Transitions

Photo by Jonathan Petersson on Pexels.com

Spectacular sunrises and sunsets are a reminder this is a new day or time for transition at the end of a day. August or September brings a return to school, the changing of the weather; cool mornings from a scorching summer, watching geese fly in V formation traveling to new destinations; life is ever-evolving.

Whether you have a kid in school or you’ve changed jobs or locations, whether there’s been a change in your family dynamics: life is about transitions.

Are we OK with change? What kind of change are we looking for? Are we seeking the right answers to the questions or are we just trying to plot our path?

God can transform us from the inside out.

Romans 12: 1 – 2 tells us we’re not to be conformed to this world but instead be transformed by renewing of your mind. We’re not to be afraid of transitions or be anxious.

Psalm 34:9-10 NLT
[9] Fear the LORD, you his godly people, for those who fear him will have all they need. [10] Even strong young lions sometimes go hungry, but those who trust in the LORD will lack no good thing.

Proverbs 19:23 NLT
[23] Fear of the LORD leads to life, bringing security and protection from harm.

We are called to anticipation, that’s not in fear but it’s an excitement and awe. Yes, life does march on even if we want to scream, “ I am not ready for new things.”

2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
[7] For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.

Our transition with God can propel us to see the old become new. Life transitions become a place of new beginnings instead of anxiety filled dread.

As I watch my youngest transition to new friends to new beginnings to a new school, I’m reminded that even this mom has to be OK with transitions.

The Merriam Webster definition for transition is: a period or phase in which such a change or shift is happening.

Synonyms: Evolution, adaptation, passage. Antonyms: conclusion, sameness, decline, end

What do you want to be in awe living a transformed life with your Creator God or to remain the same or decline? Our kids watch our emotions and actions. We can pretend we believe the Word of God or we can learn to trust him to our deepest soul.

Singles, married, parents or not, we have a choice: trust God or not? Are we showing our kids that we trust God with their lives? School violence, society unrest, bullying and a host of other things can take us to a fearful life. However, does that bring comfort to our kids or make them question all the foundational promises from God?

Our kids faith will grow independent of our own, let them see their parents believe God and walk in faith.

If there are days when this feels exceptionally hard, we must take our concerns to Jesus, listen to a favorite worship song, reach out to our tribe of Sisters and Brothers in Christ and march with Him anyways!!

“I Stand Here”, by Hannah Kerr, really encouraged me this week. Powerful promises of standing firm are in its lyrics. May it bring strength to you as you turn up the volume. God bless you warriors of the faith in Jesus alone!

Galatians 6:15-16 NLT
[15] It doesn’t matter whether we have been circumcised or not. What counts is whether we have been transformed into a new creation. [16] May God’s peace and mercy be upon all who live by this principle; they are the new people of God.

Music Matters

I was a teen when MTV was introduced. I love music it brings joy to my day. For this reason, I love to share songs most weeks on my blog that have impacted my life. In our current generation with YouTube, Spotify, Sirius radio, and even the standard FM radio, the access points are endless. I was blessed to see We the Kingdom in concert and they were amazing.

We The Kingdom concert by MM

Music can soothe, can pump ya up as you get ready to play a sport, bring you down with lyrics that express despair, or just get your feet tapping. Music can bring flash photographs of the first times you heard a song or a season of your life. Parenting and music go hand in hand. I love to share my love of music with my kids and remind them the best music was in the 80s :). I use instrumental or classical music for homework or stressful times.

Lyrics to songs add intensity and address the human condition. Somehow the singer expresses your inner emotions better than you could. Sometimes their despair is catching especially when you are a teen in angst. Sometimes their joy can fill your heart and mind with peace.

Did you know there are men and women in the Bible that love music? In fact, we are called to sing songs and dance with joy. When we choose this action, we feel calmer, more energetic, more peaceful. Our bodies were made for the beat.

There are many scriptures that reference music and instruments. 1 Chronicle 13 shares a time David and all Israel celebrated before God in songs and with musical instruments.

1 Chronicle 13:8 David and all Israel were celebrating before God with all their might, singing songs and playing all kinds of musical instruments—lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.

David was a man after God’s own heart. He was known for his love of music. The Book of Psalms has many of David’s songs written on many human emotions, he is able to express times of hopelessness, depression, sadness, fear, and joy. Psalms is a great place in the Bible to feel a connection to God regardless of the days’ events. You will feel understood and like David you will see how he processed despair and came to the knowledge of the Lord and their amazing loving relationship as the answer.

Psalm 42:8 But each day the Lord pours his unfailing love upon me, and through each night I sing his songs, praying to God who gives me life.

Psalm 66:4 Everything on earth will worship you; they will sing your praises, shouting your name in glorious songs.

Psalm 98 beautifully expresses singing to a new level. It describes victory and love for God’s people and even describes the earth singing and making music. I was in awe as I read this psalm. Take a moment to ponder its words written by David.

