Thursday, February 27, 2014

He refills my cup of strength

I was a coffee person. The kind of coffee person who if you talked to me before I drank  my cup of coffee in the morning you were risking your life. I would lie in bed and the only reason I rolled out was to enjoy a cup of joe. Then, I would refill my cup of coffee at about lunch time. I was dependent upon my coffee to provide me with the energy and strength to get me through the day.

I say "I was a coffee person" because I have given it up. It was one of the hardest things I have ever forced myself to do. Overcoming a coffee addiction is not for the light-hearted. I had a headache for days and I was grumpy… a hot mess, really!  But, I did it. I over came. After about two weeks, my body (and attitude) eventually re-adjusted.

You are probably wondering why one would do such a thing… especially if you are a coffee drinker yourself. Well, I did it because I felt God encouraging me to do so. God was jealous for me. Coffee was my reason to get out of bed. Not God. Coffee was my strength to get me through my day. Not God. Coffee was my dependency. Not God. My habit of drinking and depending on coffee put God on the back burner (pun intended).

I trusted in the strength of my coffee more than I trusted in the strength of my God.

Instead of drinking a cup of coffee and going onto Facebook first thing in the morning, I now drink a cup of decaf (organic) green tea, read my daily devotional from Jesus Calling, study bible verses, journal, apply my Young Living essential oils, and then I mediate on God’s Word as I enjoy my yoga practice. I truly look forward to this routine.  It fills me up and prepares me for the day that lies ahead. I am reassured that with God’s strength filling me, I can take on this day. When I feel myself dragging mid-day, I just pray for God to meet me in THAT place.

He refills my cup of strength.

I replaced my habit of rolling out of bed for a cup of coffee with rolling out of bed excited for God’s plan for my day. I replaced my attitude of begrudgingly being woken up by a new day with thanking God for a fresh start each and every day. God is my cup, my rock, my portion, my strength. Each day He renews my soul.

I’ll drink the strength of God any day over the strength of my coffee!

Do you have something in your life that is keeping you from a dependency on God’s strength?  Maybe, like me, you depend on a cup of coffee. God is jealous for you too!  

“LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup; you make my lot secure."
Psalm 16:5 

 “I love you, Lord, my strength.  The Lord is my rock, my fortress 
and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold." Psalms 18:1-2 

"You honor me by anointing my head with oil. My cup overflows with blessings." ~Psalm 23:5 

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." Psalm 73:26 

“I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him."
Lamentations 3:24 

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13

“… for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God.” Deuteronomy 6:15


Monday, February 10, 2014

CHOOSING to surrender and trust in God

God has me in a place where all I can do is trust Him. Sure, I have other options… I can worry, I can stress, I can obsess, and I can convince myself of negative outcomes. I can choose all of those, but the results of those choices are anxiety and fear. I am CHOOSING to surrender and trust in God because the results of those choices are peace and comfort.

The negative thoughts present themselves to me over and over again. I choose to either own them or I choose to surrender and trust in my Almighty God.

This is not a onetime choice and I dust my hands off. Nope. The choice to surrender and trust is an every second of the day choice… it is a choice I have to remake and recommit to every time the dreaded negative thoughts come to my mind… every time they haunt me.

The enemy wants to attack me with negative thoughts. He wants to wear me down. He wants to preoccupy me so deeply that all I can do is think about my situation; which, then, I am just going through the motions of my day. With this preoccupation, I cannot be present in this beautiful moment… I cannot be a blessing to others… I cannot be intentional about my relationships… I certainly cannot shine God’s light on the world. Wouldn’t that be oh so pleasing to the enemy... to have me preoccupied?! Look at all the enemy would gain!

I am CHOOSING to surrender and trust in my Father in Heaven. He will give me peace and comfort as His Word promises…

Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.
~1 Peter 5.6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
~Philippians 4:6-7

The Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen and protect you from the evil one.
~2 Thessalonians 3:3

I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
~John 16.33

My comfort in my suffering is this: Your promise preserves my life.
~Psalm 119.50

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.
~John 14.27

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

~Psalm 46:1

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he restores my soul. He guides me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever. ~Psalm 23

Sunday, February 9, 2014

A new chapter of life waits… I go where He goes, I stay where He stays.

When I began my blog in July of 2012, it was part obedience and part preparation for my next chapter in life. The obedience was to share my story so that others could be healed through “You TOO?!” moments… being a blessing to others. The preparation was to heal me, to prepare me, and to guide me. As a result, I knew a change was coming. I just had to wait for the right time… the right season.

Yeah… wait. I am not very good at that! I don’t have a tattoo, but if I was to get one… it would read “Be Still “… in a really pretty font… across my forehead! I need daily reminders to let it all go and to let God… oh, and to be still.

To be transparent, the suspense was killing me! I kept asking God if it was time yet. But, He kept replying… no, slow, grow, heal, be still, and stay. He said, “Stay!” and I stayed. I followed obediently. Living God’s Word…

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.” ~Ruth 1:16

Well, by the grace of God, I actually survived the wait. The time and season have arrived. I am closing this chapter of being an Art Teacher. After all of that time of staying, waiting, praying, being still, and trusting in God’s perfect timing… He said, “Go!” Here I am, in this blessed place to be, with God’s permission to close this chapter in my life. What I have been praying for is here… it is now. I am scared. I am nervous. I am excited. I am blessed. I am comforted by the peace of God’s promises…

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”~ 
Isaiah 41:10

“I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” ~Philippians 4:13

“The Lord is my light and my salvation— whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life— of whom shall I be afraid?” ~Psalm 27:1

 “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” ~ Ephesians 3:20

A new chapter of life waits…

Here we go with that four-letter word again… wait.

I am not sure what my new chapter will be titled. I have some direction, but nothing definite yet. My knees are getting worn out in prayer, but my faith and trust are not worn out. I am going into this new chapter with blind faith and deliberate confidence in God’s purpose and plan for my life… radical obedience for His will. I am jumping into the unknown and believing that God will catch me and plant me where I am meant to bloom.

He is writing the story of my life and it continues in a new chapter.
I believe whatever God’s plan is for my life that He plans to prosper me, He will uphold me, He will give me strength, He is my stronghold, and His will for my life far exceed anything I can imagine! I am embracing my new chapter with God by my side… I go where He goes, I stay where He stays.