Embracing Hope

The silver lining exists, if you look for it!

30 Day Fast for Me 10-16

http://bible.com/111/mrk.8.34-35.niv Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me and for the gospel will save it.

30 Day Fast for Me
Days 10-16

This fast has been eye opening and has answered many questions I have.  Some things I have kept up with and some I struggle with. I have been writing but have found it difficult to get it to the blog.  This is why this is a 7 day post! I also had some caffeine.  The first time was on purpose and it wasn’t all that great. The second time I didn’t even think about it as I sat at my girlfriend’s table, poured and drank a cold glass of iced tea! It just happened. This made me realize that I need to be more cognizant of what I do and eat.

This scripture resonates with me as it says DENY. How hard it is for us to deny ourselves, in this time of immediate gratification . We always think that we should have what we want when we want it but is that the way God has it set up?

“Deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me”. Remove all that is stopping you, embrace your sins and fears and release them. You have to be able to see the truth in yourself, not to tear yourself down but to be honest and clear with yourself and God. That way God is able to help you because you are then surrendering control over YOU. When you follow God, He will lead you down a path that you didn’t even realize could be for you.

The next part is tricky.  “If you want to live your life, you will lose it but if you give up your life for God He will save it.” Again we must stop being so selfish and doing what WE want to do. In following God and living for Him we will ultimately live eternally.  If we continue to live as we want we will not be able to reach the Kingdom of Heaven. We have to deny ourselves what we THINK we want and let God give us what we need.

That’s why it’s hard to fast. You are denying yourself something that you feel you can’t live without. Some may do it with food and not eat or limit their intake.  Or some may do like I am and remove certain items or behaviors from their everyday existence.  When you are doing it with God’s help you realize that you really never needed anyway. But we never learn this unless we deny.

Father God,
Please help me to deny those things that take me away from you. Help me keep what you have for me in the forefront and to follow your word.  In Jesus ‘ name I pray, Amen

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30 Day Fast for Me-8&9

http://bible.com/1/psa.40.1-3.kjv I waited patiently for the Lord ; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the Lord .

30 Day Fast for Me
Days 8&9

A 10 years ago I was having some problems. I didn’t know knew where to turn but I felt so isolated from God because of what I had done. I constantly felt His tug and nudge but felt unworthy.  I happened upon 2 books, Every Woman’s Battle – Shannon Ethridge and Get Out Of The Pit- Beth Moore. The above scripture was exactly what I was thinking and feeling.  I let Him pull me from my pit of despair and heal my broken soul.  I prayed out loud, in tears, and on my face that He would forgive me and bring me back in the fold. He responded that He never let me go! How wonderful that felt! I knew then that He had something more for me, that I had to get out of my way to achieve it.

Fast forward to now. I am more confident of what He has for me but I do have those moments of doubt. When I feel like that I look back on this scripture and remember where I have come from. I remember all those times God saved me from myself and others. I come from a line of prayer intercessors and at times I feel the power of their prayers . Those prayers are what have sustained me. There is a song we sing in church called, Somebody Prayed For Me. It is so true! “Somebody prayed for me. They had me on their mind. They took the time to pray for me. ” We don’t know who has prayed for us and what scuffles we have missed because they did.

These were the thoughts of these 2 days. I prayed my way through and asked God for His guidance. A co worker shared that she put her 2 weeks notice in and though I was surprised, I  really wasn’t because we had had a discussion on her leaving and going somewhere where she was appreciated and could use her talents to the fullest. As we spoke I thought of the change I so longed for and God spoke to me of this fast. It has opened up my prayer life and connection to God in a way I cannot explain. As I do this, not knowing what the outcome may be, I pray I am closer to the change I need.

Father God,  I thank you so much for you grace and love. I am so thankful to be your daughter and be able to hear your voice. I thank you for all you have done, those seen and unseen. I pray that you continue to guide my steps and bring me closer to the change I need.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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30 Day Fast for Me-7

http://bible.com/1/eph.6.12.kjv For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

30 Day Fast for Me
Day 7

This scripture has been on my mind for a few days. I’ve been lamenting on the issues I’m having with the caffeine break ,the mood swings that have come with it and the mood swings that were already present. Then this scripture popped up. I’m not fighting my flesh (mind and body). I am fighting satan.

Yes, my eating, drinking,exercise and stress levels are literally flesh and blood problems, but satan knows how to use them against me. He knows my triggers. During this time I need to learn how to fight when the enemy is using situations to control me. I’m in control of how I react to stress and what I do in return, be it overeat, drink the wrong thing, decide to sit and not move or snap out. I need to look to God to help me control those urges.

