Wednesday, July 27, 2011

If Only...

Not sure where to start...and if all of this goes with one theme...because it has been a compilation of this, that, and the other but this morning at my kitchen table reading in my study Bible, there was a little text box at the bottom of Philippians 3 titled "MIDLIFE CRISIS:  In the Middle of Life".   Part of this states:
"Midlife crisis is the term given to that particular phase of life "in the middle," between the ages of thirty-five and fifty-five, when a person is too old to be young and too young to be old. (not sure about these ages???plp)  The inner focus shifts.  The mental question often becomes not how many years you have already lived but rather how many years you perceive you have left."
But the part that stood out more to me was this next part...
"For many, midlife is a time of transition, of taking stock of priorities, relationships, direction, and purpose of life (see Matthew 6:33).  It is similar to coming to the crest of a hill and being able to see in both directions.  This phase of life invites a woman (could be a man this is just a woman's study Bible) to consider from where she has come and to make the changes that need to be made so that the rest of her life-journey is productive and spiritually fruitful."
And as I had read this and then as I was listening to some music...(love Casting Crowns) and this song came on and just made me think of how I am in this "middle" ground in so many ways. Somewhere in the Middle by Casting Crowns...

I think of some special friends we went to dinner with and they are going through a major change in leaving the job they currently have...and figuring out what is next...but I encourage them to have faith!  Because even though at this midpoint in their life...this fork in the road...there is still a lot ahead.

As some may know we had a wedding weekend...Two weddings...Jake and Amy in Lamar--both of these individuals holding special places in my heart and I pray for a long happy life together filled with LOVE!   Also, Bret and Kallie...a beautiful wedding filled with so much love as well.  I hold a special spot for Bret because his mom and dad did introduce Tim and I...but also because he is a kindred soul...we put PRO in procrastinator... (you can see a wedding picture of them on Vonnie's I mean Yvonne's Rose Colored Site that is linked on the right).

But I see what it means being able to see both sides of the hill as well...but I am good with this place I am of the reasons is the picture below...this was part of my job at Bret and Kallie's wedding.   Will steal the picture from Angie because it is one I am doing one of my favoritest things to do!   Holding Firecracker!  Holding a sleeping child has to be one of the gifts that we are given to be extra thankful for...not sure many compare...
I am at this place that I am sharing the looking ahead and behind and trying to figure out things...I have almost decided my journals are like chapters...I recently finished up one that seemed to be a "healing" chapter.   I went through some deep thought processes.  And then when I was about to the end I wrote:

"One doesn't know what the future holds--But the Lord does--and that is good enough for me.  Will need to get that new journal!  This will be the last I write in this journal as it is time to move on--I am healing--slowly but surely this is something, I never went through and never thought I would go through but Jay's death (I wrote it) cannot define me--though it is a part of me it is not all of me--I belong to Christ and the mysteries in this thing called life are one that I may never solve--so I carry on and I give thanks for my writing--I give thanks for my God--for my family--for my friends--I am rich indeed.  I have been given so much and for that I am thankful let me be a light of yours Lord that I can shine for you--I am writing but the words seem to come so easily.  Life is a highway--or is it--there are so many parables.  My writings are sometimes letters if you will, psalms...Though not part of the Holy Bible they are words for the Holy Father words for me that record this journey I am on for what reason I am not sure--But God knows!  Peace be with those who read this--even if it will only ever be me and the Lord."  And then I write "Proverbs 3:17.  Her ways are ways of pleasantness and all her paths are peace."   And I finish it, "Let me be wisdom!"  

And at the end of my journal's I usually write something...this one I write,
"And the pain never completely goes away--But the open wound starts to heal and we think of happier times and not just the pain...And little by little--step by step--we continue down this road called life and give thanks for what we have been given!"

Proverbs 3:5-6.  "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths."
And no I am not healed but my next journal I define as "doing".   And so funny because when I look at it closer it has sunflowers and BUMBLE BEES!   So I want to be in more of a doing phase of life and not just thinking about it leads me to a devotional I came across that I do not read out of consistently BUT it hit me this particular day!   So it is taken from "Grace for the moment" Inspiration for Each Day of the Year by Max Lucado...and he writes...

