Bible

Sometimes I pray too much!

Sometimes I pray too much. Yep, it’s true! I pray and keep asking for the when and how only to delay what I can do today. I’m the first one to yell and get aggravated when I see people sit on the side lines yet, I’m the very one at times sitting and thinking I’m doing good by praying, but the reality is, I’m just sitting.

God wants to work through us and if we just keep praying about something and think we are not hearing, it’s probably because He’s waiting for us to take the first step.

Let me catch you up to speed:

Two years ago I adopted the mantra from the circle maker devotional, “Work like it depends on you and pray like it depends on God.” It struck a cord with me because of the scripture in James 2:26, “Faith without works is nothing.”

Last year, I prayed over and over for clarity for Created Woman as well as other areas in my life.

What does that all look like today? Well, I’m happy to say there has been a lot of clarity, which feels like freedom! The journey God has taken the CW Family on the last few months has been one to write about (which I will) and there has been these three revelations.

Who We Are

Who We Serve

How We Serve Her

With that clarity has come a lot of celebration and a lot of revelation: The revelation that there is work to be done! Work that is hard. Work that requires a lot of effort, mental energy, and team building.

Then earlier this week as I was re-reading one of my favorite devotionals and it came up again that I pray too much. With that, I had to write down these thoughts: (Time to journal!)

Get up! You know now the work ahead of you and I’ve given you clarity. So go do it and stop procrastinating through prayer, emails, social media, and lunch dates. Get up and go do it!

Ouch! That was strong and I knew I had once again started sitting and praying about the how and dreaming about the one day.

You see, recently I’ve come to the realization that my own strengths are also my weaknesses. Through trainings called Strength Finder, my top two are:

  1. Input: Research through books and talking to experts
  2. Futuristic: Vision of the future and how to cast vision

Yes, those are great strengths just like the strengths you have. But what I had to realize is that my strengths can get in the way! I can sometimes research so much that I never get started because I don’t think I know enough, yet. I can see the future so much that I forget about the here and now and the work that needs to be done now so I can get to the future.

So, for as much good things my strengths bring me, they also keep me sitting, dreaming, and researching. Well, not today. I’m up after a good spanking and I’m going.

I’ve got enough information for what I need to do now and I need to get to work.

Now, if that’s not clarity, I don’t know what is!

What strengths do you have and how do you think those same strengths get in the way? Are you working like it depends on you and praying like it depends on God?

Is it time to “Go” and start doing the plan that God has laid out for you?

Don’t know your strengths? Get them! It’s worth the $15 to learn who you are and what environments you work well in. Click HERE to find out your strenghts

Then, share your strengths with us and how you are using them for the purpose God has put in you!

PREVIOUS JOURNAL ENTRIES

Live, Laugh, Love...

I woke up one morning in July of 2012 and decided I was no longer happy with my job.  While I loved the people that I was working with, the tasks I was completing each day filled me with no joy.  There was no excitement; my professional life was stagnant.  It was then I realized I was much too young to be having these feelings.  In my head I had 3 choices; stick it out and be miserable, find a new job in a new company, or relocate to our company headquarters in California.

Live

"So I recommend having fun, because there is nothing better for people in this world than to eat, drink, and enjoy life.  That way they will experience some happiness along with all the hard work God gives them under the sun."  Ecclesiastes 8:15 (New Living Translation)

Laugh

"So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you have to endure many trials for a little while."  1 Peter 1:6  (New Living Translation)

Love

"Three things will last forever: faith, hope, and love.  The greatest of these is love."  1 Corinthians 13:13  (New Living Translation)

After much prayer and discussion, my husband & I have decided to LIVE.  I was offered and accepted a job at my corporate office in California.  I've moved ahead of them which isn't nearly as easy as I thought it would be.  A small price to pay; we'll all be together again soon and I can't wait.  Until then, I'm entertained nightly by my family via Facetime, they are a LAUGH a minute!  All of these things are made possible for me because I believe in a God who grants the desires of our hearts and because I have a husband who LOVES me enough to follow me to another new city, and be both Mother & Father to our daughter while I pursue new opportunities for my career.

STOPLIGHT PRAYER:  Father in Heaven, thank you giving me life and for guiding me through it.  Thank you for making your will for my life the desire of my heart and for guiding me through life.  Help me to listen for your voice amidst the static that tries to throw me off course.

