Today, I am happy to share a blog written by Dr. Jeralyn B Major. She is a writer and author (with a contagious smile) who is "willing to risk, that she may accomplish." May her words bless, inspire and encourage you. ~Mia
I traveled to South Africa for an immersion and mission experience with approximately 70 members from my church. I went with a heavy heart and a concerned/worried spirit, not about where I was going, but about several things on the home front. One of which had to do with my sister's children. Since my sister's death in December 2015, I have been worried and concerned about my one niece and three nephews and feeling inadequately able to help and support them.
I've been worried more about the baby girl (who is a mother herself) a little more than the boys - but concerned about them all. While I was in South Africa she called and asked what I was doing, and I responded that I was in Africa. Her response was "When were you going to tell me you were going to Africa?" I laughed and apologized and said "I thought I told you."
If she called for a specific reason she immediately shifted her focus to what I was doing and said okay, enjoy yourself and that she would talk to me later. Even though I had limited computer access I did manage to see that she posted about having a job interview that could determine her future. Then I saw a posting after the interview "blessings after blessing, Got the job!"
In this day and age we talk about young people turning away from the church - sometimes, I think, more than we talk about young people turning away from God. It is wonderful when young people acknowledge that what is happening in their lives is a result of God blessing them - I am happy, glad, excited and overjoyed.
After my sister died I attended a women's conference and as an ice breaker we were asked if we could talk to anyone who was no longer with us, who would it be and what would we say. My response was my sister and I would ask her what did she tell her children. I wanted to know what seeds were planted, what foundation was laid and what was said to help them live in this world.
And this morning as I reflect and thank God for blessing my niece, I would like to be able to ask the same question to anyone reading this blog. "What seeds were planted, what stories were shared and what allows you to hold onto to hope?"
And then I would ask "What seeds are you planting, what stories are you sharing, what guiding principles are you instilling in the lives of those you are responsible for?"
There are moments in our lives when we are prompted towards reflection, but sometimes in the busyness of life we don't reflect. So it is during those times that God sends a Breath of Fresh Air to encourage us on the journey. Like a niece whose actions and comments lets you know that she not only heard what her mother taught but also some of what you taught. Or God presents a Breath f Fresh Air that allows you to travel to another county and be a blessing to others.
We need those Breaths of Fresh Air to remind us of the presence of a loving God that is concerned about the details of our lives.
Note to Self -
Seeds Properly Planted Result in
Great and Lasting Harvest!
Dr. JerAlyn B. Major
I spent a significant amount of time today taking care of things that should have been taken care of before.
About three weeks ago, I tried on a pair of my dream yoga pants. They felt like "butter" my friends..."BUTTER." It was like they were barely there...hence the name "Fast & Free-Barely There" leggings.
The sales-girl was so helpful and attentive, finding the sizes, colors and features that I asked her to track down. After all that work, I could not leave the store without them. I had to take them home. They were calling my name and I would not abandon them. No one gets left behind on my shopping shift. No one!
After a day or two, I noticed that the pants were slipping down and I was constantly pulling them up, adjusting the crotch that kept wanting to creep down... it was such a nuisance! I felt a little aggravated. I knew what I spent on my dream pants and I knew, for that amount of money, I should not have to be dealing with them like this. But, what could I do?
So today, three weeks later, I went in to the store, met my sweet gal, Heidi, who helped me before and shared with her my predicament. She said, "That's what happens when you buy a size that is too big, try on a size 8!"
"An 8?" I thought. I'm a ten and not just a ten. I'm a size 10 that used to be a size 14. In my mind I am still that size, I buy for that size, I shop styles for that size, my mind is stuck. So even though an "8" is just a number, to me, It was something that I could not wrap my mind around, hence why I never told the gal the first time that I could possibly have shrunk to that size.
Why do I tell you this? ...Have you changed, I mean really changed and been transformed, but sometimes forget how to move in your new God-sized heart with your God-sized hands? Have you grown in faith, but still walk like you have little faith. Have you forgotten that you are wearing a new outfit, that your rags are gone and you have been called out of the grave and are now dressed in the Holy garments of Jesus Christ?
Check this out:
"Then Saul clothed David with his own fighting attire and put a bronze helmet on his head. He also put body armor on him. David strapped on his sword over his fighting attire and tried to walk around, but he was not used to them. David said to Saul, “I can’t walk in these things, for I’m not used to them.” So David removed them. He took his staff in his hand, picked out five smooth stones from the stream, placed them in the pouch." 1 Samuel 17:38-40
David, when he went out to fight the giant, was fitted with "big boy" gear from his stylist, Saul, but he quickly found out he couldn't move, so he shed the outfit and walked in his "Big Boy" faith armed with a sling and a stone. And oh, what mighty things he did. Oh, what mighty things we do when we shed the baggy pants and walk in faith!
