Doubting Towards Faith

jen and titiMy health may fail, and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalm 73:26 NLT

Cancer, Mental Health, Tragedy, Dementia, Alzheimer’s etc… In one form or another illness and suffering has made its way into our lives. Although I may not have all the answers as to why, please allow me to share and instill some hope into you today.

A few years ago cancer hit close to home. First with my youngest brother who was diagnosed with Colon Cancer and then a couple years ago with my older sister (in picture on left) who was diagnosed with Thyroid Cancer. It was a hard season, not only in their lives but in the lives of those who shared in their suffering. We prayed them through like you wouldn’t believe and yes friends, Jesus answered. To the glory of God both live great, healthy, cancer free lives. Yes, Jesus still heals!

Today illness and suffering has yet again peeked its ugly face into our lives. We are currently walking through a hard season of watching such an amazing woman of God, my sweet aunt (in picture above), fade slowly in mind as she battles the horrible illness of Dementia (amongst other things). What is Dementia?

de·men·tia is a chronic or persistent disorder of the mental processes caused by brain disease or injury and marked by memory disorders, personality changes, and impaired reasoning.

The highs and lows, the mood swings, the confusion, the tantrums, the unpredictability; all come with this horrible disease. You hope and pray that it would get better but when it doesn’t another creepy monster tries to peek in. Doubt!

You are probably wondering or even thinking! Girl. Get your praying, declaring warrior suit on like you did for your siblings. Believe me when I say, we are praying and believing. Not for our will to be done but God’s will above all.

When we see/experience disease, tragedy, suffering and/or evil in this world, doubt is ready to take center stage on making you doubt against God. You might say things or have thoughts that sound a little like…

  • God if you are all powerful, why (fill in the blank)?
  • God, but I declared, believed, fasted and prayed and still (fill in the blank)
  • How long God? How long?
  • Why God, Why?

My friend, we’ve all been there. Don’t feel shame because those questions pop up in your head or are uttered from your mouth.

Again, allow me to pour some hope in to your weary soul today. Instead of doubting God, how about we doubt toward faith! Doubt towards faith? Yes! How about we lift those thoughts, questions and doubts to the obedience of Christ?

God has not lost His power, authority or Sovereignty all because I didn’t get the answer I believed, declared, fasted and prayed for. The psalmist David was all too familiar with such a request. Come with me to 2 Samuel 12. (For the story in its entirety begin at verse 15 through 25) 

16 David prayed to God for the baby. David refused to eat or drink. He went into his house and stayed there and lay on the ground all night.

18 On the seventh day the baby died.

19 David saw his servants whispering and understood that the baby was dead. So David asked his servants, “Is the baby dead?”

The servants answered, “Yes, he is dead.”

20 Then David got up from the floor. He washed himself. He changed his clothes and got dressed. Then he went into the Lord’s house to worship. After that he went home and asked for something to eat. His servants gave him some food, and he ate.                                                                                                             1 Samuel 12: 16, 18, 19-20

Though we can come up with many religious or even theological answers as to why we believe David’s baby didn’t live, please don’t lose sight of David’s attitude in verse 20. The bible says, “David got up washed himself, changed his clothes and got dressed. Then he went into the Lord’s house to worship.” (Italics mine)

What was David’s hope in his suffering? He never lost sight of WHO God was!

For you it could be a suffering like that of David’s, the loss of a child/ loved one. For others it could be an illness/disease, a financial rut, a failed relationship.

Today! For me! It’s seeing such a beautiful woman of God live in such a state of confusion and at times helpless and lost due to this horrible illness called dementia.

But just as David I choose to not lose sight of WHO God is (daily). How can I lose sight of my GOD, when I see him all around me?

I see him in the times we get to serve her by bringing her dinner.

I see him when we get to bathe her because she can’t do it herself, lathering her with lotion afterwards and spraying her with her favorite perfume.

How do I not see God in those moments when her mind and health are failing but as we read His word to her she’s reciting the Psalms right along with us because her spirit if forever connected to His?

