Finding Peace in a Chaotic World

035I wish every day could be like this.  I actually had a little time to think this afternoon and soak in the blessings of the day.  So many days of my life are rush here, rush there, with barely any time to notice even the simplest things around me.  But today, for a moment, I am still.

I’ve been looking at the multi-colored leaves on one of the trees in my yard outside my office window.  The sun hits the leaves in just the right places to make them twinkle and glisten in its light.  Their vibrant colors are amazing!  The breeze on the trees is causing shadows to dance on my walls.  The squirrels are rushing around carrying large nuts in their mouths as they prepare for the winter months ahead.  A layer of dead leaves is forming on our grass we tried so hard to grow all summer, so that now we can barely even see it’s there.  I’m literally inhaling the sunshine with the deepest breaths I can humanly conjure, as it has been so scarce in the last few weeks.  Its warmth is such a blessing.  Fall is here in full force!

72145_1604152033233_7759821_nI’m sure you’re all saying, “Well, it sounds like Lori took her meds today!” (Just so you know…I don’t take meds to be happy.  Some wish I took meds not to be so happy, but that’s another blog.) Nonetheless,  I’m not always so gushy or descriptive, but today, is different.  I have made a purposeful decision to focus on my blessings instead of all of the world problems and current headlines.

It seems that the last few weeks have had headlines full of bad news.  You may already know I’m a real estate agent. Recently, there have been several incidents of agents being attacked and/or even killed while simply doing their jobs.  It has the industry up in arms about how we can protect ourselves and prevent these things from happening again.

Last week I got a note from a friend asking me to take a class to get my concealed carry license.  It was funny that she would invite me, as I had seriously been considering carrying a weapon in light of all that is going on around me.  Jim and I had many discussions as to whether we would take the class or not.  I’ve never really liked guns but I am realizing that the way our society is going, it might be inevitable for all of us to own and carry protection devices of various kinds.

In addition, we are hearing one report after another about the Ebola scare and how it has entered the United States putting us all at risk.  People are buying protective gear and taking great precautions to make sure that they remain safe in the midst of such scary circumstances facing our nation.

As I read the news or even scan through my Facebook posts, I am struck with the realization that this world is scary.  There are perils around every corner that could take us out at any given time.  We are human.  We will live and then we will die.  One cannot predict the day or the hour, but there will come a time when each one of us will leave this earth.

As all of this negativity bombards us at every turn, we can begin to feel distressed. But the fact is, each and every day, we might be faced with fearful situations that we feel are out of control, or maybe I say out of our control.

As Christians, we have a hope that goes beyond our fears.  It is a hope and peace that supercedes anything we can imagine.  The only requirement is that we call on God in those times of fear and doubt.  We need to purposely focus on Him and seek His strength for each day.  He is faithful to meet us where we are and bless us.  Blessing us might not mean taking us out of our circumstances or removing that which causes us distress.  However, He does promise to be with us through everything that comes our way when we call on Him. There is no gun big enough or no hazard suit safe enough to give me the peace that my Lord gives me when I put my trust in Him for my safety.

As I purposely focused on God’s goodness amidst all of the chaos around me this week, He reminded me once again of His Word in Psalms 91.  I hope you will take the time to reflect on this scripture and ask God to give you a peace that surpasses all understanding with whatever you are facing today.

Psalms 91 (NKJV)

He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High
Shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress;
My God, in Him I will trust.”

Surely He shall deliver you from the snare of the fowler
And from the perilous pestilence.
He shall cover you with His feathers,
And under His wings you shall take refuge;
His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
You shall not be afraid of the terror by night,
Nor of the arrow that flies by day,
Nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness,
Nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday.

A thousand may fall at your side,
And ten thousand at your right hand;
But it shall not come near you.
Only with your eyes shall you look,
And see the reward of the wicked.