If Only...
"Spiritual life comes from the Spirit". John 3:6
"Maybe your past isn't much to brag about.  Maybe you've seen raw evil.  And now you...have to make a choice.  Do you rise above the past and make a difference? Or do you remain controlled by the past and make excuses?...

Many choose the convalescent homes of the heart.  Healthy bodies.  Sharp minds.  But retired dreams.  Back and forth they rock in the chair of regret, repeating the terms of surrender.  Lean closely and you will hear them: "If only."

"If only I'd been born somewhere else..."

"If only I'd been treated fairly..."

Maybe you've used those words.   Maybe you have every right to use them...If such is the case...go to John's gospel and read Jesus words: "Human life comes from human parents, but spiritual life comes from the Spirit" (John 3:6)" 
He then goes on to ask "Have you retired your dreams?  Are you rocking in the chair of regret?  How can the words of John 3:6 help you get up out of that chair?"

And I move right on to GOD CALLING (Two Listeners for today...)  Loved this one as well!  So I know this one speaks to me and so if not sure if it speaks to you or if it just needs to speak to you to speak to me?   BUT I am listening and letting these words "CHANNEL" through me.   That was my word for the day!   Which came from my God Calling devotional:

July 22 - Miracle of The Ages 

"Abide in Me. "The works that I do shall ye do also and greater works than these shall ye do because I go to My Father." 
"Greater Works!" The blind received their sight, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, the poor had the Gospel preached to them. "And greater works than these shall ye do because I go unto My Father." 
Wonder of the World! Miracle of the Ages! God's Power manifest in believing man! God's Power going out to bless, through the agency of the man actuated by the Holy Spirit. Arise from the grave of sickness, poverty, doubt, despondency, limitation. "Arise, shine for the Light is come and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee."
A wonderful future is before you both. A future of unlimited power to bless others. Just be channels. Be used.  Ask.  Ask. "Ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you," and unto those for whom you pray."
"Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in me." John 15:4
And I!    And I share these with one of my mentors, my friends, my "sisters"...and she writes to me words that I wish were my own...thank you Carol!  (Carol is working on a new website and so I will post it when it comes up...she has an amazing story!)

"That may be the biggest cattle prod ever. If only..... I don't want to look back on my life and say If only.....

To me the biggest regret of my life wouldn't be failure. It would be apathy. I don't mind failing at what I do but I would hate like h*** to not have a chance, or generate the energy,  to try.

I think that's why I'm trying so hard to stay focused. Why I'm uncluttering my life. Simplifying and organizing and clearing my pathway so I can go after some of my dreams.

The really sad part is that I woke up one day and realized I'd forgotten what my dreams were. I was so buried under other peoples needs and wants, I had literally lost touch with my own dreams. I think that's why I'm so driven to write and create. If I can lead or help one person rediscover their dreams I'd feel blessed clear down to my toes.

Channel. That's a very good word. I need to learn how to channel other people's problems and negative energy so it doesn't settle inside me and weigh me down. I carry enough of my own weight without taking on anybody else's. I need to channel it, let it flow through me and back into space. It doesn't belong inside me.

But channel can also mean direction. water is channeled through ditches. and ditches can be man made. You can create the channels you need. That may be what my re-organizing and learning to focus is. I may be building the channels I need to direct my energy in the right direction.

Interesting word. Thank you for sharing."

 And so I am motivated and I think on doing but I always wonder where do I start and I come across another text box in my study Bible entitled, "PRIORITIES:  Planning your Days."  