The question for me is no longer WHY the suffering. The question for me is, “How will I choose to respond in my suffering?” Please don’t misunderstand me. To everything there is a season (Ecclesiastes 3). So Yes! Grieve, cry, shout, scream, ask, but beyond that…PLEASE, DON’T ever lose sight of who GOD is! He IS GOOD!

Oh that glorious day when she will forever be healed in the presence of our Savior Jesus! It doesn’t get better than that! This is my hope!

Taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him” (Psalm 34:8).

 

Advertisements

Struggling Garden

For those of you who know me, know that gardening is not my thing. I LOVE the IDEA of a beautiful garden, but to get my hands dirty and work on one? Ummmm, that would be a nah.

A few days ago, when my sis dropped me off at home, we took a walk around my yard. I showed her my very poor, abandoned, struggling garden. She assured me that there was still hope as she explained all the different things we can do on a low budget to help bring this baby back to life. She was so encouraging in trying to get me to see what she could see, even promising to come help me in the process. Although I just couldn’t see what she saw, I took her word for it because she has a BEAUTIFUL garden.

This morning, as I was waitintree of flowerg for my ride to arrive, I looked over to my struggling garden. I noticed that the one tree, that was left, sprout some beautiful pink flowers. You could just imagine my excitement! I really thought; yup, this is the year, that tree is dead. I went over to the flower tree and began to talk to it, telling it how very proud of it I was. Who would’ve guessed it! Me. Sharon. Talking to a plant/tree.

What I had disregarded as something that could never have hope, proved me wrong.

In that very moment, as I walked away to go back into the house, I heard that still small voice tugging at my heart.

Sharon, you are that tree amongst that struggling garden. You see what’s before you, but I see what can be. Everything around you will tell you otherwise, even convincing you that there is no hope. When it seems like all is lost, just like that flower, I will cause life to sprout from within you! With me HOPE is NEVER lost.

Today, I encourage you just as Abba/Father has encouraged me. You might feel like my struggling garden, but the gardener is not finished with you just yet. Keep on striving, keep on enduring. He always has the final say!

6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6 English Standard Version (ESV)

 

 

Good Night. Sleep Tight. Don’t let the…..

All too often we’ve heard that rhyme that says, “Good Night. Sleep Tight. Don’t let the Bed Bugs bite”. All too often we’ve said it once or twice in our lifetime, truly not realizing that this can be more than a rhyme. It can be a reality.

One late evening, a month ago, my son mentions to me that he was itchy because he got bit. I knew this couldn’t be mosquitos because, well it was still very cold out. I immediately text the experts (my friends), who would be able to better tell me if these were bed bug bites. Unfortunately, one of my friends says, “oh Sharon, I am so sorry, but that is a bed bug bite.”

My first instinct was to get him out of his bed, remove all the sheets, put them in a bag and move him to another bed. I briefly looked over the bed, considering it was late at night, to see if I can see anything. I didn’t so I went to work the next day and asked my husband and oldest son to please make sure and tear (a bit dramatic but I wasn’t kidding) the bed apart and see if they could find anything.  They did and when I got home showed me a small dead bug they found. Again, I consulted my experts (my friends) and asked if that was a bed bug. Once again that same friend said, “oh Sharon, I am so sorry, but that is a bed bug.”

This was a sign for me to take things serious, it was time to take stronger measures and so I did. I took the boys out of their room and took the next 3 days off. I sent my son to buy the foggers for the room and the next day began my own extermination of these bugs. We came back 2 hours later while hub was at work and kids in school and we began to take the beds apart. Mind you, my boys have these huge wooded beds that have drawers in them, perfect camp for these little bad boys. We proceeded by taking the beds apart to find just a little more evidence that maybe, just maybe there can be more bugs. But, we found no more. Not one bug at all.

This went on for the next 3 days. We bought bed bug spray. Sprayed every possible corner, hole, screws. You name it, we sprayed it. We put clothes, linen, curtains, everything in bags to wash in hot water. All this to get rid of the pesky little insects that, we only found one of.

Although I was searching for bugs, I found something else. Something I wasn’t looking for during this ordeal. A LESSON. During these 3 days God wanted to show me some things that I was just not seeing in everyday life.

As I sat before the Lord on the first day I took off to address this bed bug issue, He asked me to be still and write down some possible things I could be learning from all of this. I’ll share some of those with you.

