HEART work is HARD work

Read that again. It’s so true isn’t it? When we have needs or wants, God uses those times to work on our hearts. When we have trials, and frustrations, and grief, and fear…God uses those times to work on our hearts. When we have a disagreement with our spouse, a parent, or one of our children, God can use that to work on our hearts. He uses job loss, disaster, pet loss, financial burdens and the list goes on. If there is anything in life that is customized to your specific needs, it’s God’s hand in your HEART work.

Sometimes, He just does the work, and we don’t understand it. Other times, we have to let Him do the work and we completely understand it. In all cases of HEART work, we have to trust Him.

So here is a challenge for all of us. The next time we set out to perform a task, whether big or small, lets call it heart work instead of hard work; because everything we do can be an opportunity to grow.

What HEART work are you doing today?

How’s your perspective?

Seriously though, how is it?  Is this the eye of the storm?  Or is it the calm after the storm?  Could it be that what you are going through isn’t as bad as it seems?  What if you change your perspective?  Look at your current situation and pull all the good things from it that you can. Maybe it isn’t really a storm at all.  Maybe it’s just….life.

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Listen, no one ever said life would always be easy.  Jesus certainly never said it, and it was definitely not always easy for him. Can you imagine living your life knowing that one day you would be beaten, mocked, torchered and murdered? Jesus knew his closest friends and followers were going to betray him.  Yet, Judas sat at the table and ate with all the others. And while Jesus is the ultimate example of holiness, we can also look at the apostle Paul.  He left a life of what he thought was excitement and purpose.  And when he turned and followed Jesus, he was mocked and imprisoned for it; but he remained faithful and continued to mentor and guide individuals and churches.  He was able to do this because his ultimate goal was to please the Lord.  He had hope in things far beyond his understanding and faith in God’s provisions.

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Look at your current circumstances from a different perspective.  Have faith in knowing that God truly is using this or will use this for good.  Give it to Him and stay diligent in your faith and service to a living and gracious King.

 

What’s left?

We put so much value in how we spend our time don’t we? Society tends to lead us into believing that our identity is based on how we choose to spend our lives.  Our careers, our jobs, the clubs we belong to, and how we are accepted by our peers are all factors that we use to establish our place.  We let our emotions guide us in deciding what kind of people we are, or what kind of people we want to be; and when we are not happy with the result, we take it upon ourselves to make what we believe are the necessary changes.  This is a vicious cycle.  It’s a cycle that never ends.  You see, we will never find true peace and contentment in WHO we are until we understand WHOSE we are.

If we take away our hobbies, our jobs, our relationships, and our responsibilities, what is left? Take it a bit further and take away our homes, cars, and even our families.  What do you have left? Who are you at your very core? Are you able to actually answer that question?170830-identity

I can answer it with confidence, and the exciting thing is….this is true for you too! The bible uses a lot of great adjectives to describe who we are in Christ; We are blessed (Psalm 1:1-3). We are appreciated and loved (1 John 3:1). We are saved, (Romans 10:9-10, John 5:24).  We are forgiven, (Ephesians 4:32, 1 John 1:9).  We are loved, (Romans 8:37-39).

Those are some pretty encouraging words to describe us!  And that is not all of them!  We are made holy, set apart, adopted, saints, victorious, chosen, redeemed, justified, and the list goes on and on.

Be encouraged in knowing Whose you are.  Don’t let circumstances in your job, your home or your life let you believe that this is all there is.  In Christ, there is so much more.  Aim to please the One Who created you, and you will find peace and comfort.Thumbprint-Identity-Watermark

The Struggle is Real

Does your work environment feel like a spiritual battleground at times?  Mine sure does!  There are plenty of times when I am peaceful and just doing my thing, then there are times (like today) when the devil comes at me swinging.F-Walker-III  Honestly, he ( lower case “h” intentionally) attacks like a parasite; and if we aren’t aware of his games, he will slither his way into every nook and cranny of our mind.

God has the power to stop Satan’s slithering with the clap of His hands, but He doesn’t always. Why would God allow us to experience such turmoil and confusion? In 1 Peter, 4:12-13 it says “beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery ordeal among you, which comes upon you for your testing, as though some strange thing were happening to you; but to the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing, so that also at the revelation of His glory you may rejoice with exultation.  He allows it for the same reason that as parents, we step back and let our children make mistakes.  It is the best way to learn tough lessons and to grow strong character.

The struggle I have been having lately is that creepy little lie that I am not good enough. I don’t have the right personality to be liked.  I am not approachable.  People avoid me intentionally.  Satan has been trying really hard lately to get me to believe that; and I’m telling you, IT. IS. SO. HARD. to push those lies aside.  These thoughts have left me feeling lonely and rejected.

When we really latch on to WHO’s we are, it’s much easier to accept WHO we are. I know that in my head, but I can’t seem to get it into the depths of my heart where it becomes an instinctive value.  The other truth that I know is that it doesn’t matter what people think, whether they like me or don’t like me, or even what they say about me. That is also an extremely hard truth to wrap my head around.  No matter how hard I try, it is a constant battle. 1280x1280 I am constantly keeping my thoughts in check and telling myself  “It doesn’t matter Angela!” What does matter is what God thinks of me.  Are my actions and words pleasing Him? That is all that matters.

Another truth that I am clinging to lately is found in Romans 12:2.  It says Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

The truth is, maybe I am being “set aside” by my peers. And maybe that’s okay? I certainly want to be approachable. I certainly want to be a person that exudes love and compassion; but if that is what is in my heart, THAT is what God sees.  And THAT is what’s important.

I will continue fighting the battle.  The prize I am striving for is far too precious to give up; and the price that has been paid is beyond comprehension.

