It’s Not About Me – How I Got Here
I started this post back in February or March of this year. Every time I would start writing again, I found myself stopping and doubting myself, Questioning why I was even writing at all; I had trouble finding the words. I felt really low and insecure at the time and it seemed that some situations were just not right or fair. I felt hurt as I wasn’t getting the attention that I felt I deserved. Maybe I did deserve it as I should have received equal attention to one of my siblings who did the same kind of work I did. I have this urge or just plain need to impress people, and it’s been an issue for me for many years now.
Where It Started
I think that as we are growing up, we really want to please and make our parents happy and proud. Then this wanting to make our parents proud, turns into more. We begin to seek approval and acceptance from our broader family, and then friends. Before long, we’re even seeking the approval and acceptance of other people who we don’t even know. All of a sudden, years down the road sometimes, when we don’t even realize it, we have pride and jealousy creeping in, and we wanting or seeking to be better than someone else in just about every area of our life. I am now asking myself, “who am I competing with or trying to impress now?”
At one point, I found that I even wished that I could share my story live in front of people at church and all these people would be really impressed, then I would be happy. I look at it now, even if I wanted to give a great testimony and try to encourage people who were in tough circumstances, what was my motivation? Pride!
A Current Example To Me
I was watching this video of Francis Chan this morning. He has really made an impression on me lately. He stated that he also was at one point looking on lists to see where he was as a pastor, pod-caster, to see how he was doing, climbing higher and higher on charts and becoming more and more popular. I realized, that this is exactly what I’ve been trying to do so much of my life and especially more recently with my writing. This isn’t to say that I shouldn’t work hard or be sloppy, but my first purpose should be to glorify God and use my gifts for Him! That, after all, is why He created me.
With all of the social media, then writing on WordPress, I find myself constantly looking at my “likes”, my “numbers”, and comments that are made. This has also spilled over to other parts of my life even those that aren’t visible on social media. I want people to like me! I want to impress! “Does this person like my post or did I get enough likes?” Will I ever be an author? Will I ever make it on a show or on a movie?”
It sounds rather prideful and narcissistic, but I think that a lot of us, look for who we will please EVERY time we do something! We try to please ourselves by trying to please others, then we give ourselves a pat on the back because somehow “we made it”; like that’s a true indicator of my value. It was all a performance to me, trying to be the best, look the best and do the best. My heart only wanted this! I wanted to be better!
It isn’t wrong to work hard or people to be an encouragement to others. It’s about measuring people by people instead of God that trips us up. The apostle Paul put it this way…
We do not dare to classify or compare ourselves with some who commend themselves. When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise.2 Corinthians 10:12
But is this my purpose? No. My purpose is to glorify God and to make Him the most important person in my life! He is the only one I must please! He created me and knew me before I was born and created me for a purpose. Jeremiah says:
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you, before you were born, I set you apart. I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.”Jeremiah 1:5
None of this is to say that we don’t need some affirmation. We should affirm others, praise them when they do well. God affirms us in so many ways. He says that we are wanted and precious to Him. Romans 8:35-39 mentions several things that cannot separate us from the love He has for us. We want to feel and believe we are wanted. Here are some lyrics to another song that I love. The song is by Danny Gokey, and is titled “Wanted”
if you could see it through My eyes
You’d know that you are wanted
You’d know that you are wanted
And if you’d let My love inside
I’ll show you that you’re wanted
I’ll show you that you’re wanted
You’re more than all your darkest moments
you are defined by what I see
You’re my reflection, you’re my treasure, you’re my heartbeat
Oh child, you belong to me.Wanted by Danny Gokey
Why I Do Feel Doubt
I do doubt myself and have some significant insecurities.
When I was growing up, I moved so many times. Establishing solid relationships wasn’t ever a feasible because I knew that in a year or so, I would be moving again. I tried making myself and other people happy on the outside, for the short term, because I probably wouldn’t see them again. I could be nice, yet fake. My mom and dad were both teenagers when I was born. Then they divorced and my mom remarried. I was raised by her second husband who I also called Dad and still do to this day.
None of this is an unusual story in this day and age. However, I constantly believed everything I did was wrong. I got in trouble a lot. I felt neglected regularly. I didn’t feel supported.
I just wanted so bad to make everyone happy and hoped that I was pleasing them, but I wasn’t. So, I learned to pretend. This often led to self-criticism, self-doubt and discouragement. Even now, I crave acceptance and approval. I look and compare myself to other people and if they are getting attention, I want that too! It’s jealousy and I tend to take it personally! But, what really matters though?