  1. You can’t always control every situation. Some things are out of your control and that’s okay.
  2. In all circumstances, I NEED to believe and trust you.
  3. I am quick to fix the evident and get rid of the problem, yet I don’t respond the same when the enemy whispers lies to me.
  4. Did you stop to ask God how to best handle this situation?
  5. Fear, if you continue to let it, will consume you.
  6. If you look close enough, you will see, I AM near!

Though all of these are true, there was one that stood out to me most. Number 3.  One of my biggest struggles I have is in the mind. It’s with negative thinking and unrealistic expectations. This has a lot to do with my upbringing (that’s an whole other blog post).

I realized that I allow the enemy to much campground in my mind, in my thought life. I do this by negative self-talk and choosing to believe every thought that comes into my mind that isn’t in line with God’s word.

I quickly identified the problem with the bed bugs and immediately sought out help and activated a plan to get rid of them. Yet when the enemy comes at my mind, twisting the truth of God’s word or distracting me, keeping me from total dependence on God, I don’t respond in the same way. Ouch! Talk about a LESSON. One I needed to hear.

God’s thoughts and ways are nothing like mine. His word says it best,

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:8-9 (ESV)

Will I choose to believe and trust His best no matter how hard it seems? The choice is mine! The choice is yours!

The rest of that rhyme says, “if they do, grab a shoe & beat them till they’re black and blue.”  Another says, “if they do grab a shoe, give them something else to chew.”

Oh my friends that we would be able to do the same when the enemy comes at us with lies, fear, worry, anxiety, fill in the blank. That we would be able to grab the sword of the Spirit, the very word of God and give him something else to chew. You will see as you do, he will flee away from you (Ha! see what I did there!!! 😉)

 

Master! Master! I Choose?

24 “No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24

This morning I awakened from a very eventful dream. As I laid there, I heard these words, “You can’t serve two masters.” I reached for my phone to search up the scripture and immediately began feeling an urgency to share this scripture with an important message.

Okay, I thought….. I’ve got the scripture, check! But what is the message?

I contemplated the idea of just posting a scripture on social media as I normally do and move on. The more I entertained that thought, the more I felt the urgency to share. It just kept gnawing at me.

So, I did what I know to do when I don’t know what to do (hope I didn’t lose you).  I went and asked God because He knows best. I began journaling the dream. Side note: The dream consisted of events that had already taken place and of choices that were made. I won’t disclose the details of the events as it won’t change the context of the message.

I continued journaling the dream, stopping in between to ask the following questions…..

God, what are your thoughts regarding what I believe you’ve shown me?

If these events already passed, how were they pertinent to the scripture that you’ve given me?  

The urgency of sharing is still overwhelming. What am I supposed to share?  

Sitting there I then heard these words, “Master! Master! I choose?”

I thought it would be beneficial to read all of chapter 6. Throughout this chapter, Jesus is pointing out the different Masters in the lives of people, not just His disciples but all those who said they were His followers. Not only does He point these out but He urges them not to do them. For example

Master 1: verses 1-7, & 16: Appearance…. Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Master 2: verses 19-21: Storing Treasures…. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

Master 3: verses 25-34: Worrying…. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Just like my dream, these things had already taken place in the lives of people. They had become Masters in their lives. Yet Jesus lovingly urged them to NOT do those things.

TODAY God is Urging us, not just the body of Christ, but ALL who claim to be followers of Jesus, “Who will you choose?”

We can’t “serve” God and be lovers of our own desires and choices.

Please hear me friends. I don’t share this from a place of having attained it. I’m sharing this with the urgency in which it was given to me. With the same urgency that Jesus shared it.

There is a high cost to being a disciple of Jesus Christ. Jesus said it this way later in Matthew 16,

Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

Again, we can’t serve two masters. We can’t be lovers of this world, of our own desires, of our own choices (these are masters in our lives) and serve God. The end-result will be that we will love one and despise the other.

The message:

Who will you choose?

I pray the answer is Master! Master! I choose YOU! Jesus!

How to:  Choices are made every day. From what we wear to what we eat. In the same way, we are faced with making choices that please God daily.

