Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Rodeo season in Houston is once again upon us. Time to take my boots from the shelf, dust 'em off, slide them on and get ready for some fun.  Some folks have the opportunity to wear their boots often, due to living in a country environment or being a part of a livelihood where boots are not an option but a necessity. 
Others of us just pull 'em out for the sheer excitement of being a part of the rodeo world for a while. Regardless of why we buy boots or wear boots, they are a reflection of our style and character. They're sturdy, they are shields from snakes and pests.  They're warm, they give support, they don't fall off, they protect and lastly... they are feet huggers. Bet you never thought of that!
Now,  how to roll this into a devotional:  New boots are stiff, and often times hard to get on.  They are polished, no scratches, smell good, like new car, and at first walk aren't the best of comfort. And upon evaluation, the decision has to be made...are they worth the expense and the effort to break them in? Is this a long term investment of time and possible blistering, and occasional discomfort?  Will I be patient enough to wear them and allow them to mold to the contours of my given footprint?  
Aren't those all questions that we have to ask ourselves about life? How pliable are we or we willing to be?  Or are we stifled in our own self controlled environment?  Are we willing to take on the process of life and allow God to mold us along the way? Sure we are going to encounter scratches and scuffs and stains but aren't they are sign of character? 
Every time God presents us with the challenges of blistering circumstances, his marks of love and mercy are being sketched onto our hearts. For the more we wear our faith and dependence, the more pliable we become in spite of adversities that surround us.  God is  using the very circumstances of our life which come charging at us to mold us and transform us. 
Kind of like the new boots. We have to want o break them in. Doing things God's way is not easy. And we have to want to accept His direction even when it is seems like his way is stiff and also is not a quick learn.  
The lesson is simple,    just slide into what you know to be firm and true and trust God just a little at a time to work through you. God knows how hard it is for us to overcome the stiff desires of emotions and reactions when life hurdles are upon us but he also offers his hand of trust as you hold out your hand of faith.  
For new boots have no story! They are either handmade or factory assembled and their story comes to life only through the wear and tear of the user. 
As I wear my life story I have to ask myself am I allowing God to transform my stiffness and need for control into being pliable and knowing that whatever things I need to wrangle, or contests I participate in, or trails that I find myself traveling..am I a reflection of God's will and His way? 
Breaking in a pair of boots takes a lot of time and a bunch of steps....it is a process that gets better with each wear.  
As it is with us....as we allow God to break us in and mold us according to his will ...this is where we find true comfort and peace. But just remember God is never in a hurry even when he sees our patience running low.  Everyday our story is being molded and transformed. We may not see the results in clear vision, but this I know....the more you trust God the more peace you find within you.  
The closer we get to God the more comfortable we will be in our boots!~

Dear Lord, Thank you that you help me to take the everyday little occurrences of life and create with in me an analogy that helps bring my focus back to you.
These are just a pair of boots, and though the steps I take in them are little, your process of transformation is grand.  May I be reminded of that truth often even when the progress seems blurred.  Amen  

Praise God wherever you are or whatever situation you are in...for His glory will shine through.  

Sidenote: Last night we presented this devotional to a precious group of about 30 women who are widows and afterwards we asked:  What is the status of your boots right now? (your relationship with God on your journey)  Have you put them on?(Are you engaged in a relationship with God)  Are you moving forward?  (Are you trusting God)  Are you breaking in new territory? Are they sitting by your bed or are they gathering dust on a closet shelf?  Are you making strides forward and allowing them to be molded according to your personal footprint. (Do your trust God to direct you)  And around the room the explanations and responses were amazing, filled with depth and lessons of courage and love and very transparent.  It is a little reality check worth contemplating!    

Monday, October 24, 2016



The cool breezes are beginning to filter in, the days are getting darker sooner, the leaves are beginning to turn colors and the retail stores have filled their shelves with season decor.  As I was thinking about Halloween, I continue to have ruffled thoughts about the day itself and the celebrations that accompany it. It is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. The more I read up about the history, the more I felt the cringe of celebrating it for it seems to a day masked in superstition and darkened spirits. 

But the real wrestle is when I see these little ones so excited to be dressed in costume and pretend they are the super heroes of this day, or the animals that they can relate to, or the princesses who in their little minds live in castles amid frolicking horses and beautiful lands. 

