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Saturday, April 29, 2017

God Says I'm Strong ~

Deuteronomy 31:6  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you;  He will never leave you nor forsake you.

Strong…..and courageous.   Most of you know that last year, I decided to write a children’s book to document the stories I use to tell my children and grandchildren when they were little.  I prayed and prayed and prayed about it.  I wrote, scratched, wrote some more…..made eleventy-million mistakes, but I prayed and believed that I was in the season that God wanted me to be in.  With lots of input from my family, and tons and tons of support from friends, not only did I complete one book, but a series of five.

I have had the best of time visiting schools and encouraging little people to read.  Book sales are growing.  I am able to give my grandkids little royalty dollars.  After all, they are the reason I wanted to write these books.  This adventure has opened so many doors for me.  God has even used me to encourage another woman to finish a novel that she truly wanted to write but didn’t feel courageous enough to do so.  This whole “put people in your path at just the right moment” has never been truer than it has been the past year.  I don’t even have words to tell you how grateful I am for this season I’m in.

One of the strongest lessons I have learned from the books is this:  You get out of something what you put into it.  Marketing is hard….really hard.  For every school I get invited to, I get rejected by 3 more.  Be strong and courageous.   Don’t be afraid or terrified.  I’m not real good at that part.   Fear chokes me down.   Now, I will tell you, I am the master of talking a good line.  Marketing is my background.  I know how to promote and work.  But then Satan and his lying ass shows up and all of a sudden, I’m doubting everything I’m doing.    Let me give you an example.  Recently, I attended a function and was feeling pretty excited with the way things were going.  I talked to so many people and was able to encourage a room full of young writers to follow their dream while they, in turn, encouraged each other and me.  On the way home, however, I got a phone call from another marketer.  “I don’t think I could ever use my grandchildren to sell books like you do….”  After that, I didn’t hear anything else.  My mind was filled with doubt.  What I was so excited to share with my grandchildren was perceived as extortion by someone else. Does Satan do that to you, too?  Just bust in and steal your joy?

Hey God, I want to thank You for this verse today.  This isn’t about books, or grandchildren, or following a dream.  I’m not trying to “attention seek” or feel sorry for myself.  You made me so You know that all of my life I’ve taken my toys and just quit and gone home when someone hurts my feelings.  But this verse... it’s Biblical proof that You’ve got me.  You will guide me.  You will encourage me.  You will always, always, ALWAYS lead me where I need to be, if only I stay in Your will.   Thank You for once again showing me the perfect verse at the perfect time.  Thank You, also, for the little caution flag you raised so that I keep my balance with my marketing strategies.  Satan knows exactly which buttons to push.  Thankfully, You say I’m strong.  Believing I’m exactly where You want me to be ~

Monday, April 24, 2017

Missing the Storms ~

Missing the Storm ~
Colossians 3:21  Fathers, (or mothers) do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.  NIV

Sometimes, it does me good to hear the other point of view. Recently, I wrote a blog on how good it is for everyone to get   along when you are raising children.  Last week, I had someone say to me…..”I could add to that”.  I ask her what she meant.  She looked at me and said, “Just because a person should love a child, doesn’t mean they always do.”   Um….wow.  What a humbling moment for me.  I’m over here trying to write this inspirational, feel good blog, and I’m blinded by my rose colored glasses.

As a family photographer, I see this all of the time.  I’ve even had a lady tell me, “He’s just my stepson. I don’t need him in all of our family pictures.”  That was a horrible thing for her to say, but it was even worse that the biological parent allowed his son to be treated that way.  

Having a blended family is hard.  I made some critical mistakes that I could go on and on about. I can’t change yesterdays.  I can say this…...I wish I had never put any person in my life above the welfare and happiness of my children when they were in such an emotionally unstable time in their lives.  No child should ever have to wonder why their parent doesn’t care about them because they are so consumed with their own selfish needs. A child should never worry about….their happiness….their stability….their emotional health….their security. They are absolutely the MOST important people in your lives.  Usually, when “kids are resilient” prefaces a statement, it means a parent is NOT putting the emotional welfare of their children first.  

God, I could go on a soapbox rant here.  I could say so many judgemental things, but I’d be a hypocrite.  Been there...failed that.  Parents need to be parents when their children are children, and children should be allowed to be little.  I pray that parents, both men and women, choose their children over who they are dating/marrying/sleeping with.  Some people just don’t need to be stepparents, no matter how good they are as a partner. And creating a child doesn’t make you a parent.  But, that’s a topic for another day. Thank You for the people you put in my path.  Sometimes, I am thinking sunshine and rainbows and I’m missing the storms.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Put That In Your Blog ~

Psalms 103:3-5  He forgives all my sins.  He heals me.  He ransoms me from hell.  He surrounds me with loving kindness and tender mercies.  He fills my life with good things.
The Book

Psalms 103.  I really needed this beautiful chapter of the Bible to fall open today.  Last week, I had a bit of temper and spoke a few of those cuss words I use to say quite a bit of.  It’s been a while, but I guess I remember them pretty well.  Someone in my life said, “You should put that in your Jesus blog.”    Hand out…..mike drop.  

Instantly, I was filled with regret, condemnation, and the worst;  insecurity and worthlessness.  Then I wanted to do the finger pointing thing, making sure they knew they had NO right to judge me based on their representation of Christianity. I wanted to justify my outburst.  I didn’t say anything, but instead was filled with shame.  I  spent a week asking for forgiveness, but I have also spent a week believing Satan telling me that, “You know they are right.  You have no business trying to be a Christian.  You’re a hypocrite.  You are not worthy to tell others about God.”   Satan almost convinced me that he was right.   He used someone I love to make me feel unworthy.  He will use whatever and whomever he can to take us down.  

What I have learned is that I absolutely should not use curse words, even in anger, because people listen.  What I have also learned is this:  I’m not Jesus and I’m going to fall flat on my face in the sin department…...a lot.  I just need to learn from this and move on.  That is the beautiful part of this journey. God knows this and loves us anyway.  

God, conviction isn’t fun.  For whatever reason, You feel that I am worthy to write a blog to help others know and trust You.  I know when the word is from You.  I also know when I’m trying to make this all about me.  Today, I ask You to remind everyone that we all mess up.  None of us are worthy.  Your word says that if we simply ask, we will be forgiven and You will remove our sin as far as the east is from the west. (Psalms 103:12)   For this, I sure am thankful.