Praising for Pieces

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There are days that God reveals a lot about His workings.  You probably know what I’m talking about — the days when He brings many things together all at once and you sit back and marvel at how good He is.  When multiple areas of your life suddenly have clarity, and you see how those seemingly-unconnected areas actually do meet at some point. 

You wonder when He’ll let you in on what He’s doing; when He’ll show you the reasons behind things He asks of you and situations He leads you to.  When you’ll see the bigger picture. 

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And then you have a day of revelation when so many things now make sense, and you bask in His glory.  You’re overwhelmed by His goodness and thoughtfulness. 

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More often than not we want to see the whole picture.  We want to know the whys and the why-nots and the reasons we’re involved in what we’re involved in with the people who keep showing up.  We search for answers in prayer and the Word and through mentors — but it’s always His timing that reveals.

And I have to wonder, what would happen if we actually knew all that He knows?  What would take place in our minds and hearts if we knew all the whys and the why-nots?  Maybe you have a different story, but God never reveals everything to me.  He gives me pieces; pieces of varying sizes depending on the season, but pieces nonetheless.  What if He gave me more?

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I don’t think I could handle it.  As it is, the pieces He does give overwhelm me.  They cause me to physically stop moving and allow my mind to think in gratefulness.  There aren’t words to express, no arrangement of letters that seems adequate to thank Him or appreciate what He’s done.  He goes above and beyond.  My heart swells to exploding and I wonder, Could I really handle any more? 

I may want more — and surely, if He gives bigger and bigger pieces I will readily accept them.  But He gives the right balance every time; enough to overwhelm while keeping my mind in a functioning state.  Too much and I may pass over it all in fear of missing it all (tell me I’m not the only one?). 

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He gives pieces to bless us, to grace us, to grow us, to strengthen us.  Pieces He desires we’ll hold onto and remember.  When those pieces come, He wants us to take the time to bask in them and thank Him even if we can’t find the words.

“Come, let us bow down in worship,

let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;

for He is our God

and we are the people of His pasture,

the flock under His care.”

Psalm 95:6-7a

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Living Dreams

There are many words I struggle to find.  Emotions that are too difficult to verbally express.  What would have taken me multiple posts and probably a few brain cramps, this sweet girl wrote out beautifully.  She and I have the living-abroad-thing in common; you may not.  Though you may not 100% understand and feel what that’s like, you can 100% appreciate it and relate in some way to it.  And certainly you have dreams — we all have dreams.

So I encourage you along with her: Dream big.  Let God shape your dreams and give you passion.  Chase those dreams.  And by the way?  God doesn’t give dreams based on your number of years.  He chooses all ages — just look at Abraham, Moses, Joshua, Esther, or Paul.

Take a peek over at this blog, Painted Orange, and be blessed.

http://paintedorange.org/2013/07/20/afraid-to-live/

“Don’t let anyone, including the enemy, steal the miracles and the answers God has shown you.” -H.W.

Quote of encouragement for today.  Stand firm and stay steadfast!

A Pot of Dirt

Sometimes people irritate me.  Sometimes they frustrate me.  Sometimes they make me angry.  But sometimes what I find to be more irritating, more frustrating, and what can make me more angry — is myself.  I get irritated with my short answers and harsh replies.  I get frustrated with myself for being too sensitive — why can’t I let things just ‘brush by’?  why can’t I let go quickly like other people can?  why do I revert to the same habits and thought patterns that I know aren’t healthy?  why do I have to think and over-think and rethink?  why can’t I express my needs — why do I convince myself they’re insignificant and unworthy of mention?  why do I bottle up the little things when I know the final straw will completely break my back?  I get angry with my shortcomings and imperfections.  And then angry that I hold myself to such an unreachable standard.  Surely I’m not the only one?

These can all be pitfalls, and Satan is well aware.  He uses them over and over to bring me down and get me to think negatively.  But God’s grace?  There’s beauty in there — in here.

I try to focus on His promises, though they can easily escape me in the moment of hardship.  I’ve learned that responses can be best left unsaid.  Many situations require taking a step back prior to doing or saying anything.  When people cause pain, God has showed me that the wisest thing to do is forgive quickly.  Those thoughts that enter my mind and tell me I’m a failure and good-for-nothing and never going to be enough — those are to be taken captive and replaced by Truth.  Thinking and over-thinking and rethinking isn’t always negative, but when it is there’s Matthew 6:25-34: let. it. go.  God always has the victory, in every situation.

There were way too many situations and thoughts that turned negative this week.  One piled on top of another and I tried to function carrying all the weight.  It never works.  There’s always a breaking point.

A pot of dirt sat [used to sit] on the top shelf in my closet.  Why?  Because that’s just where it ended up.  It’s been waiting for a plant to inhabit it, and I’ve been waiting for the space to keep it by the sunlight.  So there it sat on my shelf, next to a box of jewelry and handbags.  I pulled the box down to get a pair of earrings and down came the pot as well.  (Missing the sunlight, no doubt.)

It was a disaster.  Like a waterfall of dirt cascading down over my hanging clothes and the folded clothes on the shelves below, ending in a heap of messy darkness all over the cream carpet.  I stood there in shock for a few seconds, not sure what to think.  Then I proceeded to put in my earrings and leave the house for work.

The drive to work is long; a good 45 minutes for this job.  Which meant adequate time to think.  I had moved quickly enough to get out of the house after the spill without doing too much thinking and reacting, but once I got on auto-pilot in the car all the thoughts poured in.

It was past the “How did that happen?!” stage and to the “Really?!  Really that just happened?!” stage.  Why now?  Why this morning?  Why at all?  Did I seriously need one more thing to go wrong?  That mess is huge.  I don’t have time.  I don’t even want to clean it up.  Really?!

Then I realized what Satan was doing.  “Satan, you are not going to get me with a pot of dirt,” I said.  Then I laughed a little at the ridiculousness of it all.

And?  The rest of the day has gone well.  It’s a constant choice we have to make — are we going to allow little things to build up and lead to an explosion?  Or are we going to forgive, even ourselves, and refuse to allow Satan to control our thoughts and actions?  He’s a loser.  He’s already lost.  He can go right to Hell, thank You very much.

Let’s choose Jesus.  Let’s choose joy and thanksgiving and peace.  Let’s choose to breathe in and let go when frustrations and irritations come, to look for the love that Jesus has for us and to embrace it — embrace Him.  He is so much sweeter.