I Don’t Want To Be Wrong
When I am told I did something wrong, I get upset. I don’t want to be wrong and don’t want to look wrong! I don’t know if I am just trying to prove something to myself or to someone else. Again, insecurity. Do you struggle with this too? If you and I are struggling with this, it is easy to see then, that we might not feel that we were made for a purpose! What value does God place on me? Am I important to Him?
I Owe Him The Glory
I have doubted many times and refused to believe that it is really GOD who has this plan for me and He deserves ALL the glory! It’s not about me! It is totally about only Him and what He knows and wants. In 1 Corinthians, Paul said the following about God’s purpose for me and how much He values me:
But by the grace of God, I am what I am, and His grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them-yet not I, but by the grace of God that was with me.1 Corinthians 15:10
The fact is when I get to heaven, I won’t get the glory; I will cast it at His feet because, again, He created me for His glory.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name: bring an offering and come before Him; worship the Lord in the beauty of His holiness.1 Chronicles 16:29
It’s probably obvious by now that I lose sight of the purpose God has for me at times. But He has never lost sight of me and while I might not be able to see it clearly now, someday, His purpose will be crystal clear.
“For now we see in a mirror dimly but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully even as I have been fully known.”1 Corinthians 13:12
So many times we make worshiping ourselves, our idol. We are most important to ourselves or the praise of other people, is so important to us, we make ourselves an idol. But worshiping God Alone, is our purpose. It’s only Him who deserves the glory!
Ascribe(assign) to the Lord, you heavenly beings, ascribe to the Lord, glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord, the glory due His name; worship the Lord in the splendor of His holiness.Psalm 29:1-2
You are worthy, our Lord and Our God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things and by your will they were created and have their being.Revelation 4:11
I found that I am prepared for driving through the storm, best when I give Him the wheel! The experiences I have in life have demonstrated to me that when I anticipate a storm, I brace myself and start preparing.
This last weekend, my husband and I left our area to go visit my sister and her family. They live around six hours away from us, and further north than we do. My husband, Daniel, as he usually does, checked the weather. He saw how the weather was calm, with no snow here in the St Louis area on Friday, the day that we left. We should not experience any other weather on the trip north but possibly some rain on Saturday while we were up in Wisconsin.
On Sunday though, we saw that we would encounter a snow storm on our way back home. Knowing this, we decided it was best to take our safer vehicle, a 4 wheel drive Hummer. This way, we felt we could better handle the roads as we traveled. Make the wisest choices for what we will encounter is critical in life too! If we did not have a sturdier vehicle, we may have needed to reschedule our plans.
Change To Give Him The Wheel In The Storm
As we drove home on Sunday, I saw very small amounts of snow, grow to large amounts and larger flakes, the closer we got to home. I could barely see flakes at first. At other times, I could see larger flakes, coming down very rapidly, making it very difficult to see through the windshield. We had to turn the wipers on to move quickly to clear the windshield.
As we drove further along, the more rapidly the knew then, that we were “in the storm.” We had now reached what we heard was coming!
The changes we experience in life though, can surprise us. There are calm times, then there are busy times, that we have to prepare and be aware that they are coming. What are we going to do and how are we going to react to change? I can honestly say, that I don’t always react to change gracefully! When I see I am in the busiest, craziest part of the storm, I get real nervous about what can or will happen. Then I start thinking of all of the possibilities, and I think negatively, instead of just being calm.
Often, I think of how people on the road drive, when watch news reports and I then get concerned that this will happen! I can see many people who do not know how to drive in this weather and believe that they should not be out, because they are not prepared for what has come.
Adapting In The Storm, When He Takes the Wheel
When we reach the storm, either while driving, or in any aspect of our life, we have to make changes. The weather now has affected what we were planning to do. We have to slow down and adjust what we planned to do. Remember, when driving through the storm, give Him the wheel! I had to change and reschedule appointments for Monday. We have to adapt to the circumstances we are in. Stay calm, watch and wait for it to clear. At times, we made plans or hoped something would happen , but it didn’t. It is disappointing to us. We have to live though with what comes, and deal with what happens. http://stltoday.com
Beauty Minus Comfort In The Storm
I love the beauty of the snow, especially looking out of our windows in our house, but I don’t like the cold. I don’t like the hassle and the discomfort that the cold brings when having specifically a snow storm. https://heartshare.blog/2019/11/30/in-bright-or-dim-lights-lets-see-him/Seeing how things turn out as snow develops is great, but I don’t like how it feels right then. This reminds me of the verse, Hebrews 12:11 . Our discipline is not pleasant. Good things happen even when things don’t seem pleasant at that moment.