Father God,
Please be beside me and fight with or for me when I am up against those things that trigger me to do unhealthy things. I’m looking to you for assistance in all areas of my life, especially in food and exercise.  I know there is  Queen inside here because you told me that I am from a royal priesthood and I am yours. I am wonderfully and fearfully made . I thank you for all you have done for me and the ones I hold dear.
In Jesus ‘ name, Amen.

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30 Day Fast for Me

30 Day Fast for Me
Day 6

What I have noticed while doing this is that I am tired by days end and once I  lie down I’m out. Not exhausted but comfortably tired, like one should be at the end of the day. I like it. I also am waking up better and ready to start my day.

This was a good day. I didn’t have a lot on my schedule so I really played it by ear. I finally made it to the gym, which is also on the list to do. I’ve been walking as a replacement but I enjoyed doing my 45 minutes on the treadmill. I also incorporated some stretching and exercises usinga medicine ball. I had seen people working out with them before and decided to give it a try. Not bad at all. After working out I laid down on a hydromassage table and it was just what the Dr. ordered. It was so fun going to the gym with my daughter,  sister and neice.  We had a great time laughing and encouraging each other. We even stopped to grab a bite after.

All in all it was a good day. Once I can incorporate ALL of the items on my list and really see the effects of it, I’ll be doing alllll right!

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30 Day Fast for Me – 4&5

30 Day Fast for Me

Days 4 and 5

Days 4 and 5 are together because:1. Day 4 was, not horrible but close to it and 2. Day 5 started off just as bad.

On Day 3 I ate late and slept bad which could explain for some of Day 4. I also started to get some of the side effects of no caffeine.  Let’s just say Carroll Black was at work and brought some of her dwarves with her. Namely Grumpy, Sleepy, Foggy,  Sluggishy and Trippy. They stayed with me the whole day AND the foolishness that is someone “taunting” me with Coke continued. It was NOT a pretty day. On the bright side, there are people at my job that think it’s funny when I’m testy because I am normally a brush things off, look at the bright side kind of person.  So when I’m not they get a kick out of my shenanigans.  I’m happy I can bring joy either way. SO the day was a day. I did eat on time and still didn’t have caffeine but I didn’t control my stress well because I definitely did not pray before I reacted to things. Many times I should have just briefly prayed so my words and/or actions would be appropriate. I didn’t flat out snap or curse anyone out but I’m sure it was apparent that I was not in the mood.  I  need, during these 30 days, to learn how to manage my stress better especially at work. I do realize that it is a place where the most amount of my stress comes from.

I felt better physically on Day 5. I was awfully sluggish on Day 4 because of eating so late then lying down for bed. I ate properly before 7 the night before and I can now see the benefits of that choice. I’m not bloated and nauseous in the morning and sleep much better. The “Coke Taunter” started again and before I knew it I went on a small tirade. Of course the person was taken aback because after all they were just joking and thought this was encouraging me to keep going. HUH?? Anywho, I felt terrible as I do when I act out and as soon as I got them alone I properly apologized and explained myself. Again, the stress level needs much work. A question I have is, is Perimenopause part of this too? It can’t help me that I am going through that and trying to do this life altering fast at the same time. The symptoms I have with Perimenopause  (mood swings, “warmness”, tiredness,  forgetfulness ) are greater,  or feel that way, now. I’ll be paying more attention to this as these days go on.

The day got better, maybe because it was Friday and I knew I had the weekend off with little activities.  I planned an at home date night with the hubby and made ribs, mac n cheese, baked cookies and ice cream for dessert.  We were going to enjoy dinner and a movie and the quiet time together. We had a great time until I fell asleep.  We never got to the movie! I didn’t keep the “no eating after 7” stuff because it was a fun night and we were relaxing. This is something we are trying to do to keep our stress level down as a couple. We cannot spend time together like we used to with going to restaurants and weekends away because of money,  but we can change up and do things at home or on a smaller scale.  Just as long as we are spending time together.

The first 5 are done. I think I can give myself a C. Some of the things I set to do didn’t get done and some things didn’t go smoothly but it is just the beginning.

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Perfect flaws.

I woke up looking at my engagement ring.  I don’t wear it often because of the work I do and I don’t want to lose the stone.  My husband, with the help of his mom and the jeweler picked the most perfect stone for me and had it set in a simple gold band. God bless my husband, but thank God for the jeweler and my mom in law, as they gently changed his mind from the heart shaped diamond to an estate diamond the jeweler had just recently purchased.  My stone is a marquis cut, which I love, and a perfect size for my little hand and had little flaws. The jeweler said, with enthusiasm, that these flaws were in the stone and if one tried to take them out it would ruin the stone.

