Friday, April 12, 2013
Stressed-less Living Blog Hop #1
Well, let me just say that this first week of Bible study has been fantastic, and it isn't even over yet. I really enjoy having the entire week to go through the first chapter because it is intense. I've been reading the chapter on my Kindle, highlighting the parts that really jump out at me, then writing those parts in my journal. Yesterday morning, before we went to work, my husband and I sat on the couch and I shared with him about six phrases from the book. Though I love a good book written specifically for women, this book is a wonderful resource for men and women both. Love it!
Ok...onto the blog-hop topics for this week:
The Great I Am
“Don’t be afraid, for I am with you. Don’t be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 NLT
This was our inspirational verse for the first week, and what a verse. As part of this assignment, we were challenged to meditate on the above versed, and it was suggested we try something called "verse mapping." I had never heard of this, but I researched it and gave it a try. It is a pretty intense way of really internalizing the scripture by disecting it word for word. Since this verse was many words, I did sentence for sentence.
The first sentence really pulled at my heart strings as a mother. My daughter is three and already I've said to her countless times, "don't be afraid. Mommy's here." It may take a few seconds, but these words along with singing "Jesus Loves Me" softly in her ear always calms her down and seems to bring her peace. The first sentence in this ever powerful verse brings the same peace and comfort to me. I close my eyes and can see my Father holding me in His arms and whispering these words to me. Really, this entire verse makes me feel the security and love that I offer to my own child when she is afraid. When she is frustrated or discouraged, I usually say "don't get frustrated. Problem solve. You can do this." These words are not near as strong as God's when he encourages me to not be discouraged and assures me that He is my God.
"I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with My victorious right hand." These words are strong, and I feel like God is saying "step aside. I've got this. Not you. Me. I'll take it from here." These words are so confident, and honestly, make me feel so silly for trying to deal with everyday stress and worry on my own, as if I have a chance next to the best that God has waiting for me if I will just step aside.
My goal for this study is to grow in my relationship with God and to truly get away from my prideful thoughts that I can fix everything and I can do everything. My goal is to unclench my fists, let go of worry, anger, frustration, and all the negative things that way heavy on my heart. My goal is to open my hand and let God's blessing of peace come into my life to stay. God lead my to participate in the last online Bible study, which brought such joy to my life. I feel He has done the same this time, and I feel I am even more open to the experiences I will gain from participating. God has opened all the doors to get me here, and I am certainly blessed for having walked through them.
This book is so in-your-face, which I love and genuinely need. Every section in this first chapter had certain passages that really spoke to my heart and my mind. The last two sections, however, had some passages that really resonated with me and were filled with these huge "ah-ha" moments that have been complete blessings.
The Search for Serenity was probably the section I appreciated most. I love the Serenity Prayer. Anytime I read it or hear it read I feel like I'm no a beach and my problems are going out with the tides. I loved the different renditions of the prayer as well. All three of them will most likely be posted around my desk at work. Actually, those prayers in addition to the following passages will most likely be posted around my desk so that at every angle, I will have a reminder of how to keep things in perspective.
"If we have no power to change a circumstance or person, then every effort to force a change to occur will be futile."
Hello. I mean how true is that? My 87 year-old grandmother suffers with several ailments, and continues eat things she shouldn't and do things she shouldn't. She's an adult. She's not an idiot, in fact, she spent many years practicing as a nurse. I used to get really angry with her when I would see her eating things that were in direct contrast to what the doctor ordered, but then I realized something. She's an adult. She is in her later years, and has been living the same way for just about all of them. Therefore, how exactly do I think I can make her suddenly change at this point in her life? It is simple. I can't. Once I realized this, I came to peace with it and decided that how she decides to live her life is up to her. But how I decide to react to it and how I choose to spend my time with her is up to me. Though other areas of my life are in desperate need of some fine tuning, life with Mawmaw is much easier these days.
And Oh, the Blessings.
...and how they just keep coming. Though I haven't completed it yet due to wanting my primary focus to be on the Bible study, I have been reading a book that is specifically about being grateful for the blessings God gives me, and to realize a blessing when I receive one.
A blessing I received just yesterday was while driving myself and my daughter to her babysitter. I played some songs from my favority Christian artists, and apparently, they are my daughter's favorites too because that sweet little angel was singing like no one was around...just jammin' away in the comfort of her carseat. A few times I joined her, but most of the time I Just listened to her thinking, "My God. You do love me to give me such a blessing as this."
I was blessed yesterday morning as I sat on the couch with my journal, my coffee, and my husband, who sat down just so I could share some of the wonderful passages from Stressed-less living. And another blessing I received today when I asked my husband if he would please participate in the upcoming MS walk I'm doing with a few of my girlfriends. My heart melted and I immediately felt the blessing as he said, "well, I mean, what else did you think I would be doing?" The blessing of a husband who understands that because it matters to me it matters to him...it doesn't matter what it is. It's moments like those that I am reminded without a doubt that God brought us together. We had nothing to do with it.
I've had the blessing of being able to go on a handful of walks with my wonderful family this week in our beautiful little country town with no fears of walking down the street...just the enjoyment of being together and basking in God's sun-filled world.
There was a day this week when my husband, along with his fellow volunteer firefighters, was out literally all day long either putting out brush fires or helping victims of traumatic car wrecks. As I listened to the scanner, which I never do, I heard it announced that the fire my husband was fighting was on property that housed multiple gas wells. The blessing, many of them actually, was that my husband made it home safely and could tell me about it.
So many blessings I receive everyday, but only a handful that I probably realize. This is also something I want to gain from this study. I want to replace the stress of worrying with the gratitude and cognisance of my daily blessings from God. Praise the Lord. Have a great week everyone!