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.Hebrews 12:11 NIV
Jesus, Take the Wheel
Carrie Underwood sings the song, Jesus Take the Wheel!” I am reminded of how when He takes the wheel, He makes the adjustments and changes necessary! He will make all things beautiful in His time! I also love the verse Isaiah 61:3 that speaks of turning beauty from ashes. Though it is hard for some of us, we can believe that God will really make change. Beauty is in the middle of uncomfortable, difficult circumstances that we are not prepared for. We must believe that God is in full control no matter how much we prepare, adapt and deal with change. Giving Him full control is something that my husband and I are learning at the moment.
…to bestow on them a crown of beauty, instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendor.Isaiah 61:3 NIV
We must remember, when driving through the storm, give Him the wheel!
Consider An Eternal Perspective!
When we think about what really matters in life, we often consider what we are bothered and upset about. We wonder “why”? There are a lot of “why’s” that I thought of very recently! Let’s take a moment to consider the temporary and the eternal.
I see some people have less difficulty than others do. Wondering when I have trials already, why does God go deeper and deeper, to catch my attention?https://heartshare.blog/2019/11/30/in-bright-or-dim-lights-lets-see-him/ Then, I seem surprised. 1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “do not be surprised,” though.
Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial that has come upon you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed at the revelation of His glory.1 Peter 4:12-13
Consider What We Face Temporarily
As we consider the temporary and the eternal, look over this list of some common hurts and trials that we face regularly:
- Job stress
- Physical health
- Family disputes
- Missing family
Consider Temporary Testing and Refining
Some days, it is really hard to have an eternal perspective! Especially when we are only looking at what hurts us now! We can’t imagine or think about joy with Him for eternity!
I was reading today about refining silver and testing gold, because of a verse I read in Zechariah 13:9. As I researched the terms refining and testing, I noticed that the term “refining” is a also a term used to describe improving. Testing the gold, is meant to see if the gold is real or fake. Some of the tests I read about regarding gold testing involved using a magnet or floating because real gold is not magnetic and does not float! http://bullionexchanges.com Are the trials and difficulties in our lives, improving us or are they making us more genuine? Do other people and God know that we are real? The process of improving our life is hard! Lots of trials really hurt!
Consider Pressing On for His Purpose!
Be thankful and full of joy when you know that God has us here for a purpose; because we know that we are fulfilling that purpose! We were told by Paul to Press on and finish the race that is set before us!
2 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.Philippians 3:12-14 (NIV)
Consider How Are We Faithful?
I have several people in my family who have dedicated their lives to share the gospel with people on the other side of the world! One of these couples is my sister and her husband, who are being faithful in fulfilling what God called them to do. What has God called you to do or what has He called you to be faithful in?
- In your marriage and family
- Loving Him
- Be a witness
- Go into all the world to preach the gospel- Jerusalem, Judea, uttermost part of the world.
Consider Your Temporary Role!
The New Testament uses several metaphors for us as believers to help us consider the temporary and the eternal. We are:
- Runners – We run a race! (1 Corinthians 9:24-27) (Hebrews 12:1-2)
24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. 25 Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 26 Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. 27 No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.1 Corinthians 9:24-27(NIV)
- Fighters- Fight the good fight! ( 2 Timothy 4:7-9) and spiritual warfare( Ephesians 6)
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.2 Timothy 4:7-9 (NIV)
- Conquerors- We are more than Conquerors! (Romans 8:37)
…No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.romans 8:37 (NIV)
Consider His Eternal Actions!
Although I don’t know you personally, and you may be ready for trials and suffering to be over, take heart when Revelation 21:4 says:
- He will wipe away all tears
- Death will be complete
- No more sorrow
- No more pain
- Past is over!
Consider His Eternal Word!
23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’Matthew 25:23 (NIV)
Consider What Eternal Outcome We Will See!
In summary, do you remember the “revelation of His glory” in 1 Peter 4:13? Peter is saying that “we rejoice as we participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that we can be overjoyed when His glory is revealed!”. According to Revelation 21 & 22, this is because He is making everything new! As a result, it will be beautiful and nothing that defiles or is an abomination will exist. He will bring glory and honor and when He comes, and He will bring reward with Him only to those whose names are written in the Lambs Book of Life! …”Even so, come Lord Jesus!”
I sent out a blog post two days ago including “a few of our favorite things,” of our family recipes! You can follow a link to the first half of this post here.
I remember trying Sweet Potato Soufflé for the first time in the 1980’s. It has always been my favorite way to eat Sweet Potatoes!
