Thursday, March 28, 2013

Dealing with Dog Discouragement

When Dan and I first moved to Florida I wanted to get a dog and for a whole list of reasons it just wasn’t the right time. Over the last few months we’ve been reconsidering this. Our desire for a small dog intensified over two weeks ago. Dan and Trinity had been somewhere and they saw a puppy for $30 that had already had all of its shots and was spayed/neutered. Had I have been with them that day we’d had ended up with that dog. Dan didn’t get it because he thought I’d be upset. By the time we went back for it, someone else had already taken in. After we thought about it we realized it was a good thing we didn’t because that dog in particular would have been bigger than we wanted. We realized we need a small dog that we can travel with. My family is going through a lot of transition these days, and it’s like I know we all would really enjoy having a new member of our family. Then last week I had a friend of ours offered us a 1 year old yorkie. The dog was darling but we could tell this just wasn’t our dog. We helped find that dog a home somewhere else. Truthfully we want a dog a lot younger. To be specific we’ve decided on an 8-12 week old (though I’d be okay with a tad older) small carry-on sized dog. We don’t want a yapper, we’d prefer a mutt, no ugly dogs, would love to have at least had a vet look at it because we don’t want to inherit issues, and while I get rehoming fees I do not want to pay a fortune for it (not that we’ve gotten specific or anything).

Since that time we scoured the internet, and came across a rescue dog that we thought was perfect for us. She was a chihuahua/daushund/we think pug mix. My kids fell in love with her and already had her renamed. After two days of waiting for the rescue people to get their act together they turned us down for her adoption. Their reasoning was without really talking to us and really unmerited. I was more upset they hadn’t communicated there concerns with us as to the age of our children and where the dog would stay when we weren’t here before they chose to turn us down. I was mad they waited two days to tell us this, and in the meantime I then had two very disappointed kids who already had it renamed.

I’ve spent days scouring the humane societies, craigslist, and Yesterday we traveled for a 3hr round trip to go look at a dog off Craigslist. When my youngest found out where we were going she said to Dan and I, “I feel so shaky inside!” We then got there we found out that the lady had sold it right before we showed up. We were all a little discouraged.

I think that many people deal with situations in life like we’ve been dealing with as to our family dog decision. It took us so long to make the choice that we wanted a small dog, that when we did we just assumed it would be an easy thing. We realize the discouragement that we face, and we see the toll it takes on the people around us. It makes us want to quit trying, and quit looking for the things that we want. After dealing with the snarky rescue people it makes me not sure I want to even look at rescue dogs (I will just not that rescue place.)

Sometimes in life you just have to come to the resolve that if it’s important to you then it’s worth fighting for, you have to keep pressing on despite discouragement. (Philippians 3:14) You have to keep pressing forward.

Life can be a journey filled with unexpected challenges, discouragements, and delays. But the good news is that it’s also filled with surprises, rewards, and encouragements. If you never open yourself up to anything that disappoints you then you’ll never really experience life. God didn’t create you to always be depressed. He didn’t give you the gift of life so that you always would be down in the dumps. But he gave it to you as a gift to enjoy. Face your challenges and hurdle over them. Just as we will as a family. I know that puppy is out there for us somewhere when it’s the right time, and the right dog. :-)

Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Seeing Around the Corner

Have you ever been in those kinds of seasons in your life when you know that all sorts of things are in the works and just around the corner but you can’t really see it? You know it’s there. You don’t have exacts, but it’s almost like if you just reached a little further you could touch it? It can be a season of frustration and irritation.

I know that a lot of people have this misguided notion that God likes to play with them similar to how you’d play with a cat and a ball of string. Many people think that when you get close to it God likes to move things further. God is not like that. HE wants you to fulfill His will for your life more than you do. He created you for it.

There are many reasons why God doesn’t reveal to you everything at once. One of them is it wouldn’t really be faith if we knew everything. Faith builds trust. God doesn’t want a bunch of pawns in the game of chess. He wants us to work with Him in teamwork to get to where He’s called us to.

We have to keep trusting that around the corner God has good plans for us even if we can’t see them completely.