Think about what things are “Masters” over your life. Your family, your job, worrying, your appearance (looking good before man), money, fear, control, addictions, social media, friendships, etc.

Write them down somewhere visible. Surrender them to God daily, asking Him to be the Master over all of it! It can be as simple as Jesus Help me with (insert those things here).

Just me

My beautiful friend! If ya’ll knew what I know, you would be in awe of how God is using this beautiful girl with blogging.

Thoughts by Shally

So just me here. I decided to start this journey after a friend played some reverse psychology on me. Yes she twisted things around to bring some truth in. But I also had other people in my life encourage me to write my crazy thoughts down. Yes I say crazy because, it’s literally me just having a conversation in my head as I drive, or walk. I look at things in everyday life and it turns in to an ohhh!

I’m not very good at being open with people. And I’m not a person to speak in front of people either. But I’ve learned that I do enjoy writing my thoughts. The things I’ve written are pretty much about me and my walk in Christ. The things I struggle with and how God gives me an answer.

It’s funny how the enemy starts to attack you when you move towards…

View original post 246 more words

WARNING!!!! Tire Pressure is Low!

But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me! Matthew 14:30

Today as I drove the kids to school, my truck began making a beeping noise indicating that something was not right. When I looked, I quickly remembered that I forgot to tell my hub and son the night before, the rear left tire needed air and needed to be filled. I looked in my rear view mirror, looked at my son and said to him, “Oh Fredo, I forgot to tell you to fill my tire. Please remember to do that after I get home from work today.” He says, “Okay mom. Can you just check the tire pressure for me?” I said, “no, not really; I don’t want to look at it and then have to worry about it driving to work and back home.”

As my mouth uttered those words, the Holy Spirit reminded me of when Jesus asked Peter to come and walk on water with him. The scripture reads….

So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water, and he came toward Jesus. But when he perceived and felt the strong wind, he was frightened, and as he began to sink, he cried out Lord, save me [from death]! Matthew 14:29-30

I thought to myself, what does my vehicles tire pressure and Peter have to do with anything? God always has a purpose, even in the mundane. This is what I believe the Holy Spirit showed me.

The low tire pressure represented the storm that was raging in this passage. How easy, boldly, with such confidence and assurance was I able to tell my son, “no, not really; I don’t want to look at it and then have to worry about it driving to work and back home.” I made a concious decision to not look at it and just uttered a very small prayer, ” Lord be with me,” kind of like Peter did, when “he cried out Lord, save me!”

I drove to work, came back home and all was fine with the world. As I reflected on this I thought, how many times in life situations do I take my eyes off of Jesus? The chaos going on around me distracts me and I begin to sink. All because I allowed the winds of life, the storm raging, the water splashing hard upon my face to distract my focus off of Jesus.

If I can so boldly and with such assurance say about my trials/storms what I said about not looking at the tire pressure, I would live life with a lot more peace, yes even in the storm. It’s not that the low tire pressure warning wasn’t in my face all the way to work and all the way home, it was, beeping and flashing at me (just as the storm was in Peter’s face while he was walking on water out to Jesus). I just chose to ignore it until I could take care of it.

Worrying, calling my husband (who was already at work), or getting angry and upset at myself for not remembering was not going to get that tire filled. But relying on God to be with me was the most important thing I did have. Okay, please don’t misinterpret me. I’m not saying to ignore your cars warnings. But what I am saying is this.

When….                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  – things at work aren’t going well; don’t look at the tire pressure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                – finances are tight and you don’t know if what you have will cover all the bills; don’t look at the tire pressure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                – your ceiling is leaking due to a bad winter; don’t look at the tire pressure.                                                                                                                                         – your children are making choices contrary to what you’ve taught them; don’t look at the tire pressure.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                – the house is a hot mess, laundry is piling up and kids aren’t helping; don’t look at the tire pressure.

 

Today I made the choice to not look at what the tire pressure read (the storm), because at that moment it was out of my control. There was no way I was going to get the kids to school and myself to work on time if I had to make another stop to fill up the tire. (again, not recommended)

But check out what happened when I did utter that still small prayer. The bible says that Jesus INSTANTLY reached out and the storm ceased.