Psalm 98

1 Sing to the Lord a new song,
    for he has done marvelous things;
his right hand and his holy arm
    have worked salvation for him.
2 The Lord has made his salvation known
    and revealed his righteousness to the nations.
3 He has remembered his love
    and his faithfulness to Israel;
all the ends of the earth have seen
    the salvation of our God.

4 Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth,
    burst into jubilant song with music;
5 make music to the Lord with the harp,
    with the harp and the sound of singing,
6 with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn—
    shout for joy before the Lord, the King.

7 Let the sea resound, and everything in it,
    the world, and all who live in it.
8 Let the rivers clap their hands,
    let the mountains sing together for joy;
9 let them sing before the Lord,
    for he comes to judge the earth.
He will judge the world in righteousness
    and the peoples with equity.

Have you ever wondered why you love music? It started at Creation. It is a God-given gift. Just imagine the sea, the earth, and every living thing praises their Creator.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Visualize the river clapping in glee. Beautiful creation resonates with their own sounds. I see that smile forming on your face. Find joy, dance if you wish, and Praise Him.

Let me know if you found these amazing scriptures as fascinating as I.

Under construction

Become a Tent of Light

Men and women, you are under construction. The architect of your existence made you to be a solid example of the character of Jesus. But, it takes effort and a carpenters tools to break through the character defects. Hammers, nails, drills, whatever is needed.

My hammer occurred this morning as I read Proverbs 14, the words of truth practically bounced off the page. I was given a personal lesson in the life of a women. It is hard work in the building up of faith and tearing down of my character flaws.

The choices I make can bring foolish or rewarding results.
The impulse of my heart ( by the way the heart can be deceitful) can lean to the fool at times especially when hangry, insomniac, or misunderstood. Brain fog, stomach grumbling I can take the bait in communication and bark sometimes. Can you relate?

Words and impulsive reactions matter to God and they should matter to me. Foolish responses effect all relationships. It starts at home in our inner circle of influence. It can be your friend, coworker, family group, or even the places where you find joy such as the gym, with music or sipping coffee with a friend.

Proverbs 14:1
1. The wise woman builds her house,
but with her own hands the foolish one tears hers down.
2
Whoever fears the Lord walks uprightly,
but those who despise him are devious in their ways.
3
A fool’s mouth lashes out with pride,
but the lips of the wise protect them.
4
Where there are no oxen, the manger is empty,
but from the strength of an ox come abundant harvests.
5
An honest witness does not deceive,
but a false witness pours out lies.
6
The mocker seeks wisdom and finds none,
but knowledge comes easily to the discerning.
7
Stay away from a fool,
for you will not find knowledge on their lips.
8
The wisdom of the prudent is to give thought to their ways,
but the folly of fools is deception.
9
Fools mock at making amends for sin,
but goodwill is found among the upright.
10
Each heart knows its own bitterness,
and no one else can share its joy.
11
The house of the wicked will be destroyed,
but the tent of the upright will flourish.

Reading this chapter in Proverbs, I pondered the scriptures as if I was looking at the face of Jesus, His image reflecting love and a need for some hammer and nails with a little mortar for my cracks.

I am under construction, we all are under construction. He wants to build in us a solid foundation. The rocks and bricks need to be in His wisdom and we must let Him put the pieces together. Yes, there may be cracks in the dry places but He wants me/us to trust He will patch the breaks and provide living water when we get parched in this dry weary land. Progress not perfection my fellow women and men!

Consider these questions for yourself ( women and men):
Do I build my house with wisdom or tear down those in my home?
Do I understand fear of the Lord is reverence to His instruction and refusal to live otherwise?
Do I lash out in pride using my words without thinking?
Am I an honest example even if it is hard, or do I find ways to speak little white lies to keep peace?
Do I think carefully before I speak or assume everyone must hear my opinion?
Do I make amends when I sin or hurt others ask forgiveness?

We all can think bitter, nasty thoughts, pessimistic attitudes pollute our minds and cause our joy to be snuffed out like the Light of our witness.

Matthew 5: 14 – 16
14
“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

We want to have a tent of Light, His Light, filled to abundance. We want to help others to see daily life is hard but not impossible when We choose to walk with wisdom. When I seek to choose the better path, the life of those whose paths We cross can be effected for the Kingdom in more hope, love, mercy and grace.

Christmas Paradox

Jesus came for all of us in the most humble way, as a baby in the manger. A gift from God to restore our relationship with our Creator.

We are all worthy of saving broken pieces and all.

Christmas can bring nostalgic feelings of joy or pain, family connections perhaps this time of year brings the opposite isolation with depression. It depends on past experiences. Not all people have been blessed into the traditions depicted in the Hallmark movie reels; continuous smiles, finding love, and family commitment.

For some people poverty, addiction, mental health, and dysfunctional family have brought increased stress and PTSD as the season unfolds. There can be a struggle of comparison traps and (FOMO) Fear of Missing Out leading to more depression, anxiety, isolation with increased substance abuse.

