Always Quiet ~ A 31 Day Post (day 19)

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We like movies in our house.  It’s not unusual for our family to settle in to a good movie – complete with popcorn, of course!

Anyway, we like all kinds of movies but especially like ones that share the message of the gospel.  One of our new favorites is “God’s Not Dead 2.”  Have you seen it?  Our family had watched it a few weeks ago and loved it.  We watched it again this past weekend with family visiting from out of town.  I always get something new out of a movie when I see it a second or third time.  That was the case with this one too.

Grace Wesley is the teacher on trial for sharing her faith in the classroom.  In actuality, she quoted the words of Jesus as a historical event but was still put on trial.  During the storyline of the trial, when it didn’t look as though she would win her case, her grandfather said something that I didn’t pick up on the first time I saw the movie.  He said:

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This really resonated with me.  I thought of this series that I’m writing about encouragement from the Lord.  I thought about the times in my life when things were “really hard” and I felt alone.  I knew that God was in control and I knew that He had a plan but He seemed quiet.  Years ago, shortly after I graduated from college, I went through a difficult circumstance.  A friend of my dad’s knew I was struggling and he reminded me that I needed to pray and trust.  He encouraged me to memorize Philippians 4:6-7.  I did.  Recently I read a paraphrase of these verses.  I can’t remember where I got it from but this is what it said:

if we don’t worry and truly give it all to Christ, He will guard our hearts and minds and we are left with PEACE!  

While He guards our hearts and minds,  sometimes He is quiet.  Or at least it often feels like He is quiet.  That’s when I need to be still…when I need to listen…when I need to trust.  And then I am left with peace!   Next time I am in a difficult situation, and I will be because the road of life that we walk is not easy, I have to remember that He is with me and that He may be quiet.

Until tomorrow…

Joy to You!

 

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Peaceful Rest

In my last few posts, I have alluded to the fact that our family has been through a major change. It’s been life-altering for all of us.  To be honest, it has been just.plain.hard!

We found ourselves in a situation where my husband would be seeking a new ministry position.  Sometimes you choose to change jobs and sometimes, especially in ministry, God moves you.  That was the case for us.  There are many details that are just too much to go into.  Lots of lessons learned.  Lots of asking “why?” and “what’s next?”

During this time, the Lord was very gracious in many ways.  He gave many provisions that we never asked for or expected.

He’s just good that way!!

One such provision was time spent at a little cabin…on a pond…in the country.

My hubby’s new job began before our homeschool co-op ended.  The kids and I needed a place to stay for a few weeks and our precious friends offered for us to stay at this cabin that belongs to their family.  It’s such a neat place that I jumped at the offer.  Others offered to have us at their house but this gave us a place of our own.

Confession: I’m a wimp so being separated from my husband for weeks was hard.  I just don’t like being in my own.  I find strength in walking alongside of him.  Not that I can’t do it on my own, I just really value the way we do life, and parent, together – as a team.  Plus, it’s just harder to make decisions that effect the whole family when you’re not together…in the same room.  Or in our case, the same state!

About 3 weeks into staying at the cabin, I was just having a bad day.  Honestly, I felt like I was going a little crazy.  We homeschool so I’m used to being with our kids 24/7.   I love being with my kids all day, I really do.  But, as lovely as this cabin was, there was some added stress due to being in a small space…realizing daily that I forgot to pack this or that for the weeks we would be there…being apart from my hubby…you get the idea.  By the way, I should mention that those missing items from my packing weren’t accessible since the moving truck had already taken our furniture and everything else 509 miles away.   The kids missed their dad. I missed their dad.  Daily phone calls just weren’t the same.

I remember telling a friend whose husband travels a lot that I just don’t know how she does it.  This experience gave me a new appreciation for single parents.  But, I digress….

One night both kids were out with friends and I found myself alone.  I decided that I would go out to the porch and just enjoy the quiet of nature around the cabin. This was my view, as the sun set, (through the porch screen):

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Beautiful, isn’t it?

I sat on the porch with my Bible.  At the time, I was in the process of looking up verses that included the words JOY, HOPE, & PEACE.  I was concentrating on PEACE that day and found myself in Isaiah.  I read several verses and then I found the one that I am sure the Lord wanted me to see that night.

