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thoughts on being still.

I took a long walk this morning in the pre-dawn glimmer.  Just to clear my mind.   Cluttered thoughts whirling, twirling since I opened my eyes, way too early.  I really just wanted to close them again, pull up the covers, and drift back into a dream, but knew such a gift was an impossibility. I was awake.  It was done.   Bombardment of a myriad of thoughts clamoring for attention, burdens pressing hard on my spirit, plaguing my mind, too many things to be contained in one heart. 

You may understand, all too well. 

Usually I run.  Today, I walked.  Long.  Took cues from my dog. Stopping a lot along the path…breathing in fresh, cool morning air…listening to sounds, birds, wind…noticing things around me that normally would never catch my attention.  Dogs are really very wise.  If only we would listen more to what they try to tell us.  Slow down.  Listen.  Look.  Breathe.

Thoughts swirled.  Conversations with Him.  Time passed.  Peace came.

for the weary one

So often in life we run.  We’re busy.  We’re pressed for time.  We rub shoulders every day with people who are desperate, hurting, lonely.  Sometimes we notice, but often we don’t.  We’re just too busy, preoccupied, or overwhelmed ourselves.  And to be quite honest, many days, “we” are those people, the desperate, the hurting, the lonely.  Just needing someone to notice.  To slow down.  To take time. 

Crazy world we live in, huh?

We desperately need joy-givers, hope-bringers, those in our lives who will help us remember what it is to breathe.in.grace.

We desperately need to BE those kinds of people for the ones who are starving.  For joy. For hope. For grace.

For many of us, running comes naturally – active, moving, stirring, going – it’s what we’re all about.    It’s the slowing down and stopping to listen and notice, that seems very, well, unnatural.

We’re rewarded for how much we accomplish, we live in a culture that praises movement, we tend to get impatient with those who are too slow about anything. 

Nothing wrong with running.  Or being active.  Except this one thing. 

We often never stop. 

We’re too busy to stop.  We even forget what it feels like.  So much so, that when we finally do, we feel like we’ve wasted time.  We feel guilty for being “lazy.”  Or we feel some sudden pressing need to check an electronic device, to see if someone needs us, or to make sure we haven’t missed something really important in those past few minutes that we tried to slow down.

Slowing down takes work.  Stopping and just breathing – takes practice.

Maybe that’s why God says it so clearly…

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Seems simple enough.   Yet often the hardest thing in the world.  

Be still and know, be still and know, be still and know that He is God.

Breathing in His grace today.  And slowing down…

 

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a reminder for the mom who struggles…you are powerful…you are mom

Linking this post up today with (in)courage at www.incourage.me/2014/05/the-power-of-encouragement-a-link-up.html. The theme is – The Power of Encouragement.  And whether that encouragement comes across your day through the sweet words of a child, or time with a friend, or straight from His whispers to your soul, as you breathe in beauty around you, the truth is – it’s life-changing. Praying today that God, lifter of our heads, will soothe our hearts with the power of His love and peace surrounding all we do…blessings friend. He is Grace.

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“Mom,” he paused, “You know what?  You are the most pretty and powerful mom in the whole wide world.”  His sweet, heart-felt words came out of the clear blue, yet breathed life into my weary soul that day.  I certainly wasn’t “feeling” very pretty.  Hair pulled straight back in need of a wash, no make up on, weary eyes from lack of sleep and in need of another cup of coffee, I felt immensely drained…tired.  And, as far as powerful – I struggled with deep feelings of failure in even keeping up with life.  Laundry had no end.  Too much to do with too little hours in the day.  I battled to keep it all afloat but constantly felt I was in sinking sand.

I knew the truth.  I knew that reality said I was certainly not that – “the most pretty or powerful mom in the whole wide world.”  But to him, I was.  And that’s all that really mattered.  The reality that spoke a surge of  hope into my very being.  That made me lift my head.  That brought a  surge of renewal to my battle with defeat.  “Maybe I am making a difference,” I whispered down deep, “Maybe I am somehow leaving a positive and lasting impression on their lives. Even in the midst of all the mess and struggle…”

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His words reminded me that God had a plan in bringing our family together.  I was destined to be their mom.  Dawson’s mom.  Noah’s mom.  Gracie’s mom.  No one else could be their mom like I could - however imperfect that might seem - He was the One who brought it all together with incredible timing and flawless design.  His plans indeed are perfect.  There is truly nothing that brings me greater joy – than to be their mom.  “Just a mom.”  I hear that phrase sometimes and I wonder where it came from.  What do you mean “just” a mom?  What better, more powerful, more influential job in the whole wide world could one ever possess than being called “Mom”?

I was reminded that day…

My feelings of inadequacy or not ever being “good enough,” didn’t matter.  My measuring stick about how I compare against all the other moms had suddenly lost all significance.  Because though I may never feel like I can quite get it together like so and so, they think I’m the best mom in the world.

And I am. For them. Because that’s how God designed it to be.

