It’s become a bit of a tradition to choose a word for the New Year.  This word is supposed to be one specific word to focus on all year.  Honestly, I’m not big on this.  It feels a little like boxing myself in.  My mind goes one hundred miles an hour in a hundred different directions.  How on Earth do I choose just one word to represent all that I want to embody in a whole entire year?  That just seems plain impossible.

Unless, of course, God writes that word on your heart countless times over the last several weeks.  It seems every time I turn around one word keeps being presented to me.

GRACE

Let me get a little wordy nerdy and define it for you.  According to Oxforddictionaries.com, one of the meanings of grace is “(in Christian belief) the free and unmerited favour of God, as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowal of blessings.”  It’s synonyms are:  goodwill, generosity, kindness, benefaction, beneficence, and indulgence.

That definition, that deep truth behind the meaning of grace, has lodged itself in the forefront of my thoughts for weeks.  It has taken up such real estate in my thoughts that I wake up at night pondering God’s unmerited favor and his constant bestowal of blessings in my life.

I’ve been thinking back to trials and struggles in my life and have been sifting through the evidence of God’s grace through it all.  His goodwill, generosity, kindness, benefaction, and indulgence is overwhelming.  Just focusing on finding the obvious ways that His grace has been present in every situation has caused a perspective shift in my heart and mind.

Looking for grace is simply seeing glimpses of His little gifts, evidence of His love and favor, in everything.  Keeping my eyes open for it makes me humble and grateful.  It keeps me attentive to God’s goodness and blessings.  Hunting for grace in each moment allows me to see the hand of God at work when I might otherwise miss it entirely.

My blog has always purposed to talk about honoring God in the craziness of our lives.  I truly believe that no matter how messy, how chaotic, how absolutely crazy our lives get; we can choose to honor God by the way that we live it.  That’s why my little tag line has always been “Honoring Him in the Craziness of Life”.

I still firmly believe that, but I’m adding on to that thought in 2017.  I’m narrowing my focus, or maybe broadening my view, depending on your thinking.

In 2017, I’m choosing to honor him by looking for evidence of His grace in every moment of this crazy life that I’ve been given.

This verse has been etched in my heart.  I’m making it my focus verse in this new year.  John 1:16 ESV says, “For from his fullness we have all received grace upon grace.”

GRACE UPON GRACE

What a beautiful truth!  I want to be more aware of His grace.  I’m going to search for evidence of His grace upon grace in every situation, in every moment, in all of the craziness of my life in 2017.

If you would like to join me, my social media posts and blog will feature the hashtags #honoringhim and #graceupongrace in 2017.  When you see evidences of grace, use these hashtags and share it with me.  I’d love to see how you experience His grace upon grace this year!

Love and blessings!

Bobbie


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Life is full of trials, stuggles, and stress.  It’s so easy to get bound up in all of the things that are out of our control and to just anxiously toil and struggle our way through.

This morning, while reading in Exodus, I was reminded, yet again, that isn’t God’s plan for His beloved children.  He has a better way for us.  He calls us to trust in His plan, to rest in His provision, and to believe that He is working on our behalf.

I know not everyone is as in love with the Old Testament as I am, but, trust me people, it is so full of applicable truth and encouragement!  Stick with me for a minute and listen to this example.

My reading this morning was centered around the time when the Hebrews were fleeing from Egypt under the leadership of Moses.  It must have been chaotic.  The people left in a hurry without much time to prepare.  It also must have been terrifying to leave all that they had ever known for an unknown wilderness.  In the midst of all of that, their enemies, the Egyptians, were in hot pursuit of them.  Fear and doubt were running high!

Have you been there?  Maybe you’ve not been feeling from your enemies into the wilderness, but I’d be willing to bet that you’ve experienced fear and doubt.  I would guess that you’ve felt like you were struggling looking for answers.  I’m sure you’ve looked into the unknown and wondered how on earth God could have led you to the place you found yourself and how in the world you could safely make it through the trials you were facing.

The Hebrews sure felt that way and they let Moses know about it.  Yet, right there, in the middle of the chaos, God gave Moses a simple command for the people.  It’s one that’s just as applicable to us today.  He said, “Fear not.  Stand firm, and see the salvation of the Lord, which he will work for you today…The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.”

That’s about as simple as you can get, yet it’s one of the most difficult things to do.  It must have been so hard to trust God and walk across that sea, but as always, God came through.  He stood between the people and their enemies.  He provided an escape.  He crushed their enemies.  He kept his promise and fought for them.  All they were required to do was to trust Him and obey His command.

