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May 3, 2012

Handling Challenges ~ A Few Suggestions

Handling Challenges ~ A Few Suggestions

Do you have any situations in your life that you find especially challenging? I certainly do. They’re not the kind of challenges I ever expected to encounter, either.

So what do you do? That’s an honest question ~ I don’t have the answer. All I know is that when everything in my life seems to be one gigantic mountain of a challenge after another, I have to work really hard not to get discouraged. Or to give up. Or to blow up.

Striking a balance can be very difficult. There are a couple of things that are easy enough to do that can help:

  • Listen to praise and worship music. It doesn’t matter what kind of praise and worship music ~ from hymns to rock ‘n’ roll genre, it makes no difference. Listen to what you like, what moves you, what uplifts you and reminds you that we worship a very big God.

 

  • Read and/or recite Scripture that speaks to you. Different Scriptures can apply to different situations. For example, when my temper begins to flare and I feel as though I may explode, it usually helps me to remember the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

 

  • Step back, take a moment and a couple of deep breaths. Talk to God for a moment ~ in your head is fine, or you can say a quiet prayer. He hears you, whether your prayer is spoken or unspoken.

 

  • Remember that everyone goes through rough patches ~ some patches are rougher than others, and some people have many more rough patches than others. Nonetheless, we all have them.

 

  • Confide in a friend, mentor, spiritual leader or pastor. Choose someone who you know to be wise and trustworthy.

 

  • When people ask how you’re doing or what’s new in your life, it’s not necessary to tell them all of the details. Be genuine, but remember it’s okay to simply say you’re facing some challenges and would appreciate them remembering you in their prayers.

 

  • If you’re comfortable with sharing the details, do so.

 

  • Do your best to drink plenty of water, get the right amount of sleep, eat well and get some exercise. If that means skipping your mid-day Ding Dong or Twinkie fest (and I only say that because I am guilty of those!) and taking a walk around the block, do it. Small steps are better than no steps.

Will doing the above suggestions get rid of your problems or challenges? Probably not. But they might help you to deal with them better, get some perspective, shed some light, and restore at least a small amount of peace in your head, heart and soul.

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He Knows

He knows

It isn’t just the big answers I hear…sometimes, I hear God’s answers to me in the littlest of things–things that only HE knows I think about.

Like the blue bird–I saw one flit across the road in front of my car the other day.  He knows I look for them.  He knows I find hope for spring in seeing them.  He knows how I love the deep, rich blue color.  He knows I sigh, when I see them.

Or the first, new leaf-buds on our trees–my Heavenly Father knows how I search for them and long for winter’s end.  He knows I am like a kid in a candy store, seeing the new growth, springing fresh and new.  He knows that it never gets old for me.

When a tumbleweed blows across my path, God knows that I grin from ear to ear.  There’s something about a tumbleweed that I dearly love.

Or when the geese fly over, He knows I will turn off all sounds in the car (A/C or heater and radio) and roll down my windows.  He knows I strain to hear them honk.  He knows I watch for them all year-long.

He knows how I listen for the sounds of the first snow-melt in Rocky Mountain National Park, how the sound of an elk bugling makes my heart leap, how the breath of my children sleeping amazes me…He knows.

And sometimes, if we look and listen, we notice that He knows. For a tiny moment, we feel the nearness and fellowship of God, who walks with us daily and woos us to Him. I believe that is why being still and knowing that He is God is life-giving, life-renewing and subtle conversation with the Living LORD.  Nothing like knowing that He knows…us.

“THE HEAVENS declare the glory of God; and the firmament shows and proclaims His handiwork. Day after day pours forth speech, and night after night shows forth knowledge.”

Psalm 19:1-2 AMP

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As Much As We Want

As Much as We Want

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Matthew 5:6

Jesus therefore took the loaves; and having given thanks, He distributed to those who were seated; likewise also of the fish as much as they wanted. And when they were filled, He said to His disciples, “Gather up the leftover fragments that nothing may be lost.” John 6:11-12

 I do not come from a background that observes Lent, an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter. However, during this past few weeks it seems the Lord Himself put me in this mode. Our church had just finished a Bible study and we were challenged to fast something for 10 days. One of the suggestions was that we fast television. That particular suggestion dominated my thinking, so the following Monday I began my TV fast. On that very day, inexplicably, my internet went out. When I contacted my server they indicated they had no record of our internet account which seemed preposterous. Would you believe it took two weeks to resolve it? Added to these two simultaneously occurring events I dropped my cell phone in our dog’s water bowl. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I began to see that Someone wanted my full attention. One of the true benefits of the voluntary and enforced fasts was a greater hunger and thirst for righteousness. It stood out to me that in John 6:11-12 that they were given as much food as they wanted. I had been snacking on the world’s junk food and it had indeed dulled my appetite and the Lord desired for me to know that. I don’t watch sordid or awful programs. The song One Pure and Holy Passion by William Murphy states:

This world is empty, pale, and poor– Compared to knowing You my Lord. Lead me on, and I will run after You.