My prayer is that you will find relatable content here.  Have you been fighting a battle too?  Do you struggle at work to stay on the straight and narrow?  Man, it’s tough!  What are some ways that you have found helpful in the fight for peace and joy? I would love to hear from you!D7IJFjPW0AEEsBL

 

On being a working woman

I never wanted to work outside the home.  We have been married for 25 years,  And for 23 of those years, this has been an on going issue in our home.  I wanted to home school our daughter, take care of the house, tend to our garden, and serve my husband.  I mean that is the biblical thing to do right? God would bless our efforts and our finances because I was doing what He calls women to do.  Proverbs 31 was ( and still is) my go to scripture for how to be a godly woman.

Lets look at that scripture.  Proverbs 31:10-31.

The Woman Who Fears the Lord

10 [a] An excellent wife who can find?
She is far more precious than jewels.
11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,
and he will have no lack of gain.
12 She does him good, and not harm,tumblr_nzd2onllCD1skxqqdo1_250
all the days of her life.
13 She seeks wool and flax,
and works with willing hands.
14 She is like the ships of the merchant;
she brings her food from afar.
15 She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.
17 She dresses herself[b] with strength
and makes her arms strong.
18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.
Her lamp does not go out at night.
19 She puts her hands to the distaff,
and her hands hold the spindle.
20 She opens her hand to the poor
and reaches out her hands to the needy.
21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,
for all her household are clothed in scarlet.[c]
22 She makes bed coverings for herself;
her clothing is fine linen and purple.
2536c3acdc939fa14e5bcb392b3dbb8b_51416dcde5e_t23 Her husband is known in the gates

when he sits among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them;
she delivers sashes to the merchant.
25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,
and she laughs at the time to come.
26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,
and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.
27 She looks well to the ways of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women have done excellently,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,
and let her works praise her in the gates.

 

I won’t dissect it word for word, but no where in that scripture does it say she MUST stay home.  Is it easier to accomplish these virtues from home? Of course.  Does it show a lot of faith to stay home and live on one income? Absolutely.  Can a godly woman be a godly woman and still work outside the home? Yes, yes, and yes!

The thing is, I wanted to stay home. I wanted to set my own schedule. I wanted to set up meal plans and do the grocery shopping.  I wanted to do the cooking and serve my family. I want, I want, I want…….!

It has FINALLY occurred to me, that it isn’t about what I want at all.  It is about what God wants. And apparently, God wants me out in the mission field. Now when I read Proverbs 31, I read it with fresh perspective.  I see that I am doing all the tasks of a Godly woman, simply by being a Godly woman in my heart.

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Transitions and growth

This isn’t my first attempt at blogging.  My first blogging adventure began in 2013 while I was walking through the challenges of raising a strong-willed daughter.  You can read it here…..Serenity is my Life

Life has transitioned a lot since then.  Our daughter is 23 and is a beautiful representation of how Jesus can turn a life around.  My husband of 25 years and I are empty nesters (for the most part), and we are looking towards retirement within the next 10 years.

God has placed a new mission on my heart…..stock-photo-sea-beach-sand-sitting-woman-alone-lonely-sad-thinking-28a84bf2-6e3e-442b-b930-2404a38df06e

Our jobs…..the place where we spend more than 50 percent of our time; and for some people that percentage is far higher.  Because we spend so much of our time there, we spend time with people.  The same people, day in, day out; whether we enjoy their company or not.  We often spend more time with them than we do with our families.  It’s difficult at best not to be caught up in personality conflicts.  It’s hard to keep personal feelings separate from the job in front of us.  At least, is is for me.  It is exhausting.  I fail miserably at this on a daily basis. So maybe I am restarting this blog and writing this post as a self indulgent task; but I’m pretty sure I am not the only one that struggles with this.

So I am moving forward with a bit of vulnerability and a lot of faith.  A lot of the words I will be sharing here will be for my own comfort and validation.  Consider that a premature confession; but I know that God will be glorified by my vulnerability.  Not only will He be pleased with my willingness to be transparent, but my true hope is that YOU will be blessed.  Maybe you have the same struggles.  My prayer is that you will find comfort and understanding here.

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On Finding our Purpose

Life’s purpose….AHHHH the never ending quest.  What is my purpose in this life?  It can be an overwhelming question can’t it? When will I know?  How will I know?  Who will it affect and how will it affect them?  How will it affect me? Are you getting overwhelmed just reading this?

What if our purpose is in the little moments?  What if it’s in the tiny morsels of life that come and go before we know they existed?  Look around you right where you are. Do you see someone who could use a smile?  Does your family member across the room need to know she is loved and noticed?  Go look out your window.  Is your neighbor lady alone in her garden?  Maybe she would love some company, or a cool glass of water.purpose

How are you spending your time today?  Is there some small thing you could do that would change the course of someones day?

Go plant some seeds in the hearts of those around you today.  You might just find that your purpose is in the little things; and when little things are planted, they grow into bigger things.

 

When God Gives Us More Than We Can Handle

Yep, you heard me right, sometimes God gives us more than we can handle.  Now I know what you are thinking….”but the bible says God WONT give you more than you can handle”  You’re right, it does say that.  Sort of.
First Corinthians 10:13 says :No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability; but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
The problem is this; most of us stop at the semi colon. We see where it says “God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability”.  In society today, we often hear it said that God will never give us more than we can handle.  It is often spoken to encourage someone who is struggling, and is spoken in love.
Here’s the thing we need to understand though – God DOES give us more than we can take.  He does test us.  The key is to read the rest of the verse.  GOD IS FAITHFUL, he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability.  HE WILL PROVIDE A WAY OUT.  He gives us way more than we can handle….WITHOUT HIM.
We can’t do it alone, and we are not meant to.  God is with us every step of the way, and we need to let Him take the wheel.