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)

 

 

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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…

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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!!!!

I Need to be Weak

As a young girl growing up, even as an adult, whenever anyone faced a difficult trial, almost always I heard someone tell another person, “You have to be strong”. I myself have done this. For example….

If someone passed away, I would hear someone tell a loved one, You have to be strong. 

If a friend betrayed you……You have to be strong.

If a family member received a bad report from the doctor…..You have to be strong.

If parents got divorced……You have to be strong.

If you’ve lost it all had to live somewhere that was not home……You have to be strong.

Do any of these sound familiar? 

One of the biggest trials I’ve ever faced, other than infidelity, has been not living in our home for 2 ½ years. Though we are grateful for family taking us in, it was a trying time for our own family. We didn’t have our space, our things, our privacy. This brought a HUGE burden on our family. I remember crying out to God (knowing that it was our poor financial choices that got us there in the first place) and saying, “What DO YOU WANT with me, haven’t you broken me enough? Am I still not learning? Am I being proud? Are you trying to humble me because I have pride?” You name it I asked it (and when I say I cried out, it was more like yelling at GOD). Well guess what, he didn’t answer the way I wanted him to, but I will say this.

As I sat in my car yelling at him, toward the end of my tantrum, I couldn’t help but feel this overwhelming peace. No, GOD didn’t speak audibly, no I didn’t turn on the radio to a song that spoke to my circumstance or turn on the television set to a preaching that spoke truth to my life. It was just God, me and MY WEAKNESS. During that trial God spoke this truth into my life.

In 2 Corinthians 12:7-9 Paul wrote,

even though I have received such wonderful revelations from God. So to keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you needMy power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. 10 That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

You see like Paul I PLEADED/ BEGGED for God to take it all away. For him to just PLEASE help our family get home. But I remember when God gave me this verse I change the way I spoke to God. So instead of complaining I began to ask GOD, “Father what do you want me to learn in this trial?”; and this is what I learned about my weaknesses during that time….

Whenever I thought/felt…..

God I want to go home, I can’t live like this anymore….…My grace is sufficient….my power is made perfect in your weakness

God fix our finances, we learned our lesson……….……..My grace is sufficient….my power is made perfect in your weakness

God tell my husband he has to work triple time….……...My grace is sufficient….my power is made perfect in your weakness

God if you do this, I promise I will do anything you ask.. My grace is sufficient….my power is made perfect in your weakness

I also learned tImagehat I can’t always change my circumstance,    bad things will happen, and I DON’t want to depend on me to fix it. I don’t want to live life thinking that I have to be super strong. I want, I NEED to be weak, so that HIS Power would be PERFECT in MY Weakness.