Sweet Potato Soufflé
- 3 Cups of mashed sweet potatoes
- 3/4 Cup of sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 stick of margarine
- 1/4 Cup of sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tsp of vanilla
Mix all of these ingredients together and place in a greased 9×13 glass dish. For a delicious topping, mix these ingredients and sprinkle on the top:
- 1/2 Cup of brown sugar
- 1/3 Cup of flour
- 1/2 Cup of nuts (I usually use pecans, but walnuts can be substituted)
- 1/3 stick of margarine
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes
East Indian Curry
I was introduced to this meal around the time that my husband and I got married! His family eats it often! The flavors are great and I love the wonderful toppings! I normally make a double or triple recipe and save it to use for leftovers. This is the simple recipe, not doubled or tripled.
- 3 Tbsp of butter
- 1/4 Cup of minced onion
- 1 1/2 tsp of curry powder
- 3 Tbsp of flour
- 3/4 tsp of salt
- 3/4 tsp of sugar
- 1/8 tsp of ground ginger
- 1 cup of chicken broth
- 1 Cup of milk
- 2 Cups of diced, cooked chicken
- 1/2 tsp of lemon juice
- make 3-4 cups of cooked rice to go with it ( place on the bottom of other ingredients)
Melt the butter over low heat in a saucepan. Saute the onion and Curry Powder in the melted butter. Blend in the flower and the seasonings. cook over low heat until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from the heat. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Bring to a boil, stirring it constantly. Boil for 1 minute. Add cooked chicken and lemon juice. Keep heated. Spoon this mixture over the rice, then add desired toppings! Some examples of toppings that I’ve enjoyed are (none of them are required):
- Tomato wedges
- Chopped, Slivered Almonds
- Chopped, salted peanuts
- Sauteed onion rings
- Pineapple chunks
- Apple chunks
- Hard boiled eggs, chopped
- Crisp bacon bits
- sweet or sour pickles
- Currant jelly
- Flaked coconut
- India relish
- Sliced avocado
- Banana chunks
Tater Tot Casserole
I made this for years especially when our kids were young. I really miss those days!
- 2 pounds of ground beef or turkey
- 1 small onion
- 1/4 cup of green peppers
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
- 1 can(use soup can) of milk
- Garlic to taste
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large package of frozen french cut style green beans
- 1 package of frozen tater tots
Saute the meat, onion, green pepper and seasonings. In a separate pan, cook green beans. In another dish, mix the soup and the milk. Layer the casserole dish with the meat mixture 1st, green beans 2nd, tater tots 3rd, then pour the soup and milk mixture over the top. Bake it in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes.
Mom’s Pecan Pie
This was one of my Nana’s special recipe’s! I miss her very miss!
- 3 Eggs well beaten
- 1 Cup of brown or white sugar
- 1 cup of Karo Corn Syrup
- 1-2 tsp of Vanilla
- a dash of salt
- 3/4 Cup of Pecans
Mix together all of these ingredients and pour into a 9 inch unbaked pie crust. Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour approximately.
Cherry Dump Cake
I have this recipe in a few family cookbooks and am frequently asked to make or bring to meals or parties
- 2-3 Cans of Cherry Pie filling
- 1 Large can of Crushed Pineapple
- 1 Yellow Cake Mix (dry)
- 1/2 Cup of melted margarine
- 1 Cup of Chopped Pecans
In a 9×13 glass dish, mix the pineapple and the cherry pie filling. Dump/sprinkle the dry yellow cake mix on top of this. Pour the melted margarine over the cake mix and then add the pecans over the top and bake it at 350 degrees for 1 hour. I usually serve it with vanilla ice-cream or whipped topping! Often I add more melted butter and pecans than the recipe calls for.
Chocolate Peanut Clusters
This is another of my family’s favorites and is a very simple recipe to make, but it is loved and enjoyed so much! It’s usually easy to go through several batches because they are eaten up fast!
Prepare by placing some wax paper on some cookie sheets or other flat surfaces.
- 1 Package of chocolate almond bark, melted
- 2 cups of Salted Peanuts
- 1-2 Cups of Miniature Marshmallows, depending on your preference
Mix these ingredients and drop them by Tablespoons on to wax paper. Let them form and harden. Next, enjoy them! It usually takes 30 minutes to an hour!
Now try some of your own family favorite recipes for the Holiday’s!
What I Love To Make!
Making our favorite dishes, is something I love to do around the holidays. I love cooking, baking and making a few special things that our family loves! Throughout the years, I am always asked to make them or send the recipe, so I will put the items on this post so everyone who wishes to, can refer to my blog for these! https://heartshare.blog/2019/11/02/top-10-ways-to-prepare-for-the-holidays/
One of my favorite things is ANYTHING Peppermint! My most recent creation is my newest Peppermint Mocha!