Lord, help us to be able to do the same.  Help us to be able to claim that promise in the middle of seasons of chaos, fear, and doubt. Calm our hearts.  Help us to cast out cares at your feet.  Remind us to not be fearful but to stand firm because we know that you fight for us.  Give us the wisdom to not anxiously toil and struggle, but to be silent and trust in you.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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Today would be my Dad’s birthday.  Mine is right before his.  This is a picture of us celebrating together a few years ago.  He’s been gone now for about a year and a half.  It sure doesn’t seem like that long, but at the same time, it feels like forever since I’ve seen him.  I miss him often, but especially today.

I don’t understand why God allowed him to die.  I don’t understand how taking him was a better plan than doing a miracle of healing.  I still struggle with that.  Honestly, there is only one way I know to deal with that kind of pain.

This morning, with a heavy heart, I prayed a version of the same prayer that I pray every time I feel a little overwhelmed by the grief.

“Father, God,

I don’t understand your ways.  I hurt and I miss my dad terribly, but I’m choosing to trust you in the midst of the hurt.  I know you are good.  I know you are love.  I know that you see the beginning and the end and that your plans are greater than my own.  I don’t understand why God, but I understand who you are.  Help me to trust fully in your character and in who you are in spite of how I feel.  Fill my hurting heart with peace.

Amen.”

That prayer gets me through the things I can’t understand and the things that aren’t easy.  I’m hoping it can help someone else today.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie

 

 


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Here it is.  This is what you have waited for your whole life.  Permission.  Permission to breathe.

This is the first post Funk blog entry, and there is something that I’ve really wanted to share with you.  I think the reason that it weighs so heavy on my heart, is because it is something that I needed to be reminded of as much as I needed to write it.

We don’t keep the world spinning.  We don’t run the show.  We are not responsible for everything nor do we need to be.

Whew!  What a relief that is!  Do you feel the weight lifted?  Can you breathe a little easier?

We have permission to put the brakes on when life gets a little too crazy and make a space to just breathe.  It is absolutely ok for us to take a moment to stop and settle ourselves.  Even if the world around us is running at full speed, which it always seems to do, we can break from the race and catch our breath.  Even if it feels like we are drowning under the weight of to dos and expectations.  We don’t have to stay on the hamster wheel and run.  We can hop off and pause for just a moment.

We have permission to breathe.

In that space, that pause, you and I have permission to call out to our loving Father and to ask, to question, to struggle, to wrestle, to rest, to be weak, and to just let it all go for a moment.  In life, so often it seems like we have to be so strong, but not with our God.  He is strong for us when we are weak.  He’s got our backs.  We have permission to crawl into the lap of our loving Father and lay our head on his chest and rest in his love, strength, care, and provision.  He will keep the world spinning while we just catch our breath and refocus ourselves.

He’s got us.  He’s got this.

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When we take that moment, when we allow ourselves the chance to break the cycle of constant motion, we are often worried that we will lose out.  We might get behind.  We might miss out on something.  We may not look like we have it all together.  We worry that if we don’t keep the world spinning, it might tilt right off its’ axis.

And sometimes, we run ourselves ragged trying to keep up.

That’s not God’s plan for us.  He wants us to come to Him with our burdens and our loads.  When we feel like the weight of things is getting too heavy, he wants us to Him and hand it over to Him.  He doesn’t want us to weary ourselves trying to bear everything alone.

And when we do that, the opposite of what we worry about happening actually happens.  When we hit pause and take a moment or two to stop the striving, we don’t fall behind.  We don’t miss out.  Instead, we are refreshed.  We are strengthened.  We are renewed.  We pause and take that time to renew ourselves through him and then we have the ability to jump back into life ready for the marathon.  We have the energy for the long haul now instead of wearying ourselves in the sprint.

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So, sweet friend, there it is.  There is your permission.  When it all gets to be a tad too much, allow yourself the grace to just take a moment.  Pause.  Climb up in your Heavenly Father’s lap and turn it over to Him.  Ask Him for what you need to keep running.  When you’ve received your full share, hop back in and finish strong.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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Have you ever been in a funk that you just couldn’t seem to get out of?  I’ve spent the last several weeks in a fog that just hasn’t seemed to want to lift.  I’ve had some little health stuff going on and had to have a couple of little medical procedures done.  There are a few more little procedures on the horizon as well.  This has all left me feeling just plain worn out physically, but it has all left me feeling emotionally spent as well.

Have you been there?  Maybe it wasn’t a health related issue.  Maybe it was a relationship issue, a work issue, or just circumstances in your life that had you in that funk.  Whatever it is that put you there, Funkytown is really not a great place to visit and it’s even worse to settle in and dwell there a while.

And that’s what I was doing.  I was dwelling.

I was totally content to just sit in that foggy, hazy Funkytown and dwell there.

Last week I started to realize just what I was doing.  I started to realize that I had set up shop in Funkytown and gotten pretty comfortable there.  (Really folks, it shouldn’t have taken me so long to see the error in my ways.  A couple of weeks in, I went 8 days without putting on real clothes or leaving my house.  Which felt glorious at the time, but, looking back, might have been a tad much.  Not to mention that I binge watched a ridiculous amount of Netflix.  Which also felt glorious at the time, but wasn’t even remotely productive and kept me from doing the things I should have been doing.)

