Wednesday, August 1, 2018

“Have you asked Him what HE thinks?”


Have you ever met someone who was super indecisive?  Every single decision they made was overwhelming for them.  I mean I, myself, struggle with the big decisions, but when it comes to simple things like where to eat or what kind of ice cream flavor I want… it’s really no big deal!


Making decisions can be hard at times.  I get it!  There’s really no special training when it comes to decision making in life.  We learn as we go on the spot from our own bad choices or from those of others.  It’s a live and learn kind of process. 

When I was little, I remember learning quickly that touching a hot pan on the stove top hurts a lot and guess what?  I didn’t do it again after that.  Well… not intentionally.   I also learned that walking barefoot through a bunch of dandelions in the yard could open up the possibility of me stepping on a bee… which hurts too.  Hmmm… it seems like a lot of my life lessons have been gleaned from moments of pain.  Interesting?

The decisions we make on a daily basis really do matter!  As a matter of fact, sometimes our bad choices (if we aren’t careful) can turn in to life-long consequences that we have to live with forever! 

 The decisions we make today can affect our future tomorrow!

 As believers, we should live differently when it comes to decision making.  We should want God to be smack dab in the center of our lives… at the core of who we are and everything we do.  That includes asking Him to help guide us to make “right” decisions.

Many times we rush ahead making decisions about things on the spot never even considering what God might think about it all!  Friend, I don’t know if you realize it or not, but God wants to be involved in our decision making process. 

I know, for many it seems a little crazy to ask God’s opinion about our decisions.  I mean how can we really know what He is thinking?  How can we hear His voice or even expect to know His will for our lives?  Is there a “Learning to hear God’s voice” book for dummies anywhere I can buy? 


I hear you friend.  I’ve been there too, but believe it or not God really can actually speak to us personally.  He’s done it for me time and time again.  Rarely is it ever in an audible voice, but there are lots of other ways God can speak to us and help direct our steps in the right direction. 

The first thing we need to do if we really want God’s help in making better decisions is … get to know Him better.   We need to recognize His voice above others.  I can say confidently after twenty five years of marriage that I can recognize my husband’s voice in a crowded room.  It is a unique sound to me.  We have talked often and I have listened intently to him…. So I am familiar with his voice.  (It helps that he is really loud and outgoing making his voice all the more undeniable!)

Connecting with God and growing a stronger relationship with Him takes time and effort.  If you aren’t spending time with Him, I will guarantee you that you won’t hear His voice or sense His leading when it comes to the choices you make.

James 4:8 says…
“Come close to God, and God will come close to you...” 

As we draw closer to Him by reading His word (The Bible), praying (talking to Him like we would a friend), and going to church (surrounding ourselves with others who love God), we will begin to discern His nudges, sense His promptings, and follow His leading in making right choices.

God speaks in many ways.  Here are a few He has used with me….

The Bible:  God uses His word to speak truth to our hearts for our everyday lives as we read it.   I like to read the book of Proverbs several times a year (one chapter a day over a month).  It’s a book of wisdom.  God’s words placed deep inside of us help us make wise decisions.  I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (Psalm 119:11). 


Memorizing scripture helps us make wise decisions as well.  Whenever I have been struggling in the past, old scriptures I have memorized have always come back to my mind to encourage me at just the right time. 

Prayer:  Whatever decision we are seeking guidance on, we need to involve God in the process.  Ask His opinion.  Pray over all of the details involved for an extended period of time.  For major decisions I might pray a week or a month before deciding.  Don’t be in a hurry.  Don’t allow your emotions to lead you.  Allow the Holy Spirit to guide you.  “…when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth…” (John 16:13a).

The goal at the end of your focused prayer time should be a sense of God’s peace when you think about your decision.  If you feel uneasiness it may be God directing you AWAY from that particular decision. 


“The fruit of righteousness will be peace; the effect of righteousness will be quietness and confidence forever” (Isaiah 32:17).
 
