A prayer and a leap, a leap of faith is what this is, because the topic leans towards political and I don’t like talking politics. I have been praying about this and I feel God’s nudging to use my voice, speak my heart and be heard. So, today is the day, and I am trusting in my Father that my word’s will speak to others hearts and be a blessing…for His glory.
I rarely watch or listen to the news because I do my best to fill my life with positivity and goodness so it just doesn’t have a place in my daily existence. What does have a permanent place in my life is my faith and my love of and study of God’s Word. I attend a weekly bible study* with a few hundred other women. Right now in our study of the Book of Samuel, we are studying about David. He was a shepherd, a warrior, who became a king. He became a king because he was chosen by God and although he was a sinner, just like I am, he had a heart for God and he sought God’s guidance and direction about pretty much everything. I am not comparing myself to David, I am certainly not a king, but I am child of God, just like him.
I am so sick and heartbroken over so much of what’s going on in our country. I am upset and angry over the deceitful practices of political leaders, the injustices, and especially the disregard for human life, in particular the most vulnerable. There are so many states that have laws that protect the “most vulnerable species” of wildlife and will go to great lengths to ensure these “species” are protected. In my heart and mind, unborn human beings qualify as a most, if not the most vulnerable species. According to webster’s dictionary, vulnerable means 1: capable of being physically or emotionally wounded, 2: open to attack or damage. I would state that unborn children certainly fit this definition, particularly in today’s society.
I certainly consider my anger and heartbreak justified, but the world is so busy looking out for #1…I, ME, MINE, and “What’s in it for me?” mentality that consideration for others no longer seems to be of any concern. In the rare cases where there is consideration for others…well, who wants to hear about the good going on in the world when we can widen the divide, poke the fire, and stir the pot…even if it’s not the truth.
For anyone who knows me, this post likely seems out of character for me, and that is certainly true of the “me” of the past. I just feel I have an obligation, as a Christian woman, to speak from my heart about what’s truly important, being a voice for those most vulnerable, and sharing the Word of God.
I jumped into this blog with both feet on a leap of faith. I don’t really know exactly how all of this works but I am pretty sure that this is may be what you see first when you look at my site! So, two weeks in, I am taking a stab at making it worth your time by sharing how and why this all started.
I have been diligent over the past few months, setting aside time each day for time alone with God. It is in that time that he has been calling me to this blogging journey. He kept telling me, in my heart, “Kimmy, you have something to share, trust me and I will take care of the rest.”
God has given us gifts and talents he wants us to use to glorify Him. He blessed me with creativity and a compassionate heart and put me here to share them both. I’m trusting God to guide me on this journey as I have never considered myself a writer, and honestly I still don’t. I just believe in my heart that this is what I’m supposed to be doing.
My prayer is that God speaks through me and uses my heart and creative nature for His Glory! AMEN!
This was my Monday face. When I started writing this entry, it was intended for a particular Monday, September 30th to be exact. But it also became my yesterday Monday face. It’s my “I’m just physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted” face. I would be lying if I said otherwise. Monday or not, some days are just more challenging than others.
Monday’s often get a bad rap just because they happen to fall in line after the weekend. I can’t tell you what day of the week my journey with chronic pain started, but there’s only a 1 in 7 chance it started on a Monday.
Like Monday’s, suffering doesn’t have a great reputation either because who loves Monday or suffering. I can’t tell you that I love either, but I can tell you with 100% certainty that God, my Father and creator, does great work through suffering and not only that, He does great work on any day that end’s in “day”.
My journey has been extremely challenging, especially the more recent part. In mid September I had a micro stimulator implanted in my back that is intended to help relieve some of the neuropathy pain I have been dealing with for several years. The recovery/healing time was difficult, not because I can’t handle pain, but the procedure pain combined with my already, often times, overwhelming foot pain, proved to be nearly unbearable. Yet here I sit, on the other side of what seemed an insurmountable challenge, sharing it with you.
