Domestic Chick who??! 🐥
My loooooong absence from blogging is not due to lost interest in writing, but mostly due to the fact life has happened and my efforts have been focused on, well... you know, those things "on fire"! 🔥. Been there? Putting it simply, I'm in my 40's with teenagers... AND I home school! In this current year, we are covering Biology, Algebra 2, Spanish 2, British Literature, World History & I'm teaching one to drive... a car...like, on the road with other cars! 😳 Enough said. But today we are still on winter holiday and I thought I might sit down long enough to share some things I learned in 2016... there is a measurable list. Hopefully you have a latte or warm cup of tea to sip on. Here goes.
2016 was, well...difficult. Difficult & painful. I will qualify this past year as the most challenging "season" I have endured. Understanding that the causes for this in my life are not as important as the outcomes, I choose to spare you details; but, to share instead the lessons I have come away with hoping in some small way it might benefit you also.
Here is the reality: Now in my early 40's, I am just now embracing the truths I will share with you here. World renowned Christian educator & speaker, Jimmy Evans, says it this way, "When you came to Christ, He didn't think you'd be a short-term project!" And for that I am grateful. Here are some of the lessons I walked (ok, ran) away from 2016 learning...
* I learned that I am not in control.
Neither are you, by the way. Oh, yes, we think we are until that event takes place, the one that brings us face down in despair. It's that moment you admit you have no more strength to fight. Sure, many like myself will stubbornly push through holding onto "control", but in time, every time we will end up empty- searching for the truth. Who is in control, then, you ask? Well, I would beg you to believe it is God, the creator of our universe.
*I learned that "my" strength is really only that of the Holy Spirit at work within me. When life becomes so difficult we cannot navigate in our own strength, how is it that we are sustained? Where do we turn? This past year I had a young mom reach out and care for me in my depths. She shared with me a small booklet ("The Promise of the Father" by Cindy Rowley) that changed the way I viewed God. It taught me about the power every Christian has through the Holy Spirit within us... this power simply has to be claimed! And friends, His power is a strength beyond reason AND it's all we need.
* I learned to pray...hard.
Y'all, I'm not talking about rote moments before we sit down to eat. The praying I learned in 2016 is the kind that keeps you on your literal knees for hours. I know, right...crazy! On my knees, searching the scriptures of God's word, I would pray. As a verse or several spoke to me, I prayed them - right out loud sometimes. Many, many times I wrote out my prayers too. What I must share is that God (His Holy Spirit with me) sustained me at these times, revealing awesomeness within the scriptures that I could cling to and draw strength from. James 4:8 promises this - "Come near to God and he will come near to you." Friends, He did. My heart was changed and I found deep peace in outrageous circumstances.
* I learned that spiritual warfare is a real thing.
Whoa! Now I'm going out on a limb, right? Just keep reading. Scripture tells us that even the demons believe in one God! (James 2:19) And with that being said, clearly not only do we live amidst good but also evil. And, Satan seeks to devour us. (1 Peter 5:8) What does this mean? It means evil is seeking to lure you away from all goodness. What do you wrestle with: Negativity? Busyness? Materialism? Contentment? Insecurity? Temptations? It is a spiritual war, friends. This war is the story of life and all history tells of it.
Not only have I felt this battle in my life, but I continue to see the casualties all around me. If we know evil is out there, how do we fight? God's living word commands us to be in the scripture, pray & be alert! (Ephesians 6:17-18). So I did. I boldly proclaimed the word of God in our home, and I cast Satan OUT! As a child, I remember my mom telling me that we should tell Satan to leave in the name of Jesus. So, very similar to the scene in the movie War Room with Priscilla Shirer, I did it. Friends, this is not just "in the movies" kind of stuff. We MUST know we have an enemy and fight in the name of Jesus.
* I learned that in order to give grace, I must first have it.
It's easy to judge people. 2016 has helped me to see that until I have "walked in their shoes" I cannot possibly understand another person's reasoning, decisions or choices. Kind of cliché, yes, but it stands true. While Facebook (I left it years ago) and other social media outlets offer a platform to portray perfect, shiny lives, it's simply not accurate. I realize, like me, everyone is "doing" real life, experiencing deep hurts, insecurities and challenges of their own no matter how "#blessed " they may claim to be. I don't mean to sound insensitive, but just the opposite...I am learning to love deeper & give more grace...kinda like Christ offers to all of us if we choose to accept it. We all have a story inside worth telling, don't judge.
Ok, honestly, that is the short list of lessons I've learned from 2016. Hopefully I have not painfully bored you with my sharing. :). God is good and I am thrilled to begin this 2017 with enthusiasm and thankfully, with refreshment...
Seeking more of Him-