Other People:  God uses other people as instruments to encourage us, speak wisdom into our lives, and tell us the truth in love.  It is always good to have two or three people in our lives that we trust (that are godly examples to us) to confide in and confer with when we need wisdom.

Plans fail without good advice, but they succeed with the advice of many others.” (Proverbs 15:22).

As we are seeking God’s direction in a particular area of our lives, we need to be open to asking those closest to us for wisdom and direction.  Don't just tell them what you are thinking about doing and ask them to pray.  Ask them the following question(s)…

1.  As a friend or mentor in my life, do you feel any hesitation or reservation in me doing this                particular thing?  If so, why?
2.  What wisdom do you have to offer me in this particular situation? 
3.  What are your thoughts about this area of my life?

Ask them to be completely honest with you. Be ready to receive, open to correction/godly wisdom, and prepared to love them no matter what they say.

In major decisions involving transition, our goal should be 100% positive responses.  If you get a variety of responses that aren't all positive, then you need to go back to your prayer room and seek God's face. A sense of peace should be the outcome in the end.

 Wisdom from others should only confirm to us what God has already 
been directing us to do.  God’s direction should be our primary goal.


Circumstances:  Sometimes circumstances can help lead us to right decisions.  Let me give you an example….

Years ago my husband and I were serving at a church as youth leaders while in college.  We were heavily involved… practically the unpaid assistant youth pastors.  Before we graduated we were offered a job as just that, but part-time. The only stipulation was that we would have to work as janitors for the church as well until they could afford to pay us.  They weren’t at a place to be able to hire us full-time.

It was an awesome church and we were up for the challenge, but we wanted God’s will.  We decided to pray for a week seeking God intently concerning all of this.  We knew even though it looked like an awesome opportunity, the right thing at the wrong time was still the wrong thing

We prayed separately and determined to share our thoughts with one another the following Sunday night.  That morning at church as we glanced down at the sermon title for the evening message, we were shocked at what it said.  The title was… “When God says GO!” 

With that message, plus our prayers, and the wisdom of others, God was beyond clear in His direction for us.  It was time for us to seek a full time ministry position even if that led us away from the church we loved.  Even though it didn’t make sense to us at the time (in the natural), we were committed to follow God’s leading. 

As I look back today, I can see His hand guiding us specifically to each place we went after that and all the people we encountered.   I am overwhelmed at God’s faithfulness to see us through and use us in ways we never dreamed possible for His glory.



“Circumstances”  I guess God likes to use this one a lot for me.  Maybe it’s because many times I’m too busy DOING things for Him that I don’t take time enough to really LISTEN. 

James 1:2-3 says…
“… when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow…” 

The decisions we make today can affect our future tomorrow!

I have had Christian friends who have made horrible choices that have landed them in jail, led them into affairs (that have destroyed their families), and gotten them wrapped up into a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol.  In the end, they discovered (after all of the consequences of their actions hit them) that it’s not where they really wanted to be.  When I think about it all, it baffles my mind. 

How did they get to that dark place when 
at one point they seemed so close to God?

It’s not something that happens overnight, friend!  It’s a slow process of us deafening our ears to God day by day.  It begins with us choosing to allow other things to come before Him or replace our time with Him in our lives.  The end result is that our hearts become far from God and our lives become centered completely on ourselves.  That’s a dangerous place to be!

I challenge you to draw close to God today.  Invite Him into every area of your lives (let nothing be off limits with Him).  Make the decision to keep Him first place in your life.  Ask for His help to make “right” decisions.  Ask others around you for wisdom.  The decisions we make really do matter!  Do you trust Him with the details of your life?  I dare you to try a new way of living… “Making decisions with God in mind”.  That is one decision you will never regret!

