. My dad was talking about how I am still his “little girl” when I now have two adult children of my own. He talked about his childhood and things he had hoped for and how happy he was to have grandkids. He told me he was proud of my husband and I for how we had raised our kids and thought we had done a good job. It was a wonderful time of fellowship for our family and got me to thinking about how all of the good things in my life are because of The Lord.

In that moment, I thought about my past plans and things I had strived for. The things that I had tried to make happen. I thought of the things I had done wrong and the things I had done right. I thought about how I had my life planned out at 16, leaving little room for God to make changes. I wondered what the 16 year old me would think if she could see her life now. I imagine she would be scared, happy and have her little mind blown.  Some of things she planned did happen. I have a great husband, children and a strong walk with the Lord, however, I don’t think any of it happened the way she thought it would. I think she would be very surprised at how it is all better than she could have ever imagined. As I thought about the 16 year old me, and who I am today, I was left mostly in awe of how God’s plans are always the best. Because all the things I have done right are really the times that I listened to the Lord, trusted him, and let him lead the way. And the things that I had done wrong, well, He has come in and cleaned up my mess. If I could go back and talk to the 16 year old me, I would tell her to trust more in God’s plan and His goodness. I would tell her how much she needs Him in her life. I would tell her that His plans are always the best ones and if she thinks her plans are better she is sadly mistaken. Because I have had the chance to walk in my own plans and have been left to my own devices. That woman, that person, is not a pretty one. She is a mess. But with God, she can be pretty amazing. Because everything I have I owe to Him, everything I am I owe to Him, and everything I want to be in the future I give to Him, because He is trustworthy. In this life I have learned what a mess I am without Christ, but how with Him I can be used in great ways, as a wife, as a mom, as a friend, and as the Lords hands and feet. Pretty amazing that God wants to use us no matter how small we are, no matter how selfish we have been, and no matter what we have done.

So I guess I am left with telling the present day me to, trust God. Trust in His plans and in His goodness. Trust that He has a perfect plan and that He already has all the answers. Know that He loves more than can be measured and holds all things in His hands. Yes, that is what I would tell myself and it’s what I am telling you. Be Blessed my friends.

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Thankfulness

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This Thanksgiving weekend was one of the best that I remember in a long time. My parents came for dinner, my oldest son was home for a visit, we decorated for Christmas, we even played board games. It was a wonderful weekend. I came out of the weekend with the thought that you can’t put a price on the important things in life.

On the way to church on Sunday, I was feeling very thankful for all that this year has brought me and for all that God has done for my family and I. I was pondering how to keep the whole holiday season in perspective. I want to remember that it is a time to be thankful and a time that’s more about giving than receiving. Then, I began to think that’s how we should live our lives everyday.

Then in church, My Pastor put into words the answer to my question. The question of how to keep life in perspective. The answer is to be thankful in all things, at all times. He had a comparison chart that I loved. A simple negative versus positive comparison of how being unthankful versus thankful, affects our lives. It really impacted me, and I realize I need to be more thankful every day of my life. Below is the comparison.

Negative Affects of Unthankfulness 

Self Centeredness
Critical Spirit
Bitterness
Worry
Unbelief

Positive Affects of Thankfulness

Other Focused
Blessing Spirit
Joy
Contentment
Faith

As we delve deeper into the holiday season I want to keep thankfulness on my mind and in my heart. I want to remember that Christmas isn’t about all the gifts we give and receive, but about the gift that Christ gave to us all on the cross. I want to remember that family is one of the most important things a person can have. I want to give more of myself to God and more to those that I love. But most of all I want to have a happy, thankful heart, not just during this season, but every day of the year, because the price Jesus paid is too high for me to live any other way. Be blessed my friends, be full of joy, and know that you are loved.

Cherishing The Moments

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In the last month I have had the wonderful privilege of spending a week at the beach with my hubby, my kids and parents. I’ve got to spend time with wonderful friends and I launched my oldest son off into the world. It has been quite an eventful month.

It has made me think of how life is full of beautiful moments and how quickly they pass. Having sent my oldest off, made me think of the moments of being a brand new mom. It doesn’t seem that long ago that it was my first day home alone with him. I was worried how I would do. Then it rained and the electricity went out. He fell asleep on my chest. I cried, overwhelmed by feelings of love, awe, and fears of doing a terrible job as a mom. In that moment, it was like the world just stopped awhile for him and I to bond on a rainy day with nothing else to do.

Looking back, I sometimes wish that I would have held on to many moments a little longer. One more story, one more hug, one more twirl around the living room. I feel blessed that I have God in my life and that I handed my children to him while still in the womb. It has helped me through sleepless nights and sticky fingers. Through long days, and diaper changes. It helped me say I’m sorry and I don’t have all the answers. In recent years it has given me the privilege of hanging out in those crazy moments with teenagers, even though they are hard. It has helped me let go, the hardest thing a mom will ever do. Most of all, it has given me peace that The Lord cares even more about my children than I do, so I know they are in good hands.

Recently I was talking to a mom with small kids. We talked about how hard the toddler years can be, especially when you have several children. But in that moment, all I could remember was joyous laughter, make believe, and sunny days. As most moms say, I told her to enjoy the moments. Cherish them. They pass too quickly. I told her she won’t remember the sleepless nights, the never ending diaper changes, and messy house. What she will remember are all those beautiful moments. And in that moment, I was so thankful for all the beautiful moments in my life. Thankful and excite for many more beautiful moments to cherish in the future.

