Friday, September 20, 2013

Proof of His Promise - The Story of the Playstation

This year for my son's 6th birthday he received a Playstation 3 as a gift. Before I show you his reactions in a montage of pictures - let me rewind and prelude the awesome with how incredibly meaningful and beautiful that moment in time was & will forever be to me.

Last year my boys father left after a year of watching our lives crumble.  I won't go into all of the nitty gritty details, but there were moments of fear that washed over me that I never would want any person to experience.  Because of the harm my children's father was putting himself through and the people involved in that life style - our safety was put in jeopardy.

 (Insert Momma Bear mode)  Nobody was going to hurt my babies and I REFUSED to live in that fear. 

 After months of digging deeper into God's word, holding onto His promises, and trusting that He would pull us through this hardship, helping me every step of the way when I did not have the strength - I received a phone call with an invitation to move to Austin, Texas.  I'd love to say that a sense of relief washed over me, but honestly I was afraid... afraid of leaving a place I called my home for my whole life.  So what did I do?

I prayed... and prayed... and prayed some more.
Hebrews 4:16 Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
& then the answers started rolling in.
Joshua 1:13 Remember the word that Moses the servant of the Lord commanded you, saying, ‘The Lord your God is providing you a place of rest and will give you this land.'
Ephesians 2:10 (MSG) For we are God's (own) handiwork (His workmanship) recreated in Christ Jesus, (born anew) that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned before hand) for us (taking paths which He prepared ahead of time), that we should walk in them (living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us to live).
& many more verses pointing in the direction that God wanted me to go.  So I began preparing to leave and the hits kept coming - down to the last few weeks we were there (May of 2013).  Someone broke into our house and stole things, one being my son's Playstation 3, just about the only thing left that he had other than what was already shipped to Texas.  My heart broke... it was devastating for me to tell my son after all that he had been through that another piece of his life was gone, taken from him, for no fault of his own. (insert tears)
When I put my little man to bed that night I was desperate to hear God's reaction to this... to know why - because knowing God is good, I saw ZERO good coming from this & I was beyond frustrated with life.  So what did I do? I opened my Bible and my eyes fell upon this:
Isaiah 61:7 Instead of your shame
you will receive a double portion,
and instead of disgrace
you will rejoice in your inheritance.
And so you will inherit a double portion in your land,
and everlasting joy will be yours.
Wiping my tear streaked face (let's be honest there were some snot streaks in there too because that was an uncontrollable sob fest) I took a deep breath and felt an overwhelming sense of peace wash over me as God whispered "just trust me."
Fast forward to September - Aydn's birthday month.  Between having two boys and trying to get back on my feet a brand new Playstation 3 was not obtainable by the income I was taking in... at least by myself.  BUT - 
Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
& a week before Aydn's birthday there was a man down the street who wanted to sell his Playstation 3 for less than half the price of a new one... with four remote controls... with numerous games!!!!!!



& that's the story of the Playstation... and how truly the promises of God are so real in our lives.  This will forever be one of my favorite memories of how God restored what was done to us. 
Believe & TRUST in what God is doing in your life. 
Get your feelings of fear out of the way & continue to praise - ALWAYS!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Don't Quit - Reset!

Okay, so I know my always enthusiastic displays of happy make some people sick and make others question my cheerful authenticness.  Let me be raw and real with you - it's me.  It is how I choose to cope with what life throws at me...

Does that mean that I do not get hit with life's blows - NO!  In the last year I went through the agony of a divorce, I've moved over 1,000 miles from home, lost an important friendship, had a family member go into the hospital back home, plus the daily stress of this single Mom thing is NOT easy by ANY means. BUT even in the midst of all of those struggles I could and can still find peace, the key is to continuously seek it.
  When hardships hit it's not time to quit... it's time to reset.   
Here are some ways that help me seek & stay in God's peace:
 1.) Write a letter of all of the things going right in your life, a thankful list of the blessings and gifts to shift that focus to the right mindset. 
2.) Go for a run, hike, or my favorite hula hoop to work out any frustration you may be having.  Always choose good music to accompany the physical activity - God can speak to you in the words of a song. 
3.) Meditate on God's word - some of my favorite verses to flip when going through a tough situation are:
1 Peter 5:10 And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.
Psalm 55:22 Cast your cares on the LORD and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.
Psalm 37:5-6 Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him, and he will act. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your justice as the noonday.
4.) Talk with a family member or a good friend.  Chances are you will be crying together by the end of it - because let's face it people we're all just trying our best to make it in this world! (Shot out to all those who have received these phone calls! Thank you!!)
5.) Write some more!  I do not know where I would be if I did not have the opportunity to write everything I am thinking out on paper.  To clear out the anger, resentment, sadness, and all of the other overwhelming feelings that can take a person down a road of bitterness if they hold onto them.
Take a deep breath. Exhale. (may need to repeat those a few times) & have faith that it will all work out. Because guess what? It will.