My incisions have healed and I’m getting accustomed to wearing an external antenna and battery pack each day. I would love nothing more than to be able to say that I am pain free, but that is not the case. On top of whatever neuropathy still lingers, I also have something called complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), as well as arthritis, bouts of plantar fasciitis, and achilles tendinitis. It’s days like today, when the pain just won’t ease up, that make it hard to distinguish one pain from another. I could very easily blame it on Monday or even blame it on God and I don’t think anyone would blame me. But I don’t blame either. In fact, through it all I haven’t blamed God once. I don’t believe God is doing this “to me”, I believe with all my heart He is doing this FOR ME. I know that my Father does not want me to be in pain. Pain is simply a part of life and it’s because of and through my Father, that I am thankful for every part of my life, including the pain.
In fact, there is lots of joy, despite the pain and I am so excited to share some of the amazing, joyful, things going on in my life. More to come! Time for rest. God bless!
A little over a month ago I filled out an application for the chance at an experience of a lifetime. Most of the application was typical requested information on pretty much any application. Then at the bottom of the application were two questions that have the potential to lead to a truly life changing experience, an #ItalianSabbatical. Three months of life in the south of Italy 🇮🇹 in the town of Grottole, experiencing life as a local, serving to help revitalize this small village.
I have no visibility of the number of applications received but I imagine it is in the thousands, as it was open to a number of countries and add to that, the vast reach of the sponsor, #Airbnb.
I filled in all the blanks and proceeded to the bottom of the application to those two questions that could be my key to Italy!!
I am sure that of the possible thousands of people that applied, many of them have a formal training/schooling and likely a long, impressive resume to boot. Good for them! I don’t have either of those things but I don’t know that’s what’s important in this situation. I, with my big heart and love of God’s people, have as good of a chance as the doctor from Spain or the Engineer from Mexico (just examples off the top of my brain, I don’t know who applied or what their qualifications are).
So to get to the questions…here they are, along with my responses, true to theheARTofkimmy, from my heart and just being “ME”.
What’s your story and why are you ready to move to Grottole and take a sabbatical?
From a very young age I knew that I wanted to be a wife and mother. I married an amazing man when I was twenty-three, we quickly started a family, and have spent the majority of the last twenty-five years raising our three children. For the majority of that time, I have beenfortunate to be afforded the opportunity to stay home and raise our children while my husband was in the work force, either in civilian life or serving our country in the Armed Forces. He now owns and is running two companies from the comfort of his home office.
This past fall, we dropped our youngest child off at college and moved back to Florida, closer to our elderly parents and other family. While we still have our middle child living at home, we are essentially empty nesters, learning our new normal, settling into our next chapter together as a middle aged married couple.
I have a heart for God’s people and for serving in different capacities in places I have lived. My kids are young adults now and it’s time for Momma to venture out into the world! I have not been able to shake the desire to come to Grottole, immerse myself in such a beautiful place, share my heart, my time, and my talent to help bring new life to this hidden gem.
How would you contribute to the local community and make a difference in Grottole? Tell us what your passions are – Are you an artist? Are you a musician? Do you have arts or craft skills? Do you have any other related experience e.g. cooking skills, a passion for photography, etc.?
I consider myself, in a sense, to be a Jack-of-all-trades. Raising my children has been my top priority over the years so I have not graduated college and I’ve never really had a “career”. I have worked when we needed the money and I have had odd jobs, just because I wanted to work. Some people might consider that a downside to being a stay-at-home mother, I however, consider it an upside!
I have so much to contribute and share with the people and city of Grottole. My passions are simple, faith, family, art, and children. Having been born into a Christian home, Faith has always been a part of my life; it is woven in all areas of my life, including my time spent working with children in different capacities. My heart and soul goes into my passions and explains why being an art teacher at a small Catholic school was such an amazing experience. I have also been a school librarian, an assistant teacher for a first and second gradeclassroom, a Catechist in my parish, and a teacher for toddlers age one – three years of age.
Outside of my passions, I have experience in retail, police dispatching, and as a volunteer EMT. I have some experience with photography, creative lettering, and writing and have even helped pour concrete floors in the Dominican Republic. I am a certified Peer Minister, a Eucharistic Minister, and Lector. I would love to be part of this amazing opportunity and share my heART with Grottole!
The selection process is well underway and finalists will likely be announced within the next week to ten days. I am saying a prayer and leaving it all in God’s hands, HIS will be done!