If you, like me have held on to the "bigger girl" mentality and it's causing your pants to fall down, stop; remember that you have been transformed and now you walk in "Big Girl/Boy" faith with Christ, because of what He has done.
So dare to step out, dare to be bold, dare to do things in the power of the Holy Spirit that you never thought you could before.
Thankfully, I was able to exchange my size 10's and get a new pair of 8's. How much more is the Lord willing and able to walk with us even when we forget that we have already exchanged the old self for the new.
Love you in the Lord, Mia
I like to have a plan. I like rules, I like deadlines, I like knowing exactly what is expected of me. Yep, I am a rule follower (in most instances).
I think my sway to that side came because I spent so much of my life breaking the rules, that now, I see the benefit in simply doing what I am told. Don't get me wrong, I can be stubborn and walk my own way when it suits me, but over all, rules and guidelines make me feel safe and productive.
The other thing that I like is the Word of God, the freedom in brings, it's power over the law and it's pathway to freedom... totally opposite of the rule keeper that I am. It's Grace.
As I sit and take time reading and praying the Word of God over my life, I enjoy the regiment of daily reading as given to me through one of the many apps that I use. Sometimes, as it did today, it gave me 5 passages to read and I fully planed on reading them all, but I couldn't. I simply could not adhere to the plan. Not because of rebellion, but because of freedom.
I had planned to read the first 5 chapters of Job, but after the first chapter, I simply could not go on. I was frozen. Yes, frozen in a chapter that I have read before....many times. Yet, still, there I was frozen in the reality of what I just read and I could process no more.
I found myself asking the question.."Is this guy for real?"..."did this really happen?" and already knowing the answer, hearing my spirit confirm what I already knew to be true. Yes, this is real, Yes, this happened and Yes, I want you to learn from it.
You see, in the first chapter of Job, Satan is allowed, by God, to stretch out his hand against the Lord's faithful servant, Job. And stretch it out, he does. Job in a moments time looses his oxen, donkeys, servants, sheep, camels and his children. Three different survivors from the three different incidents all arrived one after the other to break the news to Job.
I have to imagine if that was me receiving this news, I would be in a state of shock and disbelief. But, what does Job do? He tore his robe, shaved his head and fell down and worshipped God!
WHAT? Where is the fist shaking, where is the "This is not fair, God!" Where is the yelling at God that He got it wrong? No, Job fell down and worshipped God and said "Naked, I came from my mother's womb and naked I shall return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
And there I was frozen. Frozen as I tried to imagine what my response would be. I hear so many times people saying, "It's ok to be angry with God, He can handle it. You can yell at Him, He's God, He's tough." Yet, this example of a man who lost all of his possessions and his own children...Yes, his children, was to fall down and worship God and bless His name acknowledging that it was all given and ultimately all allowed to be taken away by the hand of God. And to that, Job then blesses His Holy name.
May I, as I walk through life, through trial and heart wrenching loss, through times when things do not go according to my plan or expectations, be prepared to fall down and worship. And as I fall, may I bless the name of the Lord, His holy name.
I have always loved singing this song, but as I grow closer to the Lord, with each and every breath, the more powerful this song becomes to me. Will you sing along with me as we prepare for that time when we too may have to fall down and worship Him as His outstretched arm returns what He has so graciously given to us on loan unto Himself.
You can listen below or you can buy the whole album on my site.
Blessed Be The Name of The Lord!
If you have read my writings in the past or followed my adventures for any length of time, you may have noticed that I love to hike, I love to push my limits. Pretty much, every time time that I get out on the trail, God has a word for me. Today, was no exception. I hit the trailhead early this morning to beat the 100+ degree heat and powered up the first incline.
I planned my trip. I would go up the mountain down and follow the long trail around the mountain before heading back. Immediately, I heard God say, "No, you are not to go on the long trail today." For me, hearing His voice takes form in those words that jump into my mind, invade my Spirit and move my heart and gut. It is a voice that He has trained me well to hear, to know and to discern that it is Him and knowing this voice has taught me to obey.
Upon hearing my new directive, I said ok, I will just go up the mountain and down to my prayer spot before I make the decent back down to my car. Again, I heard Him say, "No, you may only go to the top, sit there and then head right back down" To this, I simply said ok, makes no sense to me, but I will do what you say, you must have your reasons.