Because you have made the Lord, who is my refuge,
Even the Most High, your dwelling place,
10 No evil shall befall you,
Nor shall any plague come near your dwelling;
11 For He shall give His angels charge over you,
To keep you in all your ways.
12 In their hands they shall bear you up,
Lest you dash your foot against a stone.
13 You shall tread upon the lion and the cobra,
The young lion and the serpent you shall trample underfoot.

14 “Because he has set his love upon Me, therefore I will deliver him;
I will set him on high, because he has known My name.
15 He shall call upon Me, and I will answer him;
will be with him in trouble;
I will deliver him and honor him.
16 With long life I will satisfy him,
And show him My salvation.”

68803_1604141232963_1214277_n

 Be blessed, and don’t forget to go out and be a blessing!

Mama Said There’d Be Days Like This…

mama says

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Today I am heading to Wooster, Ohio to share my testimony at the Stonecroft After Five group.  It seems like the few days leading up to when I speak are always difficult.  Typically my back starts giving me fits.  Then there is always a little chaos thrown into the mix of some sort whether it is mine or someone’s I love.  This time some depression is edging its way in as I am still grieving the loss of my brother in October.  To ride in the car today for over seven hours with my back the way it is I have a good reason to call and cancel.  One might question if I’ll be able to walk by the time I get home tonight. Mama said there’d be days like this.

However, I find that just like anything else in life serving the Lord will have its obstacles.  There will be roadblocks in my way at times and frustrations to the point I want to just give up.  Fortunately I know where all of the trials and struggles are coming from and it’s not from God.  I have never been disappointed when I pushed through and served God despite the storms raging around me.  For instance, the small group of single women I lead during the years I was going through my divorce and doing the single mom thing was one of the biggest blessings I’ve had in my life.  It was also during the most horrific time of my life.  If I would have allowed my sorrows, tiredness and depression to overtake me at that time I know the huge joy I would have missed had I not been obedient and served.

There are some who choose to sit back and give up before they even try.  I’m sure you know who they are in your life as they are the ones who are always blaming everyone else for their shortcomings.  They enjoy having a little pain in their lives so they can wallow around in it saying, “Woe is me!”  You know who I’m talking about don’t you?  Are you one that is going to let a little thing like back pain or chaos to stop you in your tracks?  I’m not trying to minimize pain and its debilitating powers.  I’ve been there and got the t-shirt.  However, pain or no pain…sickness or not…we can all be useful in serving God.  It may not be driving seven hours to go speak.  However, it might be dropping a note of encouragement to a friend or saying a prayer for someone you know needs it.   It’s a choice we all make how we will spend our days.  The last time I checked God was not making my decisions for me, nor was my husband or anyone else in my life.  We are all given the freedom to choose if we will have victory or defeat every day when our feet hit the floor.  As Christians, we are all on an even playing field with the same Holy Spirit ready and able to give us guidance and power for our lives.  It’s just merely up to us to make the decision as to who’s driving…us or Him?

So today I will be found starting my day at the chiropractor followed by singing praise and worship songs all the way to Wooster.  I know God is calling me to speak and tell other women that they too can press on through life’s muck and find the beauty in a life of serving God no matter what chaos rages around them.  Will there be hard times?  Yes.  Will we feel like not doing it sometimes?  Yes.  Will chaos spin around us as we try to stay on the narrow path?  Yes.  Will we be blessed for our perseverance?  YES!!

Life is what you make it.  The choices are yours.  How will you make your life count for today?

P.S.  By the way, please remind me of this blog post the next time you hear me say I’m not doing something I should be because I am too tired or in too much pain.  I’m only human.  Mama said there would be days like this…as my friend Cyndy says, “Unfortunately Mama was right.”  Be blessed and remember…get out there and be a blessing!

James 1:2-4  (NIV) Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds,  because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.  Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

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I’m So Busy, My Head is Spinning…Like a Whirlpool, It Never Ends…

Is that how that song goes?  I think it’s supposed to say, “I’m so dizzy, my head is spinning…” but I just threw in my own word to fit into my theme for today’s message!  That’s the beauty of being an author, you can make it say whatever you want it to say no matter if it is right or not!  I apologize but now you’re going to be humming that tune all day aren’t you?