- 2 tsp Peppermint syrup(for coffee)
- 1 Cup of freshly brewed coffee
- 1 cup of boiling water
- 2 heaping Tbsp hot chocolate mix( I use mix with mini marshmallows)
- Whipped Cream
- Crushed candy canes or peppermints
Place Peppermint syrup at the bottom of your cup. Then add freshly brewed coffee, hot chocolate mix, and water. Then stir, add whipped cream on top. Place crushed peppermint on top with a candy cane on the side! You can adjust the amounts according to your taste preferences and the size of your cup!
Kentucky Corn Pudding
This is one of our family’s favorite vegetable casseroles! Our girls ask for the recipe and I make it often during the holiday meals!
- 2 cans of whole kernel corn
- 1 can of cream style corn
- 1/2 cup of self-rising flour
- 1 cup of milk
- 1/4 cup of sugar
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 2 sticks of margarine
- 4 eggs
Instructions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Drain the whole kernel corn. Beat the eggs and melt the margarine. Mix together the corn, flour, sugar and salt into a large mixing bowl. Then add the beaten eggs and melted margarine and milk. Stir these together and place them in a 9×13 glass dish and place them in the oven for 1 hour approximately. When the hour is over, check to make sure it is finished by placing a knife inside and poke several holes throughout the casserole. If the knife comes out clean, it is finished. If not, bake for a few more minutes, checking it regularly to see if the knife is clean.
Cheesy Potato Casserole
Another one of our favorite casseroles! I also regularly add small diced ham cubes. It adds extra protein, color and adds extra flavor! I normally use about 1/2-1 cup of the diced ham if I include ham in the recipe.
- 2 lb bag of frozen hash browns ( thaw them out before making this)
- 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
- 1/3 cup of chopped green onion
- 1 pint of sour cream
- 2 cups of shredded cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all of these ingredients together and place them in a 9×13 glass dish. For the topping, use 2-3 Tbsp of melted butter or margarine and mix with 1 cup of crushed corn flakes. Place them over the ingredients listed above and place them in the oven for 45 minutes.
This is my famous fudge recipe! It is our favorite candy recipe! I have had many people request it as gifts at Christmas time or to bring it to gatherings! What is interesting is, I had trouble in the past with getting fudge to reach the correct temperature, using a candy thermometer for years. When my husband and I were in college, one day we got some junk mail that included a recipe in it for fudge. This did not include having to use a candy thermometer, so I decided to give it a try! It came out great and I’ve made it ever since, for close to 20 years now!
- 1/2 stick of butter( it has to be butter, not margarine, and needs to be salted)
- 1 cup of sugar
- 2/3 can of evaporated milk
- 1 tsp of vanilla (I use real vanilla)
- 1 and 1/2 cups of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 cups of mini marshmallows ( nuts are optional)
Measure the chocolate chips and marshmallows and place in separate bowls and place them aside! Timing is very important for making this recipe!
Prepare ahead of time, 1 8×8 glass dish by greasing the dish with butter, on the bottom and half way up the sides.
In a heavy non-stick pan, melt the butter, then add the sugar and evaporated milk. Bring these ingredients to a boil and watch for 3-4 minutes. Just watch for the 3-4 minutes, and stir it regularly until it looks like a smooth foam. Take off the stove and add the 1 tsp of vanilla, stir, add the chocolate chips, stir, add marshmallows and stir until they are completely melted, to where you can’t see any white, everything has to be smooth! Immediately place into the buttered pan. Spread it and let it set for about an hour. I also place it in the refrigerator to let it set quicker. After that hour, slice and serve it! Enjoy!
- 1 pound of ground pork sausage.( in a tube, I use Jimmy Dean usually)
- 1/2 cup of extra sharp cheddar cheese
- 3 cups of Bisquick
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Mix all of the ingredients together. Then roll the sausage balls the size that you want them. Sometimes I have to dampen the ingredients with very small amounts of water in order to keep the ingredients together when I roll them. I then bake them for 15-20 minutes. My husband got this recipe from a coworker many years ago and we traditionally make them for breakfast for Christmas morning. We love them! Another recipe I found that you can use to spice the recipe up is: http://delish.com
Pass On A Few Of Your Favorite Things!
I’m going to create another blog post of our favorite family recipes another day this week. I hope that you enjoy these recipes! Please find some of your favorite recipes and pass them on to other people who can enjoy them!