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That was exactly what I needed to hear.  He was providing EXACTLY what I needed ~ “peaceful habitation.”  I made a note in my Bible and then texted a photo of the verse to my friend.  I had to let her know that our staying in their cabin was a gift to us.  Yes, a gift from her family but ultimately it was a gift from the Lord.  He put us there so that we could rest.  He put us in a “secure dwelling” where the very loud sounds of nature created a “quiet resting place.”

Now that our family is together in one state, under one roof, there are days that I long for time on that porch.  I long for the sound of the bullfrog under my bedroom window, the crickets, the geese as they flew in and out of the pond.  I long for the sound of “quiet.”

I’m looking for my “quiet resting place” in our new place.  I’ve not exactly found it yet, but that’s okay.  I know that I will.  Like all things in a new place, it takes time.  I have wonderful memories, and photos, of the place that He provided.  The property around the cabin was just gorgeous.

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The scenery over the pond was a sight to behold daily!

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But the sunsets!  Well, they were the epitome of Psalm 19:1 ~ “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.”

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The song “Near to The Heart of God” has been on my mind a lot lately.  If you’re not familiar with it,  it was written in 1903 by Cleland B. McAfee.  It’s a beautiful song, however, I like the third and fourth verses the best:

There is a place of comfort sweet,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where we our Savior meet,
Near to the heart of God.
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There is a place of full release,
Near to the heart of God.
A place where all is joy and peace,
Near to the heart of God.

These verses remind me that wherever my quiet place is, it’s a place that I can fully release my burdens and my joys to the Lord.  It’s a place I can find peace.  It’s my prayer that you also have a place like that.

Thanks for letting me share my heart.  

Joy to You!


 

 

By the way:  Beginning October 1st, I’m joining with many other writers as we blog our way through the 31 days of October.  I’ve participated in this challenge the past few years and really enjoyed it.  This year, I am sharing some of the lessons I learned in our time of transition.  I’d be honored if you joined me. 

It’s Been A Long Time

4-1/2 months!!!

I haven’t  written ANYTHING in 4-1/2 months.  Not because I don’t have a long list of topics to explore.  Not because I didn’t have things to say.  Not because I didn’t want to.

I haven’t written in so long because I was trying to live out my word of the year — QUIET.

I’ve been doing exactly what the Lord would have me do instead.   I guess I should clarify that I have been busy. Being “busy” is exactly what brought me to select quiet as a focus.   I felt I really needed was to rid my life of noise — not the audible kind. The kind that screams busy.

Taking on that task has been hard.  Why?  Becaus being a homeschooling mom takes work.  Being a wife takes work.  Being a homemaker takes work.  Not to mention a church member…a community resident….a sister….a daughter…a friend.  All that work makes one busy!  All that busyness is not bad.

My walk with the Lord is the most important.  I set a goal, accepted a challenge to read the Bible in 100 days.  I failed!  It became more about finishing in 100 days that being in His Word….so…..I stopped.  I didn’t stop reading, I just stopped following a plan.  I did have the intention to keep going through the Bible from Old Testament to New but the Lord had other plans. I had an opportunity for me to lead a Bible study at church.  We walked through the book of 1 Peter. What a blessing.  Along with 3 other ladies, we discussed 1 Peter verse by verse taking in the timely words for our world today.  For the next few weeks, I’m joining the ladies over at LoveGodGreatly participating in a study on Psalm 119.  If you are not familiar with their site and Bible studies, you should check them out.   You’ll be blessed!

Now it’s July.  Our school year has been complete for about a month and a half. It’s time to finish the planning for next year but all in good time.  I kicked off  the summer enjoying my family — immediate and extended by enjoying the sun and the sound of the ocean….


I’ve read a few good books….

And want to read a few more.

I made a short list of projects for the summer.  I’m happy to say that I have already accomplished a few of them!  The others, well…if they don’t get done over the summer, there’s always the fall.  Or Winter.  Or next year!  {smile}

I am praying that I continue to search for my quiet.  That it becomes a habit.

I’d love to pray that for you too!

Happy Summer & Joy To You!

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Finding My “Quiet”

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Back on January 2nd, I wrote about my word for the year. Since then, I have considered how to achieve living out a “quiet” life.  You see, my life is anything but quiet.  My days are filled with homeschooling and running my kids to their various extra-curricula activities…..my desk is a mess (as you can see in the photo here), my closets & cabinets need to be organized….I have unfinished craft projects just waiting for attention…..laundry is ALWAYS piled up somewhere………

It’s overwhelming!!

