Living With an Observant Heart

I was living on auto-pilot. Racing to keep up with the endless demands of life as a full-time working parent. I knew I was not living in peace, constantly fighting just to keep my head above water, yet helplessly unable to change my circumstances.

Then the world stopped.

Life as we knew it ceased.

Everything closed like an extended snow day.

All of the racing, rushing and distractions were taken away and at first there was anxiety and fear, but as time went on in our frozen state, I noticed something change.

I found myself able to catch my breath, the fresh oxygen making it’s way to my brain and my vision began to clear. As I eased into this new way of life, without the rushing and the distractions, a new awareness surfaced.

What truly mattered, my relationship with God, my husband, my children, my family and quality time spent with all of them finally took it’s rightful place in my heart. The 20/20 vision that I was praying for took place in the midst of a pandemic.

COVID-19 took away many good things and 2020 was a tough year for all, some much more than others, but it also took away the distractions, forcing us to focus on what mattered most.

Photo by Ethan Sees from Pexels

Now as life has taken on a new normal, I find myself being pulled back into the busy rush that I know all too well and I catch myself longing for that extended snow day once again, but the Lord has opened my eyes once again.

I no longer have to rely on external forces to slow down and catch my breath. I have the power to live that way right here, right now by living with an observant heart, taking note of all that He has placed in front of me.

It is time to stop.

Stop the racing, stop the rushing.

Turn off the news, get off of social media.

Leave the laundry in the dryer, the dirty dishes in the sink.

Stop focusing on the negative circumstances and the parts of my life that are out of my control.

Tune out all of the noise and refocus my attention.

It is time to take note of what I have, saying it out loud or taking out a pen and making a list.

Thank you, Lord.

It is time to count my blessings. One by one. The ones that are obvious and the ones that I may need to search a little harder for.

Thank you, Lord

It is time to recalibrate my heart, slowing down long enough to thank God for everything He has given me so that I may once again dwell in His presence.

It took a pandemic to get me there, but now it’s up to me to stay.

You can pass through his open gates with the password of praise. Come right into his presence with thanksgiving. Come bring your thank offering to him and affectionately bless his beautiful name!

Psalm 100:4 TPT


(This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up)

Once There Was a Girl

Once there was a girl:

Who was filled with insecurities

Who broke the rules and struggled with temptation

Who had her heart broken

Who felt unloved

Who had big dreams that slowly slipped away

Who never felt good enough, pretty enough or talented enough

Who struggled to find her place

Who felt lost

Who felt unheard

Who felt lonely

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

Until she met a Man:

Who loved that girl so much that despite living a sinless, perfect life was willing to die on a cross and rise from the dead, taking her sin and shame and trading it for His righteousness.

As she gets to know that Man she learns that she is:

A child of God

Loved

Accepted

Forgiven

Fearfully and wonderfully made

Created for a purpose

Chosen

A citizen of Heaven

More than a conquerer

Strengthened

Heard

Never alone

There once was a girl who didn’t know who she really was until she met that Man who changed her life forever.

(This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up)

Renewing My Strength

I was at the end of myself. I couldn’t take it anymore. I was trying my best to maintain my composure, but the anger and frustration had built up to a point where I could no longer contain it.

It was not a good day and I was not my best self. I was not a pleasant person to be around and I felt terrible for the people who had to deal with me.

Continue reading “Renewing My Strength”

Dwelling on the Goodness of God

My daughter recently discovered Minecraft. It has become somewhat of an obsession for her and I can understand why she likes it so much. Like me, my daughter is drawn to activities that allow her to create, whether it is coloring, drawing or more recently building things in Minecraft.

One thing that drives me crazy when watching her play is she has this habit of aiming the camera down. I insist repeatedly that she look up in order to see what is around her and I realize that it is a lesson for my own life.

Continue reading “Dwelling on the Goodness of God”

A Promise Fulfilled by a Faithful God

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Joshua 1:9 (NIV)

If you had to describe the year 2020 with one word, what would it be?

For me, that word would be…ANXIETY.

The year started out just as any other, full of hope for what a new year would bring and this year was extra special as it was the beginning of a new decade. My husband and I were overjoyed with the news that we would be expecting our third child in the fall and we were full of excitement and anticipation of what was to come, but then life as we knew it ceased to exist.

Continue reading “A Promise Fulfilled by a Faithful God”

The Light of the World

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned… For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Isaiah 9:2, 6 NIV

I have my calendar marked for December 21st at sunset. I’m hoping to catch a glimpse of what is being described as the “Christmas Star of 2020.” It’s not actually a star but Jupiter and Saturn so close together in the sky that it will look like a giant star.

Normally these things are just something cool to witness, but I believe this one phenomenon, on this particular day of this year has an extra special significance.

Many are ready for this year to be over. Ready to ring in the new year and get a fresh start in 2021.

And while I am hopeful that 2021 will bring an end to this COVID season, I am excited to see something happening during 2020 that I believe is much needed.

This year has been filled with so much darkness and so much loss.

The loss of freedom.
The loss of traditions and milestones.
The loss of income.
The loss of family members and friends.
The loss of trust.
The loss of hope.

But at the end of a year filled with darkness, on the darkest night of that year, days before the celebration of the birth of our Savior, I believe the Lord is providing us with a gift, a symbol of hope.

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

After hearing the king, they went their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them [continually leading the way] until it came and stood over the place where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.