While answering two questions on an application may affect my chances to participate in the opportunity of a lifetime, there are much more important questions and responses in this life. Answers that affect eternity. Have you accepted Jesus as your Savior? God’s Word says:
“That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved.”
I have known Jesus for a long time. I grew up in a Christian home and have been exposed to God’s Word and belief and faith in Jesus for many, many years. Accepting Him does not guarantee a life free from troubles or sadness but it certainly makes this walk through life, the good and especially the bad, a little easier and with a hope and joy that only HE can bring. HE is the provider of all of my blessings and my compass through all of my struggles. I am so grateful, for…
…”It is not joy that makes us grateful, it is gratitude that makes us joyful.” -David Steindl Rast
I don’t have any control over the selection process for this summer sabbatical, but I know the One who is in control. I don’t have all the answers, but I know the One who holds the answers. So, I rest in HIM and patiently wait for His timing and direction for my life. What about you? Do you know HIM?
Lent is upon us and what a world of difference it makes when I choose to view Lent as an opportunity as opposed to an obligation. I’ve always felt this pressure to “give something up” for Lent; chocolate, sweets, or some other “thing” from a long list of possibilities. It felt forced, almost like removing my make-up before I go to bed. It’s not something I have to do but somehow I feel guilty if I don’t, if that makes any sense. I certainly understand the connection of sacrifice. Jesus Christ, sacrificed and crucified on the cross for the sins of all. But nothing I could come up with as a sacrifice for the season felt like it was enough, I personally, wanted and needed something deeper. I always felt, deep in my heart, that Lent was supposed to be about much more than giving up my favorite (food, social media platform, activity, etc).
He willingly gave His life to pay the penalty for sin; my sin, your sin, and all the sins of the world. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Cor 5:21
I have made some personal changes over the past few years where my own Lenten journey is concerned. I discovered two particular Lenten activities that I have grown to love. The most impactful for me is from Dynamic Catholic. They offer a free daily email program composed of videos, a focus, and a prayer that pushes me towards the heart of Jesus and towards a better me. Every time I have followed this program, I find it to be an incredible 40-day journey, a transformation towards becoming a better-version-of-myself. If you’d like more information on this journey, I have included the link at the bottom of my post.
The other activity I enjoy, is focused prayer that I discovered on Pinterest, called “praying in color”. Most of the examples I found were simply a printed, blank, 40-day calendar type page. It may be called praying in color, but of course, you can choose black and white if you prefer. There are forty spaces, (representing the 40 days before Easter, where Christians prepare themselves for the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ) one space for each day of Lent. Each day, during my devotion time, I take time to be still and hear what or who God is prompting me to pray for. When that person or situation comes to heart I either write it out or draw a small picture and add the date to remind me of what my prayer was for that particular day. The page can be as simple as a blank calendar printed offline or I am offering my blank “praying in color” creations for free (see below for details/instructions).
While Lent is a very wide-spread, celebrated season in most Christian churches, I have grown to make Lent my own personal season of growth and maturity in my walk with Christ. I heard a quote today during the ‘Best Lent Ever’ video. The quote is from Howard Thurman and it struck a chord with me.
Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
Lent has become a time to for me, to take what makes ME come alive; my God given gifts of creativity, my heart for God and His people, and sharing His Word. I know the world needs Jesus and I pray that others will know Jesus by His work through me, in my words and through my actions.
So it is now day three of Lent, but it’s not too late to start or add to your own journey. I pray your journey is blessed and you find yourself better for it at the end of 40 days!
Know that you are always in my heART! God bless, Kimberly
The heARt of Kimmy did not fall off the face of the planet. In fact, I have been so ever present with the reality of so many life changing events that I have not taken the time to share with you in quite a while. I have known that writing and sharing my heart is a great release for the bottle within that holds those emotions so well, for a time, before the pressure builds, the top “POPS!” and its contents pour out at, seemingly all at once. So here is a small “cup” of the outpouring that has occurred since I last shared with you.
My heart and soul are being dumped onto my keyboard, onto your screen, and quite possibly right into your heart. Please handle with care!
I knew when I got in the truck and headed south, it was going to be a bittersweet trip. The journey has been made from many different locations but the destination has always been the same… at least until next time.
