Before the weekend gets here, I’d like to make a delineation: resting is not quitting. Resting is temporary, quitting is permanent. Resting is godly, quitting (if it’s not God’s will) is not godly. Resting keeps you from rusting. Quitting causes rusting. Resting helps you not quit! But quitting doesn’t help you not rest. Resting is not regretful, quitting is regretful. I think we can get deceived that resting will mean “I am quitting,” or “I am weak.” But this is a lie the devil is trying to sell you from the pit of hell. GOD rested on the seventh day. JESUS got away in the mornings and rested in the Father. I get a lot of things wrong. But one thing I can stand behind is I find time to rest. I was found in a bloody, psychotic mess in a parking lot, and locked up for it. That night, I told God I will do whatever HE needs to have that NEVER happen again. A LARGE part of my refusal to return to the nut house is my conviction to rest. You CAN tell people no. You CAN build margin into your life. There is NO WAY God wants us to run so hard we go crazy. What good would His squad be if rendered useless because we refuse to rest? God needs us! But we need to rest so He can use us! As the weekend approaches, I hope you enjoy it…and find time to rest in it.
I’ve loved an addict for many years now. The interesting thing about loving an addict, is what you learn…about yourself. The up’s and down’s of an addict are erratic, tiring and sometimes dangerous. To watch such hell from afar, makes an interesting case. To watch up close and personal has the potential to change you in a beautiful way. Recently, my addicted loved-one fell yet again. But from my VIP vantage point, I got to watch him get back up. He fell…but he didn’t stay there. He screwed up, but he got up. Not all addicts do this. Not all non-addicts do either. Prayerfully and intimately watching my loved one has reinforced a concrete foundation within myself to never give up. Screw up? Yes. Give up? No. I know many who have screwed up and given up. My heart breaks a thousand ways for them. When we screw up but don’t give up, we are getting up like a certain One who got back up after being “permanently” taken out. And last time I checked, He was doing eternally awesome! If you have an addicted loved-one, and you’ve run out of things to say…pray. Pray for them to not give up; and look for a beautiful change to take place within you.
This year there were people you put in our lives so we weren’t alone. There were blessings you gave us and we stood in awe. There were prayers you answered and we were grateful. There were things you did that we didn’t notice and we were relieved. There were things you didn’t do, that we thought you would, yet we stayed faithful. God, we’re just sheep moving in one direction, at different paces. But you kept pace with each of us, making sure we made it. Maybe we fell behind or fell down, but you didn’t leave us there. Maybe we caused another lamb to stumble, but you picked both lambs up. Maybe we followed a lamb down the wrong path, but you desired both lambs to be restored. We want to make you happy, Shepherd. We aren’t bad sheep, we’re just dependent and sometimes dumb. And need you. This note’s for you, Lord.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11) This is one of my favorite verses for a new year. Actually, it’s a verse, a life-goal, a mental-health axiom, and a prayer, all in one enchilada! Lemme break it down…
*For I KNOW*
God knows. God knows already what 2016 has for you and me. The bible teaches that he’s recorded our days before our very first day. So if God KNOWS what 2016 holds, I release myself from being a predictor of it. I don’t need a horoscope, an appointment, a dream-weaver, or a fortuneteller. I have everything I need in God KNOWING and I don’t have to pay him. Rather, HE paid his life for me. He made me, He knows me, I trust Him.
*They ARE Plans For GOOD*
Does this mean that in 2016 bad things can happen? Yep. And if I were a betting man, I’d say bad things probably will. But with God, and this promise, bad can happen but GOOD can come from it. How? By sticking with God. When we stick with God, God can bring good from bad. How can He do that? He’s God, and He is love and that is what love does. God already wrote my story. Until my story ends, it doesn’t mean I won’t have bad chapters, it just means bad chapters will eventually end in good results. God is good, and if we are with God, we are held in His goodness.
I hope this encourage you as you head into your new year – God has good plans in store!
What if God had “12 Days of Christmas” that He (our True Love) would give to us?
On the 2nd day of Christmas…God gave One.
“…but God is one.” Galatians 3:20
On the 3rd day of Christmas…God gave light.
“…God is light; in him there is no darkness at all.” 1 John 1:5
On the 4th day of Christmas…God gave his spirit.
“God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
On the 5th day…God gave a door.
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved…” John 10:9
On the 6th day of Christmas…God gave a shepherd.
“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” John 10:11
On the 7th day of Christmas…God gave bread.
“I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger…” John 6:35
On the 8th day of Christmas…God gave resurrection.
“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live.” John 11:25
On the 9th day of Christmas…God gave the way.
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'”
On the 10th day of Christmas…God gave a vine.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
On the 11th day of Christmas…God gave hope.
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him…” Romans 15:13
On the 12th day of Christmas…God gave peace.
“For he himself is our peace…” Ephesians 2:14
My favorite Christmas song–BAR NONE–is “O Holy Night.” The one line gets me every time, “Fall on your knees! Oh, hear the Angels’ voices” Falling on your knees is not a comfortable posture. And it isn’t attractive. And we don’t see if often. Perhaps because it shows humility and desperation. In 2009-2010, I battled a strong bout of depression. My morning quiet time became unproductive because I honestly didn’t know what to pray, so my prayer journal would go days with no entries. I started praying on my knees. It was weird but I found it to be the most comforting moment in my day. Sometimes, the sun’s rays would beam just the right way through the shutters and I could feel the rays on my back as I was on my knees. As if God was using them to hug me. The depression would sometimes render me horizontal, but praying on my knees got me half way there to standing up. This Christmas, if it’s hard to sing “Fa La La La La, La La La La” take a line from “O Holy Night” and try what I tried. It may be a gift you were looking for.
CHRISTmas is the most wonderful time of the year! But this time of year can also yield bouts of depression, or “blues” for people. I’ve had the Christmas blues before; and it’s not that I wasn’t thankful for Christmas because I was. Rather, I had thankfulness and sadness at the same time. If you are having the blues, here are 3 things I’ve done. Again, I am not a professional, just a girl on a journey, sharing her story.
1) Consider Christian counseling in December. If you go once a week, that equates to four sessions. It’s probably the best Christmas gift you could give yourself because you are giving yourself the gift of release and peace. Don’t have the resources this time of year? Then when asked what you want for Christmas, tell them a 4-pack counseling session. If it’ll bring joy to you, it’ll bring joy to them to give it.
2) Go to Church. One of the hardest things to see is someone who tells me that can’t go to church because they’re sad. This can not be! The FIRST place we should run to in our sadness is God’s hospital. There is a supernatural, healing, holistic experience awaiting you that ONLY God can offer. Yes you will have to miserably drag yourself there, but I promise, you will leave better than you came.
3) Give. Give, give, give, give, give. Give old clothes to the homeless, give donations to your church, give time to the elderly, give free babysitting to a single mom, give volunteer hours to your church. It’s true that it’s more blessed to give than to receive…and I would add, also more healing. It’s the ultimate paradox: giving away is filling up. And that’s just what an “empty” soul needs–a fill-up.
I hope this encourages someone today. Merry Christmas, and may you know His peace.