Tag Archives: strength

Thoughts on Thoughtfulness.

Each day, I see evidence of our Heavenly Father’s thoughtfulness. Even when there are difficulties, He provides solace and blessings in the midst of those difficulties. Every single day, He is sending us “gifts” that reveal His great love toward us. Are we paying attention? 

In my life currently, one of these pieces of evidence is some flowers right outside my house. Every morning when I step outside for a busy day, bright yellow flowers greet me. It puts a smile on my face each morning. Another way I know His presence is when I’m feeling overwhelmed at how much I must get done at work and school, and then an appointment gets cancelled and some time opens up unexpectedly. I know my Father is looking out for me, and He’s giving me little signs that He’s right there and won’t let me be overwhelmed. 

samantha-gades-320965-unsplash.jpg
Photo by Samantha Gades on Unsplash

My thoughtful friend, who is also in graduate school, continually expresses her concern for me. She makes it clear that her door is open anytime for a cup of (real) chai or a meal. So many times, I’ve been able to take a respite from my crazy schedule of school and work for great discussions and delicious Indian food. I’m so thankful to have a friend like her. Her thoughtful gestures fill me with peace. When someone notices a need you have, or something you may benefit from, it is a wonderful experience. Thoughtfulness empowers you to feel supported and receive more strength to continue fighting your battles.

Any thoughtful gesture reveals that you are seen to that person. You are not invisible. Your interests, needs, and wants have been noticed. Not only that, but these thoughtful gestures reveal that you are important. You are valuable.

sai-de-silva-41029-unsplash
Photo by Sai De Silva on Unsplash

Let’s pay more attention to the ways our Heavenly Father is looking out for us. Even more, let’s be on the lookout for ways that we can thoughtfully serve others. You never know the difference that your thoughtfulness could make for them.

When have you been on the receiving end of thoughtfulness? What are some ways that you exhibit thoughtfulness toward others?

Advertisements

The Top 3 Lessons I Learned in 2017.

Our Creator is continually molding us, using our experiences and allowing others that can draw out our best self, if we let them. At the end of each year, I like to take time and look back on the year. This year was a year of numerous changes in every aspect of my life. Reflecting back on 2017, I see how much I’ve been able to learn and mature. Without all the complexity, and if I had stayed in my comfort zone, I wouldn’t have been pushed to growth. Most of all, without these changes, I would not have developed a closer relationship with my Savior. Without further ado, here are the top 3 lessons I learned in 2017.

1. Faith truly is believing in the “assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” There were certain decisions I made in faith, with wise consult, realizing God was leading me in a new direction. People thought I was crazy at times (even if they didn’t say it). In each situation, God came through. In fact, He came through in the nick of time in the last instance! Faith is not easy. I learned how uncomfortable it can be to live in the discomfort of now while not yet having the answer of how the situation would play out. But a life of faith brings us into a closer relationship with God. Walking by faith means sometimes taking the first step forward when you don’t know exactly where you’ll step next, or why you’re being asked to step that way! God is truly faithful.

2. Always surround yourself with positive people who truly want the best for you. When it comes down to it, the people you thought were in your corner…May not actually care about you as much as you thought. In difficult times, people will show their true character. Look at the character of those around you. Just as we are called to “test every spirit,” it’s important to examine the character of those influencing us. Negativity and criticism pull you down more than you can imagine. Unfortunately, I had to learn that the hard way. Going forward, I’m eager to spend time with the people who encourage me and build me up, and building new relationships of this sort. Positive relationships are life-giving and bring joy.

3. When I am weak, Christ is strong. I’m actually a little bit in awe when I look back on the year. A lot has happened in one year! Especially when it came to school, I sometimes wondered how I was going to finish strong. With Christ, we are overcomers. Leaning on Him, we can accomplish so much more than we ever thought possible! We can make it through situations that seem impossible. With Christ, I made it through difficult job changes, grueling semesters of school, and (by the end of the year) multiple moves. I’m going to keep leaning on Christ’s strength as life continues to change and require great persistence!

What lessons have you learned in 2017?

ryan-graybill-388794.jpg
Photo by Ryan Graybill on Unsplash

Advent & Looking to Mary.

Today marks the beginning of Advent.

Like other Jews, Mary (mother of Jesus) longed for the fulfillment of the prophecies promising a Savior to Israel. (Never could she have imagined, even in her wildest dreams, that she would be the one to bring Him into the world!) In my life, I’m (still) waiting for the fulfillment of so many of God’s promises to me.

As I go about Advent, I am going to look at Mary and the hope of her Son. No matter how painful the waiting (for all kinds of fulfillment), I want to be strong as Mary was. I want to trust His promises to me. I want to grasp onto His faithfulness, to trust, even when there is no hope within my line of sight.

I want to say “yes” as Mary did, and not to count the cost. Her cost for saying “yes” to conceiving the Savior could have meant death for her. I don’t know if the cost for me will ever mean physical death (as a martyr), but it does mean dying to myself and my own plans every day.