Living to leave a legacy,
Julie


Prayer:
God, I thank you that you want to be involved in my life.  I know You really do care about me.  Help me to make you a priority in my life.  I want to spend special time with You daily… reading your word, talking with you, and listening to your heart.  I want to draw closer to you and learn how to recognize your voice.  God please help me to use wisdom as I make decisions.  I pray your spirit would guide me daily.  Help me also to look to other godly people in my life to guide me in my big decision making times.  I pray that your peace would guide me in all that I do and that my decisions would honor you.  Thank you for your patience with me as I learn.  I love you with all of my heart!  Amen.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

“Yucky…That’s the only word to describe it!”


Have you ever looked at your tongue before? It’s definitely not the prettiest part of our bodies. Our tongue is the organ of taste and speech. The Bible talks about how hard it is to control our tongues in James Chapter 3… one minute we are speaking good and the next evil. One minute we are encouraging others and the next minute we are tearing them down. It’s a mystery. I learned when my boys were little that they struggled with this immensely. I immediately set out on a mission to “fix” their ugly talk and teach them to speak words of life.

I determined that the best way to teach my boys how to control their tongues would be with a visual reminder of its ugliness. My tool of choice was vinegar.   I shared with them that every time they chose to speak ugly or yucky to others that yucky stuff was going to be put in their mouths as a reminder that we shouldn’t talk that way.  


My slogan was…
            Yucky talk = Yucky taste

It seemed to work to some degree for awhile. I threatened vinegar often and they would “try” to do better. The taste lingered in their mouths as a reminder of their bad choice of words.

To this day, the boys want nothing to do with vinegar. Once I was at the grocery store and needed vinegar for a cooking project.  I asked one of them to get me some from the shelf and they said, “No, mommy we don’t need anymore vinegar… PLEASE! We promise to talk nice!”

Another time I was cooking in the kitchen and had a bottle of white vinegar set out on the counter. It was turned so you couldn’t see the label. I didn’t realize how much it looked like a water bottle until my boys came in hot and thirsty.  One went to grab it to guzzle it down (I guess the bottles did look a little similar, but taste very different!)  I stopped him just in time. 

Vinegar… a visual reminder that Yucky Talk = Yucky Taste.  I wonder what God would choose to use with us.  What if every time we spoke negative, harsh, or ugly words God gave us vinegar? It doesn’t taste very good by itself… just ask my boys. I surely wouldn’t want to have it all the time. Sometimes I think we need a visual reminder to help us guard our mouths and season our speech with sweetness.

How others respond to our words are determined by several factors:

As we speak to others we need to consider…
How we say it, the tone, the attitude behind the words, the specific words chosen, and the timing of it all.

I don’t know if this is true for you, but I’ve noticed that ugliness seems to fly freely most with family. Why is that?  Why are we the most hateful to those closest to us?  Maybe it’s because we feel like we can really be ourselves around them.  But, what is that saying about our true selves.

Luke 6:45 says...
“Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks…” 

What do the words that come out of our mouths say about our hearts?  (Ouch!)

Hmm… think about it.   If your speech had a taste, what would yours taste like?Would it be sour, bitter, or sweet?


Psalm 119:103 says
“How sweet are your words to my taste, they are sweeter than honey.”

I’ve learned over time that our words and habits are transferable to our children. Some families are yellers and they produce children that yell.  Others communicate quietly and have children that have probably never heard their parents argue in front of them.   Negative parents produce negative kids and positive parents produce positive kids. With God’s help, you can stop the transfer of negative qualities and pass on a fresh, healthy, and godly heritage to your family.

With that in mind, I want to be my family’s biggest cheerleader!  I strive to speak words of life to my family daily.  Some days I win at this and other days I fail.  I don’t know about you, but this is a struggle for me at times.   The good doesn’t always want to come out.  Some times my timing is off, the tone isn’t right, and I have a bad attitude.  It’s a good thing that I have God to help me with this.

