book recommendations, When "Everything" Goes Wrong, I Choose Joy in the One True God

When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God

When “Everything” is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God

Then you will find your joy in the LORD…

Isaiah 58:14a

Just a side note, this post became a bit longer than intended, and may end up becoming a series of posts in the future.

When Joy Is Hard to Find

2019 has been an intense year. There has been joy, but there has been a lot of “hard” too.

Though, if I’m honest my family has been in a rough season since 2017 when my husband left Active Duty. It appears we’re not quite ready to reap the harvest yet.

If this past weekend is any indicator, we’ve got quite a bit more sowing left in this season.

To those who know us personally, it isn’t a surprise to know we’ve been struggling. The move from Active Duty to civilian life has not been an easy experience. There have been more bumps in the road than either my husband or I ever expected.

Life without the security of the Marine Corps is a constant act of faith.

Never have we been what you would call financially “well-off”, but we’ve always been able to provide for ourselves and our children without too much struggle.

Until we no longer could.

Becoming Humble

When we moved from Washington State to Virginia, we left nearly everyone we knew.

My children left their friends and Sunday school teachers they loved. I left my sister, my cousin, and my childhood best friend.

We also drove away broke, because of a paperwork error that took months to straighten out before the Marine Corps would release my husband’s final paycheck.

Driving across the country nearly penniless, heading to a state where we still hadn’t found a place to live, could have been terrifying.

Instead, there was joy.

Okay, there was some fear too, but whenever the fear would claw at me I’d remember that everything comes from God. That He would provide in His way and His time.

So, I gladly accepted the joy He provided.

I shared adventures with my favorite people as we explored amazing sites, both created by God and made by man; the joy of giggles and drinking too much caffeine; staying in questionable hotels that would be safer if they were condemned; and cramming three kids, a cat, a dog, and two adults as well as everything we thought we might need, into a minivan.

With excitement like that, who had time for fear?

Joy in God is Accepting Help

After arriving in Virginia things became more complicated.

We needed to find a place to call home.

What should have taken only a couple of days turned into a two-month ordeal.

During this time, God once again provided for us, by opening the hearts and home of our dear friends.

Looking back, I believe God led us to explore Classical Conversations in Washington simply so we could connect with Rachal and her family, because once she moved to Virginia He led us away from CC and in another direction with our homeschool.

When Rachal and her husband offered us a place to stay while we looked for a house, neither our family or theirs expected it would be more than a weekend affair. So when place after place fell through and we were led to purchase a home instead of renting, my heart was filled with such gratitude and love when they welcomed us with open arms.

Let’s just say, there are times I think they deserved a medal (and possibly a parade) for that alone.

Having never needed to rely on others, accepting that my husband and I couldn’t do this on our own was difficult.

Especially since he was in a completely different state going through federal training.

Joy in God Comes When He Provides Family

When "Everything" is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com

Rachal and I weren’t close when we lived in Washington. We were friendly, and she was always willing to swing by and get my kids when I was dealing with rough moments during the pregnancy with my youngest daughter; we just didn’t spend time together outside of CC or our small-group Bible study.

God Knew What We Needed

Suddenly my kids and I were part of her family. We did pretty much everything together for those two months. My eldest daughter celebrated her 10th birthday sitting at their dining room table. She finally had older brothers, and she was thrilled to be there with them.

When I discovered I was pregnant with my youngest, Rachal and her husband were the first to know. In fact, they knew before I did, since they were convinced I was pregnant before I ever considered it. Later she was there holding my hand during the early morning hours as I gave birth to my youngest son.

Through every hoop we had to jump through while purchasing our house, to being hit with a stomach bug while pregnant, God filled me with joy.

There was joy in little things: having a second set of hands to snuggle my youngest daughter; someone to love on my “spirited” and struggling son, a church that had everything we were looking for. Things that would often be taken for granted just kept leading me right back to God, and the joy that comes from knowing He is taking care of each and every one of us.

God always provides, and my joy is always because of Him.

I Chose Joy in God Anew This Week

On Sunday as I prepared the kids and myself for church, I received a phone call from my husband. He’d been in an accident on I-95 and his car was totaled.

As the kids and I drove to pick him up, I sang praises to God. My husband’s car was totaled, and I thought I knew the hardship that would cause, but he had walked away from it without physical injury.

My children didn’t have to visit their father in the hospital, and I didn’t have to explain to them why their daddy wasn’t coming home.

Worries, Stress, and Choosing to Be Positive

When "Everything" Is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com

Each day since the accident more and more obstacles have been placed before us. Some of them God immediately removed.