A once quaint, sleepy little town where my paternal grandparents, Lewis and Dorothy (Sweetheart), met in the 1930s, married and started their family. The house, since long before I remember has been at 205 E. Leonard St., on the corner of N. Atlantic. It is a home, that for years before I remember, and many years since, was a place for summer vacation, with the family, sometimes just my sister and I, just me a time or two, a home for Christmas, and an occasional off season trip. It is a home, lovingly referred to by family as, “Tara”. It is certainly visible from the street, but what you won’t be able to see from the street is the lifetime of love, laughter, holidays, memories, and even some tears that fill its rooms…if only the walls could talk. I have wandered its rooms, the yard, under the seeming house like cover of the old magnolia in the front yard and yes, even up into the branches of the huge live oak tree that occupies most of the back yard. An oak tree that is at least 400 years old and I imagine its roots are stretched far below and likely as wide as the surface area of the house and beyond. This “home” is my father’s childhood home but I also claim it as my own.
I pulled into the driveway on Sunday, March 11, 2018 knowing full well what I was there for, yet not prepared for what I saw. The “FOR SALE” sign, with its looming, uninvited, and unwelcome presence, took my breath away. One tear, then another ran down my face, not so different from how they run down my face as I sit at my desk sharing this with you. The stark reality of what that sign meant was a punch in my emotional gut and its force caught me off guard.
What I was there for was certainly not what I wanted to do. With my Dad’s oldest brother not in good enough health to join us, my Dad, Mom, my sister, my oldest son and I were there to take on the task of clearing out 80 plus years of my grandparents belongings. Little did I know how daunting, both physically and emotionally, the task would be. We dove head (and heart) first into deciding what we would “save” and what would be left for others to pilfer through at a future open house yard sale, better known as an estate sale. I found myself in a civil war between my heart, wanting to save everything from the average Joe citizen bargain hunter, and my mind, knowing that saving it all was not realistic or feasible. It was three days of reminiscing, smiles, laughter, tears, heartache, heartbreak, family, hard work, mental and emotional exhaustion, and even a few outbursts of frustration and anger. Looking back on it now, I recognize it as all part of the grieving process. Grieving in part for my grandparents (all over again), but mostly for the impending loss of the physical place, their home, “Tara”, that is home to me, my family, and so many years of life.
There was not a room in that house, left untouched. We sorted through countless boxes, bins, baskets, a seeming infinite number of papers and photographs. It was most certainly one of the most difficult things I have ever done. But this precious time, with my own family, spent delving into so many amazing memories, the written and photographed, the history of my grandparents lives together, and probably more importantly, a time of more closure for a time of my life, that will be forever tucked away in the corner of my heart.
Those few days at home in Southport were the longest days, yet somehow, not long enough. The day, the hour, the minute, and the second came all to quickly and it was time for me to head home to my own family. There was no doubt, we had to have some selfies and photographs. And there was no question in my mind or in my heart that those pictures should be taken in front of the only thing on the property older than the house and all of us combined…the old oak tree. I can’t help but share this series of photos. It so well captures the release of emotions that built up as that time of departure drew near.
I wouldn’t be true to myself if I didn’t take the opportunity to share some scripture with you. The Word of God is where I draw strength, help, and hope for my journey and I have a responsibility to share it with you.
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot, a time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build, a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance, a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing, a time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away, a time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak, a time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace…He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no on can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy while they live. Ecclesiates 3:1-8, 11-12
I have faith in and trust God’s plan…for everything. In my simple human understanding, His bigger picture is outside my scope of visibility and understanding. That is, until He chooses to reveal either or both to me. So I choose to live life’s moments as my God provides.
“Conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the Gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the Gospel.” Philippians 1:27
I haven’t shared anything in a couple of months and while I feel the need to apologize, I’m not going to. I am confident that anyone who reads this can relate to being busy, letting life get in the way, the feeling of being out of control, etc. I have felt all of these over the past few months but despite it all, I know for certain, I have never been in control of my life.
Since my last blog on 28 November my family and I have packed up our home, relocated to a rental, had our home painted, repaired, new carpet laid, cleaned from top to bottom, and listed for sell.