Jim and I had our grandkids and daughter-in-law come to town this weekend for a much welcomed visit.  We loved catching up on what’s going on with their lives and seeing how much the kids have changed once again since our last visit.  The house was noisy and full of life for about 24 hours while they were here.  I was also dog sitting for some friends and throwing a puppy into the mix made it even more interesting.  On a side note, I have to tell you a funny story just because I’m a grandma and we do this kind of thing.  Brycen, my grandson has other grandparents that raise chickens.  He, my grand-daughter Kayla, and I took the dog for a walk and I was listening as the two conversed a few steps behind me.    Brycen asked Kayla who is two years old, “Did you know that chicken poop helps your garden grow?”  Kayla responded, “Yes.”  Immediately Brycen said, “No you don’t!”  We just all broke out into laughter…the kids are so much fun!

This morning, Jim left for work, the kids are back home doing their regular weekly activities and the dog went home yesterday too.  Here I sit, in my office…deafening quiet all around.  I just glanced at the news before I sat down to write and I was reminded of so much devastation in Colorado still after many days of fighting forest fires.  I saw three more guys were killed in Afghanistan this weekend.  Many in our area are without power and have been for days with this blistering heat.  There are people everywhere who planned for their daily routine to be happening this morning and much to their dismay, their circumstances have changed everything.  Some are running for their lives, grieving the loss of a friend or loved one, while others spend the day removing huge trees so they can get out of their house or get to work.

Life is like that isn’t it?  We can make all of the plans in the world and when it is all said and done, many get changed not by any doings on our part but because of our surroundings and happenings around us.  Some become whiners.  Others embrace the obstacles and tackle them one by one.  We can embrace the chaos around us and believe God has it all under control, or we can try to control things that are out of our control and be miserable.  There is nothing one can do when a fire comes raging down the mountainside behind your house other than get out of the way!   When loss occurs or obstacles block our paths, all we can do is trust that there is a reason for all of this chaos around us.  We may not understand or begin to comprehend the little part all of this plays in the big plan of our lives, but we need not worry or be afraid.  God sees all and He knows our suffering.  He will not allow anything to come our way that He won’t use for good as long as we believe in Him.

I feel a little weird, perhaps a little guilty, in a quiet house as I write this today.  However, I am reminded that I’m not writing as one who has never seen suffering, loss or had total chaos in my life.  I have been through fires of one sort or another in my lifetime as well as losing loved ones and had many things get in the way of what I thought was my plan.  I hope that I am coming with a message of hope to those who are passing through life’s fires.  Trust in God.  Depend on Him for everything today as you pass through the trials of life.  He is Faithful.  He is Loving.  He will never leave you or forsake you.  He is all you need to see this through.

Someday soon, you will once again have tranquility in your life as well.  The storms will have passed and you, like me, will be in a quiet house.  You may even feel guilty for having such peace when so many around you are in turmoil.  Bask in the quiet.  Renew yourself in God’s Spirit and Strength.  For there will come a time when all chaos once again breaks out around you and you will need that inner peace to get you through.  So if you have that feeling, “I’m so busy, my head is spinning,” stop and reflect.  What is it that is causing your head to spin?  Is it something that you have no control over and you just need to run or is it something that you can easily rid of your life and get back on the path?  The big thing is to not let your busy-ness consume your life so much that you lose focus.

What’s the saying when you’re on fire? Stop, drop and roll!  So when your life is raging out of control and you’re one who is trusting in God, I would think you should stop, kneel and pray! Then enjoy the peace and stillness that follows as God begins to remove the chaos and put out the fires in your life.  Or from the mouths of babes, “When life gets tough and only gives you chicken poop, plant a garden!”  Our time on this earth is too short to not go make the best of it despite our circumstances.  May God bless you and calm your world today.

Romans 8:28 (NKJV)  And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

1Chronicles 28:20  And David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and of good courage, and do it; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God—my God—will be with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you, until you have finished all the work for the service of the house of the LORD.

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