Hold Fast in Hard Times — His Hand in Mine (Day 31)

His Hand in MinePhoto Credit: Daniela Corno, via Free Images


Tonight I got to chat with a dear friend.  She’s coming out of a valley season and stepping out in faith to claim her mountain.  Her journey has lead her through peaks and valleys.  She faced crossroads where the path seemed uncertain, and sometimes the mud slung up on her as she trudged through the mire.

Thankfully, my friend was not walking alone.  She held hands firmly with her husband and her three spunky kiddos.  I relished each moment of our time together tonight because she is a fellow traveler — a seeker who believes that God brings beauty from our brokenness.

Now that my beautifully broken sister is on the other side, she is looking back and seeing how God was working in ways that she could not see as she put one foot in front of the other in the darkness.

The sweetest part of her story was hearing about how very lovingly God answered the outrageous prayers of her children.

I was reminded that God is my Father.  He hears my cry.  His hand in mine, my all-powerful God protects me and provides everything that I need.

When I am going through hard times, all I need to do is lift up my hands and heart to Him.  He will never let me go.

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, You will revive me;
You will stretch forth Your hand against the wrath of my enemies,
And Your right hand will save me.
 The Lord will accomplish what concerns me;
Your lovingkindness, O Lord, is everlasting;
Do not forsake the works of Your hands.

Psalms 138:7-8, NASB


 

I’m joining The Nester and friends for #write31days and sharing “His Hand in Mine” with like-minded sisters at Still Saturday, Give Me Grace, and The Weekend Brew.
To see all of the posts in this series, head on over here

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Hold Fast in Hard Times — Domino Effect (Day 30)

Domino Effect
Succumb (Verb): to fail to resist (pressure, temptation, or some other negative force)

In January, Linda shared her “UNword” for 2014 and invited her readers to consider:

Who don’t you want to be as we forge ahead into this year?  What don’t you want to be wasting your time and energy on anymore?  What bugaboo, character trait, moral defect, sin, habit, or thorn in the flesh are you absolutely done with?
I contemplated what the antithesis of “Hold Fast” might be, and I settled upon “succumb.”
Rather than live sacrificially, I choose selfishness.
Instead of being transformed, I conform to negative thought patterns.
I doubt my identity in Christ, and define my makeup by comparing myself to others.
Isolation replaces community and connection.
My greatest possession becomes a grudge, rather than His great love.
I choose to capitulate, rather than conquer.

 

Let’s face it.  Life is hard.  It’s easy to fall into a hole when we can’t see it coming.  But, those who Hold Fast learn to walk differently.  Tonight my pastor shared an illustration that highlighted this truth:

THERE’S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK
Autobiography in Five Short Chapters

By  Portia Nelson

 

Chapter One
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost …. I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter Two
I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend that I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in this same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter Three
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in … it’s a habit … but, my eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault.
I get out immediately.

Chapter Four
I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

Chapter Five
I walk down another street.

 

As a believer, my life is not a cosmic game of dominoes where circumstances out of my control create a wave that crashes in and causes me to fall down over and over again.  Today, I can choose to surrender to my Savior — He will walk with me all the way.

 

Something to think about…

 

 

I’m sharing “Domino Effect” and joining The Nester and friends for #write31days.

To see all of the posts in this series, head on over here.

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Four Ways to Live Life Out of the Overflow

Live Out of the Overflow

A couple of years ago, I learned that I was not drinking enough fluid, and this was impacting my health adversely. I ended up in the office of a specialist who sat me down and advised me that I needed to be more proactive about staying hydrated.   Water is life to the body. Without it, the organs begin to shut down. You can’t run on empty for long.

Similarly, it’s important to fill up spiritually with the living water of the Holy Spirit. If I am not mindful of this truth, I forget to drink up, and I start to grow unhealthy in my walk as a disciple. A pastor once told me that sharing our faith with others should come naturally out of “the overflow.” As we allow God to pour into our lives, His goodness splashes out to those in our circle of influence who are seeking to find a well for their parched souls.

How do you live out of the overflow so that your life refreshes others?

I’m sharing at Missional Women today.  Join me here to read the rest of this post. 

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Hold Fast in Hard Times — Focus on Finishing (Day 29)

Focus on FinishingPhoto Credit: Eran Becker, via Free Images

 

I saw a plaque today that made me laugh so hard.  It reminded me of my days in the trenches as a high school English teacher.  It read:

Today I will be happier than a teacher on a snow day.

Teaching adolescents is a beautiful and brutal experience.  It was super fun to start the school year with new school supplies and creative strategies for engaging my minions.  But, right around March, we entered a season of schooling that I liked to call “Hell.”  After Spring Break, the kids grew weary of learning and made me wish I was elsewhere — like on the beach with a good book and a cool glass of iced tea.

The temptation to give up and not put my best foot forward during that last inning of the game was strong.  Rather than corral the restless pupils, some teachers chose to “phone it in” and spent a lot of time popping videos into the DVD player to try to hypnotize their students into silence.

I decided to go down fighting.  I blame Dr. Yarusinsky for this.  My college professor had ingrained in me the importance of making every minute of the classroom experience a valuable one.  He’d told me that if I wasted 5 minutes of classroom time each day, by the end of the year, I would have lost 2 weeks of teaching time.

Not on my watch.

I determined to finish well — even if it killed me.

Holding fast in hard times will require you to swim against the tide of indifference and apathy.  When everyone around you has “checked out,” you must push forward with passion.

I think of Jesus.   He was misunderstood, betrayed, abandoned, and beaten.

My Savior kept His eye on the finish line.

Are you battle weary and losing steam right now?  Look to your Redeemer and remember why you started the race in the first place.

 

Keep your eyes on Jesus,

who both began and finished this race we’re in.

Study how He did it.

Because He never lost sight of where He was headed—

that exhilarating finish in and with God—

He could put up with anything along the way:

Cross, shame, whatever.

And now He’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.

When you find yourselves flagging in your faith,

go over that story again, item by item,

that long litany of hostility He plowed through.

That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!

Hebrews 12:3-4, MSG


I’m joining The Nester and friends for #write31days and sharing “Focus on Finishing” with like-minded sisters at Coffee for Your Heart, Tell His Story, Spiritual Sundays, Recommendation Saturday, Faith-Filled Friday, Essential Fridays, and Thriving Thursday.
To see all of the posts in this series, head on over here.

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Hold Fast in Hard Times — Stick Together (Day 28)

Stick together


This week I was reminded that Superheroes always seem to have a sidekick.  I can’t imagine Batman heading to the Batcave without Robin at his side.

We aren’t meant to do life alone.

Jonathan had an armor bearer.  David waged war with his group of mighty men.

If the Lone Ranger had Tonto, and my Savior had a posse of twelve, why do I think that I am better off facing the fire alone?

Are you facing a giant obstacle right now? In the video below, I share an encouraging word about how mountains are easier to scale if we stick together.



Help each other to stand firm in the faith every day,

while it is still called “today”,

and beware that none of you becomes deaf and blind to God

through the delusive glamour of sin.

For we continue to share in all that Christ has for us

so long as we steadily maintain until the end the trust with which we began.

Hebrews 3:13-14, PHI


I’m sharing “Stick Together” joining The Nester and friends for #write31days and linking up with like-minded sisters at The SDG Gathering, Testimony Tuesday, and Rich-Faith Rising.
To see all of the posts in this series, head on over here.

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