I knew I needed to pack it up and leave Funkytown, but it was just so comfortable there.  So, I did the only thing I knew to do to make a change.  I went back to God’s word and prayer because they are the things that have always brought me stability, strength, conviction, and  encouragement. I moved off the couch and back into my regular Bible study and prayer time (which had been mostly set aside for Netflix and naps).

And in his usual, glorious way, when I started moving back towards Jesus, there he was, just waiting for me.  Arms open.  Ready to draw me closer.

This morning, while I was reading my Bible, I came across something beautiful.

In Luke 15, Jesus tells three parables about someone being separated from something and diligently seeking it until it is found and restored to its’ rightful place.  He tells of a shepherd who lost one sheep out of a flock of one hundred, yet the shepherd left the others and went after the lost sheep to bring it back into the fold.  Next he tells of a woman who lost a silver coin and turns her house upside down to find it and add it back into her purse.  Then he tells the story of the prodigal son who left his father and lived a wild lifestyle, only to be brought low and return to the father seeking mercy.  The father lovingly welcomes the son back and restores him to a place of honor.

And God’s word remind us that He does that for us.

Separation.  Seeking.  Restoration.  It is kind of His thing.

I know these parables speak of Jesus seeking the lost, but today when I read these they had new applications for me.  Today they reminded me that no matter how discouraged I feel, or how deep into a funk I am, I’m never far from Jesus’ love.  When I feel discouraged and distant, he is right there seeking my heart and waiting for my return.  He diligently longs for me and doesn’t want me to be separated from him.  Just like the wandering sheep, the lost coin, and the wayward son, when I am separated from him, he is seeking me and wants my restoration.

So, today those parables have a new meaning because today the fog is rolling away a little and I’m leaving Funkytown behind.    (Not that I’m giving up naps and Netflix, people.  That would just be plain silly.  I will how ever be enjoying them in much greater moderation than I have been over the last several weeks. )  If you need me, you can find me back at the feet of Jesus.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


 

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I’ve been sick all week.  I don’t like to use the F word, but this feels an awfully lot like… the FLU.  I have turned my living room into my school room/office and have taken up residence on my couch for the last 4 days.  All school work and regular work has been conducted from this place that is adequately stocked with tissues, hot tea, cold medicine, blankets, and pillows.  It has been my little refuge and I’ve been very grateful for a comfortable place to ride out this yucky virus.

This could be the Day-Quil or maybe even the fever talking, but God has been speaking a specific verse to me this week that I wanted to share with you.  It involves birds and penguins and couches, so give me a little grace and mercy here.  Maybe I should warn you that I’ve taken cold medicine and have a little fever.

Each morning, as part of our homeschool curriculum, my kids do some copy work form the Bible.  Monday morning, when I was feeling particularly cruddy, our verse to copy was Psalm 91:4a.  From my little alcove on the couch, I read aloud,

“He will cover you with his feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge…”

My oldest son was particularly interested in this verse and it started a pretty great conversation about the character and qualities of God.  That is one of the things that I cherish about homeschooling.  I love the way when something peaks our interest, we can take the time to delve into it.  On Monday, we took the time to do just that.

I shared a story with my kids that I remember hearing somewhere years ago.  It isn’t really Biblical, and probably not even factual, but I love the way that it illustrates this verse.  Because I was delirious with fever, I even acted it out for them.  You can imagine that as you read the story, if you would like.

Here goes.

A mama bird was in the forest when a forest fire broke out.  Her little babies were not big enough to fly yet and she knew they were not fast enough to get away from the fire.  The mama feared for her babies lives.  As the fire got closer the mama saw her only chance of saving her precious babies.  She opened her wings and crouched low to the ground and welcomed them under her feathers.  She gathered them tightly into her and wrapped them in the shelter of her wings.  The fire swept rapidly through the forest and the mama fell victim to the flames.  As the firemen came to put out the fire they saw the mama bird crouched there and heard a muffled noise.  The firemen picked up the mama bird and the babies were still there, unharmed, wrapped in the protective shelter of her wings.

I can’t remember where I heard this.  I’m not even sure it is possible.  But I love illustration that it provides.  Pretend with me for a moment, that it is possible.  Can you imagine being that baby bird?  As the fire rages and the world is in chaos, you are safely tucked in a place of refuge.

My oldest was a little skeptical about this story.  Wouldn’t the babies die too?  Why didn’t they all burn up?  Maybe.  I’m not really sure.  I hated to leave him questioning, but God, in His very cool, God like way, gave us another example yesterday.  I love when He comes through for me in those little ways that build up my faith and the faith of my kiddos.