They look to this celebration as fantasy, fun and baskets filled with candy.  How can that be bad?  For, they are not exposed to the true history, or the dark and spirited basis that lies behind the noted day.  So as I carry on, it occurred to me that, as with anything that is upon us, we can always turn our focus back to what is good and righteous and bears the light of Christ vs the darkened superstitions that represent the beginnings of this ancient Celtic Festival. I Figure that Halloween is divided into four categories: decor, costume, candy and trick or treat.  So here goes: 

Ghosts and goblins and monsters in the night
Exist in our heads to initiate an emotion of fright.

But what we forget is that they truly are never in sight,
And we are freed from the fear when we turn on the light.  

So I am convicted that Halloween is merely another festival day, 
That we can settle in the darkness or let God have his lighted way. 

Be confident of this; God's spirit abides,
In darkness and fear his light never hides. 

It may be only a flicker, but faith brighteners His flame,
And the worlds’  follies and fear tactics become inaptly lame.

Decorate your heart and your attitude with the seasons’ best,
And find joy in your blessings and ask God to help handle the rest.  

Dress in a costume of God’s armor and  grace,
And keep on his path not getting ahead of His pace.

May your basket be overflowing with sweet nuggets to share
So you can be there for a friend  who needs some loving care. 

Remember the trick if you are hunkered down in fear,
The treat comes when you call on God, and trust that He’s near. 

This is only one day, but live it like the rest,
Depend on God; for HIS way is the best! 

As I was reading stories about how others handle this day, one said that they look at it as a time when neighbors turn their porch light on and look forward to the interaction of neighbors.  Some have taken this opportunity to walk along the streets and have good conversation with friends and folks that they know or even get to know along the way. There is laughter and fun and joyful frolicking in the land of pretend. And even we as adults need little break from daily routine and life’s trials and concerns.   But one of my favorite ideas, which I am going to do tonight for our HOW (Hearts of Women)  group is to carve a cross on my cleaned out pumpkin and let that little candle light shine through it.  It is subtle oh but it represents a mindset that overrides any darkness and superstition, at least for me.  
Blessings to you my friends....and just in case you need to reread that wonderful example of us being like pumpkins, here it is:

A 10 year old little girl was asked by another classmate, “what is it like to be a Christian?” The girl replied, 

“it’s like being a pumpkin.  God picks you from the patch, brings you in, The Bible says He selects us out of the world. We are in the world, but no longer of the world.
and washed all the dirt off you. 
He then washes all the “dirt” off the outside that we received from being around all the other pumpkins. All the outside influences of our former life must be cleaned up. Old things are passed away and all things are become new.
Then he cuts open the top and scoops out all the yucky stuff. He removes the seeds of doubt, hate, greed, etc. and then 
He carves you a new smiling face Our countenance is changed by the power of His presence in our life. We then become so grateful. It can even show on our face!
and puts His light inside of you to shine for all the world to see.” The pumpkin now reflects the light from inside out. So too, when Jesus, who is called the Son of Light, lives inside of us, He shines through our life for all to see. We can let His light reflect through us to reveal His presence. “Let your light so shine before men that they may be able to see your good works and glorify your Father, who is in heaven.”

Monday, September 26, 2016

Zip Lining

I had a wonderful opportunity to head to Cincinnati this past week.  And the obvious question is: what is in Cincinnati?  And the answer is: I was headed with a dear friend to go see the "Ark Encounter", which is in Kentucky, only a short distance from Cincinnati, over the bridge  on the other side of the Ohio River. (Hotels were better in Cincinnati) The Ark was built as a magnificent replica, according to biblical dimensions that God gave to Noah, and it was a remarkable visual of the story that I have heard all of my life.  But it wasn’t just an outside mock up, it was an unbelievable inside vantage point as well, including water vessels and cages and stories, mechanical life sized figures etc.  Just "over the top" of anything I could ever have imagined imagined! 

But now to another point of interest. One of the attractions that was on site was a Zip Line experience. (Screaming Eagle Ariel Adventures)  I figured, I had come this far and might as well check out the whole area and  step out of my comfort zone and go for it.  That I did!  The zip line package included seven different jaunts through the trees, over the highway, going from tower to tower and even one ride landing as you would as a parachuter on low ground.  One of the seven lines could get a guest up to a 40 mile an hour speed and at at one point one of the lines was 17 stories high above the ground. It was exhilarating, to say the lease, scary at best, and quite rewarding to my inner quest for adventure. The Ark Encounter, as expected, was amazing and left me humbled, and in continued awe of God who is so great, and a man so convicted of/in his faith. The zip line, conjured up a different set of emotions.  And these are thoughts that are more easily explained,and possibly more applicable, especially for those of you who have had a zip line experience. 