Matthew 2:9-10 AMP

In the midst of uncertainty of the future. In the midst of difficult circumstances we too can choose to behold the star. Like the Magi, we can rejoice because the star reminds us that as followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the light of the world, we have the light of life (John 8:12). We do not have to fear darkness because it will not overcome the light (John 1:5).

Though we may not know what is going to happen in the immediate future, we know the end of the story. God wins. The enemy loses. There will come a time when there will be no more darkness because the light of God will shine on us forever and ever (Revelation 22:5).

This “Christmas Star” is a reminder that there is hope in a world filled with hopelessness. And that hope is Jesus, the hope of the world (Matthew 12:21).

Photo by eberhard grossgasteiger from Pexels

Choosing to Move Forward

I woke up this morning and found myself at a sticking point.

It has been a month since I’ve returned to work from my maternity leave and I was hopeful that the break would have helped me clear my mind and offer a fresh start. I was also hoping that some of the changes made at work while I was gone would offer a better, less stressful working environment, but I was disappointed to find that none of those were true.

Continue reading “Choosing to Move Forward”

A Journey of Self-Discovery

Growing up, I had so many dreams and ambitions, but in my quest to meet perceived expectations coupled with my desire for security, I strayed from them.

I spent so many years trying to find my place in life, but never felt like I belonged. I knew from a young age that I was unique and I wrestled with the desire to not follow the crowd while also longing to fit in with those around me.

As a teenager and young adult, I would set aside my interests in the name of fitting in with those around me. I would take on whatever the behaviors and interests were of those around me, but it just never felt right.

When deciding on a career path I chose what I considered to be the safe and secure route while secretly longing to follow the dreams in my heart.

Deep inside of me was a rebel who wanted to forge her own path, but after years of trying to fit in with those around me along with my desire for security, I felt I had lost who I was.

Photo by Krivec Ales from Pexels

Since I began my walk with God six years ago, I have been on a journey of self-discovery, learning more of my true nature while growing in our relationship. I rediscovered some of my interests and found new hobbies. I’ve learned more about my strengths and weaknesses and how my past has shaped the person I am today. As a result, I’m gradually giving myself permission to be the unique person God created me to be.

God uniquely designed each of us for a purpose and our journey will not be the same. We all have distinct gifts and talents, different backgrounds and stories, and no two of us are alike. God loves variety and it is apparent when we look around at His creation. He also loves community and created His children to use their gifts to help each other.

I’m learning that it is ok to feel different. It’s ok to have different interests than those around me, including my own family. It’s ok to not be satisfied with where I am and have aspirations to do more. It’s ok to explore my interests and find what brings me joy.

This journey has been like a puzzle, with each new piece slowly coming together to paint a beautiful picture of God’s purpose for my life. Each new discovery has provided a little more clarity and I’m looking forward to what the Lord will reveal next.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

Ephesians 2:10 NLT

Writing For An Audience Of One

Have you ever stepped out in obedience to God and it just didn’t turn out the way you expected?

Photo by freestocks.org from Pexels

My writing journey has not gone at all how I hoped it would and although I have myself to blame for not writing consistently, a part of me is disappointed in God.

Writing to me was something I enjoyed doing but never considered until I began my journey with God. I learned that the dreams we carry in our hearts were placed there by God and for the first time I believed that it was possible. It felt like He was pushing me to step out and write. So I worked up the courage to create a blog and started writing.

But nothing happened.

Slowly all of the excitement and anticipation were replaced with doubt and discouragement. After not seeing the progress I was hoping to see, I began questioning whether I heard God right. My doubts coupled with a busy life meant my writing became less of a priority. But God has not allowed this dream to die and He keeps pushing me to write.

Over these last 6 years I’ve tried to fight discouragement by convincing myself that likes and follows don’t matter but they do because I’m human. Deep down I have a desire to see my blog grow for validation. I want to know that I belong here. I want to know that my words matter and that my efforts don’t go unnoticed.

But God’s definition of success is so much different than ours. We believe the bigger the platform the better, but what matters to God is the ONE.

The one who has been hurt by people around them and needs to know they are loved.

The one who is suffering and needs encouragement to make it through one more day.

The one who is struggling and needs to know that they have what it takes to move forward.

I believe God is using my disappointment to teach me a lesson in humility. This has nothing to do with me. I am the vessel through which the Lord communicates His message to his child.

That is why I write.

God is big. He is sovereign. He is the creator of the universe. But He is also so very personal and His greatest desire is to have an intimate relationship with each and every one of His children. He loves us. He loves you. He loves me. He sent His son to die in our place so that sin and death could no longer keep us apart.

This blog is not about me. I may be the one who writes, but these words belong to the Lord and they are a personal letter to His child who needs to read it. And I pray that throughout this journey I will not forget that truth.

“The Son of Man has come to give life to anyone who is lost. Think of it this way: If a man owns a hundred sheep and one lamb wanders away and is lost, won’t he leave the ninety-nine grazing on the hillside and go out and thoroughly search for the one lost lamb? And if he finds his lost lamb, he rejoices over it, more than over the ninety-nine who are safe. Now you should understand that it is never the desire of your heavenly Father that a single one of these humble believers should be lost.”

Matthew 18:11-14 TPT

Putting Politics in it’s Place

Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

Is it just me or has anyone else noticed that politics seems to have infiltrated all aspects of life?

It just seems like we can’t get away from it. Turning off the news isn’t enough. It’s on social media, TV shows, sports, even product advertisements and it seems like everything has become political.

I find myself asking how this happened and what changed?

Continue reading “Putting Politics in it’s Place”