You see, unfortunately, Sunday and Monday were just a little introduction to yuckiness that I was feeling.  Yesterday I felt awful.  In sheer desperation for some quietness, I turned to my very favorite substitute teacher, Amazon Prime.  We are studying zoology this year for Science, and the video, March of The Penguins, would not only tie in perfectly, it would give me an hour and twenty minutes of quiet.

God used this very interesting movie to illustrate this verse again for me and for my boys.  He gave us a perfect example of a real life scenario of the mama bid and the baby birds.  Penguin mamas lay one egg a year and then must rush off to get food.  The Daddy penguin is responsible for caring for the very delicate egg in the harsh Artic winter for months.  To do this, he sets the egg down on top of his claws and tucks it underneath of his tummy.  He snuggles down on top of it to completely envelop it IN THE SHELTER OF HIS FEATHERS.  As the ragged winter rages on and the artic winds blow, the Daddy penguin safely shields the egg from the cold and the storms.  His feathers trap in enough heat to keep the egg warm and they also provide protection against the elements.  His protective feathers keep the egg alive and safe so that it can hatch in the spring.

My boys and I discussed this and talked about how God is that place of refuge for us.  I compared it to my little sick bed that I had set up in the living room.  It was my place of comfort in the chaos of sickness.  It had everything that I needed and was a place that I felt safe and cared for.  Tucked away there, being sick wasn’t so bad.

As I explained to my boys, this world is a crazy place filled with chaos.  Fires tear through.  Cold winds blow.  Storms rage on.  But, Psalm 91:4 says that in the midst of all of the things that happen around us, God wraps us in his wings to offer us refuge and protection and shelter.  He is our calm in the storm.  He is our shelter from the forces that could harm us.  He is that comfortable, safe place to find rest.

When life gets a little crazy, we have the opportunity to be like those little baby birds.  God, like that mama bird, opens his wings to welcome us into His protection and provision, but we must go there.  We must be like that little penguin egg and stay nestled under our Father’s protective embrace.  He promises to be our place of peace, provision, protection, and comfort if we rest in Him.

So, maybe it is the Day-Quil or maybe it is the fever, but I can totally relate to the little egg and the baby birds.  I love knowing that my God offers me a refuge.  When I face trail and chaos in this life, I run into the open arms of my Father.  I look to him to provide that place of shelter and protection.  I look to Him to lovingly care for me, and I don’t fear because I’m nestled safely under his wings.

Love and Blessings,

Bobbie


 

imageI’m a little bit of a country girl at heart.  We always had some type of livestock that we were raising when I was a kid living at home.  I can remember having cows, hogs, chickens, geese, turkeys, guinea fowl, and more.  I grew up in the country where raising and caring for animals just kind of came with the territory.

We never owned sheep, that I can remember, but I imagine it is much like owning other livestock.  When you are responsible for the care and well being of livestock, they are completely dependent on you for all of their needs.

I can remember my Dad and my brother getting up early and going out to feed and water in the mornings before school.  Before dinner, they would make another round to tend and care for whatever animals my dad was interested in raising at the time.  (Side note on my dad:  He liked to hop around from one animal to the next depending on the year.  One year he might raise hogs.  One year he wanted cows.  We almost always had horses, mules, and chickens.  We even had a little pot bellied pig that lived in the house until it ran away!  But I digress.)

The animals required continual attention for their provision and their protection.  They depended on my dad and my brother for every aspect of their care and well being.

This morning I was reading in Ezekiel.  Most of chapter 34 is written to Ezekiel telling him to speak to Isreal and remind them that they are God’s sheep and He is their shepherd.  Much like my dad and brother (and even more so since my dad was a little wishy-washy as a farmer) a shepherd’s priority is provision and protection for his sheep.  God was judging those people who had led His sheep astray and was telling them that He would be their good shepherd and was giving them a promise for their future.

I just selected a few verses from This chapter to give you an idea of what God is saying here:

Ezekiel 34:4, 11-12, 16, 31 “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.”  “For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.”  “You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”

Wow!  I was a little overcome as I remembered my dad and my brother chipping away ice from the horse trough on a frigid winter day, or cleaning the barn in the brutal heat on a humid summer day.  No matter the conditions, with no regard for their own comfort, they cared and tended their animals.  Because that’s what a farmer and a shepherd do.  They provide care for the livestock in their possession.  How much more so will our good shepherd care for us?!?

Father God,

Thank you for being the good shepherd.  Thank you for understanding that I’m a little sheep easily led astray and prone to wander.  Thank you for your loving guidance, your tender care, and your divine provision and protection.  Help me to trust you more and to fully rely on you as my shepherd.  Help me not to stray, but to stay safely by your side.  Father, I look to you for my needs.  I know that your love for me is true.  You truly are the good shepherd and I’m so thankful to be a sheep in your pasture!”

Amen!

