Break

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I’m joining Kate Motaung for Five Minute Friday. One word prompt. Five minutes. No editing. Lots of women. All of us writing on that same word.

Today the word prompt is … Break.

I closed the door, breathed in a sigh, thankful to have a few minutes to myself. The thoughts which I had kept from flooding my mind could be held back no more and with their arrival, the tears flowed as well.

And the question loomed before me …

“Had we reached our breaking point?”

Breaking point —> it’s the very point at which something or someone gives way under stress or a situation. The point at which you just cannot take any more. You’ve had it. You just want to be let alone.

As hard as it is to be certain when we ourselves have reached our breaking point, to ascertain when someone else has arrived at their breaking point is near impossible.

As these thoughts swirled and the tears rolled, I remembered a quote I had written in the margin of my Bible:

God will not cut you back so much that you are broken beyond the ability to grow, nor will He quench you to the point that you give up or quit.
(Anne Graham Lotz)

God knows our breaking point and assures me:

“A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out.” (Isaiah 43:3, NIV)

Reedgrass at sunsetPhoto Credit: © Theo Allofs/Corbis

Today I am joining with … Five Minute Friday and Faith Filled Friday and Dance With Jesus and Fellowship Friday .

Let’s Grow Up

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If you have raised children, you probably already know what I am going to share ….

Potty training can be hard!

There I said it. Everyone makes it sound like all children turn two years of age and magically become potty trained. And for some, it’s true. There are children who are ready and able and easy to train.

There are also those who are not.

Lately I have been spending my days with a toddler who falls into the latter category. She fully understands the concept but quite frankly, no one is going to tell her when and how and where to do her business. Literally.

So we have done what every sane adult would do – we bribe, we make promises, we sit on the bathroom floor and beg, we get frustrated and eventually, surrender comes. But is we who have surrendered not the toddler.

Surely we cannot be the only ones to experience this.

We give up and let some time go by and then try again.

This week, we are trying again. Except this time, it was she who decided she wanted to try again. And we are in our third day of success. Please don’t say this too loudly as she might hear and she is very strong willed and well, very much in control of this aspect of her life. I would be so disappointed if she changed her mind. Again.

But here is what potty training is teaching me this week:

  1. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready. “Dear brothers and sisters, when I was with you I couldn’t talk to you as I would to spiritual people. I had to talk as though you belonged to this world or as though you were infants in the Christian life. I had to feed you with milk because you weren’t ready for anything stronger. And you still aren’t ready.” (1 Corinthians 3:1-2, NLT)
  2. We can resist the maturation process. “You have been believers so long now that you ought to be teaching others. Instead, you need someone to teach you again the basic things about God’s word. You are like babies who need milk and cannot eat solid food.” (Hebrews 5:12, NLT)
  3. We must grow up. “When I was a child, I spoke and thought and reasoned as a child. But when I grew up, I out away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11,)

Change occurs when they are ready. Maturity does happen. And it happens for us as well. Much the way, my toddler had to make up her mind she wanted the change to occur, we must come to the point of desiring to grow up and mature in Christ.

May we move from milk to solids.

Let’s make up our minds and grow up.

Children growing upPhoto Credit: © GraphicaArtis/Corbis

Today I am joining with … Thought Provoking Thursday and Woman 2 Woman and Everyday Jesus .

 

Love Through Actions

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103-winnie-the-poohIn his book, “Love Does”, Bob Goff makes these observations:

  • The ones Jesus first picked to follow Him started out typical, to be sure.
  • God is constantly inviting them into a life that moves away from the typical.
  • Jesus lets us be real with our life and our faith.
  • He said we’d know the extent of our love by how well we loved people.

(all from page 15)

Let’s stop right there on that last point. I have been thinking on this for days now. Notice – we will know the extent of our love by how well we love people. Not by how much people love us. {{Ouch!}}

Yet most of us, if we’re honest, desire to be on the receiving end more so than on the giving end.

I recently set out to find the answer to the question – How does Jesus call us to love?

“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions. Our actions will show that we belong to the truth, so we will be confident when we stand before God.” (1 John 3:18-19, NLT)

Real love involves self-sacrifice. Not others necessarily sacrificing for us but each of us sacrificing of ourselves. We do this by becoming more concerned with the needs of others than with our own needs. We become willing to unselfishly give of our time, our effort, and our prayers.

“Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring one another.” (Romans 12:9-10, NLT)

No pretense. Genuine love. Honoring one another, again, means to put the needs of others before your own.

Sometimes we wonder what God would have us to do. What is His will for us? Does He have commands He wants us to follow? Let Jesus’ words speak for themselves …

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love one another. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:34-35, NLT)

Jesus was telling His disciples to love each other with the sort of love they had seen and experienced modeled by Jesus Himself. Loving in this manner would be the proof the world needed to see, in order to know they were His.

To “prove” >>

  • establishes the genuineness of
  • establishes the authenticity
  • shows the character or ability expected especially through the actions

Did you catch the last definition? It is our love especially demonstrated through our actions which will display our character.

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Today I am asking myself … What is my love demonstrating?

