1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 says, ” Be joyful always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
As I sit here this morning, I can’t help but be extremely grateful for every breath that I take….literally
Today, I am heading to Jacksonville, Florida at Mayo Clinic for what seems like it might be one of many visits to come.
Last weekend, I was admitted to the hospital for multifocal pneumonia. Sunday morning I woke up with chest pain and shortness of breath. I didn’t know it was as severe as it was but my body was is in a fight or flight mode. My esophagus is not pushing food and drink down like it should which has caused me to aspirate food and fluid at night into my lungs. My entire right lung is now compromised with infection and nodules obstructing my air.
Even with all of that, I remain grateful. I know that I am blessed and that God has a plan even when noone else does.
I am grateful for God’s love. And, I know, that because of God’s love, he has given me everything I have ever needed. I know that the very breath that I take, that each moment I have is a gift of God’s love just for me! Every moment of my existence is proof of his grace and everlasting love for me!
Gratitude changes my whole perspective in tough situations and I know that I can find peace and hope by keep an attitude of gratitude.
Here’s the trick though, I can’t just pull out the “I’m grateful card” the moment disaster strikes and expect to find peace and a new look on life. It doesn’t work like that. I have to build my gratitude daily, it takes work. I have to be aware of ALL things God has done and is doing and I have to practice a grateful heart. I can’t control a lot of things going on in my life right now but I am in charge of my heart, and my mind.
Gratitude takes nothing for granted, it recognizes God with a new sense of wonder and all we have to do is praise the goodness of God. A grateful person knows that God is good, not just by hearsay but by experience. And that is what makes all the difference.
I know that the lessons that I learn in my lowest of lows are preparing me to receive the blessings of my highest highs. This time will be no different. How do I know? Because he says so..
NIV Romans 8:39
neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
One of the things that I consciously try to do is be aware of the little things in my life. Keeping the little things in the front of my mind allows me to be more aware of God moving in my life. I haven’t always been like this, the negative would overpower my thinking in the midst of hard times. The simple mindset of gratitude has greatly impacted the way that I face my mountains in my life. As for me, I will walk by faith, not by sight with a grateful heart.
I have walked through some of the darkest years of my life alone, so I thought. I have felt broken physically, mentally and spiritually. I have been completely overwhelmed at times with life, and not knowing what direction to go that I was afraid to move. To think the next thought, I might fall apart. I have thought, that I just can’t just make it through another day through with all of my illnesses more times that I want to admit.
But I hold it all together for myself, my husband, and more than anything for my kids. I know that I am not alone,God is always with me, he will never leave me and I can always turn to him. I know that someone is reading this right now saying they know how this feels.
No matter where I have been in this journey, I have learned that all of those feelings are only temporary even if they come back after a while. God has always sent help my way.
It may have been an encouraging word from a nurse, or something I read, or sending someone my way to bring a word of grace, but he has always provided what I needed.
I have to look for God even in the smallest of things because even if it doesn’t appear that anything is changing I know that God is always doing something. I know the closer that I walk with God, the more Satan will try to knock me down but I have to stand tall, and be strong in my faith and know where my help comes from no matter the challenge I am facing.
What Satan doesn’t realize is the very tool that he thought would make me turn on God has brought me even closer to my heavenly Father. The sickness and the hardships of my life has made me put total dependency on God, instead of myself or someone else. Satan doesn’t want me to rise above my problems but I choose to rise above anyway even if it will take a little more effort on my part.
David wrote in Psalms 23,” Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil for you are with me.”
Father’s Day didn’t have any meaning to me for most of my life, my biological father was abusive, and it was just a bad reminder of the past, but Father’s Day brings new meaning since I met my spiritual father.
According to the U.S. Census, approximately 15 million people in the U.S are fatherless. My earthly father was not a good father at all. He provided none of the essentials that I needed as a child or even now as an adult. My relationship with my biological father was anything but loving and trusting, and for the first 9 years of my life, it was torture.
After being placed in a foster home for a substantial portion of my childhood even there I did not have a father. At church, I was told that God was my father, but to me that did not equate because of the experiences that I had already had. How could I see God as my Father when when my biological Father caused me so much pain and abuse?
I have always loved God but accepting him as a Father was difficult. I had such a tainted view of what a Father really was, and I couldn’t grasp the magnitude of God’s love for me as Father.
It took the love of a spiritual father to change my mind about what a father was. A spiritual father is a father figure within the Body of Christ.
It was because of his relentless love and acceptance that I could finally see the Heavenly Father in a true light.
Seeing A Loving Father for the First Time
My Spiritual Father
I did not know I needed a Father figure, but God knew I needed a Father figure. It was amazing, God gave me so much more than just a Father, he gave me a Dad. We have a trusting, healthy father/daughter relationship and I thank God every day for that blessing in my life.
I can’t thank him enough for his love, and commitment to me. My Dad corrects me when I am wrong, and he forgives me even when I don’t deserve it. That’s the thing, a real father always forgives, and moves on, just like our Heavenly Father. A Spiritual father will always express and exemplify and knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. A spiritual father will always give sound counsel and pour out blessings. A spiritual father will nurture and protect.He never leaves you even when you have messed up. A spiritual father will use those moments as teaching moments. A spiritual father should always be a representation of the heavenly father.
My Dad has also taught me a few other things, like how a real father is supposed to be.
1. My Father will never leave me.
God promises, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5).
God is deeply, unshakably committed to you. You never have to ask whether he will stay or leave.