Blessings and Love,

Bobbie

 


Last week was one of those weeks that just left me reeling in exhaustion and emotion.  Have you had those?  Those are the weeks where, when they draw to a close, we look back and think ‘How on Earth did I just make it through all of that?’  Everyone has those weeks, where you are pretty sure the world has slipped off of its center and everything feels a little wonky.

I hesitate to lay out the details because I know that some of you walked through weeks that were so much more difficult than mine.  However, because I really want you to see what God is working on in me, I want to share some things with you.

I am just starting to get over a bout with pneumonia.  Pneumonia is no joke.  I felt awful and so run down all of last week.  Some of that still lingers into this week.  Along with all of that, my grandpa, whom I’ve been in charge of caring for the last several years, is on hospice in the nursing home.  He’s battled Parkinson’s Disease and Dimentia for a long time and took a turn for the worse about 2 months ago.  It’s been a very long battle and has been so very heartbreaking to watch.

Just to make things a tad more interesting, all of this is happening on the same week that my Dad went into the hospital last year.  The one year anniversary of his passing is this coming Saturday.  That alone has been a very hard milestone to approach.  The emotion and the memories that just hit me out of the clear blue have been enough to knock me clean off of my feet at times.

Needless to say, I’ve been a walking train wreck on the inside all week.  I’m physically feeling sick and worn and emotionally feeling very raw.  I’ve been trying very hard to take care of my family, move past my own health stuff, and be there with my grandpa.  I’ve been trying to keep everything running smoothly.  On the outside, things probably didn’t look too bad, but on the inside I was a mess.

The results haven’t been pretty friends.  And would you like to know why?  Because I was trying to do it in my own strength and for my own benefit.  I was wearing myself into a frazzle trying to keep everything from falling apart all around me while keeping a smile firmly etched into place, because that’s what we think we are suppose to do.

Can I just be honest?  That’s an exhausting game to play.

Yesterday, I went to church and then came home and watched my boys decorate our Christmas tree.  When that was over, I packed my bag to go spend the rest of the day and evening with my Grandpa, by myself.  When I got into the car, I realized how tired I was, so I put on a podcast by Francis Chan to keep me awake and alert while I was driving.  It was so good.  I love when God just gives you this little random thought, like ‘maybe I will listen to this to stay awake’ and it turns out to be exactly what you really need to hear.  He’s good like that.

Anyway,  Francis Chan was speaking at a retreat for leaders in the church and asking them to quit trying to be something that they are not.  He was asking them to lay aside their phony facades of perfection and be real with their people.  He was calling them into transparency and authenticity because sharing our struggles is one of the most sure fire ways to help someone feel like they aren’t alone in theirs.  Not only that, but it shifts our perspective from one of ‘I must do all and be all’ to one of ‘God help me’.

It was just what I needed to hear.  I had been running myself into the ground all week desperately trying to keep everything around me from plunging into chaos.  I hadn’t asked for much help and hadn’t wanted to even admit how difficult the week had been.

So, last night when I pulled into the nursing home, I picked up my Grandpa’s hand and opened my Bible and gathered as much wisdom, peace, love, strength, direction, correction, and inspiration as I could find. When my Grandpa’s sweet nurse came in and asked how I was doing, I fell apart a little and told her how hard it was to watch this, especially after I sat in this same place exactly one year ago.  I readily accepted her hug and words of comfort.  I reached out to my personal friends and some of my sweet friends on Facebook and asked for prayers for comfort for my Grandpa and peace and strength for myself, and they responded in ways that bring tears to my eyes.  I came home and crawled into bed and was graceful to myself by letting myself sleep in a little later this morning because my body desperately needs the rest.  I’ve allowed my self time to read my Bible, reflect, process, and write this morning because that is the way I feel most connected to God.  I let go of the ‘do all and be all’ and starting saying ‘God help me’.

The weight of perception can be crushing.  Trying to keep all of the plates spinning in this circus act can be utterly exhausting.  We often refuse to give ourselves grace and mercy.  We don’t want to take off the mask of perfection because it’s possible that people will see that we really don’t have it all together.

Well, I’m here to tell you that I DO NOT have it all together.  I never have.  I’m sure I probably never will.  BUT yesterday and again this morning, I was reading through Isaiah and was so encouraged that I DONT HAVE to have it all together because I serve a God who does.  He is the beginning and the end.  He is my protector, provider.  His plans have been laid since the foundation of the earth and He never fails to keep his promises.  He loves me.  He has this whole great big world, and even my little tiny existence in it, firmly in His grasp.

I have no idea why last week was so rough.  And it’s entirely likely that this week could be equally as difficult.  But I know the one who created the moon and the starts and knit me together.  He loves me and my grandpa.  All that happens in this world and in my life will ultimately bring Him glory.  I know that I don’t have to be perfect or understand His plans because He is perfect and His plans are perfect.  As much as I can, I’m going to rest in that this week when things get difficult. As much as I’m able, I’m going to leave my mask off and show that the only hope I have of making it through is by clinging to the one who loves me and has this all firmly in the palm of His hand.