When He answers a prayer, the only thing I can do is praise Him and focus on the joy flooding through me.

Monday was especially rough, because my husband was trying to process what had happened, and I was as well.

The first wave of adrenaline and relief had past.

I woke up to a panic attack that only God could calm as I prayed, and prayed, and prayed some more, until finally the panic subsided and I was able to sleep again.

My husband was frustrated and bitter, and all I felt was an overwhelming sadness and heaviness of heart.

It didn’t take long before I was irritated with myself and decided to give it all to God.

I wrote out my prayers, my concerns, my frustrations, and my overwhelming belief in God. I wrote out my praises to Him.

Then I spent time in the study of Isaiah.

Isaiah 41 reminds us to stop lamenting and to return to rejoicing. That God provides for all our needs even during our struggles.

His testimony is that He will never forsake us.

We are to trust God as our shepherd and allow him to do it in the His way.

God Trumps Fear and Worry. Every Time.

While I immersed myself in God’s word, the fear and worry began to fade. Nothing had changed about our situation, but I gave that stress to God and accepted the peace and joy that replaced it.

Today things are still “bad” and there are no answers in sight. We don’t know where the next days and weeks will take us.

What I do know, is that I have joy.

Not because of any physical or material thing, but because I know joy in God.

The joy only experienced when you know God is in control, and that this isn’t our forever home.

Joy isn’t just a feeling.

It’s a knowledge that you’re never alone, and Our God is bigger than any problem we will ever face on Earth.

Until next time,

wellofaith

For more on the topic of joy check out this post.

When "Everything" is Going Wrong I Choose Joy in the One True God--wellofaith.com
The Words We Use-- wellofaith.com

The Words We Use

An Invisible Weapon

As a child I remember hearing the saying, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me”.

The problem is, words can hurt.

They can leave scars no one can see.

Unlike sticks and stones, the damage done won’t leave visible bruising to the body; Neighbors, friends, family, and teachers won’t see the injuries.

That doesn’t mean the pain isn’t there.

It doesn’t mean the wounds aren’t real.

Words are the invisible weapon that can do lifelong damage and never heal.

It is not what goes into the mouth the defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person. –Matthew 15:11

I’m Going to Be Real With You

My children have these unseen injuries, and I’m the one who caused them.

How’s that for real?

the-words-we-use-hurt-bear-wof.c.jpeg.jpeg

I can try to rationalize the circumstances when I used words as weapons against the little people God has entrusted me with; it won’t make a bit of difference.

The fact is, I made HUGE mistakes.

I spoke in anger and frustration instead of love and respect.

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits. –Proverbs 18:21

My tone caused as much damage (if not more) than the words I used. Maybe I could pat myself on the back and say, “Well, I’ve never called them names.” That means nothing when I know I’ve bruised and battered them with words of indifference.

Instead of praising them for their imaginations and efforts, I’ve asked, “Why would you do that?” Instead of saying, “Thank you for trying to help”; it’s been, “Look what you’ve done.”

These words have hurt them time and time again.

Realizing this now, tears at my heart. I’m bleeding from each of the wounds I caused my children.

The Words We Use--wellofaith.com

I swore I would never treat my children the way my siblings and I were treated when we were growing up. I swore my kids would never have a reason to question whether they are loved.

Yet, here I am.

A gentle tongue is a tree of life, but perversness in it breaks the spirit. –Proverbs 15:4

When my children acted out, I wondered what was causing them to misbehave. I never stopped to consider it could have been my actions and reactions leading to their outbursts. That my words, said in frustration, anger, or disinterest, might have led them to lash out in search of some sort of control.

This family the LORD has blessed me with deserves more than that.

I Can Change

My children will not grow up questioning my love, or remembering only the harshly spoken words.

I will not be the reason their self-esteem suffers, or they turn away from God and family. I will not push them away with my own actions.

Our Heavenly Father knows my sins. He knows my heart, and my weaknesses. He trusted me to raise these children, and I will do my best, and when I stumble I’ll turn to Him.

I will control my words–both the words themselves, and the tone of my voice. I will focus on praise; on building up my children into strong, mature, loving, adults. I will do my best to let them spread their wings, to make mistakes, to be helpful, to explore life, and be the people God created them to be.

Most of All, I Will Pray

I’ll pray for guidance.

For patience.

For understanding.

I’ll pray for a kind tone and a joyful spirit.

I’ll pray for a million questions from my almost three-year old, so that I may show her through actions and words that she matters.

I’ll pray for my son to try new things–even when they involve me sitting back and ignoring the mess, because I want him to see as well as hear how proud I am of him, and how much I believe in him.