One thing I love during the fall and winter is seeing lights. Some are very bright and some are rather dim, low lights and some are candles. Either way, they are beautiful! I’ve been thinking of this as it pertains to our life, especially during the holidays. Some years have been bright and cheerful. Some years have been darker, harder to see joy from pain. They are calmer. Sometimes candles are present at sad times. Other times they are used at quiet times, some of which are romantic. Even in more difficult times, with the beautiful light from candles, God can bring about the best through showing His presence and by using us to be a light to brighten another persons life!
In Bright or Dim Lights – Let’s See Him!
When the lights are bright, it seems that everyone is happy and circumstances are working out great. We have lots of fun and excitement. I found myself jealous this year, wanting what I see other people have. My husband reminded me though of a message our pastor gave a few months ago, that I have a problem known as ” FOMO- Fear of Missing Out”! I don’t like missing out! Adapting to change, is another struggle I find difficult. It upsets me when I want traditions and circumstances to stay the same. I want to enjoy and recreate memories from the past but with new family members such as grandchildren. I would say that the lights were quite dim at first during this Thanksgiving holiday. Daniel is good though in reminding me what I have. The lights glowed brighter because of him!
Sometimes though, circumstances are tough and seem dark. During this week of Thanksgiving, where we should give thanks for what we have, it seems so difficult to be thankful for the hard, painful things that happened in our life. Finding joy seems very impossible to us. It is tough when we experience hurt right now. Should we still be thankful regardless?
I believe, looking deep. we can always find something to be thankful for. We realize that others don’t have what we have. It seems like a more difficult task though to figure out what we really have that we can thank God for. Lots of fake smiles appear as well as pretending and looking like everything is just fine, are very common.
Comfort in the Low Lights
We know though that our Savior loves us dearly and He is close to the brokenhearted. He is available for us to call on us even on the stormy days, when we see others celebrating. and we know that we have celebrated in the past. I viewed holidays for many years, as a time that is cheerful. These times aren’t always cheerful though. I know of people who grieve from loss during and around the holidays. It really throws a wrench in how holidays would normally be celebrated. We remember from then on, that specific holiday and the hurt we felt.
He still loves us even when we don’t see and understand why things have happened and when we can’t make sense of what we are going through. The God of all comfort is available for us to be close to, even in the most difficult of times.
Know therefore that the Lord your God is God, He is the faithful God , keeping His covenant of love to a thousand generations of those who love Him and keep His commandments.Deuteronomy 7:9 NIV
Battling with the Lights
If you are hurting for any reason, during this time of year, please know that our God loves you, despite circumstances. He wants you to turn to Him. Remember Him, He knows that we are broken and He wants to comfort you. “He knows the sorrow and the hurt” ( Mercy Me song “Even If).
He sets on high those who are lowly, and those who mourn are lifted to safety.Job 5:11 NKJV
I found myself battling over which light I should embrace this year. I knew I should be full of joy and thanksgiving, but I also felt down. What do I do with this pain and discouragement? Is this really how I should be at this time? Do other people hurt too ? I often wonder how they are really doing.
Listening to music really helps me. Music first reminds me of what I should be doing, praising Him in the middle of dark circumstances. It also encourages me through the message I hear. Below is a list of songs that have been an encouragement to me lately, especially in this last week.
- Once And For All song – Lauren Daigle
- Spirit Lead Me – Michael Ketterer
- Yes I will – Vertical Worship
- Event When it Hurts – Hillsong
- Even If – Mercy Me
- Thy Will Be Done – Hillary Scott
- I Can Only Imagine – Mercy Me
- You’re Gonna Be Ok – Brian and Jenn Johnson
- Is He Worthy – Chris Tomlin
- Symphony – Switch
- Give Me Faith-Elevation Worship
Identifying with the Light
I really do understand, maybe not for all of the exact reasons you may have. I have had some heavy circumstances this year. My heart is burdened for several reasons. Though I don’t understand what God is doing, I know that He does have reasons beyond what I can see.
Be A Light
Going through tough times doesn’t make sense to us, but God can use us to help others in the middle of tough times in their life, if we allow Him to use us. Check out my previous blog here about some folks who we can encourage. If we are sensitive to other people and what they are going through. I know that I have hope through my relationship with Him. I Can Only Imagine!
Praise the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort. He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God.2 Corinthians 1:3-4 HCSB
Have you had a difficult time and situation in your life and someone is available to help you at the right time, put the pieces together? We have! A couple of people did many years ago for us, but someone specifically helped around 23 years ago, making something that seemed impossible, work out.
We had no idea how it would happen, but Daniel and I really believed that at least he needed to return to college someday ! Daniel had some ideas of what he would like to do and what he would study if he started a college degree. The plan we originally had when we got married, fell through.