Isaiah 43:2-3a, 4a

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.  For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Because you are precious in my eyes, and honored, and I love you…”


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Father God,

This world is hurting.  It is everywhere we turn.  This whole world is groaning and crying out for its Savior.  People are reeling with heartache and confusion.  Lord, in the midst of chaos, help us turn to you for the peace that passes all understanding.  Help us to look for your comfort. Let us diligently seek your hope.  Help us to continually turn to you for strength.

Father, in a world that’s gone haywire, help us to remember that you are our constant.  You are our rock.  You are our good Father.  You heal broken lives, broken people, and broken hearts.  God, you are creator, sustainer, and ruler of all.  Lord, God, you are sovereign.  You are strong and mighty.  You are righteous and kind.  You are holy.  You are just.  You are near to all who call on you.  You are faithful and true. You are judge and jury. You redeem and reconcile.  You pour out unmerited mercy and grace.  You are love.

We praise you for all that you are Lord.  We love you and we trust you.  We know that you watch over us.  You don’t rest Lord.  Your eyes are continually upon your children.  You are our shield, our fortress, and our protection.  You hide us in the cleft of the rock.  You hem us in, behind and before, and your hand is upon us.  You are our refuge.  You are everywhere.  There is no where that we can go that you aren’t present.  Let that be our comfort.

Lord, when this world is madness and confusion, we turn towards you as our strength, hope, and comfort.  Father, give us peace in our hearts and our minds.  God, only you can bring peace in our world.  Give us the peace that passes all understanding.

Amen

Encouraging words from His word:

Philippians 4:7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Psalm 139:7 Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?

Psalm 141:8 But my eyes are fixed on you, Sovereign Lord; in you I take refuge—leave me not defenseless.

Psalm 139:5 You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.

Psalm 144:1-2 Praise be to the Lord my Rock,who trains my hands for war,my fingers for battle. He is my loving God and my fortress, my stronghold and my deliverer, my shield, in whom I take refuge

Psalm 145:18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, (more…)


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Have you ever placed your trust in the wrong person or the wrong thing?  Have you ever been let down by someone or something?  I think we all have.  I’m pretty sure that at one time or another we have all experienced the pain of broken trust.

I know I have.  Even as a child, I learned the risk that comes with putting your trust in people.  I came from a divorced home and I would often sit, dressed and with an overnight bag in hand, waiting for my Daddy to come and pick me up.  Sometimes I’d wait for hours.  It was a hard lesson that taught me that sometimes people will let you down.  They often do not intend to.  My Daddy never really meant to cause hurt.  People are broken and flawed and sometimes react out of hurt or to protect themselves.  Sometimes, even with the best intentions and with love in their hearts, they fail you.  As Christains, we are called to forgive and to continue to act in love regardless.

We’ve all had friends that have failed us.  Maybe a confidence has been breached.  Maybe you’ve been betrayed.  Even the truest friend isn’t infallible.  People simply can’t be perfect.  We understand that basic fact of human nature and we forgive and move forward in love.

Maybe it’s a spouse that has broken your trust.  Marriage is hard, friends.  When two flawed people come together, there is bound to be some difficulties.  Even the strongest and most loving marriages have experienced some level of hurt.

I adore my husband.  He is one of the best men I’ve ever met. He is so kind and caring and compassionate.  He is so forgiving and so loving.  He is generous beyond belief.  However, our marriage has been littered with issues that involve hurt or broken trusts.  Every marriage is to one degree or another.  We’ve both made mistakes and we have both caused hurt.  Regardless, of the challenges that we faced, we embrace our Christian duty to forgive, to be united, and to daily walk forward in love.

Just maybe, it is your own self that you don’t trust.  There may be some thing that you are struggling with that has caused you to be the one who breaks trusts or causes hurt.  Hurting people sometimes hurt people.  It’s often unintentional.  I know I’ve been guilty of this.  I know that I’ve acted out of pain in a way that has caused hurt to people that I love.  But I also know that God can forgive, redeem, and restore.

Here is where all of this gloom and doom takes a beautiful turn for the better.  People will fail us.  We will even fail ourselves.   It is a given.  We are sinful people in this flesh.  However, that doesn’t mean that we should ever become hard hearted.  We should never allow bitterness or unforgiveness to take root in our hearts or in our relationships.  We should always seek forgiveness, restoration, and love.

Our hope doesn’t lie in people.  Our hope lies in a God who is powerful enough to walk us through any hurt or broken trust that we may face.  He is who we look to.  We know people will fail us, but we know that God never will.

