For when you are stuck in your story…….

“For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, But My loving kindness will not be removed from you, And My covenant of peace will not be shaken,” Says the LORD who has compassion on you.
– Isaiah 54:10

Life is beautiful. Life is amazing. Life is a wonderful roller coaster ride…of ups, and……of downs. Life can hurt. Life can be messy.

The mountains in our lives can be shaken. And sometimes we can get stuck in our story. Sometimes we dwell on these curveballs that come our way…..and we dwell too long.

We all know people who cannot hold a conversation without referencing to their ‘whammy’ event in their life. We’ve all read blogs that keep mentioning ‘this’ one issue time and time again…..

While some events in life do change us forever and we have no choice about that, how we react to these events is up to us.

For this topic I approached a group of amazing ‘wise women’, asking them to share their advice, speaking from their own lives. Sharing what they have learnt from the curveballs that have come their way. What a privilege to be able to share this with you today…..

How to deal with the curveballs of life.  How to not get stuck in your story –

*  Ask God to give you an eternal perspective.

*  Know God and His character – look at God’s promises.  His plans are amazing and good.  Period.

*  ‘Adjust…….you just learn to adjust’ – Mrs A.

*  Get yourself some input.  Input Christ based information daily – music, reading, podcasts.  This helps bring much needed perspective.  Look for the lesson in your journey.

*  Give yourself grace for the journey.  Give yourself some ‘down’ time.

‘God so often reminds me of the layers and layers of grace He wraps me in, so that I can continue to stand: from that I have learned to mentally take a deep breath, focus on a larger picture and apply some grace to my heart’ – Mrs Q.

* With curveballs that involve tricky people situations – ask God to help you see them through His eyes.  Allow His grace to flow from you to them, to love them and bless them and even want to pray for them.

*  ‘Remember we are pilgrims.  As we embrace and yield to God’s plans for us – even when they are uncomfortable and hard, He gives us the strength and grace we need’ – Mrs D

*  Curveballs and major crises have to be dealt with on our knees.

*  Every verse that can be memorized, quoted, written and taped on mirrors WORKS!  Surround yourself with His promises.

*  Understand that others will ask you about your particular situation.  They ask because they care.  The choice to dwell longer than is necessary on your ‘issue’ is yours – you can give them an honest answer and then move the conversation on…..

*  Humour.  You have to have a sense of humour and not take yourself too seriously. ‘A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken’ Proverbs 15:13

*  When trouble strikes often one’s first instinct is to act like a turtle. To withdraw from life, and especially from others when in fact we need good friends around us the most.  Keep your girlfriends around you, treasure the accountability that comes with having  kindred spirits around you.

*  Expect God to provide you with opportunities to minister to others, once you have come out the other side of your ‘adventure’ – this is to show God’s healing power and restoration truly at work in your life

‘Whatever God saved you from, He’ll turn you around and make you a minister to someone going through the same’  – Mr A.

And finally…….when you live in a relationship with God that is fresh, that you strive to keep from becoming stagnant, then HE changes us, if we allow him to.  So it just isn’t possible to stay stuck in our story.  We are moved on…….so my next blog post will be looking at PRACTICAL ways in which we can keep our relationship with the Lord FRESH.

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In Awe

I don’t stand in AWE of many things.  I don’t know how or where I got my ridiculously high standards from, but I have the kind of personality that if I say something once, then it is truly heartfelt and I probably won’t repeat it.  So there aren’t a lot of people, or things that I am in AWE of, which is a little sad, but when I find these things, then I find them to be truly AWEsome and I want to tell the whole world about them, or tell at least my dear friends.

Last week I found a beautifully written blog, with an amazing story in it and an AWE-inspiring author.  Make time to read the blog of Angie Smith, as she tells you the story of her fourth daughter and God’s plans for this precious child.  Read the story here – audreycaroline.blogspot.com Be prepared to laugh, cry your eyes out and have your eyes opened to an incredible  journey.

My words cannot do her story justice.  Yes the blog is written absolutely beautifully, but what is more beautiful is Angie’s heart.  I am in AWE of what God can do in a heart commited to Him.

From reading Angie’s blog I am even more convinced with all my being that whatever comes our way, God is still on His throne.  God’s love never changes.  And I serve an AWEsome God.

Desert Landscape

Not a solo act

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The best place to cry is in the shower.  Really it is.  Only God can hear you and only God can see you, and by the time you are finished with the whole shower process your face isn’t red and puffy.  There was a time in my life when every morning it was an effort to drag myself out of bed, and into the shower I would go, only to dissolve into tears.

Thanks to God, this shower blubber time got better, when I reached out.  I had been facing a lot of physical pain and it was affecting every part of my life.  BUT I was facing my mountain alone.  I was not in community. I had not told friends and family about what was going on in my life.  The Spunky Hunk knew, but no-one else in my ‘inner circle’.  I reached the depths of despair and finally, I thought out of neediness, but it was really my only option I turned to a friend and admitted what was going.  Suddenly my problem was no longer just my problem.  There was someone to share the load.  There was someone to call when I was having a bad pain day (and she could tell from hearing it in my voice).  There was someone to pray for me.  Someone to take me along to healing meetings.  Someone to drop hints to our Doctor friend about what was really going on.

This stroppy, independent girl, was reaching out, and discovered what it is to ‘be in community’.  The pain didn’t go away immediately at all, but it was so much more bearable knowing that someone else could help me share the load.  Yes I felt vulnerable and yes I had to get over myself.  What is it about us women that makes us not want to admit weaknesses and frailties?  But I learnt a very good lesson – ‘Since we are all one body in Christ, we belong to each other, and each of us needs all the others’ Romans 12:5.

From opening up to one special lady, I then (picking carefully and wisely) opened up to more and more friends, learning that I wasn’t being needy, but at this stage in my life I needed them.  I was real.  And funnily enough, that was ok with them….  for as Rick Warren says ‘we are saved for serving’.  By serving each other – with prayer, with practical help, with loving arms and solid shoulders, ‘your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples’ John 13:35.

I am forever grateful for all that my friend Rachel did, from the time I first really shared with her.  She inspires me every day.

If you are facing a mountain today, know that God is always there, but also know, that life is easier with a friend.  It helps to be ‘in community’.  Open up to someone that you have chosen carefully and wisely and share from your heart.  Life is not a solo act.