Music Monday - You're Not Alone

Monday, 5 March 2018

Sorry for being away for the last few weeks.  I have been pretty busy with Church Council business and then last week I prepped for our IF:Local.  I accomplished about 2 months of work in 1 week.  It was all worth it.  It was an amazing weekend with 21 women gathering, being equipped and then unleashed into our communities.

This year was exciting because we had ladies from our sister church attend.  They came with their experiences and we got to learn more about these beautiful sisters.  My prayer for next year is that more of these amazing women can attend.

Right from the beginning of planning our IF:Local we were under attack.  As our leadership is all on Council at the moment we are having to deal with matters that are slowly taking over everything.  Then on Friday, we woke to what can only be explained as a SNOWPOCOLYPSE (I wish I had pictures for you).  In 24 hours we had over 1 foot of snow fall.  God was faithful and protected our women as they traveled and participated through the weekend of which I am truly thankful.  Some of food didn't cook when it should have and our amazing youth leader fried up chicken quickly so that we could eat.  Again, I am so thankful for hands that are willing to serve our women.  Men of our church came out periodically and shoveled and snow blowed our Church parking lot so that we were able to get out.   

One of the speakers, Christine Caine, talked about the pressure we face as believers and how we must run with endurance because the baton is now in our hands.  This baton that has been entrusted to us is the Word of God.  We are going to be pressured and the race will be tough.  Only through endurance will we build the spiritual muscle to complete our race.

I should have remembered this because once I was home I was attacked.  I came home to emails that had to be dealt with.  These emails had allegations that if true, made me look very bad.  It broke my heart.  I felt defeated.  I felt deflated.  I was a literal mess.  I have to admit that I wallowed and then I remembered everything that had been said at the conference, even words I had spoken.  You can't hide.  There will be darkness and there will be pressure.  That at those times take every thought captive and fan the flame of faith.  God meets us in the darkness.  Go to God in doubt and pain and pressure.  He will be there.  I opened my Logos app and started reading an devotion by Charles Spurgeon and then some Psalms.  The words were the cry of my heart to God and the response was peace and love.  Exactly what I needed and I had an amazing night's sleep.

The next morning while I put on the coffee pot.  I put on my favourite worship playlist on Spotify (I will share one day when I figure out how).  The first song that played was an old one that so resonates with me.  You're Not Alone by Meredith Andrews.  We are not alone.  When we search for Him, we will find Him (Jeremiah 29:13).  He has seen us.  He does see us.  He is with us.  Truths that I need to be reminded of more often then I care to admit.

Caffeinated Randomess - Grey Hair

Saturday, 24 February 2018

I am a very vain person.  I will admit that I pay a lot of attention to how I look.  I was raised that you don't leave the house unless you are dressed appropriately.  Clothes should not be wrinkled.  Make up applied but not too much.  I don't think I ever went to the movies without wearing a dress or skirt until I was in my early teens.

I still iron my clothes and am so very colour coordinated.  I can let you know that I haven't passed this on to my daughter and I cringe at some of her outfits.  As long as they are appropriate, I let her wear what she would like.  Again can I tell you I cringe.

You may wonder why I am sharing all this.  This past year I have stopped dying my hair.  Something I swore I would never do as I was that vain.  I started going grey at the age of 24....that is right, 24.  Going grey is hereditary and my grandmother who raised me was completely grey at 39.  This also happens to be the year I was born so she does say that I caused it.  

I have fought this battle for so long and had many great stylists who assisted me and kept my hair shades of auburn and blond and brown.  There were times Ms. Clairol assisted in keeping the grey at bay.  The last few years I have had to book colouring appointments closer and closer.  It was so bad that I had to purchase root spray so that I could have cover up.  Yes, this is the similar product that men have been using for generations to cover those bald spots, we women have just renamed it and claimed it.  All of this was costing a fortune to keep up my vanity.

Last year my hairdresser suggested I grow out my grey as silver hair seemed to be a current trend.  I informed her I wasn't ready.  I was only 43 and didn't want to be a silver hair old lady with short hair.  But she planted a seed...I started reading articles and going through Pinterest for stylish  cuts with silver hair and found articles by women who embraced their natural grey at a young age.  It appeared that the people who embraced their natural grey actually looked better and younger.  It made sense as our skin changes colour as we age.  Maybe it changed because our hair colour changed...just a thought. 