I want to say “yes” and not question why He asks a certain experience of me. Mary didn’t question why she specifically was being asked to carry out the magnificent task of carrying the Son of God within her womb and mothering Him. She simply said: I am the Lord’s servant, may your word to me be fulfilled.” (Luke 1:38) I have many questions about why I am asked to carry certain things. Why am I entrusted with this or that? Yet, His plan is sovereign and wise. I want Mary’s courage to simply say “yes,” only looking forward and keeping my eyes on Him.

I can’t imagine the temptation to impatience there was for Mary during her pregnancy. Can you imagine being told by an angel that you would conceive in a supernatural way…And not only that, but that the child would be the Savior of all humanity! Mary protected Jesus in her womb for 9 months and waited all those months to behold her beautiful Savior face to face. She must have faced persecution for her out of wedlock pregnancy, most people not having a clue of Whom she carried. Yet she carried the evidence of what people believed was sin in her body, waiting and waiting to hold Him, and for the world to know Who this special Child was.  In all of my waiting…To finish school for a more fulfilling job where I will no longer live paycheck to paycheck, in waiting to meet or know who my husband is, in waiting to find a more permanent living situation…Impatience. Yet most of all, longing for the day I meet my Redeemer face to face, and live in perfect joy forever with Him and all the saints. Waiting. There is always something to wait for. The waiting, the longing, the feelings of never being settled…Mary teaches me to wait. She is teaching me endless strength, and to have faith. She shows me the example of a woman who followed the Lord without fear, no matter where it led her.

So now I step into Advent, a season of the Church where my daily lived experience is made manifest. I’m thankful to have Mary to look to for the virtues I need the most at this time. Most of all, I’m grateful that she said “yes,” so that our Savior could come into the world!

“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill His promises to her!” Luke 1:45

MamaMary.jpg
Courtesy of Howard Lyon

Finding Strength in Scripture.

This week, I’m over at Modern Ruth Project for my monthly post. I’ve had some circumstances this year that have rocked my world. One solace I’ve found is in reading the Holy Bible. God’s Word has kept me grounded and given me so much strength. His Word is strength for all of us! Go check it out! I pray you’re encouraged to go deeper into the Lord’s Word & to discover the constant love He has for you!

josh-applegate-149608.jpg
Photo by Josh Applegate on Unsplash

 

 

 

Pondering Strength.

Strength isn’t built overnight. It comes through weathering stormy seasons and emerging after you didn’t think it was possible. It is like building muscle. You can’t build muscle unless you are consistently working out and even gradually moving up to more difficult workouts or higher weights. You build strength by weathering small and large storms. I think a person can be born with a tendency for strength, but they must undergo some difficulty for that strength to be tested and built up.

There are not-so-distant seasons of my life where I look back and wonder “how did I do that?” Was that really me who lived through those things and made those hard decisions that didn’t make sense to others? Where I am now, I wonder, too. How am I living through this crazy season where nothing has stayed the same?  The answer: grace. The grace of God was sufficient for that time. Grace is sufficient for today, too.

In whatever you are facing, His grace will be sufficient for you. I can’t promise you that it will be easy. But I can promise God is faithful. He tests us for our good. He loves us way too much for us to stay the same. Where we encounter difficulty, we can also cling to His grace and supernatural strength. 

There will be a day when you look back and wonder how you made it. And you will make it. Take your Heavenly Father’s hand and discover the depths of His love as you go through the depths of difficulty. Discover who you really are. Let the storm transform you into a pillar of strength.  

“In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.”~1 Peter 1:6-7

tommy-lisbin-284351.jpg
Photo by Tommy Lisbin on Unsplash

 

Walking into Rainbows

This week was one of the most trying I have had in a long time. I was in survival mode, at work and at home. I felt out of my element and exhausted, emotionally and physically. The cold and rainy, dark weather did not help my energy level or my mood.

Then came the long-awaited Friday. I made it through the workday, where once again nothing seemed to go successfully. I looked forward to finally going home and take care of personal business that needed to be done, and to unpacking my new place and making it feel like home. I was so drained and questioning many things. Then, I noticed this sight.rainbow-september-30th

I felt clearly the presence of my Father, and His love. The sight of that rainbow, a sign of His promises, gave me so much strength. We think we can’t do it on our own, and it’s true: we can’t! But leaning on God’s grace, we can do it. We can trust His faithfulness and that He is working even through the storms and rain. One day, when you think you simply can’t walk another step, you just might yourself walking into a rainbow.

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”~Genesis 9:13

“The LORD’S loving kindnesses indeed never cease, For His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”~Lamentations 3:22-23

Strength for the Week Ahead.

“Father, grant that I may be a bearer of Christ Jesus, your Son. Allow me to warm the often cold, impersonal scene of modern life with Your burning love. Strengthen me by Your Holy Spirit to carry out my mission of changing the world or some part of it for the better. Make me more energetic in setting right what I find wrong with the world instead of complaining about it. Amen.”~Taken from Living With Christ daily missal, June 7

pure joy.jpg
courtesy of unsplash.com