Empty, pale, and poor is an apt description of some of the things that were taking too much of my time and attention. The heart of this song is a cry and a prayer that He would give us one pure and holy passion. That He would give us one magnificent obsession. Instead we obsess over our favorite television programs, texting, games, twitter feeds, blogs, pinterest , and fill in the _______. God is so gracious, full of mercy and lovingkindness, but He is not into competing for our attention. He has given us many exceedingly great and precious promises, but not all of them are unconditional. They require something of us.

 ”I, the LORD, am your God, Who brought you up from the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide and I will fill it. “But My people did not listen to My voice; And Israel did not obey Me. “So I gave them over to the stubbornness of their heart, to walk in their own devices. “Oh that My people would listen to Me, that Israel would walk in My ways! “I would quickly subdue their enemies, and turn My hand against their adversaries. Psalm 81:10-14

We are told in 2 Chronicles 16:9

“For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him. In this you have done foolishly; therefore from now on you shall have wars.”

He wants our hearts to be fully His and our mouths opened wide with desire to have our emptiness filled by no one and no thing, but Him. He’s jealous for us friends. His jealousy is whole and pure longing with desire to show Himself strong on our behalf. Will we run to Him with hungry hearts or appetites that have been dulled by the empty, pale, and poor things the world is offering to distract us? He will give us as much as we want. During this week approaching Easter let’s do as the song by Helen H. Lemmel says,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. The things of earth will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

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Whooo?

Whooo?

Who?

Who?

I heard the question tonight as it echoed through the trees, thrown out by the night bird, seeing all, turning every which way.  It was answered by the night songs of nature–the crickets and bullfrogs, the rushing waters, the silent sparkle of the night sky.

Who?

Who?

It asked over and over again.

The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth his handiwork.

Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge. (Ps 19:1-2)

Who?

Who?

Is it one of those questions that he already knows the answer to?

Who?

Who?

Who put the stars there?  Who covered the moon so that only a tiny slip would be hanging there tonight?  Who told the waters they could go so far, but no further?

Who?

Even when His people hold their tongues….all nature proclaims…..

It is God!

His song is for you.  Hear it, receive it, acknowledge it, savor it, tell it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Breathing

Breathing

A Special Update!!

Two big praises, which I must share with you all…Breathing

1) Our friend’s mom received TWO LUNGS.  She was a hard transplant match, and these were as close of an exact match, as you could get.  She is still in ICU, because she went into the surgery pretty weak, but she is on the road to recovery.  It is absolutely a miracle.  Praise the LORD with us!  Breathing fully with two new lungs is a new lease on life.  It has meant the world to this special family.  And it has increased my own faith in the Lord, as I have prayed specifically for just this.  Oh to grace, how great a debtor, daily I’m constrained to be!!

2) Today is our very last day of bankruptcy.  It has marked our lives, our walk with Jesus in such a wonderful way. As hard as it has been, I would not trade one single part of it for all that I have grown and learned!  We have been celebrating, as a family all weekend long–with a trip to the zoo, time with friends, dollar movie and a hamburger place we have never before tried–Five Guys (it was good!).  God is SO GOOD.  I wish I had more words, but I just have these–when the Lord allows hard times to come, He may not scoop you up and rescue you out of them, but He will be with you in them.  You never walk alone.  Special thanks to Teresa for sending me a card nearly every week for three whole years.  You have ministered to my heart so much.  Thank you!!  Blessed assurance Jesus is mine, oh what a foretaste of glory divine!

Love to you all!  I am personally looking forward to decorating for spring this week here at A Martha Heart.  A change of seasons…more happy breathing.  Spring-filled breaths.We are breathing…in and out.  Breathing thankful breaths.  Breathing financially.  Breathing and trusting God for many other requests.  At His feet, we lay them all.

Feel free to comment with your own requests.  We will gladly lift them up to the Lord with you.

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