My Family This is my beautiful family.  I love them for supporting me in everything I do and can't wait to start this new adventure with them.

From Darkness into Light

Gradually, over a period of years, Carol lost her site due to an inherited eye disease, but has found a new vision through a close relationship with God.

Trend or Classic: What do you Believe?

It is spring and time to look around for the latest trend in fashion for our wardrobe.  Like most women, I want to stay abreast of the latest trend in fashion.  However, there have been times over the years, that I went for the latest trend, and it proved not to be suited  for me, even though it was in style.  For example, when I was a teenager in the 60’s, the mini skirt hit the fashion market.  While Andre Courreges gets the credit for inventing the mini skirt,  it was Mary Quant who started producing short mini dresses and skirts that were set 6-7 inches above the knee.  Women could now expose as much of her legs as her body shape permitted.  I loved the mini skirt, but, unfortunately, I was endowed with wide hips and round legs.  I quickly came to the conclusion that the mini skirt definitely didn’t serve me well.  It was then that I made the decision to just stick with the classics.

I believe that is the way it is in our spiritual life.  We are faced with trends in the church world that may or may not serve us well.  I am particularly referring to the onslaught of modern technology that is booming in the church.  Do these sound familiar?

Live Stream

Ipad

Websites/Blogging Facebook/Twitter/Texting

All of these have allowed the gospel to be spread in more ways than I could have ever imagined.  I must confess that being part of the ‘older generation’, I sometimes have to sit back and ask myself the question, “How is that working for me”?  Must I throw myself into this trend, or stick to my old ways of communicating to receive spiritual enlightenment?

The Bible says you can’t put new wine into old wineskins.  That scripture has always been my philosophy when making changes in my life. So, as the world and culture is constantly changing around me, I want to always be open to putting new wine in this old wineskin.  Therefore, I have concluded for my own self that I will become a part of this church trend, and go with it. 

However, I want to make sure that there are some classics in my spiritual closet that must remain as I venture into this trend.  To name a few of those classics:

  1. Forsake not the assembling of yourself together -- As long as I am able to walk into the doors of a church building, Live Stream won’t ever take the place of my assembling together with other believers, shaking their hands, looking them in the face, and giving them a hug on Sunday morning.  And may I also add:  “May I never allow Live Stream to keep me from brushing my teeth, getting out of my PJS, and getting dressed for church when I have an able body to get me there.
  2. The Family Bible -- I just have to believe that it  is valuable for my grandchildren to see Nana reading from an open Bible when they visit me, and not some mechanical devise I hold in my hands.  There is something about flipping the pages of that sacred book, and pointing out to my grandchildren pictures of David, Jonah, and yes, Our Lord, that will make a lasting impression on them.
  3. Websites/Blogging -- One of the highlights of my life has been the privilege of blogging on Created Woman.  I have always loved to write, and I never imagined that I would been given an opportunity to pour my heart out to people all over the globe. However, may I never forget the elderly who do not have internet service or those in the nursing homes who would enjoy a written card to brighten their day.
  4. Facebook, Twitter, Texting -- Oh, how I do love Facebook and texting!  They have, not only afforded me the opportunity to connect with friends and family, but has given me the opportunity to quote a scripture or type a special thought to brighten my friends’ day on the spur of the moment.  But, may I never forget that what they may need for me to do sometimes is to meet with them face to face and give them the time to pour out their heart to me.  No devise can take the place of a human voice, a listening ear, and a soft touch made by human hands.

I could go on and on with a long list of spiritual classics that I am trying to keep in my spiritual closet in the midst of the current trend of modern day technology.  It is up to each individual as to what trend or classic they believe best suited for their own spiritual closet?

Trend or Classic: What do you believe ?

A Special Valentine's Message

Ahhh… Valentine's. The love holiday. For some it brings smiles, roses, candy and a nice dinner out. For others it brings knots to the stomach, tears, feelings of failure and anxiety. No matter which camp you find yourself in, I would like to share an idea that could potentially make any girl’s Valentines extra sweet and special. There's the coolest verse in the Bible found in a tiny little book tucked away in the depths of the Old Testament. Song of Solomon 1:2 says, “Let Him kiss me with the kisses of His mouth- for your love is better than wine.” I have pondered the exquisite beauty of that analogy. Even if you don’t like wine, you can appreciate the fact that one type of fruit, the grape, can make 20+ different categories of wines, and each of those are not exactly the same. If you look at music, there are 12 main notes on a piano, that repeat. And how many different songs are there? An infinite number. Simple songs, complex songs, short songs, long songs, happy songs, sad songs. The possibilities are endless, just like with grapes and wine.