Instantly Jesus reached out His hand and caught and held him, saying to him, O you of little faith, why did you doubt?

And when they got into the boat, the wind ceased.

And those in the boat knelt and worshiped Him, saying, Truly You are the Son of God! Matthew 14:31-33 AMP

You see, God showed up, watched over me, got me to work and home safe, and best of all, I didn’t look at the storm. My eyes stayed fixed on the one who could make the storm cease.

I pray the Lord would help me to always respond in this way in all of my trials/storms. But even if I don’t and I lack faith; He will still save me and the storm will eventually cease.

To God be the Glory!!!!

I Praise you for ME!!!

One of my favorite things to do is admire God’s wonders. As I drive into work daily I quickly look to the heavens and stand in awe of God’s beauty. I love the way he commands the sun to rise every morning. The beauty of its rays penetrating through the clouds. The beautiful colors that are so vibrant that you can’t help but just stand amazed at how He puts it all together. In that awe I can’t help to praise him for his wonderful works and am reminded how he created it all. His creation never ceases to amaze me.

As I think about His beauty God begins to speak to my heart, “Sharon there is one wonderful and beautiful creation you never acknowledge and give me praise for”.

Oh man, I thought. LORD, but every morning I acknowledge you in the sun rising, in the sky as it wakes to praise you, in the birds singing as spring tries to creep in (But Mr. Winter won’t let him, Ha had to throw that in there), in the sun shining on even what I may think to be my worse day, even in the cloudiest and rainiest of days. LORD you are ALL GOD in it all!

In HIS sweet and loving voice He says, “Sharon, you never acknowledge and praise me for creating YOU”. Sayyy whaaaaaaaaatttt!!!!

You know the choleric in me could have argued this point with God but as I thought about it,he was absolutely right. He remind me of what David said in Psalm 139:14…

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

I paused and really let this sink in. Is it true, could it be that I don’t praise HIM for me? Hesitant I ask the Holy Spirit to show me evidence of how do this. My desire is to bring Glory to God and in no way offend the works of His hands.

This is what God began showing me about my thoughts. Sharon, how many times do you fill your mind with thoughts like…

  • I’m so stupid
  • I’m so dumb
  • I can’t stand my body
  • I’m such a bad daughter
  • I’m so boring
  • I’m not as smart as she/he is
  • I’m not spiritual enough
  • I’m not equipped to carry out what you’ve called me to do
  • I’m not a fun enough wife or mother for my family

 If I go on I will fill this entire blog, but you get the gist of it. My stinkin thinkin’ is taking away from HIS Omnipotence, from HIS Greatness!!!!

We can probably compare it to the way we feed our bodies junk. When we eat junk foods, don’t exercise and never fill our bodies with nutritional food, the effect is going to be weight gain, feeling sluggish and having no energy. Feeding our bodies with just junk is not taking care of God’s temple.

Do you think we can say that this holds true to our thinking as well, to our thought patterns? Let’s just say for a moment that Stinkin Thinkin represents junk food. If the effects to feeding our bodies junk food is low energy and/or weight gain, then what can we say about our minds? Can we say the same?

The bible says in Romans 8:6-7,

For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so .  

 My mind set on, (how Joyce Meyer best demonstrates it in her Robot) “What about Me” or on thoughts that are not set on the Spirit, as this scripture describes, are thoughts that are hostile towards God. Ouuuuuchhhh!

Your probably thinking (because I know I did) so, what are you saying, that I will never have a negative thought in my life? No, that is not what I’m saying at all, but I will give you a solution. I’ve learned and strongly believe that with everything God shows us about ourselves, he provides a solution because His desire is that we would be more like HIM. The apostle Paul said it best when he said….

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5.

When any stinkin thinkin’ tries to creep its way in my mind, my job is to take it captive to the obedience of Christ!! If I have the mind of Christ those examples that I provided are definitely not thoughts that GOD would put in my mind so they have no place in my mind! The solution….. The same way that we would take steps toward living a healthier life style by eating better and exercising, it is so with our minds. We take those negative thoughts captive and like Paul also said in Colossians 3:2, set your mind on things above.

Let’s think about what we are thinking about!!!!