Hello Friend! Day Seventeen

Hello Friend!

There are times I get stuck in negative thought patterns but I am generally a hope-full person. I don’t know if it is a part of my personality or if it is intertwined with faith and trust in God or a combination of all of that. I am thankful for my optimistic perspective. In spite of what is going on around me, I know God will work it out. It might take effort on my part. It might take a new look at my circumstances, but I trust God. I have seen Him work in my life before and I know He can take some pretty ugly things and transform them to serve a greater purpose.

Even though we live life on Earth with all of its beauty and tragedy and fragility and complications, it is such a comfort for me to know the grave is not the end. The older I get, the more difficult things I see happening around me and the more quickly I surrender my agenda.

Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope,  and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:1-5 ESV

Always hopeful!
Liz

Hello Friend! Day Eleven

Hello Friend!

Have you ever been sucked into something so ugly with such speed you wonder “Where the heck am I and how did I get here?”

It happens. Addictions are evil.

It mainly happens with addiction and it doesn’t have to be ours — it can be someone else’s and it can sometimes change the course of our lives. Instead of the regular things like paying bills and working the job we become familiar with calling the cops, paying fines, court dates, rehabilitation, and the jail system.

We can get sucked in so quickly!

If this is your life, I am so sorry. It is heart wrenching to have someone you love catapulting themselves towards disaster. They are seeking peace for their troubled soul. And you are along for the ride because you love them or think you can help them.

I will pray for you. I will pray for your wisdom and discernment. I will pray for your safety. I will pray you have healthy boundaries.

Sometimes you cannot stop someone who is bent on destruction.

Love,
Liz

Hello Friend! Day Nine

Hello Friend!

I don’t have the illusion or goal to excel in all I do. I think that is impossible. There is a balance between forever striving and resting in what God is doing. I am looking for that balance! And I am so thankful for the hope I have in Jesus!

I regularly make mistakes — some more costlier than others. My selfishness and humanness get in the way of how I want to be!

I disappoint the people in my life.

I disappoint myself.

Sometimes I get caught up aiming for perfection. And other times I need to spend a little more time making sure the fine details are addressed. And too often I forget that I am a human being. I will not be able to respond perfectly to every circumstance. I need grace — every day.

I was not a perfect child, perfect student, perfect friend, perfect spouse, or perfect parent. And I don’t know that any of us can truly say we are perfect at much. However, I am perfectly loved and forgiven by the God who knows my name and draws me close, even with all my imperfections. What a comfort to me! I am loved, even with all my blunders!

Knowing God and His promises and trusting in Him calms my fears. But realizing I am not in control is definitely a daily surrender. Sometimes it is hourly! I lay my concerns and my needs at His feet and rest in the work He is doing.

May you overflow with hope!

Love,
Liz

Vision

Have you ever read the book of Daniel? That was a man who had many visions and was known for his wisdom and intelligence. His specialty? Dream interpretation.

I don’t think there is anyone alive today who has Daniel’s reputation. We have the concept of “vision” although it takes on a different meaning outside of Scripture. Daniel’s visions seem unlike those of any other.

We can think about our future with wisdom and discernment – even if all we see is difficulties around us. Sometimes what we see can give us an opportunity to envision something better, something that helps us not focus so much on our circumstances but to contribute to a greater good. Many people have been encouraged to fight some level of devastation or need by creating a platform for others in a similar situation to feel support and connection and learn how to cope with or prevent something. These types of visions can help us transcend our immediate circumstance and infuse us with hope.

Check out the sweet family behind Fritz & Friends. What a beautiful example of a family taking their own experience with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy and creating a space for others to learn about it and create a support network for others. During difficult times, holding on to faith in God and His bigger picture and the hope we have in Him is so important. This world is full of difficult circumstances. Each of us has had challenging life situations at one time or another but clinging to God’s mercy and grace is what makes any situation bearable.

I am thankful God can knit together our past and present experiences, our strengths and inclinations and move us into action. It helps us sort things out and make some sense of it. And it can help us share God’s hope with others!

Yes, my soul, find rest in God;
    my hope comes from him.
Truly he is my rock and my salvation;
    he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. [Psalm 62:5-6, NIV]

My your soul find rest in Him!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: CONTEMPLATION

Desolate

Desolate w
Some “barren land” in Picacho, New Mexico.

