The benefits of a valley experience!

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   If you’ve noticed you haven’t heard from me in awhile, you would be correct. It seems I am, and have been for quite some time, in a valley. A valley that just stretches out before me with no exits or mountain tops in sight.

   Being the author of a book about negative thinking, I have a working knowledge of how to fight the negative thoughts (my constant companions in this valley). Therefore, I know that God’s Truth thoughts are the key to finding my way out. And for brief periods of time, those Truth thoughts lit up a possible exit. But alas, it was only short lived.

   At this point, I still find myself in the valley. And I don’t have much hope of  leaving this place any time soon. So, what should I do? 

   May I insert here that while I am living in the valley at the moment, it is NOT a dark valley. God’s Truth thoughts which I focus on prevent such darkness. It is not a valley without hope of finding a way out. While the negative thoughts of despair, discouragement, and thoughts of giving up do tempt me, they do not rule my thinking. They do not prevail! 

   Also, I find that in this valley, I am tempted with thoughts of self-condemnation. This judgmental attitude towards myself and others (especially those I have complaints against) keep my vision clouded. And yes, I am weary of the fight against feeling sad, disheartened, and discouraged.

So what’s the answer here?

   Giving into these fiery darts will only plant me permanently in this desolate valley. I DO NOT DESIRE THAT! Nor does God! 

   Here’s a thought! Why not just accept this valley time? I ask myself, “Why on earth would I do that?” To which I believe God gave me this reply:

Isaiah 48:17, This is what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel says, I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit who leads you in the way you should go.

   If I cooperate with the LORD, and instead of asking Him to lift me out of this valley (because really, it’s unpleasant and I don’t like being here), then my time in this valley will produce benefits for me.

   So! I should quite spinning my wheels trying to escape this valley I’m stuck in! Instead, I should turn my energies towards cooperating with God in order to learn the lessons He has for me here. Keeping in mind that it is for my benefit.

To Which I reply!

“Okay, not the answer I was striving for! My flesh would much rather You would just lift me out of this valley. Make things easier, you know! But I recognize those fiery darts for what they are. There’s only one way out. That’s Your way, not my way!”

 

GOD’S DESIGN

   Too often our minds are cluttered with thoughts not of God’s design. Cluttered thinking prevents us from hearing God’s quite voice. Life get’s confused and complicated. Solutions to problems evade us. Our vision becomes clouded and we loose our direction. Thoughts such as these are what I call ‘fiery darts.’ Designed to undermine the work of God in our lives.

   If you have ever been plagued with such thoughts, perhaps the following will give you a lift:

God’s Design

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Beyond the boundaries of my front porch view, lies a world troubled and confused.

A world full of people who have lost their way.

People who can no longer recognize the beauty of truth.

Peace escapes them, in spite of all their grasping.

Solutions to problems remain unfound.

Life is lived at a fast pace, so, little is heard of God’s voice.

Loosing sight of what’s valuable, is the result.

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But here on my front porch, time stands still.

Allowing me to pause and experience His quietness:

A dove cooing in the distance, joins the bird chorus nearby.

Hummingbirds buzzing near my porch feeders.

Silky, gentle breezes offers accent to my reverie.

I feast on the green of the hay fields, and mown lawn laid out before me.

Trees in the spring freshness of their green bordering my view,

Allow me to bask in a morning set at the perfect temperature.

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As I gaze upon the scene before me,

Disturbing thoughts of worry and fear give way to thoughts more sublime,

Thoughts more in keeping with God’s design.

Motherhood? His Calling?

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   I love being a mother! I love being a grandmother! I have always felt these roles to be more of a calling for me than anything else. My perspective on Motherhood finds its basis within that calling. Motherhood fulfills me like nothing else.

   Yet, I raised my four children in a time when Motherhood had begun to loose its splendor! The feminist movement had a lot to do with that, I think. Fortunately, my mother and my maternal grandmother were splendid role models. Their positive influence offset the negative influence of society’s changing perspective on Motherhood for me.

   But the most powerful force that shaped my mindset regarding Motherhood was the awareness that God had called me to this role. 

   His calling on my life, carried me when I felt like a failure as a mom. His calling gave me strength to mother when I felt I had none of my own. His calling motivated me to respect the individuality of my children. His calling influenced  me to take a positive approach with my children. His calling impressed upon me the importance of being a godly example to my children. His calling kept me grounded in what was truly important concerning my children. His calling defined the values I wanted to instill in my children. His calling helped me to teach my children how to stand against the world.

   I could go on and on. But suffice it to say, having a relationship with God through Jesus Christ, made ALL the difference in how I mothered my children. It was  His calling  that helped me recognize the fiery darts that were set to undermine my role as a mom. His calling empowered me to reject the lies the World declared about Motherhood. His calling implanted His Truth in my mind and replaced those lies.

   Too many women have allowed the world’s concept of truth to alter their thinking about Motherhood. Rejecting the role given to them by God, they have given themselves over to lies and manipulation. Removing God’s Truths from their lives and replacing them with the lies prevalent in our society has deadly consequences. For the unbeliever, obviously, but for the believer as well.

