Friday, January 18, 2019

Devotional: Find Your Joy


Are you struggling today? Are you dealing with depression? Do you feel all alone with your trials?




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.



James 1:2-3 NIV 









This verse always catches me a bit off guard. Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds.



No matter what you are facing at this moment, I want you to stop and just think about those words.



What's The Difference? 




This verse is one that makes you wonder what exactly is the difference between joy and happiness.



The feelings of happiness are something that we seek, desire, and even pursue. We long for happiness to be part of our every day lives.










On the other hand, joy is already a part of who you are. It is an emotion, an attitude of the heart. A breaking forth of the Spirit, once you have accepted Jesus into your heart.



Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy



You might find yourself struggling through a trial right now, but you have the Lord by your side. You can reflect on everything that He has done for you in the past as you cling to Him all the more for His strength to help you endure the trial.



This past week, I have been sick with a cold, that I caught from T. Things were really bad one day and I almost had to go to the hospital. Thinking about it makes me feel panicky.



I could be someone that dwells on, " oh poor pitiful me. I feel horrible. Why can't I just feel better?" However, I have chosen to be thankful for the things that the Lord has blessed me with during this cold.



Take your thoughts off of "self" and place them on the Lord. Give Him thanks always. And you will find your joy. What is even better, others around you will notice your joy in the Lord as well.










Let's Pray:



Dear Father,  

Thank You for being who You are. Thank You for always being with me. Father, I know that no matter what struggles I might face, You are still there with me. Please help me to stop focusing so much on myself and my problems and to give You thanks for all that You have done. Help me to find my joy; in You. In Jesus' name, Amen.




1 Thessalonians 5:18 NIV 





give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Devotional: Dwell On This Instead

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.



Philippians 4:8 NIV 










When you make a mistake, do you instantly go to the worse case scenario in your mind? Does the mistake make you feel like a failure and cause you to give up? Or, are you able to see the learning experience behind the mistake?



Stay Focused On God





So many times, I have to admit that I feel like a failure and just give up. I start listening to the negative thoughts that are bouncing around inside of my head. All of those negative thoughts are from the evil one. His goal is to keep us focused on "self" instead of on God.




Taylor recently had a trip planned to Orlando. He was to catch a flight from Houston and would then spend a few days in Orlando with one of his friends. Everything was all planned out.




He went to the wrong airport in Houston and ended up missing his plane.









I was sick in my stomach when I heard this news because of the money that he had lost. He was able to shake it off.



A Learning Experience 




Can you see the learning experience in all of that? As someone that will be traveling a lot for his job, Taylor just gained experience. He now knows that he needs to check his ticket to make sure he goes to the right airport. He will never make that mistake again.




With today's verse, God gives us clear directions of what we need to do the next time we get bogged down in our negative thoughts.




Feel like a failure because of a mistake that you made? Refocus your thoughts. Instead dwell on what is true and noble, what is right and pure, what is lovely and admirable, what is excellent and praiseworthy.









Let's Pray:



Dear Father, 



Thank You for being with me. Thank You for this list of things that I can focus on instead of feeling negative or depressed. I ask for Your help and guidance in dwelling on what is true and noble, what is right and pure, what is lovely and admirable, what is excellent and praiseworthy. Thank You for all that You do. In Jesus' name, Amen. 

Thursday, January 3, 2019

Devotional: He Can Always Be Found Jeremiah 29:13

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.




Jeremiah 29:13 NIV 









Are you struggling today? Do you feel like you are all alone with your struggles? The Lord wants you to know that no matter what you are going through right now, no matter how alone you may feel or how dark your days may seem, He is always there. He can always be found.




There are so many times that I feel alone in my struggles. Struggling with being a "good enough " mom to my children or a "good enough " wife to my husband. I feel like I fail them and God on a daily basis.








However, it is during my alone time that I am truly able to seek out the Lord. He is always available to meet with me, too.




My challenge to you today, when you start to feel all alone, use that time to seek out the Lord. When you draw closer to Him, He draws closer to you. When you seek Him, you will find Him.