After some reflection, at my next appointment I told my hairdresser that I wanted to start growing out the grey.  We did a trim and booked my next appointment for 8 weeks to allow for growth.   I then told a few moms at school my plan and got told I was crazy.  Maybe I was but I was willing to see what happened.

At my next appointment, with 2 inches of growth, I had my hairdresser pixie my hair to get as much colour out of it.  You then could see the grey.  I don't know what shocked me more the grey or the short hair.  At Church the senior ladies were shocked at the grey.  Many of them were confused as many of them still colour their hair in their 70s, not that I am judging.  To each their own.

Now after 6 months, my hair is grey with a few highlights left from my last colour which is too stubborn to leave.  I receive so many compliments of the change and believe it does look way better.  My hair appointments cost 1/3 of what they were.  I feel free and love how my hair feels.  It isn't over processed or frizzy.  I once heard Liz Curtis Higgs call her grey hair her crown of silver and I love my crown.

I am still pretty vain but I am embracing the person that I truly was made to be.

FMF - Beauty

Friday, 23 February 2018

I see beauty around me in so many things.  Give me a camera and the photos I take reflect that.  I love the simplicity of a seed pod in a plant in the fall. 

Leaves that have fallen in a lake.    

Mountains that proclaim God's creation and remind me how small I am.

Beauty is all around us.  God's creation is beauty.  There is beauty in joy and beauty in misery.  There is beauty in things that destroy and beauty in regrowth and refining. 

We live in a culture that teaches a false sense of beauty in the physical but beauty can come from within.  The saddest thing I heard was from our teenage girl saying she was ugly.  How can she not see that she is beauty?

She is who God created her to be.  She is one of his image bearers.  She is beauty as fragile as the seed pod and as strong as the mountain.

I am joining up with the Five Minute Friday link up.  Come check it out.

#TBT - I Thought I Was Older....

Thursday, 22 February 2018

Going through everything lately and my reactions to it have reminded me that I am not as old or mature spiritually as I want to be.  It is a reminder I get every few years.  I am glad that our faith grows daily and differently in the seasons of life we are living.  I share with you a post I wrote a few years ago when I realized this for the umpteenth time.  I wish I could tell you that I finally learned the lesson but it is a lesson I keep on learning.

Yesterday, while driving to church I silently prayed for each member of my family.  When I got to Sam, God gave me an epiphany.  Not one about Sam.  No, about myself.  You see lately I have been complaining about Sam.  He's up and at'em by 7 am every morning and makes himself quite noticed.  He runs here, he runs there, especially when he knows its time to get ready to go.  Just when you think you have him, you guessed wrong.  He quickly shoots to another direction.  If we work as a team we can usually corner him, unless he decides to "hide" in the couch (this means he lays on the couch with his head in the cushions.  He can't see you, so he thinks you can't see him).

I'm like this with God.  I run around dodging Him.  I run around in circles while He is trying to lead me in the direction He wants me to go.  When I hide, I don't do a very good job at it, because He knows where to find me all the time.  He follows me around and corners me, just like Sam does with us.  The only difference is that I am almost 38 years old and Sam is 3.  Sam is expected to run.  I am expected to listen and behave and follow when told or commanded to.  I am not to try to dodge what is expected of me, which I have been doing lately. 

Another way I am like Sam is when he attaches himself to the wrong mom.  If you are a mom of a toddler you know what I mean, for all others let me explain.  When we pick up Thomas from kindergarten, we have to pick him up inside the school.  The little kids run up and down the hallways while we wait for the kindergarten kids to be dismissed.  From a toddlers perspective that's a lot of big people and legs.  So often a toddler will cuddle in eventually to who he/she believes is mommy because aren't all big legs their moms.  Unfortunately when they finally look up, way up, they realize "that's not my mommy" and go and locate their mommy. 

You see, when I do slow down and look for God, I grab onto a set of "legs" I think are His.  It's only after while do I actually look and realize I haven't been following who I should be.  During these times I feel lost, lonely, broken and defeated.  When I am walking with the Father, I feel loved, secure, peaceful and hopeful. 

