Before the storm and in it

Image

A few months before our first storm, in our everything is finally going smoothly again season, I had painted a picture. Now clearly I am not a great artist, but this picture represented praising God through the storms of life. I had decided I was going to praise Him through anything.

I had no idea how much I would need to remember those words and that initial feeling when the painting was complete that praise was my offering, no matter what.

I have learned that the praise from my lips brings me joy. I have learned focusing my eyes on greatness rather than the destruction around me brings me joy.

I have found that a God that cares enough to keep me in a home when income was cut by 2/3 for over six months now,  cares enough that my husband crashed a car and survived, cares enough that there are days of strength in the midst of illness,  cares enough that my children bringing me laughter after days that they make me want to pull out my hair, is a God that cares ENOUGH.

Life is not JUST what you see in front of your face or in your moment. There is a whole world going on around you despite that storm. There is ALWAYS something to find to praise.

When I was consumed with depression and despair, all I spoke out of my mouth was anger, frustration, hopelessness and turmoil that was inside me. It was bringing about death and destruction.

I decided it was time for a heart change when I sat in the shower dreaming of my blood pouring down the drain. I was awakened by the Spirit of the Lord stirring in me… “This is NOT what I have for you!”

The strange thing is, my despondent depressing days surrounding mostly my illness. Nothing tragically frustrating had happened in our life for  a few years at my darkest time. Things were quiet and mostly good, except I was physically sick and felt miserable. The pain was blinding and living in a fog had broken me…for a moment.

It is now that I can look back and see God was saying, you are stronger than this. He had a testimony for me to share, and the work had only just begun.

I decided at my worst that it was time to get my heart right. Out of the heart your mouth will speak. I had aloud despair to consume me and to be my heart condition and I would not settle for  it!

It was after that shower that I had looked up and saw the painting I had painted. I painted this painting by ‘accident’ I had no intention of a tree, or a storm or hands raised, I was painting and it took shape.

I decided looking at this picture that I wanted to WALK in a heart of praise. I wanted praise to consume me, I wanted praise to pour from my lips continually.

I have had these moments before, I have always been a worshiper, but God was doing something even deeper than I could imagine!

I had no idea the battle front I would be facing when I made that decision all those months ago to praise Him in every storm. But praise Him I have, and praise Him I will. I know that He has awesome plans for us, and while I blog and learn new joys every morning, you watch and see, He is going to do GREAT things in the midst of these storms. I mean my lands, look at what He already had done through my last blogs.

Challenge this day my friends: It is time for a starting place, I do not care how small it seems, praise Him this day for something. Praise Him for a sunrise, for a hope, for a moment, or for the simple fact that

He is GOOD.

Psalm 30:12

That I might sing praises to you and not be silent. OH LORD MY GOD, I will give you thanks forever!

(NLT)

Childhood joys

The sun shines bright. My spirit perks up a bit just to have the glorious light beam across my face and the warmth hits deep!

I am taken back to childhood days. Days that were complete bliss in the midst of the most simplest moments. Memories flood back  of blowing sticky bubbles, drawing in sand with my fingers,

drawing in Sand with my son

picking dandelions as a prize for my mommy, imagining I am the princess dancing in the kingdom, running in green grass with bare feet and how the grass stained the bottom of my toes, and moments of laying on the ground in fits of giggles when my friends and I were exhausted from the games.

This is the kind of pure simple joy that I am trusting for daily. My joys do not come from my circumstances or the amount of money I put into an experience, but just by having the experience. Joys that come from simply living. Joys from spending time with the one that loves me most and encourages me to have the heart of a child.

To have joy, simply because I have the right to. I can still dance, sing, clap, laugh, be silly and simply just be me.

I AM a princess. I AM a daughter of a king. One that does not have to give up the childlike presence in my heart. I am encouraged to be as a child. To laugh and have joy, to look at all the blessings as sweet gifts. To look at a bird flying in the blue skies with awe anew. I have the ability to look at the awesome gifts the creator has given me with fresh eyes and wonderment. I can stop taking the world around me for granted. He has given me a beautiful picture to wake up to daily…. life.

Challenge this day my friends: When struggling with walking in joy, stop and look at things in your life with wonderment. Have that childlike faith that the things you need to change will. That you still CAN be anything He created you to be! Walk with you eyes forward and face what you must, but remember, there is joy in simple things!

Matthew 19:14

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me. Don’t stop them! For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to those who are like these children.”

(NLT)

Sing a new song

I am called to sing. I was the eight year old that would write songs and record them on my little boom box, completely oblivious to how it actually sounded once recorded. My aunt taught me how to sing to a music track so I could sing in church. My parents bought me a karaoke machine one year for Christmas and I wore the machine out. My heart experiences joy in singing a new song, a fresh song of what is on my heart for the day.

When I was 15 there was a pastor that had a message titled ‘sing baby sing’. I have never forgotten that message. Singing in all situations at all times, sing through it. Song changes the atmosphere, changes the frustration, and changes your flesh reaction to the moments you are going through.

I do know there are many out there that hate to sing. But the experience of expressing a song of thankfulness, joy, praise and hope will  eventually bring  a more natural reaction of praise when you are in situations that you wish to do without. Practicing praise will bring it bubbling in your heart. Even if the song is expressed simply by speaking the words, writing them down or a whisper; rejoice, praise and lift of the name of Jesus with a new song  that comes from you.

There is something amazing about  letting go of the self and letting loose and belting out a joy. I will sometimes start with a thank you or if I don’t know where to start in the moment I will  repeat the psalms. Focusing on a joyous song completely takes my eyes off of the situations I am in and puts a joy to my day…. regardless.

I have learned also the importance of writing these fresh songs down. It doesn’t matter how simple, or if it is only one line. Sometimes the rest of the song will come later. Sometimes the one lines are only going to be one line, but in the times of sorrow or heartache it is a joy to look back and read moments of joy that were written down.

Challenge this day my friend: Start with a step. Sing a simple song and don’t focus on how it sounds, just let loose and the words to take root. Sing a joy, a thank you, hopes or what you wish to see as an outcome of your situation. Sing a new song. Go on, I dare you , sing!

Psalm 33:3-

Sing to Him a new song; play skillfully and shout for joy.

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