Let's Pray:




Dear Father, 




Thank You for always being there. Even when I feel like I am all alone, You are still there. Father, please help me to use those times of feeling alone to draw closer to You. Help me to seek You because I know that when I seek You with all of my heart, I will find You. In Jesus' name, Amen.








James 4:8 ESV 




Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Farewell 2018

It is that time of year again. Time to reflect back over all of the things that the year has held.








The ups.



The downs.



The good.



The bad.




PEACE & TRUST 




I started off 2018 with Peace and within a couple of months, had added Trust. So my verse for the year has been Isaiah 26:3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.




As I have gone throughout the year, I have focused more on trusting the Lord. The more that I have trusted Him, the more peace I have felt.




In February, I felt His leading me to start blogging again. That was a huge step for me. I have blogged off and on, in the past. Nobody cared. This time I am trusting the Lord to not only guide my words, but also to use them how He deems is necessary.




I also created a group, over the summer. I felt lead to create this group for women who feel like they struggle all alone. I took the step. However, the group did not last.




I know the group was not meant to be. The Lord has given me peace about it and has allowed me to move on.







Because of that group, I have met some wonderful women and feel truly blessed to call them friends.




I am still struggling every day. I deal with a lot of depression and anxiety. My SAI is still there. Fibromyalgia pain is still there. But I keep trudging through.




I have just recently had an MRI of my pituitary gland/tumor. As my endo was showing me the latest results, it appears that the stalk has gotten a bit bigger. Surgery is very likely in my future.








I talked to her about referring me to a rheumatologist about my fibromyalgia. She told me that Vanderbilt rheumatologists do not treat fibromyalgia, but she would still "try" to refer me to someone. She said that PCP doctors are usually the ones that treat it, but mine told me straight up that he doesn't. So, in other words, sorry, Leigha, but you are on your own with this.




I mentioned surgery on my pituitary tumor, I have to weigh all of the pros and cons. Right now, there are not a lot of pros. Well, I would be rid of the tumor. No promises on rather or not it would help my headaches. Oh and a con, I would then have diabetes insepidis (?).




I will continue to trust in the Lord where all of this is concerned.



RENEW 




My word for 2019 is Renew.








My verse is:



Isaiah 40:31 NIV 



but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.




I told Tim about my verse. When I got to the walk and not faint part, he mentioned that I am clinging on to God in a literal sense with this one.




What he is referring to is the fact that I get dizzy when I stand up. No, it is not every time that I stand up, but it does make things challenging for me. When we are out, I have to find the closest seat to the door and sit down until my balance returns.




So yes, I am trusting that the Lord will renew my strength this coming year. Trusting that He will help me not to grow weary and to be able to walk without fainting. I have no idea what He holds in store for me this coming year, but my hope is in Him. He will help me rest when needed, renew my strength and see me through whatever is to come.







Prayer



Dear Father,  thank You for being with me through this past year.  All of the ups, the downs, the good days and the bad, I can see how You were there with me each step of the way. Father, I lift up the year of 2019 and place it into Your hands. I have no idea what is coming this year, but You do. You are in control. Please help me to remember that You have everything taken care of so that I need not worry or be afraid. Help me rest as I place my hope; my trust in You and to know that You will renew my strength so I will be able to walk and not faint. Thank You for all that You do. In Jesus' name, Amen. 













Missed Loved Ones


Let's Talk Bags


Don't Struggle Alone













It is that time of year again.
Time to reflect back over all of the things that the year has held.
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.











Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Missed Loved Ones

Are the holidays a hard time of year for you? Do you spend time reflecting over lost loved ones and missing them so much?



This time of the year is hard for me. I spend a lot of time thinking about and missing my mom.



Below is a letter that I thought I would share. It is one that I wrote to my mom. Maybe it will bless you as it helps you to remember that you are not alone.













Dear Mom, 

It has been 6 years, mom. Can you believe that? 



I remember dad had gotten mad at me because I helped Jessica through a hard situation in her life. Of course, I was going to help her, he had kicked her out. I wanted her to know that no matter what, she was still loved.



Since I had decided to offer her grace, he got mad at me and cut me out of the family as well. How that must have broken your heart at the time.