We have celebrated my birthday, Christmas, the New Year. I’ve traveled to Orlando with two dear friends for a girls weekend to Disney World,
I have traveled with my husband, Paul, to Los Angeles (my birthday/Christmas gift from Paul) to be part of the live audience of the taping of my favorite TV show, Will & Grace. We got a backstage tour, met the cast
and got a photo with them all, sitting on the back of the set sofa!
I started a new part-time job and in the next week and a half will be resigned. It is to much for my poor feet to handle!
That’s the big stuff!
Then there’s the little things, where the details are, and often times where I begin to feel lost, stressed, and sometimes, alone. But it is also the little things that usually mean the most.
“I am beginning to learn that it is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real ones after all.” Laura Ingalls Wilder
Thinking back to my birthday in December, of course the big gift of the trip to CA was an amazing gift. We had an amazing trip and it was a much-needed mini vacation for both Paul and I. But we’re talking the little things, right?
I was presented the most precious gift from my sweet daughter. Emma is my youngest of three, a young adult on the cusp of graduating high school and taking off to college to see the world and live life! She has come through some rough water over the past 8 months or so, but has, by the grace of God, landed on her feet. I see her vibrant, funny, intelligent, beautiful, and witty self more often than not these days. She has a heart full of love and the gift of words. For my birthday:
“You’ve filled my days with sunshine so bright, Cunning Little Indian (a lullaby song I learned from my Mom) for sweet dream nights. You gave the gift of life to me, and then in love you set me free. I’ve clung to you in times of despair, finding haven in knowing you’re there. You’ve taught me to love and soon you’ll set me free, to be the brilliant woman you’ve shown me to be. And though soon, we may be physically apart, know we will always be joined at heart. You are my sunshine.”
What precious and sweet words coming from my baby girl. We have had our share of disagreements and often times I don’t feel we relate well at all. But it is precious words like these, and little daily moments that fill my heart and reassure me that I am loved.
But, there are no words so precious or as reassuring as the word of God.
*“For God so loved the world that He gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” John 3:16
Through all the ups and downs, ins and outs of life, no matter how out of control, alone, or lost I feel, God is always there, gently but lovingly guiding me on the path he has planned. (Jeremiah 29:11)
Maybe some of you that read this are struggling in life. I pray that you are rooted in Christ Jesus, and can stand firm and rest in his peace and grace. Maybe you’re struggling and don’t know Jesus, his saving grace, or his eternal peace. It may be because you have never been told about him. Maybe you weren’t raised in a Christian home like I was, or maybe, faith in someone you can’t see is just hard for you to grasp. Regardless of where you were born, what your circumstances are, whether you know Jesus or not, know that HE loves you.
I am one person, sharing my life and my faith. I don’t have the power to change the world, but I am called by God to share his Good News. The good news that anyone…yes, anyone can be saved from sin! God’s grace is a gift, the gift of salvation that he wants you to have. It may seem like a “little thing” but aren’t the little things the ones that mean the most?
Are you ready?
1.Realize & Admit you are a sinner: “For all have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God (Romans 3:23) ADMIT YOU ARE A SINNER
2.Jesus paid the Price for our Sins (John 3:16)*
3. Believe and trust in Jesus! “Yet to all who receive Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God. (John 1:12)
4. Repent & Confess that Jesus is your Lord: “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be Saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
Then do this!
Believe that Jesus is the Son of God.
Repent of all past sins.
Confess that Christ is God’s Son.
Be baptized and find a church home.
I accepted Jesus a long time ago. I believe I was about 9 or 10 years old. I don’t remember details about that day but I still have the Bible I was given. Accepting Jesus doesn’t mean life will be easy or without challenges and heartache, but it will give you hope and assurance in your future.
Do you remember the day you accepted Jesus? I’d love to read about it. Feel free to share in the comments.
May God bless you and keep you. May He lift His countenance upon you and give you peace! Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I will pray for you!