You first have to be aware of the adventure and willing to explore it.  Then you do a little research, read reviews and make a conscious decision to step into the adventure, but just as life has it, adventures and new territories come with risks.  (The waiver itself for Zip Lining is likely to scare anybody off). We are introduced to our two guides, who will instruct us and guide us on this adventure. Then comes the gear: the helmet, the harness, the gloves and the connecting rope with its 8 inch disk clamp. When you are all suited up then comes the instructional part, a short demo from the guides, and then a small hands on “see if you were listening” excerise....a little daunting.  And then we were off tracking onto the dirt paths headed to the towers.  They were steep, often times wobbly but ALWAYS safe, as the clamp that was attached to the rope on your harness had to always be connected to a safety cable as you climbed to your destination.  Once atop, your clamp is attached to a trolley that is secured to the zip line.  You take a big breathe, step onto a quite small platform, hoist yourself off into mid air and you are in flight.  A guide is waiting on the other end advising you by his hand signals to keep on coming or try to slow yourself down by tapping on the cable with your gloved hand, as you are coming in too fast.  And you land down safely on the platform, try to get your heart beat to slow down and get ready for the next ride. And there you have it, ZIP lining.  

And how does this compute with a Godly devotional?  First of all: God gives us opportunities, adventures and challenges in life everyday.  Some are ones we choose, some are ones God allows. But upon discovery and acceptance of whatever it is that has come into play, we often times do a little research and learn from the adventures of others.  God gives us those resources to give us some earthly support. What is key to remember in every lifetime scenario, is that we are never alone on a journey without a guide; God and the very presence of his Holy Spirit.  

Next step is to get ready and suit up. This one called for a helmet, a harness, and gloves. Those are the essentials needed for the safety of this exercise.   The bible talks about armor; the helmet, the belt, the sword, the boots...these are the safety essentials for everyday life. We have to trust God and our equipment, for God equips us for the tasks at hand. We were given instructions, and they are for our own good and our own safety; like what to hold tight to, and what to trust.  There are times when we dismiss God’s instructions thinking they really aren’t that important, and sometimes just we just forget to hold onto what is true and casually try to glide by the seat of our pants, but chances are that we can get burned if we are not paying attention and attesting to what we know to be true and righeous. 

It is critical to stay clipped to the safety cable.  As it is critical to stay hooked into God’s word and his truths. 
Sometimes we were climbing, and other times we were flying, as it is in life.  There are times when we are working hard to keep up and heading to a higher goal, and sometimes that treck upwards just can take the breath out of us and leave us panting for air.  We have to stay on track and be faithful;  for James 1:3-4says faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.  

There are times when we are standing on that small platform of hope, looking fearfully down down instead of hopefully up.  It is then that faith must take hold so that we can garner up the courage and strength to step into God’s hands.  He has equipped us with his word, his spirit and his hope to find joy and blessings even in the scariest of times.   

We have to watch and listen for our guide (God) as he tells us to slow down and brake because all too many times we get going too fast and can very well come in for an unchartered landing if we are not careful.  And once we successfully get through the experience of a first test run of an unknown situation,  God seems to continues to help us grow in yet another cycle of life’s experiences. But as our testing grows, so does our character, our confidence and our dependance in God and his many ways of grace and mercy and provision.  I know there were times when I turned around backwards and couldn’t see that forward plank that I was to land on, and then at just the right time, I was able to swing back into focus and land without issue.  
Life is like that, sometimes we are truly out of control of the circumstances that are about us, and on that note, we just have to keep on keeping on and trust God to maneuver us His way in His time.  

This was an exhilarating adventure, filled with fast heartbeats, scary times, glistening palms, (that’s girl talk for sweating) but always a  heaping amount of “God is Zipping with me, and thought this was a little high for me, It was nothing for God....for he always gets to see things from his heavens above!  We are challenged day by day and are often jolted into scary and uncomfortable situations, but this is what LIFE is all about.  It is an adventure, that is driven by God, and experienced by us. Faith, Hope and Courage are our partners in flight. May we trust God with all that he places in our path, and find joy in the ride.        
Praise God wherever you are and whatever situation He has allowed you to be in . . . His glory will shine through!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Trapped Lizard


Most all of us have at one time or another found ourselves in an unexpectedly dark place with no seemingly way out?  Just stuck...and feeling trapped by the walls that have no cracks and doors that are too heavy to open without help.  