Sometimes seasons of life can be hard. Letting go and entering a new season can be tough, especially as a mom. But I would encourage you as a mom, or anyone out there, that life is full of great moments when we are looking for them. So today, look for a moment to cherish. A hug with your child or a friend. Holding hands with your spouse. That call to your mom. Or simply one more diaper change with those loving, trusting eyes looking up at you. Life is fleeting. I love the quote “Life is not about how many breaths you take, but about the moments that take your breath away.” So, be blessed my friends and cherish the moments.

Times

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I love how God is everywhere. His love surpasses everything, reaches everywhere, and transcends all time. I have been feeling very heavy this week and I love that I know the Lord is my king and is the same, today, yesterday and forever. So this week’s Poetry Tuesday is “Times” by Tenth Avenue North. Be blessed my friends and know that you are never beyond the Lord’s reach.

“Times”

I know I need You
I need to love You
I’d love to see You but it’s been so long

I long to feel You
I feel this need for You
I need to hear You
Is that so wrong

Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh

Now You pull me near You
When we’re close I fear You
Still I’m afraid to tell you all that I’ve done

Are You done forgiving
Or can You look past my pretending, Lord
I’m so tired of defending what I’ve become
What have I become

Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh

I hear You say
My love is over
It’s underneath
It’s inside
It’s in between

The times that you doubt me
When you can’t feel
The times that you question
Is this for real

The times you’re broken
The times that you mend
The times you hate me
And the times that you bend

Well my love is over
It’s underneath
It’s inside
It’s in between

The times that you’re healing
And when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you’ve fallen from grace

The times you’re hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal

In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I’m there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame

I’m there through your heart-ache
I’m there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone

I don’t care where you’ve fallen or where you have been
I’ll never forsake you
My love never ends
It never ends, mmmm

Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh
Oh oh, oh oh, oh oh

 

 

Hebrews 13:5 Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.”

Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.

Let It Go

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This weeks Poetry Tuesday’s feature is from a band who’s lead singer is from right here in Fredericksburg, Tenth Avenue North. They are incredibly talented and have a heart for God. When I first heard this song years ago, it ministered to me deeply. Since then I have come a long way in letting go and letting God. Be blessed my friends.

Let It Go

I’ve been holding on so tight
Look at these knuckles they’ve gone white
From fighting for who I want to be
I’m just trying to find security

But you say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul
You say let it go

Well it’s hard enough to hear
Harder still to move beyond this fear
We know there’s nothing I can bring
So tell me what do you want from me

You say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul
You say let it go
You say let it go
Oh…

What do I love
What do I hate
What will I lose
What will I gain
How do I save my soul, oh
What if I bend
What if I break
What will it cost
What will it take
For You to save my soul, oh

You say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul

You say let it go
You say let it go
You say life is waiting for the one’s who lose control
You say You will be everything I need
You say if I lose my life it’s then I’ll find my soul
You say let it go
You say let it go

God Identified

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This week’s Poetry Tuesday feature is a poem about trying to create our own identity and coming to the place of realizing we can only find our true identity in Christ. Be blessed my friends.

God Identified

Who are we?
Searching for ourselves
Trying to build a dream
That always seems to fail

Spinning imaginations
Out of control
Creating an image
On which to hold

Forgetting that it’s simple
Looking the wrong way
Focused on self
Forgetting to pray

All that we need
All that we are
He already gave
And bore the scars

Ask our Father for
Identity revealed
Based in the truth
Not in how we feel

A lesson we learn
In God identified
Created with purpose
Delivered, transformed and sanctified.

© Leah Jacobsen

Ephesians 1:4 According as he has chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love

Trust Me to Deliver You to Your Promised Destination

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I just wanted to share this awesome word from Garris Elkins and the Elijah List. Be blessed my friends.

 
Garris Elkins: “Trust Me to Deliver You to Your Promised Destination”

Tracks in the Desert
Recently, some of you have felt like a fully loaded locomotive moving at top speed with train cars lined up behind you as far as the eye can see. There has been tremendous momentum developed in your life in this past season.
Through unforeseen events, all of a sudden, you are now seeing the end of the train tracks ahead of you. You might be seeing the end of a season of life, but have no idea what is coming next. You might be seeing the end of a ministry or the end of a cherished relationship fast approaching. The end of what is known can have a paralyzing effect.
The visible rails of this current season are coming to an end and there appears to be nothing ahead but unknown and untested desert sand. It is too late to put on the natural brakes. There is not enough time. You are thinking that in just a few moments your life, as you know it, will derail and crash into the soft sand of an undefined future. The speed of this perceived crash is taking your breath away.

“I Will Make A Way…”
As I processed these words the Lord spoke a word of hope and promise:
“I will make a way in this fast, approaching desert where no way seems possible. I will not allow what I have set in motion in your life to end in disaster. I have laid tracks under the sand of your developing future that are not yet visible to the natural eye. These tracks will rise up and catch the wheels of your life and deliver you across this undefined desert place. (Photo by Robert Bartow The Sword and Stone via elijahshopper.com)
“I have been this way before with many others just like you. I know what I am doing. Trust Me to deliver you to your promised destination. Instead of crying out in fear at the end of these tracks, you will cry out in joy for what I have done.
“Between now and the end of these known tracks let the remaining moments reveal the true colors of your faith, developing you and maturing you so that you are not deficient in any way for the coming new season. Your act of faith is to believe in the substance of tracks not yet seen.”
“For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness.” Isaiah 43:19