Awhile back I posted a note on my mirror as a reminder of all of this.  It says… “Choose today to be a Life Giver.” It may sound crazy, but I will catch myself in the middle of sentences realizing… maybe the tone, attitude, or timing is off on this conversation with my family member. Allowing God to help me guard my tongue, watch my attitude, and choose my words wisely makes a huge difference.

I’m on a journey of trying to become more like Christ in this area of my life.  In the process, here are some things that may be helpful to you as you endeavor to gain control of your tongue:

Bite your tongue! (Prov. 21:23)
You’ll never be sorry for the hurtful words never spoken. Sometimes the best thing to do is to say nothing and pray. Let God guide your tongue.
Be positive! (Phil. 4:8-9)
Being positive is a part of having faith. Faith is believing God for what seems impossible. The Christian walk is a walk of faith. We need to believe God for the things we cannot see. If we are constantly looking at things through a negative, critical lens, our Christian walk will become a defeated one. If you have been raised in a negative home, this is something that will take time, but with God’s help you can do it! Positive people rub off on to others. Make friends with some positive people or marry one like I did.  It makes all the difference!

Be purposeful! (I Thes. 5:11)
Look for opportunities to build others up (especially your family). A lot of people have low self-esteems because they are torn down so much that they can’t lift their heads. This world is an ugly place. I want my home to be a safe, refreshing, and encouraging place for my family to be. Don’t withhold speaking words of life daily to others. Say, “I love you” often. Use words like please, thank you, and I’m sorry. Live a life with no regrets when it comes to your words.

Be purposeful and intentional about building others up! 

Matthew
12:34 says…“Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.”

Fill your heart and life with more of God and you will have words of life to give to others. Remember it’s a journey. It’s not easy, but with God’s help and lots of practice we can tame this ugly tongue.

Choose to speak words of life today!  Give someone else the gift of a kind word, build self-esteem, and learn to sweeten your words. You have the ability to change your world, one word at a time. Be intentional today!

Living to leave a legacy!
Julie

Prayer:
Lord, please help me to set my heart on You today.  I know that “Out of the abundance of my heart” I will speak.  Please help me to guard my mouth.  I want to speak sweet and encouraging words like You do to others.  My family sees me at my best, worst, and knows just how to push my buttons to make me upset.  Please help me to control my tongue at home.  I know if I can control my tongue at home, I should be able to control it anywhere.   Help me to learn to bite my tongue when I need to and become intentional about speaking life giving words to others.  In a world where it’s cool to cut down others, help me to be an encourager of the soul.  Lord, help me to reflect You well with my words today.  Thank you for the words of life that you have given me.  Help me to make time and take time to read them.  I love you today and forever.  Amen.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

“Can I have a Band-aid please… Life Hurts?”


 When my boys were little they had this weird fascination with band-aids. I don’t know why, but I couldn’t keep them stocked enough in our house. We were constantly running out. I decided to investigate this mystery. I discovered in my search that my boys had a unique philosophy about band-aids. They thought that anytime they hurt that the band-aid would immediately heal them and take all of the pain away. It was amazing.

I tested the theory several times to be sure. When they would get a bump, bruise, or scratch, they cried their eyes out and immediately stopped the minute the band-aid was placed in position. Wallahhhh… they were healed. I wish it were true! This concept seems a little silly, but some of us see God in the same light. We hurt and therefore we want Him to immediately put a band-aid on it and take away all of the pain.

There have been many times in my life’s journey that I wished this concept was true.  If only I could put a band-aid on it and see it immediately be healed. It would be awesome to see all the hurt go away in a moment. It’s a nice idea, but doesn’t always happen that way. God doesn’t promise to take all of the pain away, but He does promise to walk through it all with us. We are not alone!  He has been there and knows what it means to hurt.


John 16:32-33 says…
“But I'm not abandoned. The Father is with me. I've told you all this so that trusting me, you will be unshakable and assured, deeply at peace. In this godless world you will continue to experience difficulties. But take heart! I've conquered the world."


