JOY

New Life. One Generation shall commend His Works…

To another.

You might be asking where in the world I have been. Did I decide to give up blogging altogether?

Mentors still matter to me. I very much want to hear your story. Your needs to be mentored. Your recollections of those who have poured into you making a difference in your lives.

I would love to share what has captured my heart for the last couple of months.

And…time? My time? What’s time? I’ve lost track of it temporarily. And I’m okay with it.

imageI’ve never been more proud of my beautiful daughter. I watched her for nine months as she prepared for the role she has waited many years to live out. Becoming a Mama. As May 10th neared and she readied herself for the reality she would soon hold this precious baby girl in her arms, her demeanor set with laser-like focus.

Many of my friends shared how special it is to become a grandma…aka…MiMi :-).

What was unexpected was the  depth of emotion I felt for my daughter. Not because she was experiencing pain she had never felt before, but because of my respect for her. We have walked through some times of deep heartache and grief together. I believe she would agree that we share a very close relationship.

As I watched her make the decisions she needed to make with her husband I stood in awe of her respect of him and his of her. As they both presented this beautiful child proudly after sharing special bonding time privately, no words would come. None. The emotions, on the other hand, ran deep as a waterfall through my heart and soul. Becoming a mother, for her, was as natural as breathing. Watching her quiet calm confidence with her precious daughter brought a profound depth of peace to my soul. Peace that passes all understanding.

As the hours passed by that sweet day, so did my memories. Six year old Lynn on daddy’s shoes in her sock covered feet. Dancing to county music. Trusting. Drinking in the moments.

How did we get here? To this hospital room. To this new home that seems to have always smelled like a newborn baby girl. Who seems to have always been a part of our lives.  God had a plan. Plans of a future and plans of hope. For He knew the plans He had.

As I stood holding her for the first time, rocking her, all I could think was –

..and one generation shall commend His works to another. There was a time in my life I could not have told this little one of God’s mercy and His grace. As I looked upon her soft newborn skin I thanked God that my life is different because of Him. My daughters life is different because of Him and partially because of God’s impact on my life. And she {this little one} will grow day by day hearing of God’s love and mercy.

So, as you turn the future pages of Heart to Heart Journey in the weeks, months and years to come I feel certain you will see glimpses of the precious little one woven into my ponderings from time to time. Thank you in advance for taking the time to care to read my words tapped out on ivory keys.

HIS,

karen

 

 

 

The Storm Within

Nay, in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.

Romans 8:37 – From My Utmost For His Highest

The Storm Within
The Storm Within

It came out of nowhere. I felt it coming. Even shared with a friend in hopes it would diminish. In hopes I could conquer the emotion washing over me as I readied myself to walk into a group of women I did not know.  I’m a grown woman who God has re-purposed. What is my problem? Why can’t I get it together? If I know it’s coming, creeping up into the quiet places of my heart and mind to stir up a storm within – surely I should be able to stop it…right?

In the cold of the gray day I somehow remembered what it took to fight the battle within.

If this is your battle too I want to ask you to take this cold gray walk with me.

Leaving the weight of my shoulder bag in the hand of my friend, I made a decision to put one foot in front of the other as I sought to do business with God. One foot in front of the other as I remembered that I had the ability to conquer. Not in my own strength, but in the strength of God my Father. Though it was a brisk day I knew I had to have time alone to talk out loud to God. Not so much so that He would hear me, but more so because I needed to cry out to Him with my whole heart.

Oswald Chambers says “The surf that distresses the ordinary swimmer produces in the surf-rider the super-joy of going clean through it. Apply that to our own circumstances, these very things–tribulation, distress, persecution, produce in us the super-joy; they are not things to fight. We are more than conquerors through Him in all these things, not in spite of them, but in the midst of them.”

Through Him – Therein lies my hope. Not in the success of never having to return to the same dreaded battle again. My mind tells me I should be able to master this. So that I will not find myself back in this position again. The last thought I have in the midst of the battle is this is going to produce super-joy in me.

Oh Lord, help me to trust that the storm – the surf – will lead me to you – the One who has conquered death. The One who reminds me that I too am a conqueror, in ALL things.

Do you need to strep out into the brisk cold and put one foot in front of the other as you cry out to God? I’ll join you. Or if you like, I’ll hold your shoulder bag.

We can both learn to trust the surf.

HIS,

karen

 

Fabulous Friday Find – Pink Jesus Calling

1400320119We have been encouraged by the words on these pages. We have inhaled Sarah’s prayers from her devotional and allowed them to carry us before our One True Hope.

Enter now TO WIN your free PINK copy of Jesus Calling to be given away on VALENTINES DAY. LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW and you will be entered.

Sarah Young is quietly leading millions of men and women worldwide on a journey of intimacy with Christ. Her devotional books include the #1 bestseller Jesus Calling and the top sellers Jesus Calling for Kids, Dear Jesus, and Jesus Lives. Sarah and her husband have traveled extensively around the world planting churches and counseling.  They are currently ministering to Japanese people and helping establish an international church in Australia.YoungSarah

Cre. a. tiv. ity.