And while I won't write out the whole writing as I haven't made it through the whole thing yet and so I decide each day I will take a small part and the scripture that goes with it.  So first I came to,
"Often women are overwhelmed by too many things to do" (See Luke 10:40)
And so I go to look it up...Luke 10:40 is speaking of Martha and Mary.  How Martha is upset because Mary has chose to sit at Jesus feet while Martha has so much to do.  And so I had went to look up this scripture later online and I came across this after I read the following devotional in my God Calling:

The Way of Praise 

I am teaching you both My Way of removing mountains. The way to remove mountains is the way of Praise. When a trouble comes think of all you have to be thankful for. Praise, praise, praise. 
Say "Thank you" all the time. This is the remover of mountains, your thankful hearts that praise. 
And as I am looking up this scripture about Martha and Mary...I come across what is titled:

The Martha Syndrome and the Mary Solution

An essay donated by Akili Kumasi

God used the story(s) of two well-known women in the Bible, Martha and Mary, to demonstrate the type of relationship He wants with each of us. The two sisters had contrasting approaches to their walk with God – and thus got difference results. Martha was anxious and un-trusting. Mary got alone with God and worshipped at Jesus’ feet.
horizontal rule

Mary and Martha:

God used the story of two well-known women in the Bible to demonstrate to us the type of relationship He wants with each of us.

You might remember that in one story Jesus was visiting the home of the two sisters when Martha came to Him to complain about her sister, Mary.

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"

"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42 NIV

When I read this passage of scripture I get the image of a house busy with people engaged in numerous conversations around the house. Martha is running about trying to figure out how everybody is going to get fed and coordinating the logistics of cooking for all the people.

Somewhere in a secluded corner the Lord Jesus Christ is calmly teaching a handful of people who are intently listening to His every word. Mary is sitting at His feet, very content and very settled.

Martha frantically rushes over to interrupt the intimate gathering. Everyone casually looks up at her as the Lord easily sets the record straight. Feeling compassion for Martha, He reassuringly says, “Martha, Martha … you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her." After all, if Jesus could feed the 4,000 (Matthew 15:32-39) and the 5,000 (Matthew 14:14-21), then certainly He could handle supper for a house full of people.

Sometimes we just forget how big our God is and we run around with what I call the “Martha Syndrome” trying to make everything just right when all we need to do is just Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 KJV)

Remember, Jesus told us to seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33 KJV) That’s what Mary did. She sought Jesus first. This is what I call the “Mary Solution.” But Martha was concerned about What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? (Matthew 6:31 KJV)

While it says ends with the following...

Seven Points for Seeing God Move in Your Life:

1. Wait on God by conditioning your heart (v20) through
 Prayer and
 Meditation on His Word

2. Wait on God’s Call (v28)
 God called Mary
 Unlike Martha who went ahead on her own

3. Wait for God’s Timing (v28)
 God decided when Mary should come
 In the meantime she was preparing herself

4. Listen for God’s Call (v25-27, 28-29)
 God speaks to us personally

5. Don’t delay when God Calls (v29)
 Move immediately
 By being prepared

6. Keep Focus on Him (v31) –
 Not the problem, the situation or your feelings

7. Worship Him at His Feet (v32)

And I think of this the "Mary Solution"...and in "doing" I want to have my priorities right not just to be doing to be doing!   I am not sure if this seems all one theme to others but to me it seems to all go together in the place that I am...I may have lost some of you at various places but hope you have stayed on the old bike with me because for some are in this journey with me at this particular time and place!   And so I finish up with the next part of the Priorities devotional...
"because there are many good choices how to apportion their time."   (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8) and it reads...
"To everything there is a season.
A time for every purpose under heaven.
A time to be born
And a time to die;
a time to plant
And a time to pluck what is planted;
a time to kill
And a time to heal.
A time to break down
And a time to build up;
A time to weep
And a time to laugh;
A time to mourn
And a time to dance;
A time to cast away stones
And a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace
And a time to refrain from embracing.
A time to gain
And a time to lose;
A time to keep
And a time to throw away.
A time to tear;
And a time to sew;
A time to keep silence
And a time to speak;
A time to love
And a time to hate;
A time of war,
and a time of peace."  
And how this seems to speak to me during this time...during this season I am in...and after I read this I opened up my e-mail from JC Penney that says, "Imagine what a penny can do."   Then I look on my calendar and it says "One field at at time."   Again I realize that there is so much around to listen to that seems to coincide with what I need to hear at that specific time and in this mid part of my life.   And I take from it to give thanks...make sure my priorities are as they should many things to be "doing" I feel that each of these are things to I share!  lyp

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