Upon a casual stroll to the mailbox to retrieve my mail, I was immediately startled when I routinely opened the hinged door only to find no mail but a leaping lizard who was probably as scared to see me as I was to see him.  

Once I regained my composure, and realized that this critter just surely only wanted freedom, I offered to lend a hand and assist with his rescue.  Yeah I was going to try to catch and release. But he would have nothing to do with the help, and it made him ( I use that gender term without PC offense) even more determined to avoid all fingers, and he did all kinds of circus tricks to climb up the to the top and around the sides to and over and under scampering to escape what I only thought to be a helping hand. 

After moments of the attempted catch and chase, I finally understood.  He would find his own way out....on his own timing if only I would leave the door open and give him space.  And sure as can be just a couple of minutes later, I watched as he scampered out to freedom.

If only our entrapments and darkened hideaways could be so easily resolved. This is a story that has been brewing in my mind for weeks, but God has only today given me a hint of a relative lesson that I think merits sharing. God is always the one who opens a door and shines upon us his  light when darkness seems to be the cloak that covers our lighted path. Fear and anxiousness and unsettled emotions tend to be a driving force as we sit almost paralyzed in darkness at the idea that there is no hope for a situation that we way may have landed in.  

There are many who may come along and want to help, and insist on helping, and even sometimes force their hand upon a situation that they think they can see so much clearer than the one who is stuck.  But the reality is God is the only perfect helper.  He knows what we need and when we need it and just what it takes to motivate us to take the first step out of darkness. But the only way for us to absorb the freedom from all of those emotional walls that are keeping us in captivity is ... to trust God.  Oh sure we can say we get it, we know God is in control and on His throne... we know it to be truth,  but it is kind of unfathomable for us to embrace it.  Problems are too big, place is too dark, hurdles are too high and quite frankly we are not equipped with strength and power to overcome the obstacles that we have been presented with.  These are all lies..... Problems are never too big for God, he is the one who can untangle the most complicated of scenarios, his light can outshine any darkness, his grace covers hurdles of any height, and his strength can out perform any weakness, and his power rules over any and all circumstances.  

Wherever you are in your journey of life, you will come across darkness at one time or another.  But you must remember that God’s light, even if is is only a flicker in your consciousness, is something that you can always depend on for HIS encouragement and HOPE.  You are never alone and if only you and I will trust in what we know, that God is a sovereign God who opens a door to all of us who come to him, he will give us freedom from the walls that bind us. Walls of fear and anxiousness  will be dismantled simply by our willful acceptance of faith in God. We are precious children who have been created by God himself, with all of our flaws and insecurities but also with talents and gifts that we may not yet have discovered. He has promised to never leave us stuck in darkness and to give us a lamp to light our path. But that lamp is not a spotlight, only a light to help us get our bearings so that we have confidence to take the next step.     

God says, Abide in me, and I will abide in you. So whenever you find yourself feeling trapped by circumstances, and swayed by uncertainty, remember that God is there, right there with you, and he has sent His Holy Spirit to comfort you, settle you, guide you and remind you of his unconditional  love and ever present compassion especially for those who are hurting and are feeling trapped. God is the God of peace and will transfer to you HIS peace in the midst of your darkness. Have faith and hope that soon that flicker of light will soon be transformed to be a welcomed open door to freedom.  

There is a world outside of darkness....that Christ offers to each of us...and also to his creatures.Just look at the lizard. He made it, but it was not until I stepped away that he had the courage to bolt. 

You take your time, and when you feel the urge to knock gently on that darkened door, God will open it slowly, give you time to quietly look around and when you are ready to take on new horizons, he will be your guide.
Courage is at the root of encourage, and it is my prayer for each of you that the spirit of adventure is awakened within you and that faith and hope that transcends all fear will carry you forward to peace. 
God may step away from the door and give you some room to move about on your own timing but he always has his eye on you, as you move into His light. 

John 15:4 
Abide in me as I abide in you. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can you unless you abide in me.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.
“Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you.