In the jewelery world these flaws are called inclusions.  Some people don’t want a flawless diamond, which are very expensive and difficult to find.  Some feel that the flaws in the diamond are what makes the diamond unique.  Like people, not all diamonds are made alike and our differences are what make us special. Imagine our world if everyone was alike and “flawless “. Where would our inventions come from? Our art and music? There is beauty in being different and unique.

During High School none of us wanted to be different. We wanted to blend in and hide our flaws. It was so embarrassing to be different. But as we have gotten older we need to embrace those differences and acknowledge that our imperfections are how our Perfect God wants us to be. He relishes in our differences because these are the things He uses to make us our truest self. Once we embrace who we truly are and love that person that God loves we are on our way. With His guidance we can be who we are supposed to be, flaws and all.
We are fearfully and wonderfully made!

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30 day fast for me

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30 Day Fast for Me
Day 1

First things first. No eating after 7 sucks eggs!

OK. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest.  This is DAY 1! I’ve put my little list up so I can keep track of what I’m doing for these  30 days. Why a fast? Isn’t  it just a New Year’s resolution?  Well, yes and no. I need to make a change in my life and to change I have to make a drastic declaration and really put myself out there. I also have to make time for myself and in order for me to do that, see above statement. So this is the beginning.

My list starts with NO fb FOR 30 DAYS.
Gasp! I thought I had my fb usage under control but I  saw another fast being trolled around fb and it said you must give up social media for 21 days. I instantly poo pooh’d that idea because I NEED my fb. That’s when I knew I had an issue. When I joined fb it was to reconnect with old classmates and relatives, then I realized I liked posting funny things, and inspiring words (mine or others ). Then people started telling me they looked forward to my posts and I thought I was doing something good for the universe.  By the end of 2015 I was using fb for EVERYTHING. I was giving my name on fb as contact information because I , through the magical smartphone,  can be reached anywhere. Then I wondered why my stress level is so high.  Being constantly connected to all of that isn’t good for you. So this is my top item. I have to give it up and focus on me.

Secondly, no caffeine for 30 days. This stinks too. I was doing well with 1 cup of coffee and 1 coke a day, until by days end I had at least a 2 liter. Coca-cola is my drug of choice.  My supervisor knows if I’m having a bad day by the amount of cokes I drink. He has even gotten me one to chill me out. Do we see a problem here?? There have been moments where I don’t even taste it. The cold, brown, bubbly liquid just slides down my throat and all my problems melt away. This is why this is number 2 on my list. I need to work on other ways to help my problems melt away.

I need to focus on my writing so I will be writing on this blog everyday. I thought I’d kill two birds with one stone by journaling about it but it’s not the same. I have been praying and studying about the power of prayer and fastings part in it. I’ll write about that tomorrow.  But I really need to tell you no eating after 7 really really stinks!

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Silence is Golden

My Grandmother always would say,”Silence is Golden “. I never knew what she meant by that being a mom of 6. If your children are silent isn’t that usually a sign of something’s fishy? Then I look at the times when she was silent.  She took time to breathe. Took time to read her Bible or Reader’s Digest.  She even took a quiet time to eat her lunch and watch her “stories “. But in her busy day as a mom and wife she took moments to be quiet and enjoy the silence.

It’s been very loud lately. Social media, the news, outside and even inside has been so loud. So loud that we aren’t  even hearing each other and that makes it even louder. When it is loud and we can’t hear each other we are constantly yelling to be heard. Can you imagine what we would HEAR if we were just silent for a bit?

I’ve had these moments lately. Just to be still and listen to what those around me have to say. I think in this day of sound bites, jumping to conclusions and constantly interrupting each other, taking the time to HEAR what your neighbor is saying helps a great deal. We all want to be heard. We want our feelings to be felt. We want to feel like our thoughts matter. So we must take a minute to be still and listen to each other. No. We may not always agree but wouldn’t this be a boring world if we did?

In the silence we may actually hear the voice of God. One of my favorite scriptures is, ” Be still and know I am God.” In that stillness, I can hear my Heavenly Daddy speaking to me, comforting me, and loving me. Even chastising me (we all need that from time to time). In that silence or stillness He can direct you. But to hear Him you have to shut the other crap out. Take your quiet moments like my Mama did. Read your Bible. Watch a good show or movie. Take a walk with a loved one or neighbor. BREATHE. Feel the warmth in the quiet and know silence is golden.

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