Bite of JOY Day 5

Loving paying attention to what brings JOY to my heart.

Today it was sharing a piece of Cooite Brown’s Coconut Cake with my son’s girlfriend, Holly Hummel…and fighting the guys off after they said they didn’t want any!!!

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365 Days of JOY

This week I started something that excited me. I call it 365 Days of JOY. A sweet friend who I will affectionately call my ‘Ap Connection’ showed me an Ap called project 365. For 365 days I will be posting (God willing and hand me some discipline vitamins please!) a photo of something that brings JOY to my heart that day.

It’s really about learning to Be Still and KNOW that He is God.

And photography is something that helps me to slow down and see Him in the midst of life. I’m no pro behind the lens. But – it speaks to my heart and draws me to His…so what else matters?

I will attach day 1, 2 & 3 to catch you up to speed.

I hope you enJOY.

Be Still And Know that I am God

Sweet Feet

Cup Of JOY

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Impacted for the Journey

The kitchen assignment chart.

Now it seems a crazy place for the impact to start. But as thoughts come flowing gently back, that’s where they land.

Enter the back door of Grandma’s house, through the screened in porch, and I can count on it to be there…attached to the front of the fridge. Four columns to be exact. One for me and one for each of my three brothers. I couldn’t wait to see what my “job” would be today. She would assign us aprons and give us job descriptions for meal time, then she would step back and become the supervisor overseeing all jobs. Of course…she trusted us and let us know that as she kept her distance and gave us independence. I remember feeling like the queen bee!

Leaving behind a world of fear and chaos the from the home life we lived, every time I walked though those doors and into her home as a young elementary aged girl I found safety and comfort beyond all I hoped and longed for. In her home I mattered. She would sit for hours and teach us to play games. Board games. Card games. Building forts. She made it all about us. She knew we needed it. It was our escape from reality.

Over the next few years as the chaos in the home escalated we would often sneak by her house as we walked to or home from school. Thank God it was on the way. She offered a safe place we knew we could take refuge in. Even if it was temporary. At age ten the courts took us from that home and placed us in another. For a season, she breathed life and hope into a child who might not have known it otherwise.

Could she see past all the pain we endured? Could she trust God would use it all for His glory one day? Did she see who I could become all those years ago? Did she have any idea the impact her love for me would have on my life? My WHOLE life?

All these years later as I consider who has impacted my life – who intentionally made a decision to love me and pour into my life – it begins here. She could have chosen to open the door when we walked in and went about her business as an adult. Surely she could have chosen to. Grandma didn’t. She sat on the floor with us and joined us in our world and made it an exciting child-like place to be. We needed it.

Who was the first to impact your life in such a powerful way? What was the impact?

Guest Blog – Letters to My Younger Self

Today I am making effort to correct an earlier attempt of posting a full blog from a Guest Blog instead of just showing you the link…bear with me as I work out my blogging – re-blogging skills.  See original comments below, but then actually followed with the Guest Blog post instead of making you click over to read.

All of that said…please visit her blog yourself…and often…you will find it deep, rich, thought provoking and a call to action.

I’m excited to introduce you to one of my favorite blogs.

Uprooted and Undone is the blog of one of my dear friends.

Marian is a unique writer and speaker who draws you in to her line of vision with every word. I often find myself hanging on every word just to see where we are going next. She challenges us to think and grow beyond our comfort zone.  Having invited readers to glimpse inside her classroom, she has earned the right to challenge others because she lives outside her own comfort zone.

One of her current projects, Letters to My Younger Self invites you to consider what words you might use if given a chance to write to your younger self.

Please consider sharing your letter with Marian and her readers.

LETTERS TO MY YOUNGER SELF – “THE INVITATION”

I have a girlfriend who loves photographing red doors. Why is that? Why are some doors more inviting than others? How can they manifest within us a conflicting desire? We want to enjoy their beauty, maintain the slight awe we feel in their presence–and yet we long to reveal the secret. Such a door is constructed with an invitation to reach out, warm fingers to iron, and know the mystery. Today’s letter is an invitation to our younger selves. It is fitting that it comes from a woman who has been unveiling the wonder of God alongside me for almost a decade. This is part of a series. If you’d like to add your voice to the collaboration, please email me: mariangreen5 (at) gmail (dot) com.
Romans 16.25-26 “All of our praise rises to the One who is strong enough to make you strong, exactly as preached in Jesus Christ, precisely as revealed in the mystery kept secret for so long but now an open book through the prophetic Scriptures…”

Oh sweet girl…I know no one has told you before, but you are absolutely beautiful just the way you are.

Though you long to be accepted and invited in by those people you think are cool, it will leave you more empty than you feel now if you can imagine that!  There is only one person who will fill the emptiness you have carried from your childhood.  He will restore  all that has been taken from you.  You think I’m speaking of your future husband, but you are in for the surprise of your life.  He’s much more.

Please don’t give up and take things into your own hands.  It will end up leading you to a very dark and hopeless place.  A place you cannot come back from of your own strength and will.

If you could only see as I see, you might trust.  You are so fearful and needy.  You think you can trust everyone, but it blinds your ability to see your own strengths.  It keeps you from protecting yourself.
I want to protect you from the pain and rejection that awaits you.  And teach you to care for yourself.  I want you to be able to see your own beauty.

So please let me introduce you to this mystery person I spoke of earlier.  I can hardly wait for you to meet Him.  He is your Creator and He loved you before He even formed you.  He knows every hair on your head.  He has plans for your life.  His commitment to you is stronger than anything the world has to offer you.  He died for you!  He is REAL, although the world would tell you He’s not.
He will teach you all you need to know and keep you safe in His peace, a peace only He can provide.