We struggled to support our family and once we knew our third child was on the way, there were important decisions to make. Daniel worked very hard to support us. He worked often over 90 hours a week with no breaks for months, managing a restaurant. With more children, we knew we needed better housing options and the cost of living in the Fort Worth area was difficult without having a college degree or both of us working. We knew that it wasn’t good for Daniel to continue working in restaurant management and spending such limited time with our family. Something had to change.
While looking at our options, we met a family who lived at the apartments we lived in also. This family was from out of state but connected us to Bryan College in Dayton Tennessee. Paulakay is now the Alumni director at Bryan! We looked through the handbook and she answered some questions for us as well as connecting us to some key people who could help us. The main person she directed us to was Tom Shaw, the Director of Admissions at the time.
We figured out a way since we lived in Texas and the college was in Tennessee, to go on a 2 day trip, there and back, to check out Bryan College. Originally, we weren’t sure how this would work out because of Daniel’s and my schedule at the time. His boss agreed to allow him to leave for a two days! We had a:
- 14 hour trip there
- 2-4 hours to look at the college and talk to Tom
- Look around Dayton and the surrounding area
- drive 14 hours back to Texas
At this time, we had two daughters who were ages 4 and 2 and another daughter on the way, due in 3 months.
Meeting Tom Shaw at Bryan College
We drove in the afternoon, into the night. In the morning we met with Tom to tour the college and got some help figuring out details for attending college. I remember calling Tom on our way there to make sure that we could still meet with him, and we were able to! There were so many “unknown’s, such as obtaining financial aid and was it likely that a married couple with children even, could make it through college, studying and working?
Going to a private, Christian college was also a higher cost than attending a state school. That was a concern of ours. But, Tom Shaw took the time needed to help us and explain what we needed to know! He gave us advice and helped us understand how this could work for us! He helped us understand enough about the college and the process and details for starting a degree.
Meeting Dayton Tennessee Too!
We didn’t know what the Dayton area was like either and if this was a good move for us. Housing costs and what the community was like was a consideration also. Living in the Dallas/Fort worth area was very large and busy. What would it be like living in a small town? Daniel would have to still work too! These were some thoughts we had and what we needed to consider before moving 14 hours away especially from family.
While in town, we picked up a newspaper so that we could look at some housing options and make some phone calls. We looked around and then looked at each other. Knowing that the situation would be tough, it was clear to us still that we needed to come to Dayton to start college at Bryan. It was important to trust the Lord to bring the circumstances together for us to move, for Daniel to start college and graduate.
As it turned out, Dayton had a much lower cost of living, as far as housing was concerned. Our housing cost was split in half immediately when we moved . Then the following year, the cost was lowered even more by renting a house owned by the college.
Leaving a Permanent Impact
It was not easy, but we could tell through the people we met, especially Tom, that he had a heart that wanted to see people succeed and make a difference in people’s lives. The mission of Bryan College states, they are “educating students to become servants of Christ, to make a difference in today’s world.” We could tell that Tom was well aligned to this mission and was a great example! He did what it took to help us get there.
Tom even told us about the church that he and his family went to. He told us that his wife, Carolyn, led a ministry to mom’s! This was such a valuable ministry to me as a wife and mom. I had an important role to fill to support my husband through school and be available to our children. I needed to stay focused and help encourage Daniel to keep the goal of graduating, in front of him and encourage him along the way.
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance of what we do not see.Hebrews 11:1 NIV
The Change in our Life
After our trip to Dayton, Daniel continued working for Braum’s until our youngest daughter Jessica, was born. When she was 6 weeks old, we moved to Tennessee. God worked things out in amazing ways! He especially used Tom to help us! Daniel graduated in 2002 with 2 degrees; a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics: Computer Science and an actual Computer science degree. I also returned to school, and graduated from the Aspire program in 2005. This was something that I never even thought possible at the time.
Getting to know Tom and Carolyn and their family through Bryan College and Grace Bible Church was very special and we are very grateful for them! We stay connected still and we want to say Happy Birthday to Tom!
Also, we are very grateful to other people who helped along the way like Paulakay and people in our church, and many of our professors!
Around the time that we were seeking what to do and circumstances were so difficult, a song we listened to often was Sometimes He Calms the Storm by Scott Krippayne. Life seemed like so much of a storm, but God worked things out in great ways. Our problems weren’t fixed soon, but He certainly calmed us, His children, down. He showed us what His plan was for us in the future. We needed to trust Him to lead, guide, and provide for us.