Psalm 62:8

“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”

If you are in that place where your trust has been broken or your heart is hurting, look to the one who takes brokenness and makes it beautiful.  Pour our your heart to him.  Let Him be your refuge.  He has the power to forgive.  He gives the power to forgive.  He has the power to redeem and restore.  He has the power to change hearts and minds.  He specializes in taking situations and people that seem too far gone, and turning them in to a beacon of hope.  He is trust worthy.

He does that in each and every one of us when we trust in him for salvation.  He promises that if we call out to him in our brokenness, ask him for forgivenness, repent, believe in Jesus, trust in His name, and follow him; he will save us from death and hell.  If He has the power to save our souls, He has the power to redeem any situation or relationship here on earth.

He is worthy of trust.  He is strong and mighty.  He is good.  He is forgiving and loving.  He is merciful and full of grace.  He is the God who redeems and restores.  He takes our brokenness and makes it beautiful.

And He desperately wants you to trust in Him.  First, He wants you to trust in Him for salvation.  After that, He wants you to realize that you can trust Him to redeem and restore other areas in your life as well.  He wants to heal broken hearts and broken relationships and broken people.

The verses leading up to Psalm 62:8 are a beautiful example of why we can trust him.  As you read these verses, meditate on them.  Remember His saving power.  Think about the fact that He is the only rest for our troubled souls.  Trust Him to redeem and restore.  Turn all of that brokenness over to Him.  Trust in Him to make it beautiful.

Psalm 62:5-8

Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken. My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge. Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


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Yesterday was a hard day.  There is just so much sin and hurt in this fallen world.  There is so much pain. There is so much loss and grief and discouragement.  My heart aches for the brokenness that is so evident everywhere I look.  This whole earth is groaning and crying out for it’s Savior.

Do you see that too?  Do you see loved ones dealing with loss and grief?  Do you see sickness, pain, and suffering?  Do you see discouragement and hopelessness?  Do you see relationships falling apart and the scars left from that?  Maybe you are the one in the midst of all of the trials?  I’ve been there too.

I was confronted head on with all of this hurt in so many situations yesterday with several friends and loved ones dealing with very difficult tribulations.  My heart breaks a little with each situation.  And honestly, it’s easy to look around at all that is going on in this life and in this fallen world and get a little discouraged.  It’s tempting to turn my eyes away from God and get overwhelmed with the way sin and hurt is wrecking so much.

But, when I keep my eyes fixed firmly on my Savior, Redeemer, Comforter, Friend, Father, Deliverer, Strongtower, and Help; I can see His mighty hand at work in the midst of each situation.  He is right there.  He is in the midst going to battle for us.  He is busy working in our most difficult circumstances to soften hard hearts, reconcile broken relationships, comfort the grieving, and draw the lost to Him.  He is hard at work uniting believers, encouraging the weary, giving hope, and strengthening us.  He is pouring out grace, mercy, forgiveness, kindness, and love in our most desperate times.  He is wrapping His arms of protection around us.

He is so good that when they enemy seeks to destroy, God is at work on our behalf to reconcile and redeem.  He uses the schemes of the enemy to draw us closer to Him and build our faith.  He is so Holy that He is moving in each trial to work it out for our ultimate good and His ultimate glory.  His Love is so great that in the midst of our hardest battles, He provides comfort, peace, and joy.

As I sat this morning, reading in Psalms, I was reminded over and over again how God is with us through all that we face.  In case you are in that place, or in case you want to provide encouragement and direction for someone who is, I wanted to point out some scripture that really spoke to me today in my reading.

Psalm 25:15-17    “My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare. Turn to me and be gracious to me, for I am lonely and afflicted. Relieve the troubles of my heart and free me from my anguish.”

Psalm 25:4-6     “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long. Remember, Lord, your great mercy and love, for they are from of old.”

Psalm 27:1     “The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear?  The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”

Psalm 28:6-8     “Praise be to the Lord, for he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.  My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him. The Lord is the strength of his people, a fortress of salvation for his anointed one.”

Psalm 31:24     “Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord.”

Psalm 32:7     “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance.”

Psalm 33:11     “But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of his heart through all generations.”

He is there.  In the middle of all of the messes that we deal with, He is our hope.  I’m so thankful that He loves us that much.  We never face any situation on our own.  He goes with us, giving us strength, love, protection, power, peace, comfort, wisdom, grace and mercy through the journey.  Wow!  What a God we serve! (more…)


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Don’t you just love this?!?  The God of all grace wants to come to us, in the midst of our suffering, and restore us!  He wants to make us strong, firm, and steadfast!  I love that!  I love that even in the middle of our pain, struggle, and trials, God has a plan for our restoration.  He is working in our situations to make us strong, firm, and steadfast.  The suffering isn’t in vain.  It has purpose.  It grows us into trees whose roots are deep, whose branches reach heavenward, and whose trunk is powerful enough not to bend or break in the storms of life.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


Don’t judge me today because I’m just keeping it real.  I’m pretty sure that the m&m’s and the caramel that I just ate for lunch were totally a coping mechanism.  Comfort in an uncomfortable place.  Chocolate and caramel can do that for a girl.