Dear God, thanks for little lessons from little critters.May we slow down long enough to notice the blessings that are about  us and the light that is within us.   Amen

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

PGA Prep

My husband and I were playing golf in Austin on Saturday on a course that is being groomed for an upcoming PGA tournament in March. We were playing the front nine which will be reversed to be the back nine for the tournament week as the grounds for these holes are  more accessible to supporters and the media.  All this said to be the “groundwork” for the following devotional:

I have watched golf on TV for years but never have I taken into account the efforts that go into the actual setup for the spectators especially if the viewing area is limited in walking and standing space. At this course, ten buildings are being erected for guests, refreshments, media etc.  and some of them are as tall as three stories. And as we walked by the varied buildings, I could not help but analyze the basic construction. It occurred to me that the ten basic building steps could very well be associated with Christ building us into what and who he has envisioned us to be:

1)   Blueprint - God has a plan designed specifically for his individual vision for each of our lives. Though our journeys are diverse,  and his design varies in shape, color, ideas, opinions, gifts and experiences, his master plan remains steadfast: to love us, forgive us, grow us and bring us to himself.  His vision is clear.  

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 

2)  The Foundation of these buildings begin with  two-foot square boards securely carved and set into the ground at specified intervals - our foundation as believers of Jesus Christ sits squarely on our beliefs that He has set in our hearts for our daily walk, one square at time. 

Luke 6:48 They are like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid a foundation on a rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 

3)   Metal Scaffolding built upon the boards - once the squares are set, the God begins to join together the inner workings of life experiences, our talents, our gifts, our paths, our relationships, our trials, our hardships, etc.   They all are connected as God begins to transform our thinking, our attitudes, and our deeds to be focused on Him and others rather than ourselves. 

Matthew 7:24[ The Wise and Foolish Builders ] “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock.
4) Decking - once the scaffolding is in place, God lays down His platform of truth from which we are able to stand firm on and pass along. 

Nehemiah 8:4 Ezra the teacher of the Law stood on a high wooden platform built for the occasion. (what is our platform...what are we teaching) 

5)   Framework for the actual building -  this is where our choices and beliefs began to take shape and who we are and who we worship are seen through our character, integrity and honesty that we profess. It is either reflected in our words and our ways or not. 

Luke 10:27He answered, “‘Love the Lord youGod with all youheart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”

6)   Mesh Covering for the scaffolding - the mesh covering hit me the hardest, because so many times we camouflage what is underneath our skin deep appearance.  We often times hide our failures, are shamed by our mistakes,
saddened by our losses, tethered by our trials, challenged by comparisons, and are insecure in who we think we are rather than realizing the masterpiece of who God knows we are. We forfeit the joy of living life one day at a time by living behind a veil instead of realizing that the very things that cause us unrest and stress are the very things God wants us trust him with.  That scaffolding is the very substance of who we are, and how we are 

Psalm 139:23 Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Psalm 145 14-15 The Lord is faithful in all his words and gracious in all his deeds, The lord upholds those who are falling and raises up those who are bowed down. 

7)   Enclosed walls, doors and windows - this is my favorite. Because windows are doors are the avenues that God uses to help define the direction that he is urging us to go. He closes some and opens others, not for his benefit but for ours, so that we will stay on course, on His course.  And as for the walls, without walls there is no structure to hold the windows and doors in place. When you hit a wall, there has got to be a window or a door close by! 
Matthew 7:8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

8)   Stairways - to get to the deck you have to take one step at a time.  For the deck is too tall to climb, and these stairways are a means to lead you upward, or to help you come back down and be grounded.   
Psalm 37:23-24 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
9)   Roof - the roof is the highest part of the building...and that my friend is where Christ wants our hearts to be; Up high with HIM! Loving HIM, looking up to HIM, having faith in HIM, trusting HIM and abiding in HIM.
Psalm 36:5 Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies.