Won’t you turn from the direction you are headed by default and choose to trust Him?  He will not disappoint.

It’s only because of His love for us that I love you and care about what you do with your life.

HIS,
(and you are too)

Karen Trigg is founder of Ruth’s Hope, a ministry for real women living reallives searching for a real God. She has a passion for mentoring and inter-generational relationships. You can read more of her thoughts and journey of the heart here. Tweet her @KarenTrigg.

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I’ve Been Here Before

I’ve been here before but I’m NOT the same.

Driving down the Interstate toward south Florida took me back to places I had been before. Memories came flooding back as if it were thirty some years ago. How does that happen? My husband asks what’s on my mind. Not wanting to share but respecting him, i decide to expose just a few of the memories that were flooding in without going deep enough to have to relive it all again. My heart sunk at the thought of who I was all those years ago.

It was a time of running and a time of searching. Both led me to dark places.

Running from years of hurt and pain, although not understanding it at that time.
Searching for love that would never be found.

Angry, I left home at 18 and headed south to what I thought would be a life of freedom. After a very short time, my life choices were out of control. I found myself on the sharp edge of a downward spiral leading to the deepest pit possible.

Reality will sober you up at break neck speed.

Moving back home to the Carolina’s I found myself facing the reality of being an 18-year-old single pregnant young woman.

Reality.

This began my search for a god I wasn’t sure existed or could even hear me. I desperately needed direction and clarity for my future. As dark as the truth is, I awoke to the stark reality of my choice I had made to abort the unborn child. It was only then that the weight of what I’d done sat like a ton of concrete upon my heart.

I deserved the wrath of God but that’s not what i found.

The god I sought as I tried to make a decision about the pregnancy
was the same God who drew me to Himself as I dealt with the heart wrenching reality of what I had done.

This is the same God would not let me run without coming face to face with Him.
He would not let me find love in anything or anyone but Him.
He designed it that way.
He knew me before He formed me and His Word tells me He works ALL things together for good for those who know Him. Because of this promise, I can rest in the peace that there is not one thing from my past that cannot be used for His glory.

God is a redeeming God. He recovers, exchanges, converts all that we are when we meet Him.

I’ve been here before, standing on this beach. But today there is no sign of running. No sign of searching for love.
The love and acceptance of God has transformed the stench of who I once was into something beautiful. Only He could reconstruct and leave no trace of the old.

I stand profoundly at peace on the white sands of this long stretch of beach. I am here with my husband, my best friend in the whole world, and I realize in the moments of watching the sun drop like butterscotch candy into the horizon…

I’ve been here before, but thanks be to God, there is no trace of who I once was.

Being Legacy Minded

Dave McAuley of Summit Leadership Foundation reminds us today about being legacy minded and its impact upon generations to come.

 
Summit Life Today
January 11, 2012

 Building a legacy begins with keeping the next generation in mind. Too often we are shortsighted in our goals and confine our expectations to their impact in the foreseeable future. If we can train ourselves to think “Next Generation” in all that we do, our impact will last well beyond our lifetime. I saw this lived out in my Grandfather who was a true servant leader by investing in the lives of others. His legacy lives on today through the children of those he influenced. The Jewish people had this instilled in them through the repeating of the Shema recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4-9…
 
“Hear, O Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD is one! You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your sons and shall talk of them when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when you lie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”  
 
The fundamental truth that all Israelites needed to embrace was their commitment to love God with all their heart, soul and might and not chase after the false gods of the other nations. As long as Israel did this, God would bless them as a nation. Some generations fulfilled this commitment and some did not, but there was always a “remnant” in each generation who would pass this on to their children. They knew this truth was timeless and they were building a legacy by pouring themselves into the next generation.

Are you being this intentional about building your legacy today?

 
Leading to Serve,
 
Dave McAuley
Founder & President 
   
 
Summit Leadership Foundation
3104 Hanover Road
Johnson City, Tennessee 37604

 “Only God Himself fully appreciates the influence of a Christian mother in the molding of character in  
her children.” 
~ Rev. Billy Graham

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Unexpected Moments

A precious friend is saying goodbye to her father today. He has gone home to Jesus. Unexpectedly. No warning. No lingering illness.

My heart breaks for the loss she and her family are enduring.

I find myself this morning wondering just how many unexpected moments I may still have left in my life.

As the sun came over the edge of the horizon this morning, the fog lay thick across the field. I was reminded that His mercies are new every morning. I also remember the first day I came to a realization of that truth.

Jesus met me in an unexpected moment in my life and made Himself very real to me. He lifted the fog of all the years before and made the day new.

In the time that followed that day there was a scripture that became very personal to me. Romans 8:28 – and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to His purpose.

I have watched God since those days work All things together for good in my life and in the lives of many I love. Things that were so very painful to me and things that were so shaming to me…I have watched Him use it All!

Painful childhood
Poor teenage choices
Learning to trust
Learning to grow
Learning to forgive
And more…

How can God do that?

I have no idea, but I am thankful. I can rest in knowing that whatever unexpected moments are yet to be in my life…He will work them together for good.

He will lift the fog. He will give us new perspective. We see much clearer once the fog has lifted.

I pray for you as you read this, that you might come to trust God to use your past for good, but even beyond that, that like my prayer for myself, you might learn to trust God with your yet to come unexpected moments.

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