Today’s Guest Post is written by Holly Hummel. She enjoys remembering the little things and hoping to use them for a greater creative purpose. She loves the God who gave her all His gorgeous material to work with and loves helping to restore it for His glory. The best lesson she has learned in life, she says, is whatever others have to teach her.

We are all creative beings.

Our Father is the ultimate Creator.

He gave us the gift.

He has given us the raw material with which to work.

When we use our inspired talents and quirks,

this can be turned into a

beautiful form of worship.

 

We are all creative beings. What forms of creativity might you get lost in and spend hours just finding yourself?

Or what sort of fears or reservations might you have in your fresh ideas?

With that question is where I’ll start our conversation.

I have considered myself a creative, innovative and even inventive woman for a while now. I’d come up with wonderful ideas and store them all in my brain and pride myself on these quirky notions.

But I never did much with them. I was too afraid of what my peers might think of the work I’d done. My stuff is certainly not as good as theirs. How can I ever be as talented as her? Why didn’t I come up with that? I can do that too! These were and are still thoughts in my head as I continue on in my creative pursuit.

But I always took these feelings as negative. I have never used them to motivate me.

I have seen numerous friends of mine wake themselves up by using paints, fabrics, colors and textures. I am a lover of these materials. I enjoyed seeing new creations with my own eyes and touching them with my own hands.

However, I still felt so much anxiety in my concepts. It was like my heart was always stuck on the one idea that mine will never be as good as theirs

Since my maturity into a (somewhat) adult life, I felt what I thought were eyes on me. Eyes that were waiting for me to come up with something awesome that I just couldn’t produce. This pressure I concocted in my head had been way too much. I was too busy putting my faith and confidence in something that could not yield fruit: MY creativity. I thought it was in MY control. That was responsible for the outcome MY work produced.

These thoughts are so very destructive and they are all lies. The truth of the matter is this:

“For everything created by God is good, and nothing is the be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, for it is made holy by the word of God and prayer.” 1 Timothy 4:4

God has said it Himself! He creates everything good. He gives us ready hands to refurbish what is broken. For His glory we do this. Through this gift we worship.

We cannot put our confidence in anything but the One who has already finished the work! Through this we must also humble ourselves to those around us who might be a few steps ahead of the game.

I always thought I had to be as good as or better than everyone around me to succeed. It is of utmost importance to learn from each of your influences. There are copious amounts of knowledge pouring out of those other talented hands. Keep your heart open to what another may say.

Positive input and constructive criticism are such blessings, so keep a humble heart and beautiful fruit will grow.

For far too long I had been putting my hope in ideas I had been to afraid to carry out! How silly! I couldn’t even get a project started without getting lost in the sin of “not doing anything and not trying to do the right thing. 

I still struggle with fears of judgement and criticism.

But how healthy and how rich it is to know that Our Father has carried it out. Our job now is to find ourselves in constant worship of Him in each and every intricate stitch we sew.

So what fears might you have in your own creativity?

Let go of them. There is freedom in Christ. There is confidence in Christ. There is faith in Christ. There is comfort in knowing you aren’t alone in this. Surround yourself with positive influences and get to work crafting that pallet board shelf you saw on Pinterest months ago.

The bold statement I can do that too is true. Remind yourself that you are capable and talented. Your ideas matter and can be turned into works of wonder.

We can do all things through Him.         

 

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Lost and Found JOY

Oh how I hate to loose something!

Today was one of those days. It started out great. A day with a friend reconnecting with some much needed girl time. And then I met my hubby to leave one car I’m the parking lot and go meet friends.

I sensed it the moment I hit lock and swung the door rotating shut on its hinges.

It leaves me feeling so out of control. Why did I do it? What if I’m just imagining I locked them on the car but after searching and calling the locksmith I can’t even find them after he breaks into my car!?

All the while my husband assuring me its just an adventure and we’ll have the keys in hand soon.

Sometimes I think God let’s me loose things just to get my attention. To draw me to what’s important. Regardless of what we loose, He is our provider.

My JOY today?

Day 148 of 365 Days of JOY.

My keys, of course.

 

 

JOY in the Long Journey

Day 147 of 365 Days of JOY!

If you have been following my blog previously, you must have thought I downright lost my JOY. I have been charting my course through 365 Days of JOY and sharing what brings me JOY as I am able. But the last 6 weeks or so, my JOY tracking has lacked.

On ministry teams at our church we often talk in planning meetings about the importance of not forgetting the JOY factor in leading and facilitating ministry. Can you relate? Does ministry or a task God has given you often weigh so heavy on you that you loose the JOY factor in it all?

The JOY I share with you today has taken many twists and turns on quite a long journey to reach the point of reclaiming the JOY factor – to say the very least.