When all hope seems lost, remember and trust in what was done for you on the cross.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Life Is Exactly Like Playing A Game Of Baseball

    I am always pondering about life and wondering what I can compare it to and as a baseball fanatic the game is exactly the perfect analogy I have been searching for.  As a batter there is a whole field of people chanting at you, "Hey batter, batter, batter, SAAWING!"  There are nine people out on the field trying to get you to swing at the wrong time, distract you from smacking that ball out of the park, and waiting for you to strike out.  Just as in life there are many people that are (although you may not understand why) desperately wanting and waiting for the moment that you mess up or fail at an attempt to be happy.  So say you get past the discouraging words and you smack the ball up, up, up, and into the outfield- there is another person determined to catch that ball and get you out, dashing your dreams of making it to home base.

 Relating it back to life there are going to be days when you feel like you are reaching your goals and getting things done the way you need to and out of nowhere things begin to fall out of place, someone else got the job you wanted, the promotion you thought you had, or the better grade you thought you deserved... they caught your triple base ball.  When this happens do not get blinded by the triple that could have been, but focus on the out of the park homerun that you have the chance to hit next time.  In baseball you have to keep your eye on the ball, in life keep your focus on the dream.  In baseball you have to hit hard and run as fast as your legs will take you, in life you have to work toward your goal with all of your might.  In baseball when you strike out, or someone unexpectedly catches that pop fly you thought was over the fence there are eight more innings or plenty more games to prove what a stud you are on the field.  In life what seems like a setback can be the step back in the right direction, you just have to focus on the positive and keep trying.

  Kathy Cordell gave me this saying years ago and it goes for baseball players and any other person out there, change your "What if's?" into "What ifs!!!"  There is always going to be a chance to hit that round tripper, dinger, four bagger, out of the park home run- it's all about focusing on the dream and not letting anything, including a temporary failure distract you from it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Focus on The Light to BE A Light! Update!

Woah... it's been a while! Here - *pulls curtains back, karate chops cobwebs down, clears off the dust, pops in Mumford & Son's CD, turns up the jam, 30 second dance break* Okay, MUCH better! 

My last blog was over a year ago, June 2012 to be exact!  I stated then that I was "Determined to be great for God."  Well guess what?! I still am!  & I wish that I could report that life has been nothing but sunshine & rainbows since then, but I believe Bob Sorge says it best "Make no mistake, when you devote yourself to knowing God, all of hell seems to resurrect against you."

Sooo let's update you on the last year of determination and perseverance that only the strength of God could pull me through.

I left off with my Momma in the hospital - happy to report she is doing much better especially in the last few weeks.  For those of you who know the story deeper, something has shifted in her mind in the last month & I am SOOO proud of her! Praise God because He is working in that woman in BIG ways!

The day I posted the A New Light... Let It Shine blog - I left out a HUGE hurt that I was facing.  I had lost my husband to the battle of drugs and I was left with our two little men, very little money, past due bills, and a world that was crumbling around me.  The only thing I had left was the love of God - & let me tell you ladies & gentlemen, that is MORE than enough for me.

There were moments where I wanted to throw in the towel - I would get so angry and throw my fit at God asking him "WHAT ELSE?!?!"  Then one day He answered me back with, "I gave you life, the breath in your lungs, the ability to walk, to sing, dance, and praise! I sacrificed my one and only son so that you may be washed clean by the blood He shed... WHAT ELSE RHIANNA?!?!"

Ouch. Smacked in the face with reality!  Flipping open my Bible in that moment to Philippians I found this:

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Breaking it down:

1) Instead of rejoicing about the good in life - I was FREAKING out about everything, how I was going to make money, how I was going to live with a broken heart, how I was going to raise two children on my own... how, how, how, how, how... I "howed" myself into a frenzy! Verse 6 & 7 held the answer - through prayer & petition & thanksgiving presenting my worries, concerns, and everything going on in my life to God - laying them at His feet and trusting/believing that His peace was with me - He would guide me through it all.

2) After laying down the weight of everything going on in the world... I needed to place my mind on the light of the world.  Verse 8 says to think about lovely, noble, right, pure, and admirable things - to focus on the positive and uplifting things.  When you place your worries at Jesus's feet, release them to him, do not hold onto them, don't pick and choose which ones you think that He can take care of - He is the almighty God ... let Him take care of the worries and concerns while you think about excellence! 

3) Verse 9 says for us to "put into practice" the concepts we have learned from God. With all of those beautiful, noble, truthful things you are thinking - start ACTING on them!  Strive to let these words define you! & His peace when you focus on these wonderful things, will surround you!

So here a year later, my how's?!?! have turned into watching in awe how God has taken care of me & my boys in every moment.  I moved to Texas in June and now work for a Christian radio station and a Christian school.  I just finished my last senior level class for my bachelors degree - leaving much more time to write - that's why, HIIIIIII!!!! *waves*, I am on here today!  I'm focused on the good, even when the bad hits & amazing things are happening friends!!!  No matter what happens to you, don't let it effect what God is doing through you! Keep shining amidst ALL circumstances friends!

More updates to follow soon friends- just wanted to drop a line, give an update, say I'm sorry I left for a moment - but I'm back and better than ever!  Talk to you soon! Have a Brilliantly Bright DAY!!!