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Monday, December 29, 2014

Reflecting back on 2014...

I know for me & many I know...seeing 2014 go seems to be a well-needed time! I'm not sad to see it be done, that's for sure. ;) That's not to say it's been horrible, but there has been a lot of junk that I'm thankful is over. I pray every year for a theme from God for me & my family...2014's was "Beyond our limits". I tried to convince myself that would be for the good...great things beyond what our limited minds could even think up, but deep down I knew God was preparing my heart for a rocky year.

I've truly felt I was moved beyond my limits...& even though that really stunk having to go through, I'm thankful for it. God  used so much this year to grow me further than I ever thought was possible. I've learned through the hard stuff...the dark valleys that seem darker than any other before...the moments I'd rather hide out & sleep it all away is when Jesus shines brightest. I can trust Him through it all due to seeing how He's NEVER let me down in anything I've went through. He's always got me through everything...most every time better than I could've done by myself! I look back & see how God was my everything when I felt I had nothing. I see where He held me when I felt lonely...ever so lonely. I see where He was teaching me about His love & sinking that into my heart (which is a game-changer, by the way!). I see where He was showing me even deeper levels of loving others...amidst every human reason to justify not loving! I see where He was bringing back to life the Jennifer that got lost amidst life struggles...the one I missed greatly & yet didn't even know anymore. He helped me understand literally how He can calm ME in the storm rather than calming the storm. I see how He helped me truly understand forgiveness & how important it is to continually forgive rather than letting unforgiveness harbor anger & resentment...which leads to bitterness. God definitely pushed me past the limits I had set for myself...& now I can say I'm thankful. He used everything for my good...just as His word promises me. :)

As you look back on your year...whether thankful it's over or praising God because it happened...

  • Where has God been most real to you?
  • Where did He show up the most?
  • What did you learn through that time/situation?
  • How is He now more real to you because of having gone through that time?

2015 will be here in just a few can we apply what we've learned this year to the new year? I've had a stirring in my soul regarding 2015...that it's gonna blow me away with how good it will be! :) Very exciting times! It's one of those moments you're almost afraid to blink due to possibly missing something! Haha Let's prepare for the best...even with a reality that it could be totally different than our idea of best...yet also holding onto the hope that Jesus lives & because of that, this new year could be spectacular! :)

Monday, December 22, 2014

Your rod & Your staff, they comfort me...

Psalm 23...a very popular psalm that many know...if you don't know it, you probably just didn't realize it was a Bible passage. :) Here it is...

The Lord is my Shepherd, I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows, He leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid, for You are close beside me.
Your rod & Your staff protect & comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely Your goodness & unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life,
& I will live in the house of the Lord forever.

Notice the lines I italicized. I read this Psalm the other day & these lines have stuck with me. When I walk in the darkest valley...You are beside me, Jesus. Your rod & staff protect & comfort me. If you read into taking care of sheep, sheep herders will tell you a rod is used to get the sheep back in line where it needs to be. A staff is used for comfort to the lets the sheep know its owner is there watching over it. In using this stick as both a rod & staff, it shows the sheep love.

I found it interesting this line came after the section about walking through the darkest valley(s). Even in the valley that's ridiculously dark, the rod has to be used. Hmm. Even when Jesus is the only light I can see in these kind of valleys, I still get out of line & wanna stray off to do things my way! Amazing how "awesome" I think I am sometimes that I try to be God & make things happen. Sheesh! haha Just like walking in a dark room...sooner or later, I'm gonna stub a toe or fall over somethin! haha Sometimes, He has to give me a good whack with the rod so to set me straight again...which I'm cool with even though it hurts. He does it only out of love & knowing where I'm headed when I'm in that mode. :) 

What about you? Do you have those "I can do better" moments even in the dark? I know I have...not fun having to be disciplined back to the straight & narrow! But one thing I'm thankful for...the staff. Jesus uses the staff to remind me He loves remind me He's always with keep me close so to stay on track with Him. All of it He does out of love. Thank You Jesus! :)