I’ll pray for understanding as my tween daughter finds more and more interests that feel far too worldly for someone still so young.

Finally, I’ll pray for each and every one of you who have faced these same problems. Those who have hurt their friends, families, and loved-ones with weapons so powerful they can damage people indefinitely.

Heavenly Father,

I pray today that you help each of us control our tongues. That we may build one another up in this world. That we use our words to soothe and encourage, not to draw blood. Give us pause when we speak, that our children will not be a casualty of our sinful ways.

Amen.

If you feel led, please share this post so it may remind others they’re not alone in their struggles with the words we use.

Blessings,

Sare Signature

I Plant My Roots in Jesus

I Plant My Roots in Jesus

I Plant My Roots in Jesus

People Always Look for Roots

Either we want to set down roots, find our roots, or cover our roots with dye.

Roots, like people, come in many shapes, sizes, and styles. Some are small, delicate, and easily damaged; others are larger, stronger, and withstand the passage of time and the inevitable battles that come along with life.

I am human.

A small, delicate root that would break off if I wasn’t attached to another, more substantial one.

Jesus.

His strength, unfailing love, and grace, build me up when I would otherwise break.

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify these things to you for the churches. I am the root, and the offspring of David; the Bright and Morning Star.” Rev. 22:16

Putting Down Roots is Tough Without Jesus

I’ve spent my entire adult life trying to create a stable place for my children; a rough task when you’re married to someone in the service.

Every three years we’ve packed up our lives and moved to a new duty station. Some of these places have been better than others, and some of them I’ve been more than willing to see in my rearview mirror.

No matter where, the places have taught me something, and led me one step closer to Jesus.

Today the sun is shining brightly outside, and flowers are beginning to bloom. Gardens are being planted and the seedlings are burying their roots deep into the moist soil.

My children have also put down roots.

They have friends and activities, and they’ve started knowing the routes to places we go often. It brings me joy to hear them state where we’re going based on landmarks.

Within a few months, however, things will be changing again. My husband’s time as an Active Duty Marine is coming to an end, and our family will be facing the shift from military to civilian life.

This will likely mean not just a change in routine, but a change in location as well.

My eldest hopes to remain in the area she has grown familiar with.

The possibility she’ll have to leave her friends is an emotional trigger for her, and has led to a number of angst-filled conversations and outbursts.

My other two children are still too young to understand, and at this point, I count that as a blessing.

I Plant My Roots in Jesus

God Knows His Plans

Currently we don’t know where the LORD will lead us.

Daily we pray for His guidance and that we trust in Him.

My husband and I aren’t making any plans without prayerful consideration, because we understand our wants don’t always align with God’s plans for us. Since we want Him to use us to further His glory, we will follow Him.

While there is a possibility my daughter will get her wish, and we will remain in our current community, we continue to pray for her understanding that His will is so much bigger than our own.

A lesson that has taken me well into my thirties to start to understand.

Even though we haven’t settled in a location where we can put down the traditional ‘roots’ of a house, a garden, and community involvement that lasts longer than three years– I know our roots are in the best possible place– Jesus. He will nourish us, strength us, and help us grow no matter where we end up physically.

Have you put down permanent roots in Jesus?

Until next time,

wellofaith

via Daily Prompt: Roots

Lord, Shine from Me.

Lord, Shine From Me.

Lord, Shine from Me
May the LORD always shine from me.

My Plan

When I first started writing this blog, the original plan was to show all the happiness and joy this walk brought me.

The only problem with that idea is that nothing good comes without at least a little pain. I wouldn’t be true to my Heavenly Father, or myself,  if I skipped over the dark places; those trips, falls, and downright cliff-diving moments that take me off His path, and make me as imperfect and human as each person reading this.

 

You’re Not Alone

I want everyone who reads this blog to know that they’re not alone.

Not alone on this planet, and certainly not alone spiritually.

The LORD pulls me out of each mess I find myself in, and He will do the same for each person who calls out to Him.

So, I’ll share my stories, the good and the bad; I’ll let the light of Jesus shine from me.

Blessings,

Sare

2017: Listen

In December of each year, I prayerfully focus on what word will be my focus during the upcoming year. Each year this single word keeps me focused, not on myself, but on God’s will for me. This year, that word is LISTEN. It’s such a small word. Just six letters, but it will be a tool during the next twelve months to help me focus on the LORD.