But then again, God often takes me on a long walk to teach me all He wants me to learn. I’m a slow study. But when I get it…it’s deep within me.

As I set this banner out for all to see, it brings me more JOY than words could describe. I have witness epidemic spiritual hunger and thirst for real relationship between women of all generations. I have been blessed to watch as many women, some for the first time, risk jumping off the edge of a cliff into the unknown of sharing relationship with a woman outside her own life season. It is with great JOY I long to journey with these women helping them to understand the value of mentoring / discipleship relationships and equipping them with all the Lord has taught me along the way. Releasing them to the beauty of bonding between women that invites the work of God to impact both of their lives.

If you have arrived at this page by way of the bird – Twitter – that is, you have come straight to the new home of my previous blog. Please browse the pages to see what speaks to YOUR heart. Subscribe and come back often. (Follow button on bottom right). I want to hear your heart as well. And many other women feel the same, I am certain. Share what only you can share.

When you are finished on the blog pages, scroll to the bottom of this page to take you to the Home Page of Ruth’s Hope to find out more about Real Women. Real Life. Real God.

 

The JOY of Hearing

This week I asked the Lord to speak to me. It was pretty important to me that I hear from Him. In a moment – it was there. Yet, I doubted, concerned it was my own thoughts inserting themselves into the blank I left for the Lord to fill.

As I write this post I am thankful and grateful for the JOY of hearing.

It was an answer only the Lord could give. I could not have honestly come up with it on my own. Let alone quickly. I’m such a processor. To a default at times.

Still I doubted.

So I asked for confirmation.

1 – Does it align with His Word?

2 – Does it bring peace?

3 – Does it shed light where once there was darkness?

The answer – YES!

And as I shared it with my husband and best friend of 32 years and asked him his thoughts. Confirmation from the only one who knows me almost as well as God Himself. Yes Karen, God is setting you free! And he takes my hands in his and prays for me.

Thank you Lord for the JOY of hearing and for the gift of my husband.

Psalm 85:8

Let me hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace to his people…

Simple JOY

Childlike JOY

As a child I loved to check the mail.

A letter from my Mom who lived in another state was such a treat to a grade school girl. The bird and postage stamp.

The candle. Warmth of home. A familiar scent welcoming you.

Day 120 of 365 Days of JOY.

At peace today in the quietness of the place I call home.

Peace only my Father can provide.

G r A t I t U d E

What brings you a simple childlike JOY?

Consider it JOY

Consider it JOY. Count it all JOY.

When you face trials of various kinds. (James 1)

You know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.

Could the steadfastness be learned another way? I think not.

The life you’ve given me Lord – including all the things you have allowed into my life and the choices you’ve allowed me to make —— all have produced and still is producing steadfastness.

Steadfastness that is having its full effect as I find my hope and my JOY in you.

I find nothing lacking in me.

If I lack wisdom – I find all I need at your feet.

I have learned and am yet still in school until I meet you face to face, not to doubt, but trust in your provisions in all areas, trusting you to be my source of all wisdom and understanding.

Lord, let the sea be tossed to and fro as you have set it to toss, but keep me firmly rooted, single minded, always seeking the JOY that comes only as I find ALL my hope in you alone.

In the midst of the trials, this is the place we must find JOY. Specifically, count it JOY.

It’s a conscious decision.

Against all looming fear, doom and chaos.

My Pastor taught yesterday from the book of Mark. A God ordained time, that we would, in this series land upon this specific set of verses in chapter six. Verses forty-five through fifty-six.

It was the first time in seven years he’s preached a message on Father’s Day weekend. The anniversary weekend of the death of his son. A son who tragically took his own life.

He taught with passion, depth of heart and understanding as he instructed us in our lives to:

1- Expect resistance –

As Jesus sends His Disciples in a boat to the other side of the sea, they meet resistance from the wind and waves. He knew they would meet resistance. They had learned while they were with Him, but they forgot.

2- Admit our need –

Jesus creates physical distance between Himself and disciples. How much had they learned while they were “with Him”? They cried out when they were terrified. Jesus was not far off. Jesus sees them struggle and comes to them.

3- Learn to trust –

The real danger was not in the wind and waves, but what was in their hearts. They were exhausted before they started.

We humanly fear we are alone – don’t have the resources to cope.

He is God in the flesh, but they are so consumed by themselves they miss who He is as He comes to them on the water.

It’s only as we see our lives through the reality of what Jesus said they would be that we learn to trust opposition as a path to JOY.

Sometimes it’s in the worst of situations we learn to trust most. Count it all JOY.

Do you need to admit your need to Him? How can you learn to trust today?

Full Circle JOY

We celebrated her 98 years of life today. It was a JOY to sit in Aunt Sally’s kitchen today and share conversation and laughter with her children, grand children and great grands.

She would have loved how full the house was, with life. Most of which she brought into the world.

Precious Life is given by the same loving Creator who one day takes us home to be with him.

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