My Dad shows me that a real Father will always be there no matter what. I never have to worry that he will get tired of me one day and be done with me, that’s not how a father/daughter relationship works.
2. The Father knows what I need.
Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” (Matthew 6:8)
My spiritual father always seems to know what I need spiritual and mentally and offers loving advice with respect to who I am a daughter.
3. The Father takes great delight in his children.
God says, in Isaiah 43:44” you all “his children” are precious in my eyes,”
Without any love or encouragement from my dad, I could easily question whether I was loved at all. I used to constantly battle with how much I was worth.
4. The Father loves Unconditionally
(Romans 5:6–8) He is a hope for the abandoned, a refuge for the fearful, a Father to the fatherless.
Thankfully, our heavenly Father’s love for us is not conditional. He does not love us based on what we do to deserve his love. God loves us just because he loves us. Even when we’re disobedient and rebellious, He loves us.
God reaches out to you in great love even when you are at your worst.
Father’s hold such a vital role in our lives. In a Christian home they are the beginning foundation of what our relationship will look like with our Heavenly Father.
If you don’t have a Father, consider reaching out to someone that has a close relationship with God and accept them as a mentor and if you are approached reciprocate. Maybe you don’t have a father, but you have a person in your life that has made an impact in your life, thank them this year.
Lastly, remember we all have our Father in Heaven. You can’t get any better than that. Make sure you honor him this Sunday and every day after.
Happy Father’s Day!
If there is one thing that I have learned from my life and walk with God, it’s that sometimes we are brought to our weakest point so that we can gain total dependency on God.
I have lost everything many times in my lifetime but God has rebuilt my life from scratch every time. I had many situations in my childhood that I do not know how I made it out alive, many unknowns, and close calls with my health now and I have had unknowns but God has always seen me through.
In those moments, I may have felt alone, but now I can recount times when I have no doubt that God was there, saving my life and intervening.
The most frequently repeated phrase in the Bible is “Do not be afraid!”
God is not speaking to our emotions, and since we can’t command emotions, however he is speaking to our will.
When Peter asked to get out of the boat, Jesus granted his request and said, “come to me,” however, the interesting thing is Jesus didn’t stop the waves or the storm. The further away Peter got from the boat, which was his safety, Peter started to get afraid and he began to sink.
Peter cried out, “Lord save me!!” And then, Jesus saved him and he rebuked him. “How little faith of you?”
Did Peter really trust Jesus? Sure, he did, after all, he got out of the boat but the fear of the storm paralyzed him.
When you step out of the boat you have to make a conscious decision not to allow fear to paralyze you.
Peter sank because he stopped walking towards Jesus and he allowed his emotions of fear to take over.
Faith is not knowing that God can but it is knowing that he will. Faith requires us to keep walking even when we are faced with fear, even if it’s the unknown.
I find that sometimes fear of the unknown gets the best of us at times. We walk in this life and everything is going great until one day something happens that we are unfamiliar with and we panic. It’s then that we have a choice, are we going to keep our eyes on Jesus and trust that no matter the road that we are led, he is in control or will we take our eyes off Jesus and let our emotions of fear take over.
I trust God with my life. And sometimes it is hard to keep focused on him when things feel like they are beyond my control but I know that God is my sufficiency, and when I am at my weakest, he is made strong.
No matter what you may be facing today, I encourage you to keep your eyes on Jesus. #keepyoureyesonJesus
Happy Friday! 😁
As a mom of a rambunctious 11-year-old boy and a 15-year-old teenage girl, we are always learning life lessons in my house, but often I am the one giving the lessons and learning through their situation and seeing how I could do bette with things in my own life. Afterall, if I teach it to them, I better model it first.
Last week was no different, Katie has chosen to be a Veterinarian. We are so proud of her, at fifteen I wish I had been half as goal oriented as her. She has her eye on the prize and she goes for it. She chose a High School that has a program that trains her to do exactly that. The plan is that when she graduates High School, she will be a certified Vet Tech, and then she will go on to college and have a head start towards her career. She is so excited and this year she has enjoyed her first year in the Agriculture program.
However, Katie is also in Band. Katie is my musician of the family. She loves playing her flute, and choosing between music and becoming a Vet was actually hard for her. Last year Katie paid her dues and did marching band for the year that she was told she had to do originally. She broke her knee, and marched anyway until the brutal end. This coming year, she physically can not march, but would like to continue symphonic band but they are requiring marching band if you want to be in band at all.
Katie agonized over this for weeks. She knew this would mean she would have to give up band. And as I watched my daughter, I had this chat with her one morning.
Sometimes, you have to leave what you are comfortable with even if it hurts and you have to move forward to see what bigger and better things God has for you. That’s the problem we get so comfortable with where we are. All we see is what we are losing and we can not see what we are gaining. If we would just move forward knowing that there are bigger and better things ahead we wouldn’t miss out on the blessings God has for us.
For Katie, moving away from her first love of band is extremely difficult, but God has huge things in store for her. She is gaining more time with the animals, more experience, and things she really loves. She has the ability to give lessons for the flute as well so it’s not over, because she has time now. She can play more often at church. She can join the orchestra in town now. She can play for this blog more often now. There are so many opportunities and doors that can open up but she can’t limit God because she is afraid to lose the familiar…. otherwise she will never mature and never grow. How many of us get comfortable with where we are that we resist change and miss out on countless blessings? We don’t want to lose our comfy spot but if we would take a leap if faith, we wouldn’t lose at all we would gain everything.
I just thought this was worth sharing with all of you.