“If there is any kindness I can show, or any good thing I can do to any fellow being, let me do it now, and not defer or neglect it, as I shall not pass this way again.” William Penn
The day I started my blog I didn’t have much of an idea about blogging in general, let alone what I would write about. It wasn’t something in my list of things to do nor did I sit and plan out what it would look like. I didn’t know if anyone would read it, let alone enjoy it. I started it because I felt called to do so. Through my Bible Study, prayer, and quiet time spent listening, God kept telling me, “Kimberly, you have something to share and it’s something that people need to hear…from you. Start a blog and just trust that I will guide you through it.” I have started several posts over the past few weeks but they just weren’t sitting right and I kept feeling stuck and that it just wasn’t the right message. I don’t consider myself a writer, but it felt like writer’s block had set in. So I just waited… waited for God to do what He told me He would do. I woke up this morning with a message on my heart, so here goes!
I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling that life seemingly gets in the way of things we want to do and even things we need to do. My family life has been a little bit crazy lately… crazy good with a speed bump or two and some tears. My family and I have celebrated an Army training graduation for our middle son, Paul. We bid farewell to our oldest son, Brendan. The Army has moved him to Texas for the next leg of his active duty journey. We have helped our girl Emma in her college application process. She is aspiring to double major in International Studies and photography. I survived a fall down the stairs at my sister’s house, without any broken bones, thankfully. Then just last week, we, along with our church family, had to say good-bye to our dear Pastor. He passed away from complications related to surgery. It has hit me harder than I imagined, and our parish community is in mourning.
Being the empathetic, highly sensitive, and emotional being that I am, the way God created me, I experience life and emotions deeply, within and from my heart. Sometimes, I wish it wasn’t the case, but I have learned to accept that it is who I am and God made me that way for a purpose…His purpose. Just as He has a purpose for everyone and everything, He does everything in His time. His timing may sometimes line up with mine, but it has nothing to do with my plan…it’s all GOD.
I’ll rewind a little bit and offer a couple of recent experiences with God’s timing in my life.
Our Pastor, Fr. Gerard “Gerry” Creedon, recently passed away. But prior to that, just a couple of months ago, one of his siblings passed away. During his leave to bury his brother, our parish had guest priests that came to help with daily Masses and weekly confessions. There was one in particular that brought such energy and joy to the Mass, but I had such a hard time deciphering his speech, as he had a heavy accent. I don’t recall his nationality, but I struggled to understand his words and would leave Mass feeling I had missed the message. This went on for several weeks, despite my attempts to avoid his mass by changing the day and/or time I attended church. As luck… actually, as God would have it, every Mass I attended, this priest was there to celebrate. I really did my best to be attentive and listen but at any given Mass I felt I might have comprehended about one third of the homily. Anyway, he returned to his regular assigned parish and things went back to normal with Mass, the priests, and my ability to understand what was being said. Fast-forward to 16 November, our Parish suffers the loss of our Pastor. While there have not been any guests priests at our parish, his death has left a tremendous hole in my heart, in our Parish, the community, and across international boundaries.
During my attendance at Bible study this past Monday evening, during our small group discussion, God spoke to me through one of the ladies in my group, about His timing and purpose. She reminded me how I had shared about my struggles in Mass with the visiting priest. She understood and acknowledged my difficulties in both understanding the that priest as well as the death of my Pastor. She talked about how God was preparing me, in His timing, and for His purpose for this loss and for the change that it will bring, not only to our church, but in my own life, both emotionally and spiritually.
Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails. Proverbs 19:21
Just yesterday, my husband Paul and I went to look at a rental home to potentially move into at the beginning of the year. We are positioning ourselves to sell our current home and rent through the rest of the school year. Our daughter will graduate high school in June then likely move off to college in the late summer early fall. Our plan is to relocate back to Florida to be closer to family, settle down, and live the life of empty nesters. Anyway, we have been looking at rentals for several weeks and have applied for three different places only to be turned down due to mismatched timelines with the home owners. We had wanted to look at three other houses the day before Thanksgiving but were only able to see two. One of those was not going to work for us and the other of the two would work but an application just hours ahead of ours was approved and went to a rental contract. Paul and I both have faith in God’s timing and both agreed that we wanted to see the one other home we were interested in before we signed a contract on anything. In His wisdom and His timing, we saw the third house yesterday. The home is amazing, the location is desirable, and the timelines between us and the landlord is perfect. It amazes me how when I choose, and it is a choice, to wait patiently on the Lord, EVERYTHING falls into place.