It is inevitable that we will face pain some time in our life time. It could be the pain of a broken relationship, hurtful words, a miscarriage, financial hardship, disease, death, an injustice, or a physical pain that won’t go away. When we face pain, we can most relate to Jesus and how He felt on the cross. He was willing to suffer to do whatever it took to build a bridge for us to get to God.

I’ve faced various types of pain in my lifetime, but a few years ago I experienced extreme physical pain like never before. I had severe stomach pain that wouldn’t go away. I went to every doctor imaginable and each one kept saying we don’t see anything wrong and refer me on to the next.  I felt like I was being sent in circles and nothing was helping. After awhile, my patience ran out. I was vomiting because of all of the pain and on strong pain killers that barely cut the edge off. I remember lying in bed in severe pain one night thinking… Why me????

I didn’t blame God, I just didn’t understand what He was doing. In that moment, I decided that regardless of how I felt that I was going to choose to be thankful.   I was thankful to be alive and thankful that I could be with my family. I determined that if I had to live with this horrid pain forever that  I could do it with God’s help.

After SIX MONTHS, we finally discovered the problem!!!  One of the medicines I was taking for the autoimmune disease I have had a side-effect (in very few people) that caused abdominal pain. A slight change in the dosage fixed it all. A lesson in patience for me I suppose.

I don’t know what kind of pain you are facing today in your life, but the main thing you need to realize is that God has not forgotten you. YOU are not alone!  He is near and wants to walk with you through it all.  No matter how hard things may get, Run TO Him. Keep running to Him when you are hurting, battered, and bruised.  Even when your inclination is to run the other direction entirely (AWAY from God) don't do it!  He loves you dearly friend and wants to be there for you.

I read this quote recently and it really stuck with me...

"When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.”
~Franklin D. Roosevelt



I remember feeling at times (when I’ve been sick or struggling in the past) like I was hanging from a rope. It felt like it was wearing thin and I was just hanging by a thread. In that moment God reminded me of something.  I was not alone.  He was holding on to the other end of the rope.  I was safe as long as I held tightly on to Him. No matter where you are in life or what you are facing friend… run to God!  Hang on tight and let Him carry you through. With God nothing is impossible! Pray, trust Him, Hang on, and let God take care of the rest. He is faithful!

 “Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, 
they're supposed to help you discover who you are.”
 ~Bernice Johnson Reagon


 May God bless you richly today as you face life’s difficulties with His peace, presence, and patience for the journey.

Living to leave a legacy,
Julie


Prayer:
God, thank you that you are always there for me no mater what.  I know in this world I will face trouble and difficulties.  It is inevitable.  Regardless of what is happening around me or to me… When I am struggling, hurting, and feeling overwhelmed help me to always run to you.  Help me to trust you with all of my pain, hurts, and heartache.  Help me to surrender my fears to you today and rest in your peace.  Help me to remember that I am not alone.  YOU are there to comfort me, heal me, and restore me!  Sink my faith roots deep in You so that I am always ready for whatever comes my way.  I hold tightly on to you God.  You are my anchor through all of life’s storms.  I pray that whatever life may bring me that in the end I am drawn closer to you and become stronger as a result.  I love you today and forever.  Amen.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

“It’s All About Perspective!”


Sometimes I can get caught up in things that don’t really matter.  I don’t know how or why it happens… it just does.  If my family was here right now they would definitely be shouting a loud “AMEN!” to that.  Ha, ha. 

Have you ever been there before friend?  I hope I am not alone.  Have you ever fixated over trivial meaningless tasks that don’t really matter?  Have you ever gotten wrapped up in situations or circumstances that threatened to consume your life?  It may not really matter a week, a month, or a year from now, but it matters to you today.   

What we don’t realize is that when we allow these things (the trivial and meaningless things) to consume our time, our thoughts, our energy, and our lives… we can lose our perspective.  Yesterday, God gave me a lesson in what really matters.