10) Covering - In the end of this building process the structure is secure and protected, as we are everyday and in every way under the loving watch of Christ the King! 
Psalm 121:8 the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. 
Philippians 1:6 being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

Next time you are watching a golf tournament, just take a minute to reflect and consider all that it takes to prep for the tournament.  That is what God is doing to us each day....prepping us to be a vessel for His kingdom.  He gives us a platform not only to share His story but to watch the play around us and be grateful for opportunities to see His work in action, and experience a personal friendship with Christ that will forever be a blessing.  
Praise God wherever you are and whatever situation He has allowed you to be in . . . His glory will shine through!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Wholeheartedly; HOW (Hearts of Women)

My dear friends, God is working through this marvelous widow’s group named HOW, Hearts of Women.  We had a full house last night and there was much laughter, a few tears, great conversation and above al a most wonderful message that Jan delivered.  
Oh how blessed that each one in the room was to hear her encouraging words and be challenged by her thoughtful words of wisdom and experience, that she will first handedly give credit to Christ for his continued intervention into her thoughts and materials that he cals her attention to. 
This is kind of a long read but I hope that you will carefully consider the ten points that are listed for living life wholeheartedly and see which of the ones seem to stand out as a challenge to you at this time on your journey.  This is not just for this group but is a real challenge for any of us on any journey.  Enjoy the read and pass it on. 
Blessings to you, from me, Cathy 
and a huge thank you to Jan, for she sparked great conversation and a lot of food for thought for our everyday living.     
HOW Group
January 25, 2016
The year of rising strong , daring greatly and living life wholeheartedly!
I love hanging out in the bookstore.  It’s my go to place when i’m looking to be inspired and motivated as it’s the perfect place to seek out “advice” from so many who have documented their journeys from their “here” to their “there.”

A few days before Christmas, and feeling the need for a little inspiration, I popped into the bookstore and began browsing up and down the aisles when what to my wondering eyes did appear~~~~~a whole section of books by Brene Brown.  It was the titles of two of her books that really caught my attention:  “Rising Strong” and “Daring Greatly.”  Wow~~~now that inspires me!
Brene Brown is a writer and research professor at the university of houston graduate college of social work.  Having interviewed thousands of people, she found many who were happy, joyful, successful, confident and pretty much on top of their game and then, as she says, there were the rest of us. “  She decided to figure out what it was that made these people different and spent a few years distilling the attributes of the people she described as living wholeheartedly.
Her research is anchored in Teddy Roosevelt’s quote:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better.  The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again because there is no effort without error and short coming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Brown contends that those who rise strong and dare greatly live life wholeheartedly.  They learn to set new boundaries.  They are inspired to make new and different choices.  They are deliberate in their thoughts and behaviors and they get going~~~~they take action.  They let go of their need to please, perform and perfect.
by engaging their minds, hearts and spirits they cultivate the courage, compassion and connection to wake up every morning and think, no matter what, i am enough.
So what are these characteristics that define those, who in spite of experiencing up close and personal devastating circumstances,  are able to rise strong , dare greatly  and live wholeheartedly?
According to her research, people living wholeheartedly:
1) Embrace their vulnerabilty
2) Rest and play
3) Ask for help
4) Practice stillness
5) Remain calm
6) Have faith in a higher power or purpose
7) Engage in creativity
8) Don’t compare themselves
9) Laugh, sing and dance
10) Do personal meaningful work
Brown argues that sometimes our first and greatest dare is to ask for support and that vulnerability is not weakness, but rather our clearest path to courage, engagement and meaningful connection.
When each one of us stepped through the door called “how,” the only thing we knew was
that on the other side there were others, like us, who had lost their life’s partner.  It took great courage to step into that arena.  We had no idea that by daring greatly, by putting our vulnerability out there for everyone to see, we had taken the first step that would enable us to embrace our “new normal.”  
By ignoring pride that says, “it’s impossible,”
Experience that says, “it’s too risky,” and reason that says, “it’s pointless,” we chose to listen to our heart that said, “it’s worth a try.”
By engaging and connecting with this incredible group of wild, wonderful, wonder women, by seeking help for the journey, we are saying that some day, we will be the some ones to help someone else.  
By being transparent, by seeing our vulnerability as a gift of courage and strength, rather than a weakness to be ashamed of, we position ourselves to “pay it forward.”
In his word, we are often referred to as “jars of clay.”  In his wisdom, god knowing that clay is easily flawed with cracks, is telling us that we are imperfect.  that it is only by accepting, embracing and acknowledging our weaknesses and imperfections that “his strength can be made perfect.”   It is only through the cracks in our vessels, that his light can shine. 
We have been given “this treasure in jars of clay to show that all surpassing power comes from god.” ( 2 Corinthians 4:1-7)  “When i am weak, then I am strong.”  (2 corinthians 12:8-10)
There is a journey divinely designed for you and for me that begins when we let go of thinking we have to be perfect and embrace our weaknesses as a gift~~~as one of our greatest assets.
Asking for help and embracing one’s vulnerbilities are major steps towards living wholeheartedly.
Debasish Maridha says, “The journey of life is amazingly beautiful if you take it as a fearless adventure.”  without the courage to dare greatly, to rise strong, to embrace life wholeheartedly, we will never experience
the best part of the journey~~~~~the surprise and wonder along the way.
Risk versus reward!  “Ultimately, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did.  So throw off the bowlines.  Sail away from the safe harbor.  Explore.  Dream.  Discover.”  (Mark Twain) 
“Logic will get you from a to b.  Imagination will take you everywhere.” (Albert Einstein)
 So in the famous words of Dr. Seuss,  “Think left and think right, think low and think high.  Oh the things you can think up if only you try. “
Take that leap of faith to dare greatly, to rise strong and to live wholeheartedly knowing that our weaknesses and vulnerabilities are made strong through the one who holds us in the palm of his hand.  The one who says, “This is the way, walk in it.” (Isaiah 30:21)  the one who says: 
“Be strong and be courageous, be not dismayed, for I am with you always.”  (Joshua 1:9)