It’s the same with God’s love. The sheer vastness of all the dimensions of His love is amazing. Not in an overwhelming way, though, because God knows just how to pair His love with your circumstances.

Some need His tender love, the comforting kind that lets you take a deep breath and rest in His loving-kindness. Some need His tough love to say, “No, you need to cut this out of your life if you want be healthy and grow.” Some need His Shepherd kind of love because you're walking through the valley of the shadow of death and you're afraid, and you need to remember that He's right there with you and His love can cast out that fear. Some need His Father’s love, to realize that you belong; you're a part of His family. Some need to know Him as Lover of your Soul. He not only fought for your soul, but He's deeply in love with you. His desire is towards you. Some need His faithful love, because you haven’t had an example of faithful love and you desperately need to know that He's still there and that nothing can separate you from His love- not your feelings, not your circumstances, not your loneliness. Nothing, can separate you from His love.

He wants you to know that He loves you this Valentine's Day and He wants you to experience a new dimension of His love. Try it. Carve some time out to spend with Him this year. A special Valentine's date. You and your Creator. If you need some inspiration, try putting on “The Very Thought of You” by Natalie Cole and sing it to Him. Write Him a note.  Have a moment, Woman to Creator. He will meet you there.

Marriage Survival During the Hustle and Bustle

 

Communication breakdown!  I can become very agitated when my plans don’t go smoothly because of a communication breakdown in my marriage. No matter how crazy things are in my life I can still keep it together if I feel my husband and are on the same page.  However, I can get real stressed if we are not jiving and working together.

 If you have been married long enough, you know having “personal” alone time, as a couple, can be a challenge with the hustle and bustle of life’s responsibilities. Good communication between a couple does, indeed, involve listening and expressing feelings to each other.   However, believe it or not, my husband and I have learned to incorporate simple communication skills that we use in business each day to eliminate stress and ensures that we are spending quality time together. This may not sound romantic or exciting, but making good use of technology, has strengthen our relationship.   

 For your marriage relationship to stay connected,  try practicing the following three tips:

  1. Send appointments

Have you had a miscommunication in your marriage when one of you forgot the other was working late; forgot about a dinner out with friends; or forgot about a soccer game for one of the kids? In today’s age, most of us are using our phones or computers as our calendar.  When one of us schedules an event that may affect the other, we simple send the other an appointment notice so that it automatically goes to the other’s calendar.  It is AMAZING how this simple step has saved us so many arguments and misunderstandings.  

  1. Schedule dates on calendar or in Smart Phones.

We have set out at the beginning of many weeks with good intentions to have lunch together. Then by Friday, we suddenly realize that so many things came up or it was simply forgotten, and we missed our lunch time together.   I have been guilty of putting “us” on the back burner when something else comes up that I think is more important. We now schedule are lunch dates just as an appointment.  There is something about having it in writing that makes us accountable to stick with it. 

  1. Turn it off

Technology is good at times, but it can be detrimental at other times.  There is no way we could have quality conversation and time with our spouse with the TV blaring in the back or trying to multi tasks on the computer or phone.  Use technology to schedule those times, but remember to have true communication and enhance your marriage, TURN IT ALL OFF. 

 So as you are sitting down looking at your fall calendar with schedules and activities, don’t forget to actually SCHEDULE and plan with your husband.  Don’t hink it will just happen. 

Proverbs 21:5 in The Message says:

“Careful planning puts you ahead in the long run; hurry and scurry puts you further behind.” 

 Don’t let the hurry and scurry of life get you behind on your relationship with your spouse.  Sit down together and figure what is the best way for you as a couple to keep it fresh with minimal stress.

 One of my favorite Bible verses is 1 Peter 5: 8.  Quoting from The Message Bible:“Keep a cool head.  Stay alert.  The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping.” 

  NAPPING!  That is very convicting. When we are napping from our marriage and not giving it the attention that it needs, the enemy sees an open door to come right in.

