Monday, April 30, 2018

A Year Ago Today

A year ago today, I awoke to trouble.  I didn't know the extent of the trouble, but I knew it was trouble. The short of the story is that I had ruptured my C6-C7 disc the day before.  A MRI confirmed the rupture. For days, I could do nothing but just sit upright.  To recline was agony beyond description. The days were long, and the nights were even longer; drifting in and out with the rising and falling of exhaustion and pain meds.

The orthopedic told me my only course of treatment was cortisone shots.  My holistic gut knew better. "That will only dumb down the messages my body are sending and mask the problem," I told him. He wasn't too happy with me, but I wasn't happy with him. I left with pain, but without the shot.  I began doing research and found an article by a fascinating orthopedic who takes the body's natural mechanics to leverage healing.

A year later, I have holistically eliminated all body pain and all stiffness.... from my neck to my toes.

Today, I awoke reflecting on this past year in the light of going from this one extreme to the other with the use of  "instruments"....more specially in this case; natural instruments.

There are a host of instruments in my life I use every day for the benefit of personal stability and growth, but the key word is USE.  Like all instruments, they do absolutely nothing on their own.  They must be used.

God's Word does nothing for me collecting dust on the shelf.
Turmeric does nothing for me in the bottle.
Tennis shoes do nothing for me sitting in my closet.
And on and on the list goes.

I have found it doesn't take a lot of effort to benefit  greatly from the CONSISTENT use of the instruments God has so generously placed in my life.  However, as a life long student, as the seasons of life shift, so must my stewardship.

Go back a tad over a year ago.  My season had increased in responsibilities, and as such, I was finding my days full to the brim, to the point I no longer even had time to write here (as the blog's calendar journal demonstrates ).    It was a challenge to get all of life's demands worked in, but life itself taught me....through the reminder of pain.... it was high time to shift my stewardship, even as my season had shifted.

A new routine was developed that made allowance for both morning and evening yoga, essential for my body's healing.  It meant I started my bedtime routine earlier.... "giving up" a TV show or something else I thought I wanted/needed that I could get up earlier and get done what I really needed.

The unharnessed ...better said undisciplined...mind is truly a detriment unrecognized by many until it is too late.

It's common, though not at all advantageous, that so many individuals continue veins of living even after a season of life has shifted.  It's called a rut.

It's somewhat like the summer pastime of "tubing".  So many put their tube into the water, throw their often times weary body into the tube, and turn off.... becoming a subject that just drifts wherever the water so chooses.

That might sound tempting, but those that have lived such an undisciplined life who a woke one day to find themselves painfully surrounded by the rapids would tell you the folly of such living.

Life, at its core, is about stewardship. It's about living life with intention. You were placed here upon the earth to steward your life.....your body, your time, your mind.   You were never meant to go through your days on "auto pilot" in a tube set adrift.

In truth, I am thankful for my injury a year ago. It brought awareness to an area that needed a shift in my stewardship.

May I humbly ask YOU, what area or areas of your life do you sense God putting His finger upon, calling you to shift, or up the ante, or even begin your stewardship in?

We all have an area or areas, yet I observe many choose to look the other way with the mainstream label of "acceptance", instead of embracing personal discipline towards real lasting change.

As Christians, we are not called to a life of acceptance.  We are called to a trans-formative life, going from carnal man to spiritual man, being wholly submitted to the Perfect One even as He perfects us.  That's not a passive act, but a highly deliberate act.

Such a tragedy; we all know people who slept, hitting the proverbial sleep button over and over,  until the rapids were surrounding them, tossing them hither and yon.

WAKE UP, while there is still time. Get off the lazy river, if you find yourself there. But take today and  honestly assess where you are on the trans-formative journey that you are meant to be living!

Be among those who courageously take on going from glory to glory....

With love and sincere interest for your own personal journey....
Journey well.... journey strong. ♡

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Sunday in Pictures...Well, Mostly...

I love adventures, and truth be told, I wake up every day with my eyes wide open to adventure.... even in the mundane.  Today was no different. After a wonderful message from my pastor, I headed out....seeking today's adventure with the One whom my heart beats after.

Come along...even after the fact!
(Scroll over pictures to enlarge them.)

(Instagram account:  clothed_n_strength )

Local library's foyer.

A little afternoon snack.
NC Museum of Art
"You Are Here" exhibit.
Outside, after the exhibit.
My two eldest on an artistic seesaw...
perfectly balanced.
Intentionally knocked off balance.
Fun times with family and friend.
Be still my tummy's heart....
wild caught sea scallops.
Stirring movie.