Each day when I wake up, I’ll pray He will use it to teach me, to guide me through the day. This one little word will be a reminder each day–not only to listen to Him, but to listen to my body and to those around me. This year is a time to truly listen to Him, to be silent so I can really hear His words. It is a time for less talking and more listening.

I’m blessed to have the  love of the LORD, and to get this time to worship Him through this One Word.

Blessings,

Sare

Joy During the Darkness

Each day the media gives us detailed accounts of how dark and broken our world is. Whether you get your ‘news’ from television news reports, printed newspapers and magazines, or social media–you’re being bombarded with doom and gloom. The worst minutes of strangers’ lives are plastered, shared, and argued over. There is so much heartache, and no answers or solutions coming from the people participating in the often lengthy and irrelevant comment section. Everyone has an opinion, and while we are entitled to an opinion, shouldn’t we think before stating it?

Yes, this should be obvious to everyone, but so often it isn’t. These actions can’t be laid at the feet of the unbeliever either, but rest at the dusty soles of each person. I’ve seen loudly proclaiming Christians tear people down in the guise of fellowship just as I’ve seen athiests and agnostics do it.

God created all of us, and our job is to share His gospel with others. This doesn’t mean we’re supposed to browbeat unbelievers or malign their name. Our world is currupt enough without turning our faith into a tool of corruption. When we do that, when we use Jesus as a way to bully others, we aren’t doing His works, we’re doing Satan’s.

Instead of pointing out the faults of each other maybe we, as Christians, could spread around some joy.
That’s the amazing thing about Jesus. He brings joy. People loved Him and followed Him. They were willing to give up their material possessions and their careers to join Him. They were willing to give up their lives to follow in His footsteps, to spread His teachings. This didn’t happen because He condemed each person He came in contact with. It happened because He not only had joy–even through His trials, He was joy. He was and is the light.

You, LORD, are my lamp; the LORD turns my darkness into light.
2 Samuel 22:29

During the last eight months I’ve focused on joy. Not just the word, but all that it signifies, and so far I’ve realized one very important thing. Even in the darkness that has been covering our world, there is still joy. There is still light. God is still here, with us. During each and every trial, during every painful experience, He is beside us.

That’s joy.
Knowing that this world is temporary, that the life we live on this earth isn’t the best there is, that’s joy.

Instead of pointing out the faults of everyone and adding to the darkness, choose to add light to the world. Choose to add JOY.

This day is holy to our LORD. Do not grieve, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Nehemiah 8:10

Blessings,

Sare

Fellowship

In January when I prayerfully chose Fellowship as my Word of the Year, I left it up to the LORD to decide how to use it in my life. I never quite expected it to lead me where I am currently. I thought maybe it would envolve me continuing with our small group, or maybe I’d do an ocassional social event.

Apparently I wasn’t thinking large enough.

Since January, I’ve not only continued to attend small group, but I’ve been led by the LORD to do so many things I never would have considered before. Now, as we’re coming closer to the end of 2015, I’ve realized how blessed I’ve been by this word and God’s plan for me.

Each day I learn something new about myself, and each time I walk out my door and step into a situation that doesn’t allow me to hide inside my house, I grow stronger. I get closer to the person the LORD has designed me to be.

Thank you LORD for guiding me to Classical Conversations and the community we’re building here, and thank you for placing on my heart the desire to fill a role in Children’s Ministry at my church. Neither of these things would I have ever thought to do myself. You are an amazing and loving Creator.

What blessings are you thankful for?

Blessings, Sare

Knitting for Christ

Have you ever picked up a new hobby only to wonder what you’ve gotten yourself into? Recently I’ve pulled out my knitting looms with the crazy thought to make something other than scarves and hats. I’ve checked out a few books from the library, and suddenly I feel overwhelmed. It is like reading a foreign language. I’m used to teaching myself how to do things, but every once in awhile I consider throwing in the proverbial towel, or in this case pot holder. I never expected knitting a pot holder would be such a frustrating experience.

Now, I realize this isn’t really a post focused on my walk with Jesus, but it is still connected. After all, every decision I make, every reaction I have, and every new thing I try is because of my relationship with God. Years ago I may have given up on this new learning experience, but I feel like it is something I’m being led to learn. I have this half idea, just a niggling in my heart really, that I can use this skill to spread the love of Christ. I’m not sure of the details, but I do know before I can move forward I have to learn the skill. I hope to have  a better working knowledge of loom knitting before Spring.

Prayers are always appreciated.
Yours in Christ,
Sare

Push Back the Dark

Yesterday the effects of the stress and strain that’s been my constant companion the past two months won out, and it was a horrible day. I skipped my daily PIYO workout, because I knew I needed to use that single hour of ‘me time’ — the time my daughter completes her independent work, and my son naps– to connect more completely with God.