I need to grow up.  I thought I had reached that spiritual adolescent or teenage age where I asked questions and longed to know more about God.  I didn't think I was still in the toddler phase, running around like a chicken with my head chopped off wanting security, but dodging it as well.  I know this has a lot to do with my prayer life.  I realized that today as I finished my Good Morning Girls study on Ephesians 6:18. 
Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[ NLT]

As I wrote last week, my prayer life has been sporadic.  This verse reminds me to be alert and persistent in my prayer life, not just for myself but for others as well.  It reminds me to pray at ALL times and on EVERY occasion.  Not just when I need something.  Not just when it gets hard.  But to pray daily.  Pray about what I need, what I long for for my children.  Praying for my husband.  Praying for family and friends.  Praying for my government.  Praying for God's kingdom and will.  

I thought I was older.  Apparently, God has other ideas.

What do you think you're spiritual age is?  What do you think you have been dodging that God wants you do?  Have you been heading toward the wrong "set of legs?"

Nevertheless She Persisted

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

If one hasn't been under a rock or on another planet one must have heard the comments by Sen. Mitch McConnell about Sen. Elizabeth Warren:  "She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”  This cry of  "she persisted" has become a rally for many feminists.  In fact, Chelsea Clinton wrote an amazing children's book called "She Persisted: 13 American Women who Changed the World."  Some of these women that Chelsea Clinton wrote about were believers.   

You may wonder why I am even mentioning this whole situation.  This week I was doing my Beth Moore study called "Entrusted" and she ended the chapter with  

Persist.  Jesus is on His way.  Your anointing has not run dry.  Heaven has not forgotten you're alive.  You have not believed for nothing.  The results of your faith will soon sprout from that fallow ground.  Just a little more rain.  Just a little more thunder.  Your obedience will pay off.  You have not wasted a single breath on prayer.  There is still life in your bones and, child of God, there is still life in His Word.  Persist.   

These words come as a reflection of the verse:  

Proclaim the message; persist in it whether convenient or not; rebuke, correct, and encourage with great patience and teaching.  HCSB 2 Timothy 4:2 

We as believers are to persist in proclaiming the Gospel.  This as Beth Moore states through the "Entrusted" study is the gifting that we have each been entrusted with.  It may not be convenient to us.  I know personally how hard it is to persist in sharing the Gospel.  I have lost a few friends and even family members treat me with an air of distain.  

I know how hard it is also to persist in life.  Sometimes life comes at you with so many things that you just don't think you can take.  I was at my IF:Table group today and admitted that I don't ask God any more "When??"  my cry lately is "How much more am I expected to endure?"  I think we all feel like this sometimes.   As women there are so many societal expectations on us as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, friends, in our homes, places of business and, sadly, our places of worship.  Last week I had to call out a dear friend for the "old boys club."  This was in respect with an Elder's meeting.   We think we have come so far in this respect and in realty we have barely scratched the surface.  As a wife and mother, I have taken a very traditional role in my home.  It was something that my husband and I both agreed upon.   With my role as an Elder in our Church and as Chair of Council I have taken a very non-traditional role.  Sometimes the two clash.  It is hard to be the me that wants to be a role model for my daughter and a show her that God has gifted us with gifts that we are called to use and show her that traditional roles do have value. 

We will all face suffering.  In fact I once heard that if you aren't suffering that you should ask yourself why not or that you should expect it to come.  God will allow things into our lives that make us bend.  He is working on our faith.   

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 NIV 

Did you notice one of the words in that verse:  Perseverance.  It means steadfastness in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  Can you think of word that may mean the same.  The one I started with: Persist.  Persist literally means to continue firmly in a course of action in spite of difficulty, opposition, or failure.  We as believers are called to continue through the difficulty, through the things, that hurt through the opposition.  Yes we will fail sometimes but we need to persevere and persist through these times.  I can tell you that the last 5 years have been very hard.  My husband's depression has been a roller coaster of emotions.  We have had 2 hospitalizations for long periods and 2 out patient programs.  I wish I could tell you that he is not struggling at this moment but it is there taking control of our lives.  There have been many times we have both said "I'm done."  I'm done with the stress.  I am done being tired.  I am done feeling this way. There are many days that I have watched my husband barely get out of bed because the depression has stolen joy and hope from Him. This verse reminds me that I need to persevere through the pain and suffering because there is hope. 

We need to persist.  Whether in our calling or our lives.  God didn't just plunk us here and then say lets see what they'll do.   God wants to see us grow and become the people that he created us to be.  He wants us to use the gifts that He gave us to advance His kingdom.  He refines us through fire so that we can be purified and our faith can be solid.  I want to hear from God at the end:

"Nevertheless She Persisted." 

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