My dad has a sermon that he preaches on 1 Thessalonians 5:18 “in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” The key point in his sermon is that while we aren’t always thankful for everything we can be thankful in everything. He typically then shares a personal example of the time he was involved in a car wreck after dropping off my lunch at school that I had forgotten that morning.
I was in 5th grade and it was my birthday that day. I guess the excitement of turning 11 was too much for me that I forgot my lunch. So when my dad got home from dropping my brother and I off he was informed by my mom that I didn’t have my lunch. Since we lived a few miles from school he got back in the car and brought it to me. After dropping it off, he was sitting at a red light when the back of our minivan was hit by the car behind him in reaction to being hit by the person behind her. Thankfully, Dad walked away with whiplash while the woman behind him was less fortunate. I can still remember seeing my parents pull up in the car line in a different car with my mom driving … a dead giveaway that something was wrong! 🙂 When my brother and I climbed into the car they told us what had happened. I felt so guilty. It was my fault. And for years after whenever he would share the story I would tear up from the guilt of it not paying attention to his point.
He didn’t share the story to make me feel bad. He knew that this was a part of life. Bad things, unfortunate things happen. This was an unfortunate thing that had happened. So while he wasn’t thankful for the wreck he was thankful that he was able to walk away from it, that we had car insurance to cover the costs and that my little sister wasn’t riding in the van that day. If she had been she would have more than likely been injured and would probably be more goofy than she is now! 😉
Tuesday night as I headed to bed I thought about what I had shared on my previous post … “Today, I am going to relish in His presence and return it by being fully present in my praise no matter what I face.” I knew going to bed that I probably had set myself up for some testing. Within a mile from my home yesterday morning, I was rear ended on the interstate while headed to work. I was almost to a complete stop due to traffic stopping in front of me when I was hit. This was my first wreck. The young woman who hit me and myself pulled over into the emergency lane to wait for the police to arrive. As I sat there checking in with my boss, family members and friends, I was ready to shed a tear or two. This was not how I wanted to start my Wednesday. I needed to be at work. I didn’t feel well as I immediately had a headache explode in my head and my neck was sore. At that moment this appeared …
I took a deep breath and thanked the Lord that no one was seriously hurt. I thanked Him for His reminder of His presence and promise. I had a rare opportunity yesterday morning sitting on the side of the interstate to watch the rainbow peek in out of the clouds before it was covered once again by the rain. Yet when it came time for me to pull back into the traffic there it was constantly before me just like the Lord. I never even realized there was a double rainbow until I looked at my pictures later in the day.
There are times where the Lord’s presence is so bright and vibrant before me that it spills over and I am simply satisfied to dwell in the residual even though I am offered the joy of being fully in His presence. Why do I chose the duller colors of His presence? Is it because I am afraid of what His radiance will reveal in my life? Absolutely, yes. Also, maybe like Moses, we can only handle a smaller portion of His glory. To be bathed in His full vibrancy might be the death of us so He gives us the remnant to dwell in. Yet, even there we aren’t satisfied because there are moments in our lives when fail to recognize His presence at all or we doubt He is even there. However, when the clouds of our storms pass we see Him there and understand that He has never left us nor forsake us. He is who He says He is. We are not.
So while filing insurance claims, being stiff and sore is not on the top of my list of things to be thankful for I can be thankful for the reminder that in this situation He showed me that He is always before me even when I cannot see Him.
At the beginning of last year I discovered this brand new world of planner people. It is exactly what you think it is, if you are thinking it sounds like people who are serious about their calendars and planning. These are people who still enjoy the art of writing things down versus entering it into an electronic calendar. People who decorate their planners, have 3-4 planners that they are using at all times and social media groups/accounts dedicated to this subject. As one who still takes handwritten notes in her grad school classes, at church and in every other meeting the fact that people took time to decorate their planners really called out to me. I know that may sound weird but for this introvert it was the perfect creative outlet that I could enjoy in the safety of my own home yet still engage in with others via social media.
One person that I have been buying planning stickers from calls herself “The Reset Girl” because she has been in a reset mode in her life. At the bottom of her sticker pages she includes this sticker phrase, “It’s never too late to reset your life!” I love this phrase. I would purchase a whole page of stickers with just this phrase on it as it is such an encouraging reminder for the believer. Through Christ, we are the recipients of His new mercies every morning. We get to start each day with a clean slate and even if we mess up in the middle of the day as soon as we repent that slate is wiped clean.
Another phrase that goes along with this theme is the one behind the name of my dad’s TV ministry “A Fresh Start”. When the Lord led my dad to revive Back to the Basics Ministries in 2009 he started with a local TV ministry program called “A Fresh Start” because at some time we all need a fresh start.Let me just say that my dad’s TV ministry is not a call-in prayer healing, prosperity gospel preaching, plant a seed for a blessing type of a program. He simply shares the Word of God straight from his heart. If it blesses you, great. If it offends you, great. He preaches the truth and the songs sung on the program proclaim the truth as well.