According to the Merriam-Webster definition paradox means something (such as a situation) that is made up of two opposite things and that seems impossible but is actually true or possible. Christmas is relatable to a paradox. We may come from two opposite life experiences and yet what is true and possible is we can find transformation to future generations. We can discover Jesus loves all of His children.

Being an Emergency Department / Trauma Nurse for multiple decades, our patient loads would show the diverse Christmas experiences. It was a challenging time to be a nurse, yet, I tried to treat each patient with compassion, mercy with grace.

Even if patients were in crisis, swearing at me, swinging their fists, suicidal, I had to still believe in Jesus and my ability to care for my patients with Jesus’ love. There were untimely deaths, traumatic accidents with innocent victims, gunshot/stabbing patients, family disturbances. Increased domestic violence occurred, I would love on the patients including kids while they were in my care.

The potential for a tarnished view of life was strong at times, however, I had to dig deep into my relationship with Jesus and lay down, in prayer, my thoughts for the moment. I prayed for patients and families alike. I hoped I reflected Jesus to those who needed Him.

This song by Anne Wilson was released recently, I Still Believe in Christmas really brings a great message of hope and the amazing gift of Jesus. In our lives, we must hold onto hope and grow our faith in the One true King Jesus.

Isaiah 9 :6   For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

No matter what your past experience has been regarding Christmas, there is a wonderful message from Jesus’ birth that can change your life. This baby came to save you from your sin and bring new life. Maybe this year it is time to discover Him.

I still believe in Christmas! May you find Him.

Dump the Junk!!

The Renewed Brain by MM

Forgiveness seems like it should be something that comes naturally and yet it doesn’t. Being human means being hurt. Every human can be mean. Even if we love somebody, there is an old adage, that says, “you always hurt the ones you love”. We hurt our relationship with others and our relationship with our Savior; since we hurt one of His.

It is our impulsive, impatient nature that may just cause us to speak without thinking. We think we know the best course and in this ME world, we feel, “We deserve things ASAP.” God does know the plans He has for us.

Hearing my elder kids share with the younger, “Don’t be in a hurry to be an adult, it is hard, I wish I had mom and dad to handle my stuff. Paying bills, having a time schedule, managing money and all, is hard, Dude!” I smile as I walk past this serious discussion.

Our impatience is pride, we want control, plain and simple. In the end, we may get what we want but what is the cost. We end up feeling sad and discontent.

God placed us in our families for a purpose to be grown and trimmed of character flaws, ouch:), and loved, hopefully; loved, and taught the wisdom of God.

Sometimes, our parents may fail us because of their own space of brokenness. They may live in fear, not know Jesus, respond from fear to anger. Their fear, or perhaps a previous experience of trauma, may lead to words that are expressed not in the manner needed. I have heard it said, Fear is the precursor to most anger.

Even if we were not raised with the knowledge of God, the Bible, and the importance to forgive, we still have to unload the bitterness that unforgiveness can bring to our life. We may not forget anothers’ hurt but we have to let God handle it. If we do not let go and Let God, we fill our minds with more junk.

God wants us to forgive each other, start a new day, and meditate on the word of God. There’s a scripture in Proverbs, it says a gentle answer turns away wrath, great wisdom.

Proverbs 15:1 - 2
1 A gentle answer turns away wrath,
    but a harsh word stirs up anger.

2 The tongue of the wise adorns knowledge,
    but the mouth of the fool gushes folly.

It is important to respond gently, especially to those that may be hurting. We may need to walk away and gather our thoughts. We all disappoint each other. It’s the enemy that keeps speaking lies and doubts to our mind such as we are unworthy or that others are judging us.

We have to get our truth from Jesus Christ himself. That may mean putting post-it notes or index cards with scriptures of wisdom on your mirror, on the car visor, in your kitchen. I need to be reminded to change my reactions. Maybe this advice will help break the patterns of conflict in your home.

Zephaniah 3:17 reminds us the Lord delights in us. Ephesians 2:10 says we’re God‘s workmanship created in Christ for things He planned long ago. The enemy wants to talk slime and make us believe we will never achieve the goals He has set.

When we hear negative thoughts spewed by people around us; “you will never succeed, supposed to be perfect, you will never find love.” We may need to disconnect from those who spew junk. Sometimes the past seems to haunt our mind, and we are just stuck in the negative.

We have to pause and consider where is that stupid comment coming from?

Is it really what my parents or my family have said? Or is it just the false statements that come from a past hurt or the enemy? We can choose to flush those things out of our brains. We have to make space in our heads, dump the lies and fill our minds with the truth.

Romans 12:2 NLT     Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

If we continue to fester on the lies of the enemy then we don’t have enough space in our brain to think the true thoughts. It is time to clear out the lies in our mind, words spoken in anger by others, mean, jealous comments. Dump the junk! Let the truth of God, let His words encourage, comfort, and prompt your life to your purpose.

God’s Truths: I am God’s chosen one. I am a child of God. I’m worthy because He calls me worthy. He will direct my path if I let Him lead. He has great things in store for me. I need to be patient and allow Him to speak the truth and I need to listen. He will never ever forsake me, I can trust God!