In my life, I have found a few different reasons why God gives me specific directions. A few of them being:
1. For my good and wellbeing (Jeremiah 29:11)
2. Gives me opportunities to obey (Deuteronomy 5:27; Psalm 119:34;
3. Trains me to recognize and know His voice, so the next time He speaks for my safety and well being, I will know His voice and not hesitate to obey. (John 10:4; John 10:27)
To give you a little background info, that I neglected to take into account at the time, my hike today was only the 3rd hike in the past 2 weeks. Typically, I am on the trail at least 5 times a week. I had taken time off from exercise because I was battling illness and my body was simply worn and fatigued. During those times, I do not like to push it, so I rest.
While I was feeling great today, ready to take on the world, what I didn't know is that about half way in, my body would remind me that I am not where I was two weeks ago. I became very tired, very quickly and by the time I nearly reached the top my lungs were crying for rest. Had I pushed myself to go on, I would have been much worse for the wear.
Those words that God gave me as I began the accent and made my plans, were not only words for me to obey, and discern His voice, but they were for my well being. God knew I would tucker out. God knew that on my own, I probably would have kept going and been out several miles without the ability to turn back. Would I have survived?... sure, but the joy of knowing and being reminded that God has my back in the littlest of things, strengthened my faith to know that He has my back in the difficult things as well, those times when I feel like my world is caving in.
He knows the plans He has for me and they are good. And it's not just me...It's for you too, you who are called according to His purposes!! He knows the plans He has for YOU, and friend, they are oh, so good!
Press in to listen. Press in to obey. Press in to learn the sound of His voice in your life. Be quick to listen friends and don't delay. Each moment we delay our obedience, the closer we are to stepping the other way, finding an excuse or simply forgetting what He said in the first place.. Let's keep our footing sure, stand firm in the promises of God, trust Him for our good and share the truth of the Gospel with those who so desperately need it and need to see us living it.
Let us be faithful to listen to the small stuff, SO THAT we may be fit to be faithful when the BIG directives come. (Luke 16:10)
I love you in the Lord, Mia
Have you ever gotten your "praise on" a little bit to early?
For the last three days we have had to move out of our house because our plumbing was revolting against us. I won't get too descriptive, but when you hear the gurgle gurgle in the pipes and then "stuff" comes backing up through your tub, shower and toilets, you know your in for a battle.
After the plumber came out and said "it's bad", beyond the inconvenience of not being able to use any water, was the flash of $$$, of which we don't have much. My prayers began. The prayer of "Lord, please let the damage be on the city property side of our fence and not on ours, so that we don't have to pay for it.
After the locating service went down with their camera and located the damage 1 foot over on city property, I was relived. I thanked the Lord, I rejoiced. I was reminded how God cares about all aspects of my life. I called the city and within 1 hour a city worker was at my door confirming the camera footage and scrambling to get a crew together immediately. A mere hour after that the trucks arrived, the workers came and they dug a hole 7 feet deep in the alley to get to the broken pipe.
I was estacic, I continued to thank God for the placement of the break and the quick response from the city. As time went on, I peaked over my wall and then it happened.
I got the news that they cleared the mud and discovered that the problem was on my property!
My heart sunk, my rejoicing ceased, dollar signs flashed before me…..for a moment. And in THAT moment I caught myself and reminded myself of what I know to be true. I quickly stood firm in the circumstance and the truth that he is still faithful and my rejoicing does not need to cease even when things don't go "my way."
So hear I am sitting in my house this evening, now able to run minimal amounts of water as the city cleared out the great clog of mud that was there. Tomorrow, my plumber has gathered some workers to come and take care of the rest. So hopefully, We will be functioning at 100% very soon.
But either way, I rejoice. I rejoice that we have friends that have opened their home to us while we had to move out. I rejoice that we both have gym memberships that have running water, showers and toilets that flush. I rejoice that the grocery store has public restrooms. I rejoice for sweet neighbors that come to our aid time and time again and help us take care of our dogs. I rejoice for neighbors who don't mind if I knock on their door and ask to use their bathroom. And one day soon, I will rejoice because it will all be better and in the past. But until then, I still rejoice.
So when things are not going your way, when the answers to your prayers don't come the way you had hoped, when all the crap in your life seems to be backing up (literally and figuratively) REMEMBER…God is FAITHFUL, He is FAITHFUL, STILL.
Friends, Be quick to remember, Be quick to rejoice. In any circumstance, be quick!
UPDATE: Today, I sit working and looking out my back window at what I hope will be a job well done! But, if not,God is faithful, still.
A collection of writings from a life based on the truth that about midnight anything can happen.
As an imperfect servant of the Lord, I often feel I am fumbling my way through life, looking upward for guidance and outward to love. So, I write about it, to break up the noise in my head.