Monday, October 26, 2015

For this, I have Jesus.

I have been dying to get a little quiet computer time to share (document) some of the encouragements I have been finding lately as I battle fears.  Just the other day I was particularly worried and fearful about this "thing" I have been blogging vaguely about.  It's looming ahead of me over the coming months, and the majority of my fears center around the questions, "Will God provide and can He be trusted to lead me the best way?"  I've mentioned this all before, and at some point I'll give more details.  (Sometimes less details are nice though, aren't they?) 

  Anyway, I stopped drying my hair (I was getting ready and worrying, as the two seem to go hand-in-hand on some days) and I prayed, "Okay God.  Are you listening?  I need some immediate reassurance in this whole providing for my needs fear." And then I stood there in my bathroom, silent hair dryer in hand, and I waited.  In the still moment, I suddenly remembered that in my morning rush, I had forgotten to read the Daily Bread.  I skeptically muttered, "Oh okay whatever... is that You God... or just me?"  (But regardless, I grabbed it and opened it, because if that thought to read it WAS prompted by God, why not?) I'm sure you can surmise what happened next.  The daily bread that day spoke on the topic of God's provisions. Tears fell. I read, "God knows exactly what you are facing today.  Isaiah reminds us that God's knowledge of us is so intimate that our names were written on the palms of His hands (Isa. 49:16).... God is aware of every detail of our lives.  And He has given us His Spirit to guide, to comfort, and to strengthen us. Think of the challenges you face at this moment, and then write these words beside each one as a reminder of His faithfulness and care: "For this, I have Jesus." 

The reminder that God has engraved my name on the palm of His hand has followed me around everywhere.  I can't escape it.  But that's really the point.  We are never far from His thoughts because he carries us everywhere, along with all our details, our messes, our failures, our strivings, and successes.  He is for us.  We can give thanks for that one fact alone, if nothing else!!

 Then I went to church and hey... guess what the sermon was about?  Yep.  Being fearful versus being thankful.  (I pulled grammies hankie out of my purse and I used it.)  Our pastor spoke on the scientific side of what being thankful does to our brain chemistry and it was fascinating!  You can read a great article on it here but the bottom line is that the act of expressing thanks for things in our lives, reduced depression, helps us sleep better, improves health etc.  I loved this excerpt; "They found that subjects who showed more gratitude overall had higher levels of activity in the hypothalamus. This is important because the hypothalamus controls a huge array of essential bodily functions, including eating, drinking and sleeping. It also has a huge influence on your metabolism and stress levels. From this evidence on brain activity it starts to become clear how improvements in gratitude could have such wide-ranging effects from increased exercise, and improved sleep to decreased depression and fewer aches and pains. Furthermore, feelings of gratitude directly activated brain regions associated with the neurotransmitter dopamine. Dopamine feels good to get, which is why it’s generally considered the “reward” neurotransmitter. But dopamine is also almost important in initiating action. That means increases in dopamine make you more likely to do the thing you just did. It’s the brain saying, “Oh, do that again.”  Gratitude can have such a powerful impact on your life because it engages your brain in a virtuous cycle... So once you start seeing things to be grateful for, your brain starts looking for more things to be grateful for. That’s how the virtuous cycle gets created."

Being thankful in an unknown life moment or a deep ocean of fear is like a life raft headed toward safety. No matter what we face, no matter how afraid we are, He is for us and He knows our details. We can be thankful for His provision, and for this... all our moments, we have Jesus.
 P.S. (How cute is this photo I took over the weekend of my husband reading Green Eggs and Ham to our niece?) Coming soon, I am going to share a few darling things for your Thanksgiving home, from Ever Thine Home!  Stay tuned!
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Monday, October 19, 2015

While I bawl and walk on the treadmill...

The air is crisp and perfect for layers and boots right now.  The sun is shining through my dirty windows and the house is still.  I snapped a few photos that have nothing to do with this post and I should be getting ready to get all the details done before the week hits but I can't.  I just finished walking on my treadmill, while watching an episode of "Call the Midwife."

I have gotten so sucked in that show that I can't even walk outside right now, because I MUST combine the latest episode into my daily constitutional.  (I just said that in an English accent, which I have quite perfected after all this delightful BBC love + Downton Abbey.) (Someday my English loveys, I shall come for you and sip tea with you!!)  (That was not a threat.)
 Anyway.  I find faith applications while watching almost any show, but something about the whole idea of Nuns, finding your calling and bringing babies/the miracle of life into the world, has gone straight to my heart as of late.  I am so glad my local library has these videos!! Every time I'm walking I find myself crying and praising God for little nuggets in these storylines.  I know, I'm a weirdo.  Today was over the top in every way because I was full out ugly crying by the end of the episode.  I'm in season two where one of the nurses feels called to the mission field in Africa and as her companions send her off, the narration talks about how our faith makes us brave. I had been crying for a full five minutes before that but that moment was the ugly cry.

I mentioned a few posts back, that life is about to take a turn and come spring-time, I'll be willingly facing one of my biggest personal fears.  It's one of those fears that is really all about me- it shouldn't be, and if I wasn't so selfish it probably wouldn't be one of my biggest fears!!  Just being honest.  The point is this.  It's a fear because I lack faith!

If I had more faith, I would be BRAVE!

So, with those words of wisdom I willingly plan ahead to practice faith, and I am finding that being thankful in ALL circumstances is one of the surest ways to grow those baby seeds of faith!  (See how I did that... I just threw in something that connected babies and being thankful.)

I don't know where you're at, but I have gotten a ton of private feedback from many of you as I talk about being thankful versus fearful.  So I can't think that I'm the only one here.  It's that moment when you're doing something you are terrified of, and as you step forward, though you want to run the other way, you turn your eyes and heart upward and say, "Thank You God, for this opportunity," and that thanks moves you forward into braver territory.  That sort of thing.  In HIS POWER and His strength, we can find our courage and we can do things!  (I want to end this on a fist bump to each of you.) Go girls! (And a few boys.) (grin.)

Give thanks... which builds our faith as we recognize that He is in charge... which makes us brave to do hard and scary things= we all win.  
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