You spent so much of your life cut off from your side of the family. Oh, you were allowed the occasional phone call, but that was it. Then dad gets upset and cuts your daughters out as well.



Then, I found out that you had cancer. You know, I still have no idea what type of cancer you had. Although, I was allowed to go and see you.



I remember walking in to see you complaining to the nurse about your shoe being untied. When you saw me, you had to do a double take because you almost didn't recognize me. I have a habit of eating as a means of comforting myself. So, I had put on quite a bit of weight since you last saw me.










I sat there with you and just held and rubbed your hand. As if I were trying to memorize or absorb the feel of it.



The nurse brought you some food for dinner and you complained because it had corn and you weren't supposed to have corn. I remember thinking, "mom, you have cancer, if you want the corn, eat the corn."



Just before we left, I leaned over to give you a hug and a kiss. You know, I will never forget that. I knew that that would be the last time I would see you again, this side of heaven. And you smelled like onion rings because that was all you had eaten of your dinner.



It has been 6 years. Time has continued to move forward. The boys have all grown up. Phillip is married with a child. Taylor is doing his masters at Texas A&M. Jacob is our rock star. Tim has had cancer and kicked its butt. He overcame and is a survivor. I have secondary adrenal insufficiency, fibromyalgia along with a few other illnesses.



On a good note, I lost a lot of weight. You would have been so proud of me. However, due to the SAI, I take hydrocortisone and have gained back everything that I lost.



Mom, there has always been a question that has plagued me. Did you blame me for the way that your life turned out? I know that dad did not want me and he was not happy about having to get married. He was so controlling and kept you from your family. If I had not of come along, your life might have been so much different. Anyways, that is something I have thought about for a very long time.



I think about you every day. I see you everywhere, even 6 years later. I miss you so much. 










Psalm 27:14 NIV 



Wait for the Lord ; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord .



Prayer 



Dear Father,  thank You for always being with me. Father, I know that even when I struggle through grief, You are always there with me. Please help me in my efforts of waiting for You. Help me to be strong and take heart while I wait for You. In Jesus' name,  Amen.












Encouraging A Sick Loved One


How To Fight The Christmas Blues


Sometimes The Answer Is Wait













Are the holidays a hard time of year for you?
Do you spend time reflecting over lost loved ones and missing them so much?
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.

























Photo credit: lethutrang101 on pixabay.com 

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Encouraging A Sick Loved One

Are the holidays hard this year because someone you love is in the hospital? Or maybe you are the one that is sick and missing loved ones?










It was October 2014. Tim was sick. He had just been moved to Vanderbilt and diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma.



Better To Miss One Holiday




Before he had gotten sick, he had gotten tickets for him and Jacob to go to a rock concert on Jacob's birthday. When the day rolled around, Tim was in the hospital and not able to go with Jacob. It broke his heart. Luckily, Taylor was home, so he went with Jacob to the concert.



Thanksgiving found Tim in the hospital for a round of chemo. Another event that Tim was going to have to miss. He talked to his doctor about either doing the treatment early or a little bit late, but the doctor told him that it was better to miss the one holiday in order to have more in the future.



Since we knew ahead of time that he was going to be in the hospital during Thanksgiving, do you know what we did? We had our Thanksgiving the weekend before.



Yes, it was still hard to go through the holiday that year without him here, but looking back on it, I am so glad we celebrated it early. We could have just skipped it, but we didn't. After all, we had a lot to be thankful for that year.










To Celebrate More In The Future 




Yes, Tim had cancer, but it was a type of cancer that could be aggressively treated and it could be cured.  I was alone, but I had people show up when I needed them. Jacob missed out on a bonding experience with his dad, but gained a bonding experience with his brother instead. Phillip and Shannon had announced that they were pregnant.



Are the holidays hard this year because someone you love is in the hospital? Or maybe you are the one that is sick and missing loved ones?




Ways To Help 



1. Call and/or text the missed family member. 



When T had to be in the hospital over Thanksgiving, we spent a lot of time on the phone. It made me feel a little bit better to hear his voice, or to receive his text messages, and it helped him not to miss me as much as well.