Powerful song from the soundtrack:

Lyrics from the song:

I am not a stranger to the dark
Hide away, they say
'Cause we don't want your broken parts
I've learned to be ashamed of all my scars
Run away, they say
No one'll love you as you are
But I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious
When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me

Another round of bullets hits my skin
Well, fire away 'cause today, I won't let the shame sink in
We are bursting through the barricades and
Reaching for the sun (we are warriors)
Yeah, that's what we've become (yeah, that's what we've become)

I won't let them break me down to dust
I know that there's a place for us
For we are glorious

When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I'm gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I'm meant to be, this is me
Look out 'cause here I come
And I'm marching on to the beat I drum
I'm not scared to be seen
I make no apologies, this is me.

So I ask you tonight..... where are YOU?
Hiding perhaps?  Or are you the one firing bullets?

It's vital you have the courage to stop and assess.... 
......where are YOU?

.....because until you do.... you will go NO further.....

Courage up, dear ones!
A brand new week has begun!
Where are you now?
And where will you end this week?

Dare to envision!
Be bold in your faith!

I'm off to get the balance of my walking steps
 in today before the sun sets!
What a GRAND day this has been with my Beloved!
I pray you can say the same!
If not, what can you do today...
right in this moment,
 to set your intention FORWARD with Him?

Dare to ponder in His presence!

It'll change you!

Change is GOOD!


Saturday, April 28, 2018

A Resignation

I'm winding down, but before turning in I thought I would do something I haven't done in sometime.... share a few thoughts.

Recently, I have delighted in the expositions of two Christian men; Pastor James MacDonald (out of Illinois) and Rick Thomas (out of South Carolina).   Their applied wisdom has left me both challenged and the wiser numerous times this year.  

Just this past week or so, I read Rick Thomas' article, "A Few Thoughts on an Unchangeable Situation".

Captivating title, eh?  Perhaps even a bit tremor-inducing through the view of "mainstream Christianity".  

What do you mean "unchangeable situation"?  Don't situations change in the scope of the "God element"?

Not necessarily, as life's decades have certainly taught me.

I want to pull a quote from Rick's article:

"Just because you want what the Bible teaches, it does not mean you will get it.  Jesus wanted to live. That was not the narrative His Father had in mind. There are two ditches you must avoid:

      1. I will have what I want, especially when the Bible does not forbid my desires.

      2. I will resign myself to a pitiful life because God is not giving me the desires of my heart.

In between those two ditches is a practical faith that allows you to be a 'man of sorrows, acquainted with grief' (Isaiah 53:3) while entrusting yourself to Him who judges justly (I Peter 2: 20-25). The only way to find that sweet spot is through the door of death. (Hebrews 2: 14-15; Luke 14: 26-27)." 

If you are like me, you'll find yourself thinking on these statements in the days to come. I encourage you to courage UP and allow these truths to soak in deep.  Let them both challenge you and change you.

The first time I read them, I experienced the "spiritual blitz of truth."  I knew I was reading truth; I just didn't particularly "swallow it."  It sort of stuck in my throat, but something happened in between the first reading of it and last reading of it.  A point of surrender.  A point of death.  A resignation.

I have long since believed in the necessity to guard against habitual critical thinking because it does put the Author of my story in a bad light to do so.  Granted, long endured trials truly put such a proper and correct positioning of the heart through intense paces that wholly cannot be appreciated unless experienced. Long endured trials walked with the dedication to see who God is THROUGH the process is NOT for the faint at heart.

But through the process, this is what I KNOW:

I am worth knowing.... even if others forsake the opportunity to get to know me.
I am a deep well.... even if others miss the opportunity to dip their cup for a drink.
I am a strong stake in the ground.... even if others fail to hold on in time of weakness.
I am a daughter of the King..... even if others fail to see.

I have value, not in who I am......but who I am in.
I have power, not in who I am.... but who I am in.
I have joy, not in who I am..... but who I am in.

I am not the author of my story.....but my story is surrendered to the Author.
I will leave at least one footprint upon this earth not because of who I am.... 

but WHO I AM IN.

I am resigned to THAT resignation.

Live life, dear ones, with such a resignation. Christ... THE TREASURED ONE... was missed by many, valued by few, but changed the entire paradigm of history by His willingness to embrace an unchangeable situation.....alone.  

In Him, I find my rest. ♡

Godspeed, dear ones...