Anyway, with those themes of a reset and fresh start rolling around in my mind along with
my verse (John 10:10) and phrase (New Life) for 2016 … I decided it was time for a new home for my blog. I wanted something that could better streamline my social media accounts and perhaps be a bit more user friendly. I also desired something that I didn’t feel like I needed to decorate. Ha. This coming from the girl who decorates her planner! It may seem like an oxymoron to say that decorating my planner has helped me simplify my life but it has. This creative outlet has shown me where I spend the majority of my time and whether or not it is productive. So I have found myself craving less time with screens and more time with pages and pens. It is for this reason that I am taking a prolonged break from Facebook, putting my phone down at night and streamlining my blog.
We all need a fresh start in our lives and it’s never too late to press the reset button in our souls but we are not promised tomorrow so I want to take full advantage of the gift of today. I want to be fully present in the present. Presence is an art, a gift and a joy to experience. Today, I am going to relish in His presence and return it by being fully present in my praise no matter what I face. This is how I will be joyful on today’s journey.
I have been sensing it for a while, several months even, that a change is coming. There has been a change in the atmosphere around me. While I have an idea of what it is based off of how the Lord has been changing the desires in my heart and my focus, I do not know for sure what He has in store. However, it is His plan and I am leaving it all in His capable hands. Now this does not mean I am relieved of any responsibility while I wait for Him to further reveal His plan for me. It is actually quite the opposite.
As I have thought about my purpose for 2016 it has been to be intentional in a lot of areas of my life, yet I have allowed stress to sidetrack me from my goals. With the overwhelming stress I have been feeling, I have allowed my attitude to be affected and thus it has taken its toll on my physically. We are on week 8 of the New Year and I have already fought my first 3 day migraine in addition to the awful tension settling in my neck and shoulders. I refuse to live like this. I fully recognize that the majority of the issue is me. I cannot let things go. Perceived slights, misunderstood texts (whether to me or from me) or feeling like I am the one to take the blame for everything. It all eats at me and it’s worse if I feel like I have made the mistake. Didn’t I know better?I am better than this!Clearly I need to work on myself more. While I do repent, seek forgiveness from the Lord and those whom I have wronged, I do not receive the grace He bestows in return. I still wonder what more I could I have done to have avoided the situation altogether. Anyone else see why I need to work on my pride? J Yes, we all make mistakes and while I am one of the first to admit to mine I persecute myself for not being better. Sheesh. I need a break from me!
One way I am planning to take a step back from myself is to get off of Facebook. I know I have tried this before but I have never been successful at it. While I have thought about completely deactivating my account I don’t want to deprive people of pictures of my sweet Knightley. You are welcome! J Therefore, I have turned off all notifications from Facebook and will be deleting the app off my phone tonight. Facebook is a wonderful tool for keeping up with friends. I have been a member since January 2006 – that’s 10 years. 10 years of getting a beautiful outside view of childhood, high school and college friends’ marriages and babies. 10 years of reading political debates plus other frustrating and fruitless arguments. 10 years of seeing “Christians” slipping further from what the Bible says it means to be Christ-like to a worldly version of “anything goes, you be you, live how you want to and love Jesus too” or the pendulum swinging in the other direction where “Christians” are attacking the world for not being like Christ and taking offense over everything when we are not of this world to begin with. (John 17: 13-19) However, we have been sent into the world to make disciples (Matthew 28: 19-20) and I am not sure how making enemies of the world because they offend us is the best way to further Kingdom of God. So in order the avoid the risk of being identified as someone who is better known for what she is against than what she is for, I need a break from Facebook.
I have found myself scrolling through my news feed at all hours of the day out of sheer boredom. I have found myself getting caught up in gossip thanks to what I have read. I find myself getting angry over political posts or laughing at dirty memes when, yes, I know better. Over the years, I have found myself playing the comparison game with others, sometimes I won but more often than not I lost. Facebook is a great tool but it has become rusty and a source of infection in my life. It’s time to address the issue at the source … I will post pictures via Instagram but I will not keep up with comments. The Messenger app will also be deleted from my phone. I would love to completely unplug when I get home from work but seeing how my cell phone is the only way my family can get a hold of me in an emergency that’s not really an option but if I find other things that need to be removed from my life for a while then I will gladly do it.
Please know that I would still love to hear from you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and I am available to you if you need to talk. I am 32 now and desire to simplify things even more so in my life. I have some books I want to read, I want to really focus on my schoolwork this semester as the classes are really not my favorite and I want to remove the distractions in my life so that I am available to hear what the Lord wants to tell me next.