Jeremiah 29:11 (ESV) For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Trust God in what He’s doing in your life. He’ll tell you what’s around the corner and you’ll walk in it. All will be well.

Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Which one are you talking about God?

Last night God downloaded a really awesome book idea to me. It’s not a completely unusual occurrence. I like anyone who starts to step into their gifting will learn once you use that gift you start realizing you can do it, and thus God gives you more to use that gifting on. Usually I have about five book ideas roaming around in my head. Easily I could be one of those Einstein esk hermit like people who don’t do anything other than work and come out on occasion in a hair frazzled afro doo (Seriously I do have the hair for it), and only stop working when I have to. I used to say I’d never write another book again after I finish one, but I’m done saying that now. I’m working on number 17. It becomes an addiction. This is why one of the many reasons God, my friends, and family are such a blessing. They help me learn balance.

A little over a month ago Hank Kunneman had given me a prophetic word about a book God was giving to me to write. It’s funny though, I’m working on one book and have about five on deck, so now I’m like, “Is it this one God? Is it this one? Or is it this one?”

It can be very easy to get up in your head about these things and start obsessing over them. But that isn’t God’s intention. Prophetic words are meant to be encouragement. They aren’t meant to stress over them. I always joke that when Jesus was born, Joseph didn’t have a scroll list of all the places and things Jesus would need to live and go in order to be the Messiah. He just listened to what God was telling him and it all worked out. All those words worked out. It wasn’t for them to make happen. It just worked out.

One of my favorite scriptures is:

Isaiah 30:21 (ESV)
 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

But in the context of that, I’ll add another important one. . . .

Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

God will bring about the things He has spoken to you. They will come to pass. It’s not your job to make them happen. HOWEVER, it’s your job to do what you can to get there. Meaning, I have to write the books God has on my heart. Maybe I’ll have to submit them to a publisher, but its God’s job to open the door and orchestrate the divine appoints. You can take rest in the fact somehow someway God will and does make a way.

Remember, God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Dealing with Turndowns

I’ve been in the publishing industry a lot of years. Truthfully if I wasn’t sure what I was doing was what God wanted me to be doing I would have been out the door a long time ago. I love what I do, but the cycle of turndowns, rejections, and finding the right publisher fit gets tedious and old. You can easily find yourself on a spiritual and emotional roller coaster that can wear you out and suck the life out of you if you let it.

Truthfully turndowns don’t get to me as much as they used to. Unless it’s a publishing house or a connection I’ve invested a lot of time with, typically I don’t care much anymore. I understand the business is just that a business and the choices aren’t personal. Often it’s just about finding the right fit for the right project, etc. etc. However, yesterday was one of those connections that I had invested a lot of time and effort in. I don’t need to go into specifics but this one hurt.

As I found myself slipping into a pity party mode, and running on the same tracks of the coaster ride that I used to know so well, I found that this time it was different. I had people around me reminding me of everything God had done in the situation, and everything I already knew he was doing. Again I found God speaking to me of the promises He’s given me. While it was a fight for a few hours not to go to the pity party pit, I found the hope of what I know to be true speaking louder than all the doubts that swirled around my head. Sure I had a couple hours of tears, but I’m back because though crying may be in the night, joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5)

One of my favorite books on the planet, that I think every believer should read next to the Bible is God’s Creative Power by Charles Capps. On page 148 there is a prayer I proclaim over my life regularly based off the scripture in Eph 4:23. “My mind is renewed by the Word of God; therefore I forbid thoughts of failure and defeat to inhabit my mind.”

We all face situations that make us want to cry, jump on the twisting descending spiral of a pity party, and run away from what we know God has called us to do. But in those moments I’ve learned over the course of numerous turndowns you have to put the brakes on your emotions. Don’t get me wrong take some time to grieve, but bounce back. There is too much destiny on your life to stay in the pit for long. Remember that even Joseph had a pit experience, but like Joseph God can take you from the pit to the palace in one day!

Remember God has awesome plans for your life. Get excited.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Sometimes, it's not easy!