We have been on the road for the last five days (Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, and Phoenix) and we have driven through quite a variety of terrain and weather conditions. Some of the places were quite sparse. As we drove quickly by, it didn’t look like there was too much life out there but a good naturalist will let you know that indeed there is, even if there doesn’t appear that way.

And I got to thinking, sometimes we look at someone’s life (maybe our own) and we think there isn’t anything of value there. From the outset there seems to be not too much life, but we never really know what is going on in the heart.

I am one that has a tendency towards “hope”. If I lose something, I am hopeful to find it and if I am surrounded by situations that aren’t great, I am looking for hope to hold onto. So even as I look at this picture and it’s lack of color and seeming lack of life, I know better. I know there are things going on “behind the scenes”.

I am thankful for all the times that God has worked on my heart even when I didn’t know or understand it. How He has given me life and purpose even if it appears there is little life on the surface.

There are seasons that look desolate, but God is always working, shaping, encouraging, and tending to my soul.

We may look at someone and decide they are flourishing the way God wants them to by all outward appearances, but we may be completely wrong. So let’s not make a judgement either way — truly, only God knows the heart.

The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” [1 Samuel 16:7b, NIV]

So don’t let appearing “all together” be your goal. Let God work on your heart and things will flow from there.

Heart work is hard work!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: IDENTITY

Shelter

Sometimes we hear the tornado warning sirens and we know it is time to take shelter and seek a safe place to be. But there are other times in life it might not be so obvious that we are in danger. Maybe we are too innocent to understand the situation. Maybe we are too deep in some mucky stuff. Or we don’t know where a safe place is. Maybe we stumble someplace for shelter and it is really just a place where the vulnerable are preyed upon. And there we are, again; it seems we are in a hopeless place.

_______________________________________________________________

Good shelter, even if it is temporary, can give someone hope. In my mind, shelter isn’t just a physical structure, it is also a mental or spiritual place that provides respite, encouragement, or some level of peace and calm so the heart and mind can think and make a plan. It may provide food as well as food for thought.

A place to be heard.

A place to be cared for.

A place to be renewed and strengthened for the days ahead.

Where do you seek your shelter from these busy days? Do you have a place you like to dwell when you need a break from this complicated life?

For in the day of trouble
    he will keep me safe in his dwelling;
he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent
    and set me high upon a rock. [Psalm 27:5, NIV]

May God enlarge your view of shelter!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: FORGIVENESS

Disappointment

There are many things to be disappointed about in this life. We are set up to strive for “more” with all of the promotions and ads and marketing that bombards us every day. We often chase after things, people, positions, experiences, or degrees hoping they will bring us happiness and are surprised when, after we achieve it we are still feeling disappointment.

Or maybe we have experienced disease, death of loved ones, and other things that occurred through no fault of our own and now we are left to deal with daily reminders of that loss. Life can be so hard.

What is our response when things don’t turn out according to plan? Where do we turn? Who can understand? How can our heart and mind accept the situation and move forward?

It is important to allow ourselves time to adjust to the new circumstances, of course. And that time of grieving and the process of grieving looks different with every person. Talking to a friend or counselor or pastor can be helpful. I also like to pour out my heart to God and ask for His peace and patience while I navigate through the “new path” that He is allowing me to travel. It may not be what I would have chosen but it can have beauty and peace all the same.

Sometimes I need to adjust the way I view my circumstances.

Instead of asking “What is going on here?” or “What am I doing here?” I can ask,

“God, what are You doing here?”

“God, open my eyes to see what You want me to do or see here.”

I don’t want to suffer or endure difficulties but those things can strengthen me if I am looking to Jesus for His strength and perspective. That strength not only allows me to endure future disappointments (because they will continue coming) but to be a source of encouragement to others. There are others who are also suffering and enduring difficulties and, sometimes, the only way for me to see those needs and share the Love and Mercy of God is to be in those hard places. I don’t love to be in “hard places” but I know God is there.

And He wants to be my Rock.

Therefore, since we are justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Through him we have obtained access to this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in our hope of sharing the glory of God. More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit which has been given to us. {Romans 5:1-5, RSV]

May God bless you as you work through your disappointments!

Liz

PrayerPrompt: TREASURES