2. If you know, in advance, have the holiday early. 



As I mentioned above, we knew in advance, that he was going to miss Thanksgiving. So we had our big meal the weekend before. I didn't think anything of it, at the time, but looking back, I am so glad we did it that way.



3. Send goodies with the family member. 



Again, if you know in advance, and you can get ahead of the blues, put together a care package from home. It can just be little things to help the sick loved while they are in the hospital and missing you. ~ Like now, I would pack him a few of his favorite things, a book, maybe some candy and then one of my favorite blankets that he could curl up with.









Jeremiah 29:11-13 NIV  



For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.




Prayer 



Father, thank You. Thank You for being You. Thank You for being in control of my life. Father, I know that You have plans for me, plans for my wellbeing and not harm, plans that will give me hope and a future. I know that when I call out to You, Father, You will hear me; You will listen to my prayer.  I know that when I seek You with all of my heart, I will find You. Thank You so much.  In Jesus' name,  Amen.












Express Your Gratitude


God's Grace


How To Fight Christmas Blues












Are the holidays hard this year because someone you love is in the hospital?
Or maybe you are the one that is sick and missing loved ones?
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.
























Photo credit: silviarita on pixabay.com 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

How To Fight The Christmas Blues

Are you someone who goes into the holidays full of hope and good cheer? Do you struggle, like so many do, and spend this season missing lost loved ones?









What a wonderful time of the year. The leaves have changed colors and are falling in preparation for the winter season. When I step back and look at the picture, it really is a beautiful image.



Thanksgiving and Christmas are holidays that are filled with possibility. At least, that is what I believe. The wonderous time of being around loved ones that you only see during the holidays.



Family and friends get together to eat and hopefully reflect back on the good things that have happened in the past year. You might spend time watching movies, playing games and just catching up with each other.



The above sounds idyllic, doesn't it? It is a little too rosy.



Christmas Is Around The Corner 




I have always had a hard time getting through the holidays. First off, it is dark, dreary and cold outside. Then you throw in family that I only ever see on rare occasions and it causes a lot of stress.



I am sitting here with Thanksgiving in my rear window and Christmas is just around the corner, but do you know what I am thinking about? My mom. She passed on December 18, 2012. It makes 6 years this year that she has been gone.









I used to look forward to putting up our tree each year. Once it was up, it gave me something to focus on, something colorful and full of light. We don't put up a tree any more. I can only imagine what would end up happening if we did. Our dogs love



to run



and play



and jump



and climb



and just for fun, chew on everything.




Redirect Your Thoughts 




1. Take A Step Back. 



When things feel dark, allow yourself some time to just take a step back. Ask the Lord for new eyes to see His wonders.



2. Notice The Colors Around You. 



As you take that step back, pay attention to all of the colors that are around you. The bright oranges and yellows of the trees that have not lost all of their leaves. The Christmas lights. Yes, enjoy the Christmas light. Take a ride in the evening and just spend time enjoying all of the colors.



3. Focus On The Good Things That Have Happened. 



Spend some time reflecting over the past year. As you do, focus on the good things that happened. A birthday. An anniversary.  A graduation. A trip. The birth of a child. A job promotion. A new job. When you see these moments from the past year, give thanks and praise to the Lord.









Romans 15:13 NIV  



May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Romans 15:13 NIV



Prayer



Dear Father, thank You for always being there. Even when I struggle, I know that You are there. Father, I pray that You will give me new eyes this holiday season. Wrap me in Your arms and comfort me as You fill me with the wonder that is Your presence. I pray that You will fill me with joy and peace as I trust in You. In Jesus' name, Amen.











Sometimes The Answer Is Wait


Express Your Gratitude


God's Grace












Are you someone who goes into the holidays full of hope and good cheer?
Do you struggle, like so many do, and spend this season missing lost loved ones?
How can I pray for you today?
If you will allow it, I will be happy to help carry your load.























Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, nor do I work in the medical field. The tips that I have shared are what has worked for me in the past. It is my hope that they might help you as well. 




Photo credit: suju on pixabay.com 

Devotional: Find Your Joy

Are you struggling today? Are you dealing with depression? Do you feel all alone with your trials? Consider it pure joy, my brothers ...