It seemed like a typical day from the start.  The boys got up and about their day slowly... as usual of course.  Being the task master mom that I am, I gave them a specific time frame to be dressed, teeth brushed, and ready in the living room for our family meeting.  We were going to discuss the plans for the day. They had exactly one hour to get ready at their leisure. That seemed like a reasonable amount of time to me.

They had plenty of time to get ready and enjoy their special shows if they managed their time wisely.  However I have one child who likes to wait to the last minute to do everything.  He generally ends up way behind schedule as a result. So, when I saw him enter the living room to watch TV, I thought… “Why isn’t he dressed?  It doesn’t take much effort to put some clothes on… he only has 30 minutes left to do it before THE DEADLINE!”  I proceeded to lecture him on why he should have already gotten dressed.  Needless to say this caused him to have an attitude with me leaving us both feeling a little on edge.

Feeling defeated and out of sorts, I immediately retreated to my safe place to consult with God.  I turned on the worship music and began cleaning the kitchen.  It wasn’t long until the songs began to penetrate my heart and God got my attention. He whispered quietly to my spirit… “Did you see that little boys face? What do you want him to remember about the encounter you just had with him? Is it that he should follow YOUR SCHEDULE… Do you want him to remember your angry expressions, harsh words, or bad attitude? What impression do you want to leave with him about this moment?  What do you want etched into his mind forever?”

The words weighed heavy on my heart as I replayed the encounter again in my mind.  “Whoa!!!!!!!! Wait a minute… this was NOT my plan for the day!  I need to fix this and fix this now!”  I immediately called my son into the room to rectify the situation per God’s instructions.

I started talking before he could even say a word… “Will you please forgive me? Mommy sometimes gets caught up in things and forgets that everything doesn’t always have to been done HER WAY. I’m sorry. Will you remind mommy next time this happens that you will do it (whatever it is), but you want to do it YOUR way and in YOUR time?”  He gobbled me in a hug, smiled, and said “OK mommy, I love you.”

I’m so glad that God helps us in this journey called life. When we mess up, lose focus, or get caught up in the trivial things this life has to offer… God is there to rescue us and bring us back to where we need to be.  I’m also thankful for sons that are quick to forgive a mom who tends to lose her focus more often than not.  The struggle is real!  God help me!

Colossians 3:1-2 says “So if you're serious about living this new resurrection life with Christ, act like it. Pursue the things over which Christ presides. Don't shuffle along, eyes to the ground, absorbed with the things right in front of you. Look up, and be alert to what is going on around Christ—that's where the action is. See things from His perspective. “
 
Lift your head friend and choose to see things from His perspective.  What image do you want to leave etched in the mind of someone else from their encounter with you today?  Surrender your heart and day to God.  It’s all about perspective!

Living to leave a legacy!
Julie


Prayer:
God, please help me to focus all of my attention on You today.  I don’t want to get wrapped up in things that don’t really matter.  Today, I set my heart on YOU!  I want to have Your perspective as I enter my day.  Direct my steps, fill my mouth with Your words, and help me to live in such a way that others see You in me.  I want to make you proud!  I love you today and forever.  Amen.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Infused with HOPE!


“We are out of options...”  This is NOT the kind of thing you want to hear from your doctor when you are having a rough year health-wise.  Good grief… it was only March!  I can’t say this hasn’t happened before because unfortunately it did.

This time it was an upper respiratory infection and pneumonia that knocked me down quickly.  My body just wasn’t recovering like it should.  The on-going sickness only exasperated the autoimmune disease (read more details about my struggle here).  I was in the midst of a flare up that wasn’t getting better! 

My neurologist had ordered the traditional go to IVIG treatments to get me back to normal quickly.  When they didn’t work, we jumped to the next best step to re-charge my immune system in a sense... steroid treatments.  Nothing was working and I only seemed to get worse.  Muscle weakness, fatigue, trouble speaking, the list goes on.  I was in a full blown flare up.  Yay me!