I am so thankful to God for His timing in my life. He is walking with me on this journey and He keeps reminding me that His timing is always best and is always right. He is not confined by the ticking hands on the clock, my own thoughts about how my life should go, or anything else related to my human, sinful nature. He works on me, in me, and through me in His time and for His glory.
He says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10
Waiting for God and His timing isn’t always easy. I have found it much easier when I spend more time in God’s Word, in prayer, and in just sitting. Sitting in His presence, listening for His voice and direction.
Are you spending time with God daily?
Are you trying to force your own timing in some area of your life?
Where has God’s timing strengthened your faith?
No matter what your circumstances, be still, know that God loves you, cares for you, and will work everything out in His time. Let go and let him take control… HE will always do what is best.
I am not a goal setter, haven’t ever really been, mostly because I don’t take time, sit down and truly consider and think on what I’d like to accomplish. Really, the only reason goals are on my mind now is because of the devotional I am reading called Blessed and Unstoppable by Billy Alsbrooks. I am on day twenty-seven and the first self assessment question today temporarily paralyzed me. “Have I set my goals massive enough?”
At first I began to shrink inward as I thought about how very few goals I have. Of course, there are the ones that seem to go without saying, live healthy, be happy, and to some degree, be successful. But really, I don’t know what my goals are. What is it that will wake me up every morning and propel me forward towards the best-version-of-myself? I know what I enjoy and what I am passionate about. I am passionate about my family and my faith and I have a growing passion for sharing my heart, my faith, my creativity, and sharing God’s Word with the world around me.
After a few minutes of contemplation, it hit me! Like a soccer ball to the side of the face on a hot summer afternoon on my way to marching band practice. Yes, that actually happened, a very long time ago. I don’t play soccer and have never played, but the memory jumped into my thoughts as I was writing and I’m guessing it got your attention, right? Oh yeah, it hit me…I do have a massive goal! It has absolutely nothing to do with worldly success, money, a career, or material possessions. Call me crazy but I want to become a Saint! I’m not talking an NFL New Orleans version, I’m talking the beatified and canonized type. I want God to work miracles through me, to use my life to directly and drastically impact people and souls that I come in contact with. I want him to use me to glorify Him! So when I am gone from this earth I will leave behind my physical being and an extraordinary impact on the world. I know, its massive, but not impossible. After all, Saints aren’t “supermen” who are born perfect but rather ordinary people who follow God with all their heart.
This goal makes any other ones I have seem so small, but there are no small goals when it comes to becoming my best self. God gave me a set of gifts and he has called me to use them here, for this moment. I choose to be obedient. Oh! Back to my devotion and the prayer for the day. As I read it my eyes fill with tears, my heart fills with love and passion as I could feel God’s presence and hear the prayer as if it was written for me. It’s a prayer written by Billy and it reads:
Father, I pray today that you would show me how to take the limits off of you. Help me to dream bigger and believe in the wonderful things you have planned for my future. Give me the strength to aim higher and the faith needed to accomplish it in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Of course, I don’t know what God has planned for my future. I don’t know where each moment or each day will take me, but I do know who holds my every moment and every day… Jesus does. He tells me, “I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
What massive goals have you set for yourself? Are your goals aligned with God’s plan? Do you know who holds your future? How do you know?
On any given day, I leave my home and head out into the world. I am a white female, forty-seven years old and about six feet tall. I weigh about one hundred and eighty-five pounds; I have blonde hair that is in the awkward phase of growing out from a short pixie cut. I have bluish-green eyes, fair skin with a few freckles, and a few wrinkles. I have long arms, long legs, a long torso, and size ten feet. I’d say I have an attractive and welcoming smile. I like to wear make-up, not to look made up, but to accent my features. I dress for comfort, I like my jeans and t-shirts, and I pretty much wear sneakers all the time, out of need, not necessarily desire. I clean up pretty well but only play dress up when I have to.