Darkness was overtaking me and I felt like I was drowning in a pit with no way to free myself. I needed help in a BIG way. Even though I keep my Faith (there’s MY word of the year!), in our Lord, sometimes I find myself holding onto too much of the burden instead of truly letting it go to him in not only word, but deed as well.

For me, it’s easy to tell Him I’m giving my troubles to him. It isn’t so easy to actually DO it. I’m finding as I travel this path, there really is a difference.

Even after my hour of quality time with the Lord, I wasn’t better. The darkness had lessened some, but it was still there. Anger still clawed at me–threatened to turn me into a raving lunatic– I still felt alone, I still felt the seductive allure of my past calling to me. “Drink, Sare! It’ll make everything bearable. If you don’t care about anything, you won’t feel anything.”

Here’s a side note. I haven’t drank a single drop of alcohol in three years. I’d like to say this happened, because I knew I had a problem, but it didn’t. I stopped drinking mostly on accident. Three years later I consider it a happy accident, but at the time I didn’t even realize I wasn’t drinking away my problems. What happened was, I got hired on as a lifeguard and took my job seriously. I didn’t have enough time between shifts to drink and still feel secure in my ability to keep people safe.

When the dark takes over, like it did yesterday, it concerns me. Not just because it’s darkness and I’m a creature of the light, but because I worry how many times this can happen before my children are scarred by it. How many “Momma is feeling dark” days can I have before all they will remember about growing up is how angry I was? Let me just say, those worries do nothing to bring me closer to the light. Those worries don’t help me push back the darkness. In fact, I’m pretty sure those worries come from another place entirely, and that’s a place I don’t want to visit.

I know I’m new to this and that even people who have known God their entire lives have days where the darkness wants to consume them. Whenever the darkness starts pushing up on me, and I need to push it away, I repeat over and over the only verse I’ve managed to actually memorize. (That’s a lot harder than my daughter makes it look while memorizing verses for Awana!)

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me.”– Psalm 52:12

What are some verses you turn to when you need help to push back the dark?

Today, Lord I pray you will help me push away the darkness and allow my home to be a place of peace, love and joy. Amen.

Sare

The Jesus Diet

I need the LORD. Not just on bad days when  I've ate a Kit Kat and have come down from the sugar high, but every day.

Years ago I never expected to be the person I am today. A person who thrives on working out daily, and who is aware of the foods I put into my body. I won’t lie, I love cake and cookies, and it is a struggle to stop eating them once I start. However, a healthy diet, one that doesn’t make me crabby and lethargic, requires me to ignore those cravings and desires on a regular basis.

Now, contrary to popular belief, a diet isn’t all about denying yourself the ‘yummy’ things. In fact, a real diet isn’t about taking away. It’s about filling yourself with things that are good for you, things that make your body function like a well oiled machine. A body needs a wide variety of foods to provide nutrition and fuel. Yes, I could eat a Kit Kat bar for a quick energy boost, but because it isn’t nutritious, that energy will be short lived and cause me to feel lethargic and unhappy. For me, that usually takes less than an hour.

The same applies to our spiritual life and well being. As a Christian, I’ve realized that I function better, for longer periods of time, if I have a spiritual diet filled with prayer and Bible study. On the days when I’ve let “life” get in the way, and I haven’t made the time to seek Jesus and spend time in His Word, I feel much like I do after that Kit Kat bar. I’m unhappy, I’m lethargic, and suddenly bad habits start to slip back into my life.

My family starts noticing the difference, but more importantly, I notice the difference.

I need the LORD. Not just on bad days when  I’ve ate a Kit Kat and have come down from the sugar high, but every day. My best days are the days when I start with the LORD, seek Him throughout the day, and end the day with Him as well. When I turn to Him in joy as well as in need, and I make sure He is the center of my day, those days are spiritually filling. I’ve given my soul what it needs to be healthy and happy.

So, a Jesus diet isn’t about cutting Him out of my life, but about making sure I’m filling my life with enough of Him to keep my life running smoothly. The LORD created us to be great in Him. He doesn’t leave us alone to figure it out on our own, but He is there, always waiting for us to turn to Him.

Fill your spiritual cup with the LORD, turn to him in Thanksgiving as well as in need. Even when you don’t think you need Him, when you can find something else to give you that boost of energy–you need Him. I need Him. Turn to Him. Things are always better and more clear with His presence in your life.

A healthy diet is one filled with the LORD, Jesus.

 

Blessings,

Sare