I’ve read over the definition of quiet more than once.  The part that really sticks out to me is “free, or comparatively free, from noise”.  Noise doesn’t have to be audible.  To me, my desk is noisy.  My pantry is noisy.  My life is noisy. Even my computer screen is noisy.  Anyone else spend lots of time looking for files on their computer desktop?  If you do, you know what I mean by my computer screen being noisy.

So, how do I combat the noise?

First, I am beginning to pray about it more.  Seems like common sense but honestly, I rarely pray about my day to day activities.  Sure, I ask for blessings over my day but I really think that God cares about the little stuff too.  So I am now making the effort to specifically pray about the daily stuff….the cooking, cleaning, etcdesktop organizerfor post., etc.

Second, I found a cool “desktop organizer” on Pinterest.  It was created by Heather over at Moritz Fine Designs.  The best part about it is that it’s FREE.  She has other beautiful designs too, I just happen to like the whole chalkboard theme right now.  AND I was able to put my favorite Bible verse on the bottom so that I am reminded of it’s great truth often.

Third, also on Pinterest, I found a cleaning schedule that I can fill in myself and then keep up with when I do certain tasks.  I often think that I must be the only person on the planet that cannot remember the last time I dusted the ceiling fans…….and then I found pin after pin about keeping cleaning scheduleup with the tasks around the house.  It is created by Crystal over at Money Saving Mom.  The first page is a list of what she does daily and weekly.  It’s the second page that I love because the version I have is divided into monthly, every 3 months, and every six months.  The version on her site now, is slightly different and still a great resource.

I am still working on figuring out how to tackle my desk, bookshelves, and the craft table.  I’ll get there.  It’s all a work in progress.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the 2nd most important thing I am doing to “find my quiet”. It helps me to “be still and know that HE is God”.  I have taken a challenge to read the Bible in 100 days.  The challenge was put out by Candace over at His Mercy Is New.  If you’ve not visited her site, you should.  She has a love for God’s Word and is teaching those of us who follow her blog how to pray the Scriptures.  Anyway, I started the 100 Day challenge a few days late and I am reading slow, taking notes, and savoring God’s Word so I am behind.  Realistically, I will be reading the Bible through in 110 or maybe even 120 days.  I am not letting it stress me out though.  I’m doing this to learn more about God — not to complete a challenge.  The reading plan that Candace created just helps me stay on track.

That’s my plan, as it stands in this very moment, to add a little “quiet” to my life.  How about you?  Is your life filled with noise?  Or do you have the “quiet” that I am striving for.

Joy to You!

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My Word for 2015

It’s January 2nd and I have been considering whether or not I wanted to select a “word for the year”.  It’s really a challenge to chose a word and then focus on it.  My hesitation comes from knowing that I had success and failure in living out the selected “word” the past 3 years.  I would begin strong and then life would get in the way.   I would do a pulse check and have a renewed sense of determination……..and life would happen.

 Conform (2012)…..Diligent (2013)….. Impact (2014) are the words that I have previously selected.  The ones that I had both success and failure in seeing through to the end of the year.  The words that caused me to question if I really wanted to do this again.

I woke up yesterday morning, New Year’s Day, thinking about it.  What word could I chose?  Do I want to do this?  Does it really matter anyway? These and other questions were running through my head.

And then, I had a thought.

QUIET!!

Immediately after that, the beginning of Psalm 46:10 came to my mind:

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I wondered if this is my “word” for 2015.  Quiet means “free, or comparatively free, from noise”.  It also means “refraining or free from activity, especially busy…activity”.  Here’s the cool thing — the synonym for quiet is STILL.

I looked up Psalm 46:10 because I knew the beginning but I was sure that it said more.

It does.  

It goes on to say, “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!”

How cool is that?  To have the Lord give us the assurance that He will be exalted.  How will this happen?   When we make the effort to “be still and know that He is God”.   It makes sense.  At least it does to me.

So my word for 2015 is QUIET.  My focus will be to “be STILL and know the He is God”.  This means first and foremost, I will meditate on His word more.  It also means that I will work on finding the QUIET in other areas of my life.  How will I do this?  Maybe it’s being more organized and getting rid of clutter.  Maybe it’s taking time daily to sit and just relax.   I am not 100% sure what it will look like, I just know that I am to be quiet and still.

May you also “know” that He is God this year.

Joy to You!

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