 

Today I am joining … Three Word Wednesday and Tell His Story and Wedded Wednesday and Works For Me and Women With Intention .

We’re The Same …Guest Post @ Testimony Tuesday

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Holly’s blog, the link-up and this series have so blessed me. I signed up to do a guest post before the series opened. As each week passed, I cannot even begin to describe what gripped me – fear? Anxiety? Inadequacy? Not sure.

But this I know – I have a testimony. Having been brought up in church from birth, I cannot remember NOT being in church. My testimony has always been that of a life kept by God’s grace.

Yet in my heart, I knew God was saying, “It is your testimony but not the testimony I want you to share. Just wait on me.”

Life continued to roll on. My days were filled with my routine and the unexpected, all at the same time.

And then the testimony I was to share unfolded right in front of me ….

Waiting room at a private practice

** For the remainder of this post, please join me at Holly Barrett’s Testimony Tuesday.

I am also joining … Unite and Titus 2 Tuesday and True Story and RaRa Linkup and Teaching What Is Good and Life Giving .

Photo Credit: © Jose Luis Pelaez, Inc./Corbis

Always With Us

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11015084_865590096835214_4335680576188250137_nThis past week I continued reading in the Psalms each morning. Each psalm brought this assurance – God is always with us, therefore, we can walk in confidence.

  • Psalm 16 – “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (verse 11, NLT). In that verse, “joy” means an attitude of happiness & cheerfulness stemming from jubilance of a relationship with God. Seeing as I don’t use “jubilance” or “jubilant’ at all, I looked that word up in dictionary – – “cheers from victors” & that is who we are – victors in and through Jesus Christ. We can have a cheerful attitude, even in the midst of difficulties, as we remember Christ has already won the victory.
  • Psalm 17 – “I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God. Bend down and listen as I pray” (verse 6). I LOVED the imagery of God bending down to listen as I pray. Much the way I bend down, or squat low, to hear when one of my grandchildren is speaking to me, our God bends to listen to each of us. Heaven bending to meet earth. I googled these words (“picture of bending down to listen”) and the first five hits were Scriptures which contained the imagery of God bending down to listen. Even google knows! Remember He is bending low to give you His ear.
  • Psalm 27 – “My heart has heard you say, ‘Come and talk with me.’ And my heart responds, ‘Lord, I am coming’ (verse 8, NLT). May we look deeply and determine how well we are doing with responding to Him. Am we coming to Him? Are we showing up when He beckons us?
  • Psalm 31 – “So be strong and courageous, all you who put your hope in the Lord! (verse 24). It will take strength and courage to hope in Him when things are going against us. But we have the promise that “when we are weak, he makes us strong.” For He gives us His strength.
  • Psalm 34 – “The righteous person faces many troubles, but the Lord come to the rescue each time(verse 19, NLT). We are not told that we will not have trouble in this life. But we are assured of His Presence with us each and every time we face trouble.

“Hope can see heaven through the thickest clouds.” (Thomas Brooks)

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Today I am joining … #SmallWonder and Inspire Me Mondays and Playdates With God and Create With Joy and Making Your Home Sing and Motivate & Rejuvenate Mondays .

The Dance

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“May you experience the love of Christ; though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.” (Ephesians 3:19, NLT)

I have gone back to read this blessing repeatedly the last few weeks ….

May your expectations all be frustrated,
May all of your plans be thwarted,
May all of your desires be withered into nothingness,
That you may experience the powerlessness and poverty of a child and can sing and dance in the love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

(Brennan Manning, as quoted by John Ortberg in All The Places To Go, page 159)

May we dance!

Ballroom dancing

Photo Credit: © Anthony Redpath/CORBIS

Today I am joining … Give Me Grace and Still Saturday and Sunday Stillness and Spiritual Sundays and Scripture & a Snapshot .

5: Of Community, Prayer, & Parenting

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Yesterday was the official start of spring. The first day of spring began at 6:45 PM EDT. After this winter, we all needed to know the exact moment spring would arrive. “Google” and you will discover, I am telling the truth And then it snowed last night! The perfect way to celebrate the end of this winter and the start of spring :) Another great way to celebrate is to spend time with some of my favorite posts this week …

1) I love watching the birds in our yard. In this post, we learn the importance of community and what to do when our feathers are ruffled.

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2) Prayer. So important in our lives and yet there are times we feel God is distant from us. In this post we learn, “Even when God seems silent, He’s still listening. He just may be waiting to respond.”

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3) We often judge others by the things we notice about them. In this post, we learn the importance of listening to their story and the difference their story can make.

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4) We know we need accountability in our lives. We also know we need to hold one another accountable. In this post we will learn, “In essentials, unity. In non-essentials, liberty. In all things, charity.” (St. Augustine)

Slack lining in a park.*photo credit

5) It is hard being a mom. The hardest part is letting go. In this post we are reminded, letting go is a little bit easier when we remember our God will always keep hold of them.

penny-005May you all enjoy your weekend and be blessed by what you read!

Love,

Joanne

 

Photo Credit: © Jordan Siemens/Corbis

Today I am joining … Recommendation Saturday and The Weekend Brew and Faith Along The Way and The SITS Sharefest and Faith ‘N Friends .