Praise god wherever you are and whatever situation he has allowed you to be in . . . his glory will shine through!

email address: cjodeit@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Give Thanks

The holiday rush and hustle has begun...we see it in the decorations, the shopping, the planning...and hear it in the murmurs that are about us.  And as we approach the week of Thanksgiving...I just wonder how much time is truly spent on appreciating what we already have and the blessings that we have already been able to count.  It seems like we so often to tend to be in wanting mode and forfeit our ability to be content in all circumstances. 

The word "thanks" is used a hundred times throughout the bible. Really it is documented an even 100 times on Bible Gateway.  It is either in the forms of a general thanks or thanksgiving....but God must have thought it an worthy issue to keep reminding us of its importance throughout His word. "Give thanks", "gave thanks", "enter His gates with thanksgiving". "thanks be to God", "thanksgiving to overflow", "giving thanks", joyful thanks".....  the story that we are most familiar with is the one about the Lord feeding the thousands with just a couple of loaves of bread and a few fish.  This was a big deal....but what was first done before the distribution...They held the food up and gave thanks....and then what happened? It was multiplied in such excess that the small amount of food was enough to feed the whole crowd with leftovers. 

Ok now just thinking about that story and its intent alone....there are a few good points that are worthy to be kept as a foundation in our thoughts regarding whatever situation we are in.

1) they were hungry.....in their physical state ....we are too in our spiritual state...for something that will fill and satisfy our hearts and souls
2) a small child offered the little that he had.....God will take from us whatever sacrifice we give to him and make it a worthy offering
3) the bread was lifted unto the Lord for a blessing.... and a prayer of thanksgiving was lifted for God's provision ..to me this is an upfront example of what we are to do with the little or the lot that we have....lift it unto the Lord in Thanksgiving...and appreciation...and praise
4) God listens...God sees, God provides for those who call upon His name....and places his hand of favor on those who present themselves and what they have to him in thanksgiving. 

We all like to be appreciated for who we are and what we do...the little things as well as the big things...But God...well think about how many things that God does for us and through us that we never give him credit for...we just go about our days in entitlement...not giving a sincere appreciation and thought that even through the bad stuff...he is still working for our benefit...and His GLORY!

He can and will take our stuff...our emotional, our spiritual and our physical stuff and multiply it according to His will...if only we offer it unto Him in thanksgiving.  As you are out and about this week...look around...take notice of the blessings that are about you...the little ones and the big ones and GIVE THANKS...from the bottom of your heart. For thanksgiving and praise unto the Lord is His delight.  And he will take whatever you offer and hold it close to His heart with delight....and you will see as I have, that the more you give Him the more blessed you are....for there is a peace and a joy that results in that relationship that out weights anything we could buy or attain on our own. 

1 Thessalonians 5:18
give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Dear Lord, Help us to    recognize the importance of thanking you for what you have and are giving us.  For even through the trials there is something that you are using to grow us and help us be what you have envisioned for our lives. To you be the glory and THANK YOU LORD....for loving us as you do in spite of the many blunders that we make.  May we in turn be thankful unto you for "all" that you do...not just the things that we like! And may we too remember to lift unto you the little things, and little prayers... knowing that you can and will do things of wonder beyond our comprehension.  Amen

Praise God where ever you are and whatever situation he has allowed you to be in . . . His glory will shine through!