This morning my mom and grandfather ended their trip to the South and started the long drive back to Ohio. For most of my readers you know my story, but for those that don’t, over 12 years ago now God told my husband and I to move across the country to a land that we knew virtually no one. We both have amazing loving and supportive families 1,000’s of miles away. I can’t tell you we’ve been here because of a job, but we’ve been here because we knew beyond a doubt for this season it was where God wanted us to be living. While we are blessed to get to see our families on occasion, in my mind and most of theirs, visits are few and far between.

Having done this for so long many would think the separation gets easier, or the choice to be where we know God wants us to be would suddenly be as if our fairy godmother had waved a magic wand and made it okay. It doesn’t happen that way. It’s not easy. I still cry. Honestly I’ve been a bit bummy all day. In a perfect world I’m not sure where I’d choose to live. I hate lengthy stays in the snow, maybe I’d snowbird it, but one thing I know for sure is I don’t regret making the choices that we’ve made. As hard and difficult it has been, I see God’s hand in it. I don’t regret choosing to live a life sold out for where God has wanted us to be, and while I’d like to be closer, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt we’ve needed the season here that we’ve had. I can start naming various Bible characters and other known names in the kingdom that also had to go through a season of being apart from the comforts of home.

Matthew 19:29 (ESV)
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.

Sometimes people like to lie or put on a happy face and pretend that a mature walk in the Lord is some easy thing. It’s not always easy. I’m not saying everyone has to physically leave their families, but I am saying sometimes you have to make choices that are difficult. Easy choices aren’t always the right choices. I heard Joyce Meyer say once that God is more concerned about the long-term results then our immediate comfort. It’s a very true statement. Things that are difficult do seem to work out. At the end of the day you have to trust the Lord. You have to trust that He has your best interest at heart and he does have a way to give you the desires of your heart. (Psalms 37:4) So even when it’s not easy. . .make the choice to do what He is saying. It will work out in the end, and he will restore the time that was lost.

Remember, He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Taking the Time To Show You Care?

My grandmother has been moved in with Jesus for over three years now, and I think about her every day. My grandmother really cared and loved me. I never doubted that. She took time for me, and made an effort. In the summer’s we’d go to Harding Memorial in Marion, Ohio and we’d have a picnic of Happy Meals on the steps and sometimes have dryer boxes that we could roll down the hill. She once got me out of my parents’ house when I was in trouble and sent to my room, because I called her and told her to come get me. There were shopping trips, car rides, and hours of her just listening to me talk. The memories I have of her are priceless. Time with her was so much more than things or stuff, but they were hours she invested in me. Even in the years I lived across the country we still talked often, she sent cards, and she went out of her way to make memories even though the location distance was great. I knew she cared. I miss her.

We live in such a fast pace society. Our families are getting further and further apart, and I think we’ve really lost the concept of being part of a community. Churches are supposed to kind of be like that, but anymore it’s just not the case. The phrase it “takes a village to raise a child” I believe is true, but it’s as if few children today have the village to help raise them. It seems most our culture has become lonely islands in the midst of the world.

Titus 2:1-6 (MSG)
A God-Filled Life
2 1-6 Your job is to speak out on the things that make for solid doctrine. Guide older men into lives of temperance, dignity, and wisdom, into healthy faith, love, and endurance. Guide older women into lives of reverence so they end up as neither gossips nor drunks, but models of goodness. By looking at them, the younger women will know how to love their husbands and children, be virtuous and pure, keep a good house, be good wives. We don’t want anyone looking down on God’s Message because of their behavior. Also, guide the young men to live disciplined lives.

God knows how important to people it is to have a sense of community. He knew that the older generation needed to teach the younger. He knows how much it’s lacking in our society.

I want this blog today to be a reminder to all of you to pray about what you can do in your circle of influence to help build your community and the people in it. How can you influence the next generation? How can you show you care? We all want awesome stores of nations being shaken for the glory of God, and revivals breaking out. But those things begin in local churches. They begin when everyone steps out and begins to see those around them. When we can show the world we care, they’ll know there is a God in heaven that does.

Remember He has awesome plans for your life. Get excited!