Christians, weakened in spirit, will not have the strength to stand against the world. It stands to reason, then, that the weaker Christians are spiritually, the more likely they will succumb to fiery dart attacks, designed to alter their attitude and actions toward what’s going on in the world. p. 48 FD, 3rd Edition

WHILE YOU WAIT

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I sit by an open window.

Gazing upon the greenness of the fields and trees in view,

Feeling the cool gentle breezes brush across my face,

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Listening to the sweet songs of the birds,

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As I pour my heart out to You.

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With all this the fiery darts compete,

Blinding me from the view from my window,

Distracting me from the comfort of the cool gentle breezes,

Drowning out the sweetness of the bird’s songs.

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And the answers I seek don’t come.

I wonder how long must I wait?

Then the serenity of the view from my window,

The cool gentle breezes caressing my face,

The sweet songs of the birds blessing my hearing,

Awaken my senses.

It’s then that I see, feel, and hear Your voice,

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Do not fret or worry, for I’m working on your problem.

While you wait, take comfort in the serene view from your window,

Relax as the cool gentle breezes caress your face,

Allow the sweet songs of the birds to calm you.

They are gifts from Me to you,

To comfort you while you wait!

 

 

Some relief please!

   Does your life seem complicated at times?  Do you feel like you just don’t have God’s full attention? You pray for guidance but it seems God remains silent. Does the peace you earnestly seek for continue to elude you? You fast, but the answers and the peace do not come. And while you are still waiting for answers, you get punched in the gut with more problems! 

  Yet, you have the sense to know that answers won’t come from any other source. Therefore, you know you must persevere. So you keep on asking the LORD.  All the while wondering when the relief will come.

  In the meantime, fiery darts are messing with your resolve to seek the LORD. They plant doubt and confusing thoughts into your mind. With these fiery dart thoughts,  your seeking the LORD grows more complicated. For now you must sort through these dark thoughts to be able to hear from and be guided by God’s Truth thoughts. 

What do you do in these valley times? 

   Might I suggest that you attack the fiery dart thoughts (those thoughts of negativity, hopelessness, discouragement, doubt, fear, impatience, etc) as soon as they enter your mind. Replace them with Truth thoughts such as Isaiah 54:17, Jeremiah 29:11, Hebrews 11:1, John 14:27, James 1:2-4, Philippians 2:13, Isaiah 43:4. Words from God to encourage you, give you hope, and to lift you up.

  And we’ve all lived long enough to know that sometimes the answers won’t come quickly (which seems the rule not the exception). At times, we might find that we just have to wait for the answers that seem so long in coming. It is during such times that we must arm ourselves with verses that instruct us as we wait.

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  It is good for us to remember, that these dark times have a purpose. (Romans 8:28) God will use these times for our benefit and His glory.  Therefore, focusing on the following word from God, will keep our heads above water. And though the answers still may not come for awhile, these words will give us the relief we need to keep on keeping on. 

 Isaiah 48:17, “This is what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says:  I am Yahweh your God, who teaches you for your benefit, who leads you in the way you should go.

 

From despair to freedom!

   There was a time when despair lurked beneath the surface of my thoughts almost constantly. In hindsight and especially after my lessons on fiery dart thinking, I now know that I was being victimized by fiery dart thinking. Or using a term you might relate to easier, negative thinking.

   My schooling in spiritual warfare taught me a lesson that transformed my walk with God.  Being the people pleaser that I was, I cared too much about what others thought of me. I lost my focus as to who I was in Christ. Instead my self worth had more to do with what I thought others thought of me. Obviously, if their treatment of me left me wounded, then my self worth plummeted. 

   I now realize that my temptation to despair had mostly to do with the thoughts in my head. If they were negative (and way too often they were) then a hopeless despair pulled at me constantly. 

   Learning how to reject those negative thoughts (fiery darts) and replace them with God’s Truth thoughts (Ephesians 6:16) set me on a road to recovery and to freedom. A lengthy process, I admit, but one well worth embarking upon; life saving in fact!

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No matter what others thought of me, or what I thought they thought, the Truth thought is found in Isaiah 43:4. I learned to make that my focus.

 

Are We Satisfied or Discontented? We choose!

Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you. Hebrews 13:5, 

  Anyone who reads the above verse would identify immediately the wisdom of these words. We know that if we had our anchor in the Truth thought that God will never leave us or forsake us, we would be able to be satisfied with what we have. Right? Then if we know these words are true, then why is it that it’s hard to be someone who is free from the love of money?

   I would venture to say that the fiery dart of ‘comparison’ would be at the root of our dissatisfaction. It is just natural to compare ourselves to others who have more than we do.  We begin to feel sorry for ourselves. We might even notice jealously creeping into our thoughts. 

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   The nature of these fiery darts is to steal our satisfaction with what we have been given by God. We aren’t able to be content because we always want more. And not being content will lead to a whining and complaining attitude. That’s a miserable way to choose to live!

   So when we find ourselves wrestling with comparing ourselves to others who have more and find ourselves becoming discontented with what we have been blessed with,  be smart and recognize them immediately for the fiery darts they are. And every single time   these fiery darts invade your thinking, reject them and replace this thinking with Hebrews 13:5.

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   Focusing on the Truth thoughts in this verse will lead to a satisfied and contented attitude towards life. That is a blessed way to choose to live.