I’m thankful I have an aggressive neurologist who cares deeply about his patients.  He researches alternative options, talks to specialists, and weighs all options before presenting what he feels would be best.  My option at this point was to have a treatment I had six years ago.   At that time, I was bedridden most of the day with this dreaded illness with no quality of life.  The risks involved in the treatment seemed like a sensible trade for the hope of better days ahead.

HOPE… I like that word.  For me, it means there is “potential” for something good to happen.  That’s better than despair… which means to lose all hope.  I’d rather not despair the days ahead for me.  “To lose hope”… where did hope go?  Was it ever there?  Where did we lose it? 

I have faced a lot up’s and down’s in my lifetime.  Many of which could have stripped me of all hope, but they didn’t!  They don’t!  Why?  Let me tell you my secret…  I choose to put my HOPE in God instead of dwelling in a pit of despair.  Have you ever been there before?  It’s really hard to climb out of that pit when everything is going wrong in your life.  Believe me, I know!

I remember a particularly dark season where I got to the end of myself health-wise and I didn’t know what else to do.  I was so sick and nothing was working.  I was skin and bones, not getting better, and I had no options at the time to do anything else.  There were no words.  I cried out to God broken inside... nothing would come out of my mouth.  All I can say is that God met me right where I was and helped me keep pushing forward… trusting Him all the way.  I read the verse below recently and it describes what I felt at that moment to a tee.  This speaks volumes to my heart.
  



“Strength in my soul”… It was a strength I didn’t possess on my own.  To be completely transparent with you (if I haven’t already), I don’t know how I made it through this season.  It really felt like God was carrying me the whole way.  He was faithful!!!  

For those of us who might feel stuck in that “Pit of Despair”.  The verse below sounds like someone is giving themselves a pep talk.  We can see it all the way throughout chapter 42.  I love how it says in verse 5… “YET I will praise him.”  This person is believing for better days ahead… so am I!  




Psalm 42:5 (NIV)
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? 
Why so disturbed within me? 
Put your hope in God,

For I will yet praise him,

My Savior and my God.

  


Instead of choosing to dwell in a pit of despair… Put your HOPE in God!  He has always been my ever present, constant source of strength to pull me through... and He will be that for you! 

When I faced difficulties or challenging seasons of life, I could have walked AWAY from God and blamed Him like others do and have, but I didn’t.  I choose to run TO Him in the midst of my struggles and I have never, ever regretted that decision.  His peace has been immediate as He has carried me through some of my darkest seasons of life.


Here we are again after six years.  The treatments I had before put me into remission for 4 years which was awesome!  I felt like I came back to life in a sense!  I had a fresh perspective and a new way of living.  I determined to live differently from that day forward.  But… as I think back over the past six years (4 really good and 2 struggling health-wise), I wonder.  Has anything changed?  What have I accomplished in my six years?

I’ve been very introspective lately.  I’ve written special letters to my family.   In case my health declines drastically and those so called “risks” involved with this treatment conquer me, I want to be ready.  I’ve pondered my life and asked myself a lot of questions. 

Has my life impacted others for good?  Are they better for having known me?  Am I spending more time “living” life (making memories) instead of just “doing” things (I have been known to get lost in a ‘to do' list… LOL)?  Have I created memory making moments with my family?  Do they know I love them fiercely?  Have I been intentional? Have I done what God would have me do?  Have I reflected Him well to those around me?  Am I pointing people to Jesus by my life choices (actions and reactions)?


These are just a few of the many questions rolling around in my head lately.  Today I finished my last treatment (or infusion).  Now it’s all about the recovery process.  I am infused with HOPE!  Hope… that these treatments will lead me right into remission.  There is “potential” with these treatments to go into an indefinite remission.  Will you pray with me that happens?



Have you lost your HOPE and fallen into a “Pit of Despair”?  Put your hope in God, friend!  We have YET  to praise Him!  I’m believing it, do you?

Living to leave a legacy,
Julie