I may just be going out to run errands, go meet a friend, volunteer at the school, or go to dinner with my family. No matter what I’m doing, chances are, in my line of sight, are dozens of other people and sometimes many more. Each individual human has their own unique hair color, eye color, skin color, personality, they are of all different sizes and shapes. They are God’s creation! Regardless of what I see, no matter how they respond or react to others, or me they are valuable and precious in God’s sight.
I know I am guilty of passing judgment on others despite my best human efforts to not. It may be something about their physical appearance, the clothes they wear, the car they drive, how they treat me, if they cut me off in traffic, or even simply their attitude. I am guilty because I am a sinful and flawed human being.
I also admittedly have been witness to and seen Jesus in others.
Then God said: “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” Genesis 1:26
I have seen Jesus in the children at the school where I volunteer, in the faces of strangers reaching out to another human being in need, and in the faces of my friends and family. I’m pretty sure that if all of those external features we call “looks” of any of us were to be made invisible or taken away, leaving only our hearts, we would all look pretty much the same. The human, anatomical heart may not be very pretty in and of itself but it is what God looks to when He sees his children.
But the Lord said to Samuel: “Do not judge from his appearance or from his lofty stature, because I have rejected him. Not as man sees does God see, because man sees the appearance but the Lord looks into the heart.” 1Samuel 16:7
I believe God gives us glimpses of Himself in others to draw us to him. He desires to be in close relationship with us and wants to live in our hearts. He wants us to see the best in others, lift each other up and “love our neighbors”. If we could see others the way Jesus does, by looking at each other’s hearts, how much better would the world be? It would be perfect the way God intended.
I pray that God enables me to see others the way that he does, that I can see Jesus in every person I come in contact with. Mostly I am that flawed, sinful human being, but I have hope in Jesus, and faith that He hears my prayers and will help me to be the best version of myself possible. I pray that others can see Jesus in me and I pray for you.
I hope you enjoy my “heART”!
Won’t you share a time you witnessed Jesus in another person? How did it make you feel? Did you tell them? Feel free to comment below.
There is a song I sang all through my childhood and although it is a song about my Savior, Jesus, I find myself feeling anxious at the thought of typing the words. Do you know them?
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red and yellow, black and white
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world
As a child, it was simply a song about Jesus and how He loves all of His children. I’m sure you can see the cause for my anxious feelings. In MY heart, it is still the same song about the same love. It isn’t about the color of our skin. It’s about love, from Jesus, who has been, IS, and always will be.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1
I am and have always been a sensitive soul. Anyone who knows me knows that. I tend to operate from my heart, seeking what is right (just) and good in the world and in other people. I prefer to believe in the goodness of people. I don’t watch or listen to the news. I feel it is a vehicle for negativity, divisiveness, and inflammatory bits that simply add fuel to the fire, about everything. I don’t like it! Uninformed? I don’t think I am. Worldly news is near impossible to avoid these days. I just choose to limit what and how much I expose myself to. I see and hear what goes on in the world and it breaks my heart. I do my best to live, not in fear, but in faith. Not faith in the world or in myself, but faith in the One who created the world, the one who created each one of us, out of love, in the image of love, in the image of Jesus.
There are a lot of scary and evil things taking place in the world, a lot of bad news. Controversy, racism, hate, violence, and selfishness have brought us to where we are. By no means do I think that one blog can fix the world’s problems. I do believe the through faith and prayer, by saying, good-bye to selfish ways, opening our hearts, and putting others first, I, YOU, WE, can begin to change the world.
Do nothing out of selfishness or vainglory; rather humbly regard others more important that yourselves, each looking not out for his own interests, but everyone for those of others. Philippians 2:3-4
How To Put Others First
Pray for them: God knows their needs and hears our prayers. It doesn’t have to be a long, formal prayer. It can be a short prayer on your drive to work or to pick up the kids.
Empathize: Try to imagine yourself in someone else’s shoes. How would you feel and how would you want others to respond to you in the same situation?
Send a card, a note, or even a handmade piece of artwork (my favorite): I don’t know about you, but I love to get personal snail mail. A card or note from a relative, a friend, or even an acquaintance can be the turning point in someones day.
Just be kind
How do you put others first? What one thing will you do today to make a positive difference in someone else’s life?
Please comment below. I would love to read your thoughts and ideas.