Fingerprint: Uniquely Marked for a Purpose

“Heart to heart bilingual communication” might well summarize Yvonne’s book.  Based on real-life events from her life or the life of someone close to her, Fingerprint relates “heart-warming” as well as “gut-wrenching” accounts of life at its best and at its worst.  With English on one page and Spanish on the facing page, Ms. Sánchez provides inspirational reading for many around the world. Based on the principle that it takes twenty-one days to form a new habit, Fingerprint offers twenty-one days of devotionals to draw the reader’s heart closer to God in a subtle, powerful way. Fingerprint exhibits effective use of both English and Spanish to enable the readers to review a variety of aspects of life and come to a point of feeling the finger of God touch their heart and lives. Each day’s reading includes a brief Bible scripture, a real-life story, an opportunity for a personal reflection, a prayer related to the lesson of the day, and an Old and a New Testament scripture for additional reading.

Overall, Fingerprint is a well-written, powerful, heart-to-heart, daily devotional which can easily lead the reader into a new habit – seeing God in every circumstance of life and experiencing the life-transforming touch of God’s finger touching the heart.  I highly commend this inspired devotional to you! It would make an awesome gift for Valentine’s Day, a birthday, or Mother’s Day.

Fingerprint: Uniquely Marked for a Purpose Author, Yvonne Villareal Sánchez

Come out to meet the author on Saturday, February 26th from Noon to 6:00 p.m. at Che Bella in Austin, TX

Or

To purchase Fingerprint: Uniquely Marked for a Purpose, click here

Book Review by Guest Contributor Dianne Myers Haneke PhD





Professor Emeritus of Literacy Education, Dianne Myers Haneke PhD enjoys writing inspirational and informational materials to encourage individuals in their relationship with God.  Dianne has authored five books to date, taught writing classes at Concordia University-TX as well as at Shoreline Christian Church, edited a variety of manuscripts, and mentored several aspiring authors to get published. She and her husband John have three adult children and eight grandchildren. Hanekes enjoy music, motor-home traveling, and photography in their retirement and are home-based in Manor TX.

Not Your Ordinary Newlywed Advice

Maybe I was naïve, or maybe I was just incredibly idealistic but the hardest lesson to learn as a young bride was that life is not like the movies. I’m stepping out on a limb here but I don’t think I am the only girl who cried in her pillow at night when the honeymoon was over.  Looking back after almost 20 years of marriage, I’ve learned a lot - a lot that you might not normally read in one of those 2 pound bridal magazines. So here are my top three tips for new brides:

1. Disagree – Conflict is a normal part of healthy relationships. There is a Bible verse that says “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” My husband and I did our best to follow this rule in our early years, but I’m not sure it means what we thought it meant. Believe me; no one solves a relational conflict at 2 o’clock in the morning after arguing since dinner.  What we’ve found that works for us is to say: “You and I are at an impasse. I love you, but I don’t agree with you and the longer we stay up the less progress we make. Let’s agree to disagree tonight and come back to this when we are not emotionally wasted.” I get a little time to process and we get to take a fresh look at our issue.

2. Be Stubborn – When those challenges do come, hold on tight to your commitment to each other.  You may feel like throwing your hands in the air and giving up, dig in your heels and take a stand instead. Don’t give up easy!  But know that there IS a difference between commitment and resignation. I’m not suggesting anyone resign themselves to living in the muck and mire of relational difficulties.  I made my bed and now I have to lay in it – Gross, NO!  One of the greatest features of the human race is our ability to change and grow. Stubbornly hold on to the hope that you can change and grow together!

3. Lower Your Expectations – This is not to say lower your standards, nope that would certainly mean a bigger mess. This is to say that as lovely as it would be there will most likely NOT be a sunset backlighting your hair with an angelic glow when you have to confess that you went over budget on your girlfriend shopping trip. And I don’t know what kind of super hero vision Beyonce has but I have never seen a halo around my man’s head.  You did not marry a perfect guy and you are not a perfect girl.  Expecting perfection will set you up for major disappointment. Anticipating the challenges of life will put you in better position to hit them head on.

Marriage is the joining of two lives. I heard someone compare it to the convergence of two rivers, those first few miles can be a little turbulent. Think of these early years as the class IV rapids adventure thrill ride.  There will be plenty of time in the years ahead for taking in the scenery. My best advice – put your hair in a pony tail, grab an oar and row!

Lynn Marie Cherry has a heart to encourage women towards freedom and plant seeds of hope. She enjoys sharing insight from God’s word and the world around her. She has been married for almost 20 years to the same great guy, they have two amazing boys. You can read more at http://lynnmariecherry.blogspot.com/