Dear mom friends who, like me, feel like you’re not good enough…who are struggling to keep it all together…stop comparing yourselves.  Your children want you.  Only you.  Not the mom in the magazine.  Not the mom on Pinterest.  Not the mom on the blog.  Not the mom on TV.  Not the mom in the office.  Not a stressed out mom who feels like she has never has enough time to get it all done.  Not a constantly discouraged mom who is desperately trying to be more like someone else.  They want simple, wonderful, powerful, beautiful – YOU.

There will always be someone else doing “more,” doing “better.”  Let it go.  God’s given you a treasure to raise, and YOU are the best mom for your child.  You have the power to make a difference in the world through these young lives.

You have the influence to remind them daily of who they are – of “whose” they are.  You have the ability to unleash mighty warriors in future years - those destined to be a strong and positive presence in a dark culture.  Your children need you.  They need time with you.  God arranged it perfectly that way.  You are uniquely created to live the life that only you have the power to live.  You are enough.  You are more than enough – through the greatness of our Savior.

Stop the negative self talk that drives you to compare yourself with others.  Be free to be yourself.  Remind yourself today of how God sees you, of how much your children need you.  Look in the mirror and say it out loud.  “I am beautiful.  I am powerful.  I am the best mom in the world - for my kids.”

The opportunity to make a lasting difference in the world is at your fingertips…it’s called being a mom.  You are powerful in the life of your child.  You matter.  Don’t ever forget.  You are blessed to be “Mom.”

“The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”  Zephaniah 3:17

But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head.”  Psalm 3:3

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33 Verses about Fear and Anxiety

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Some things we face in life are just plain tough.  And with all that is going on in the world today - violence, crime, international unrest, economic uncertainty, job loss, concern over the future of our children, family hardships, disease, world hunger, drug abuse, education costs - there actually IS a lot we could  potentially worry about. 

Fear…worry…anxiety.

But, ever notice that so much of what we worry about never even happens?  Fear can be so controlling over our lives.

I struggled with fear and worry for years.  Recently I’ve found that the things that once would have sent me down an anxious spiral, no longer have the same effect.  It didn’t happen quickly, but over time, through the years.  I read words.  Of life.  Of truth. Soaking them in.  Over and over.  Praying them out loud.  Until they became so familiar, they replaced the other things I battled against. There’s nothing magical about them, but there is power through them, because they’re God’s words.  Change happened. Anxious thoughts began to diminish.  Worry let go of its constant grip.  And though fear is sometimes still there, it no longer has control, it no longer holds me back.  His words are soothing to our soul, calming to our spirits, power to our days…there is hope there. 

It’s not always easy, but we must make a choice.  Choose NOT to allow fear and anxiety to control your life.  Guard your heart.  Focus your mind on what is truth in the midst of an uncertain world. We may be afraid but we can believe that God is with us. We may not be in control but we can trust the One who is. We may not know the future but we can know the God who does.

His word brings hope…peace…freedom.  He will cover you…you are never alone.

1.  “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10

2.  “When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.”  Psalm 56:3

3.  “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:6-7

4.  “Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”  John 14:27

5.  “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”  2 Timothy 1:7

6.  “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”  1 John 4:18

7.  “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought joy to my soul.”  Psalm 94:19

8.  “But now, this is what the Lord says…Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1

9.  “An anxious heart weighs a man down, but a kind word cheers him up.”  Proverbs 12:25

10. “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Psalm 23:4

11. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9

12. “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”  Matthew 6:34

13. “Humble yourselves, then, under God’s mighty hand, so that he will lift you up in his own good time.  Leave all your worries with him, because he cares for you.”  1 Peter 5:6-7

14. “Tell everyone who is discouraged, ‘Be strong and don’t be afraid! God is coming to your rescue…” Isaiah 35:4

15. “…do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.  Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes.  Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds!  Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?  Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”  Luke 12:22-26

16. “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”  Psalm 27:1

17. “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous fall.”  Psalm 55:22

18. “Immediately he spoke to them and said, “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”  Mark 6:50

19. “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

20. “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.  Do not be afraid, for I myself will help you,” declares the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.”  Isaiah 41:13-14

21. “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.”  Psalm 46:1

22. “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid.  What can man do to me?  The Lord is with me; he is my helper.”  Psalm 118:6-7

23. “Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”  Proverbs 29:25

24. “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.  He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  Mark 4:39-40

25. “The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.”  Psalm 34:7

26. “But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.”  1 Peter 3:14

27. “I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.”  Psalm 34:4

28. “Do not be afraid of them; the Lord your God himself will fight for you.”  Deuteronomy 3:22

29. “…Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.”  Revelation 1:17

30. “Jesus told him, ‘Don’t be afraid; just believe.’”  Mark 5:36

31. “And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”  Romans 8:38

32. “For the Lord your God is living among you.  He is a mighty savior.  He will take delight in you with gladness.  With his love, he will calm all your fears.  He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”  Zephaniah 3:17

33. “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”…He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.  You will not fear the terror of night, nor the arrow that flies by day, nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness, nor the plague that destroys at midday.  A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand, but it will not come near you…For he will command his angels concerning you, to guard you in all your ways…“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him…”  Psalm 91

And you know all that stuff on your mind? Give it to God and go to bed. Sleep in peace tonight, He knows what concerns you, He’s got you covered.

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