Have you ever been in that place where you just feel a little out of your element?  Maybe you doubt your abilities.  Maybe you doubt you can do what you know you’ve been called and created to do.  Maybe you feel inadequate.  Maybe you are feeling a little insecure.  And just maybe you are more than a little tempted to comfort yourself with chocolate and caramel too!

You know what though?  That didn’t really work.  As a matter of fact, I’m a little hacked off at my self for eating that candy, especially since I’ve got skinny jeans laid out to wear this evening.

The thing that finally allowed me to get outside of my own head was a sweet and gentle reminder from God, my Father, saying that HE HAS GOT MY BACK.  I am exactly where He wants me and I am exactly who He has called me to be.  He has a specific purpose and a plan for me.  He’s lined up every detail of who I am because He wants to use it.  He will equip me for all that He has called me to.  If He has called me to it, He promises to walk me through it.   I just need to quit the worrying.

And so do you.  He takes that burden for each and every one of His children.  When we are walking in His ways, He promises to stand beside us and strengthen us for what He has called us to.  He doesn’t want us to stay bound in insecurity and feelings of inadequacy.  He wants to free us from that bondage and fill us with strength, boldness, and courage.

Man, that lifts my wavering heart and I hope it lifts yours too!

Deuteronomy 31:8

“The Lord is the One who will go before you. He will be with you; He will not leave you or forsake you. Do not be afraid or discouraged.”

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


I don’t know about you but sometimes I look at the situations in my life and I just get a little overwhelmed.  Sometimes life just gives us a lot to deal with.  And honestly, sometimes I just don’t feel up to the task.  I just don’t want to go to battle.

This morning I was so encouraged by my Bible reading that I just had to take a quick minute to share it with you.

2 Kings 6:16-17

“Don’t be afraid,” the prophet answered. “Those who are with us are more than those who are with them.” And Elisha prayed, “Open his eyes, Lord, so that he may see.” Then the Lord opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

WOW!  I often need my eyes opened.  I need a reminder to take my eyes off of my circumstances and look around at all of those who God has called to go to battle with me.  He is by my side with the hosts of heaven, but He’s also given me friends and family who will go to battle for me.  Some of those people stand in the gap in prayer.  Some come along side me to encourage.  And always, He is there strengthening me to stand strong in the midst of every trial.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie


Man, sometimes life can be difficult!  It seems like so many people that I love are under attack right now.  I’ve been under attack.  Sometimes things get hard.  It can be easy to feel a little overwhelmed by the chaos and strife that is just an ugly part of life.

Sickness, loss of loved ones, hurt, discontent, job loss, distraction, discouragement…  The list can go on and on.  And it often does.  Sometimes the casualties of life just pile up and we lose heart a little.

I was reading in 2 Samuel today and just felt really connected to David.  He just struggled sometimes.  This poor guy has gone through it all. He came from a poor family.  He spent the better part of his life under attacks from his king, his enemies, even his own family.  He failed God is some pretty big ways and had to deal with some pretty big consequences as a result.  He lost loved ones.  He was shamed and ridiculed and his people turned against him.  He just seems to be constantly dealing with life.  He had every reason to get discouraged and lose heart.  But through it all, God stood beside him and walked him through his trials.  God loved him, disciplined him when necessary, and blessed him when he did right.  And through it all, David kept his eyes on God and never forgot who He was.

This morning as I was sitting here just honestly feeling a little overwhelmed, I came upon 2 Samuel 22.  Phew!  If you ever need a little pick me up or some encouragement, read it and let it remind you who God is.

David reminded me this morning that God is flawless.  He is my rock, my shield, and my salvation.  He is alive!  He is my savior who delivers me and preserves me.  God is mighty.  He arms me with strength and stoops down to make me great.  He is God and He is worthy of praise.

He is my fortress, my refuge, my support, my stronghold, my salvation, my rock, and my shield.  He rescues me from my enemies.

He is faithful.  He is blameless.  He is pure.

With My God, darkness is turned to light.  With Him, I can advance.  With Him, I can scale the walls that hold me back.  He avenges me and gives me victory.

He reached down from on high and took hold of me.  He drew me out of deep waters .  He rescued me and delights in me.  When I call out to Him, He hears me.

God lives.  He is my rock.  He is exalted.  He is my savior.  He shows me unfailing kindness.

When I sit and read 2 Samuel, I’m reminded that He is in control of the chaos.  He brings beauty from ashes and He works things for my good because He loves me.  He is on my side and fights for me.  That discouragement and distraction that I was feeling just flee in the face of who He is.

Love and blessings,

Bobbie