By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance , obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going.Hebrews 11:8 NIV
On our move from Texas to Tennessee, we listened to this song several times. We were also reminded about the example of Abraham, when He was called to move. He did not know where He was going so he had to take one step at a time. Little by little, God made things apparent. He uses people and circumstances in our life everyday to take us where He wants us. We have to walk by faith.
Do you know someone who impacted your life in a big way? Please share your story! Let them know that they were a blessing and help to making it where you are today! I wonder, when you know that others have difficult storms in their life, do you allow God to use you? Think of how you can make a great difference in someone else’s life!
Thank you Tom for your investment in me and my family!!
November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month! Many of us were surprised this year when we heard of the celebrity Cameron Boyce, Disney Channel star passed away. His cause of death was due to epilepsy, but specifically SUDEP. Hearing that a person can pass away with Epilepsy is a surprise to many and many people were saddened by his death. Cameron’s parents have since created a charity. Their charity is called the Cameron Boyce Foundation which joined forces with the Epilepsy Foundation to create K(NO)W SUDEP NOW- an initiative to bring awareness and to end sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.
My Story and Links
It is interesting to me, after seeing the color purple representing Epilepsy especially on Purple Day, March 26th annually. Epilepsy’s color is actually Lavender, which is a color representing peace and comfort. This is very appropriate as those of us who have epilepsy really need peace and comfort. We need comfort when having seizures and we need peace and calmness on a regular basis, not stress, as stress often induces seizures for many of us.
Other well known people who have (or had) epilepsy:
- Alexander The Great
- Theodore Roosevelt
- Edgar Allen Poe
- Julius Caesar
- Vincent Van Gogh
- Charles Dickens
- Agatha Christie
- George Gershwin
- Susan Boyle
- Elton John
If you are in the fight against epilepsy and want to be a part of a faith-based epilepsy support group that I run, feel free to visit my Facebook group at the following link or search for the group called Epilepsy Hope.
It is important to understand who we should thank and why we should be thankful. We have a specific day in November each year set aside for Thanksgiving. It is a fun day to get together with family and friends to eat. Sometimes we get ourselves worked up over all the details we put into this day. We often take turns telling each other what we are thankful for. Even if we have had a tough year, we can still find something for which we are grateful. Being thankful should make us aware of who we should be thankful to and why we have what we have. We should appreciate the sacrifices made on our behalf.
Reliable- Those We Can Thank!
This weekend, I went with my husband, Daniel, to see the movie Midway. http://moviemidway. It is about the Battle of Midway which took place just after Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was attacked by the Japanese in World War II.
There were two quotes also that caught my attention. They are:
“you’ll remember this moment for the rest of your life. If you know that you came through, when people are counting on you, you’ll be able to face anything.”LT Dick Best
He stated this when the U. S. Navy was persevering during the Battle of Midway in 1942 against the Imperial Japanese for four days.
I have not always watched movies about wars and the events surrounding them. I really enjoyed this movie though. Several things resonated with me. I appreciate how the wives stayed close to support their husbands. I also love how they wanted their children to know their father. The fathers were reliable. They could be trusted. They could be counted on! Fathers, as a rule, were willing as a result to take risks, to face and sacrifice what was necessary to protect their nation and their family.
Who I Should Thank and What should I Be Thankful For ?
How often do we think of people who we are thankful for? Some of our family members gave their time and sacrifice in going to war for our nation. They took a risk physically, knowing they may never return home.
We also can think of day to day situations like our parents sacrificing daily for us when we were young and when we are adults as well. This is what they sacrificed! Some parents work some very difficult physical jobs and/ or work more than one job. I know parents ( including my husband and I) who returned to college after we had children, to make a better life for our children and offer better opportunities for them.
It is difficult and quite a sacrifice when we know that other people in our life are counting on us to come through when we commit to do something. We go from day to day, figuring out how we can work to accomplish what we need to and care for ourselves and our family. This motivation though, keeps us going. We keep our goals in front of us!
Staying on Task
Some ways to accomplish goals we have, to keep motivated are:
- Take a picture and place it in front of us, to look at it often, where we look on a regular basis.
- Set a date! Put a date in front of you for which you plan to accomplish it by. For instance, if you have a graduation coming up, set the date on your calendar and look at it often. I had to think of this often when my husband was in college, and when I went to college as well! This kept me going and kept my husband going.
- Keep things as stable as possible. It is really easy to let the world fall apart when there is so much change. While our kids stayed busy with friends, church, school and our family; it was best that we have at least one meal a day together as a family which we worked around Daniel’s school and work schedule. Time with their dad every opportunity they could have it, was very important!
Let us continue knowing who we should thank and why we should be thankful! http://heartshare.blog