Surviving or Thriving

My husband and I are writing on the same subject today just for fun.  The subject he chose is Surviving or Thriving.  The fun part is that neither of us has talked about the topic nor knows what the other is going to write about.  Wonder what he wrote about ?  Find out here.  I’ll just fill in that little link when I’m done.

Surviving or thriving.  Which one are you doing?  A whole list of things can figure into that question.  Sickness?  Health?  Ease? Difficulties?  Hopeful?  Hopeless?  Encouraged?  Discouraged?  Have enough?  Scraping by?  Plenty or want?  Lots of things play into the whole surviving and thriving mentality.  Yes, I said mentality.  It’s the same word my husband used to say to me.   I have done both.  The difference for me was how I looked at my situation, whether I saw life’s problems as normal challenges or punishments, and that horrible word, attitude! 

We’ve been married almost 23 years.  If we’d been able to look into a crystal ball (I wouldn’t have anyway Deut. 18:10), we would have been too scared to get married!  Like anyone’s life, we’ve had ups and downs, but it seems like it’s been a whole lot of downs.  I know I’ve had a whole lot of downs.  Even in what I now know were good times, I had downs.  Unfortunately, I was always seeing the glass half empty.  I still do sometimes, but I’m getting better about that.  Thank you Jesus! 

I’ve learned a lot the last few years through a whole lot of stressful circumstances.   My mother battled cancer and died.  We sold houses and moved every few years.  We went through lay-offs, starting a business, the business closing, extreme financial problems, and various relationship troubles that resulted from the stress of it all.  Add to this my extremely painful back troubles, other physical ailments, several surgeries for me, and three additional children being born.  The new babies and our oldest son were the best part of it all.  We’ve been doubly blessed to have four.  We’ve had ten really tough years.  As this was all happening, sometimes my faith in God was strong.  Sometimes I just felt like God was punishing us.  What did we have to do to get out of the current mess?  What did God want?  It consumed me.  God is so merciful.  He took us through it all, and He’s taught me that this is life.  At 43 years old, I’ve finally grown up enough to realize that it’s normal to face challenge after challenge.  Everyone faces them.  It’s whether we allow troubles and challenges to drive us away from God and our family or closer to God and our family that really matters.  This brings me to the word I hate.  

Attitude!  I don’t even like the sound of it.  Maybe because as a teenager I was criticized for my attitude.  Maybe  it’s because I’ve heard it from my husband.  Oops, did I say that?  Maybe it’s because I know my attitude has been bad so much.   Perhaps this is one of the hardest parts of  going through hard times.  It’s so easy to complain and about what we need or what we want.  If only we could see it all through God’s eyes.  Looking back, I see that God has actually given us what we truly needed whether we wanted it or not.  The hard times have driven us to Him in desperation.    There have been sins in my life and in my husband’s life that lead to some of these problems.  There  are still consequences we must pay for those sins.  But the guilt has been paid for by the blood of Jesus’ sacrifice for us.  In it all, I was so desperate for God to help us.  It caused me to focus on Him a lot.   Psalm 34 was enormously helpful to me in this.  Verse 17 says, “The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”  He has and He still is delivering me daily from all our troubles.  He tends to deliver me through them rather than from them.    It’s a very good thing to be desperate for God.  Though we were consumed with the day to day surviving, God was bringing us to a place of thriving in His love and care.

If you’re surviving or barely surviving, read the Psalms, read Philippians.  They are both so encouraging when you’re fearful.  He loves us so much, He told us not to fear over and over.  He holds our times in His hands.   Seek, knock, ask, He’ll answer.   Trust God to bring you to a place of Thriving in Him.

Lord God, I ask that you would bring hope, peace, and a new attitude to each person who reads this and to me, also.  You CAN do it.  I believe you WILL do it.  Thank you Lord!

Laura

Choosing to Thrive

Go read My Honey’s post here.   It brought a smile to my face.  His attitude really helped pull me through when I was dragging.

Trapped…and Released

“Based on the information available today and the terms of the contract in force today, benefits will be available if the service is medically necessary.” Ten, twenty, thirty, forty times a day I would repeat that phrase. I was a customer service correspondent for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I answered the phone all day long, explaining benefits, helping with medical claims that weren’t processed correctly or were misunderstood. I couldn’t answer the phone, fill out a form, or sneeze without putting a tally mark on a piece of paper so that my employer would be able to keep track of every moment of my day. I felt, with my headset attached to the phone system and my computer in front of me, like a dog on a chain. I was trapped. I must admit that for the most part, in the almost 18 years since I’ve been home with my children, that I’ve either forgotten or blocked out most of what it was like to be stuck in a job that I didn’t like, making too much money to quit, but not enough to get ahead. I was so young I didn’t appreciate the medical benefits except for maternity! I still remember the day, January 18, 1991 as my emancipation day, the day I was released! ~smile~

I think it’s good for me to remember, to appreciate the freedom I have now in comparison. No. I don’t have money to buy things I want most of the time. No, I can’t do all the things I want to, unless they’re free. Yes, it’s worth it. Being home with my children has been a wonderful privilege that my husband, God, and my willingness to go without have offered me. My children are different than they would have been if I’d been at work and they’d been at school. I thank God that I’ve been there to instill our beliefs, our faith, and our values in their lives as well as to teach them.

I also think that it’s good for me to reflect on what I would have been like, what I might have done, if not for Jesus, and on what I did do before Jesus. Our Pastor spoke Sunday about a man who killed many people at a Christmas party last week. He said that apart from Christ and the Holy Spirit in him, he could have been that man. Any one of us could have been that man. If we didn’t have Jesus, we would be at the mercy of whatever the world and Satan enticed us with. Desperation, fatigue, worry, fear, anxiety, hopelessness, anger, as well as a host of other pressures and sins would assail us.

Thank God for Jesus Christ and the work of salvation that he did at the cross. We have the opportunity to be reconciled to God, to have a clean conscience and a clean slate before Him in spite of our past sins. We have to choose to accept Jesus’ death being the payment for our sins and believe that he is resurrected, at God’s right hand in Heaven. Then, we must wash ourselves by reading the Word of God, the Holy Bible, daily, asking for God to fill us over and over with His Holy Spirit.

I need to remember what I was and what God had done for me through Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. I need to press forward, focusing more and more on God’s word and what He wants to do in me, my family, my church, and my community.

I ask God to bless you all as you think reflectively upon these things.

Laura
Thankful to be home and His

Thankful Thursday….

This is my first Thankful Thursday post.  It seems a good thing to record things for which we are thankful.  A few years ago, when all looked bleak, I started a thankful journal.  I had to.  It was during a time when there was so much bad in my life, that I had to find those good things to thank the Lord for or I’d not have made it. 

So, here we go….

Philippians 4:6 is a life verse for me.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”

 Things for which I am thankful this Thursday…

my marriage is permanent, no matter what

clean air to breath…

I have hope in my Jesus for all my troubles…

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me…

I am more than a conqueror through Christ Jesus…

my children are healthy…

my husband has found some temporary work…

God is in control…

It’s going to be alright….

Those are my thoughts, I thank you my Creator God for all of these things. 

~~~~~~~

Now, go see what the other ladies are thankful for at Iris’ blog.

 

Have a blessed day!

Laura

Happy at Home

Celebrating and Enjoying Today

What’s life without celebration?  We celebrate Christmas, New Year’s Day, Easter, Independence Day, weddings, births, so many things.  All these times are special, set apart, times for celebrating.  What if we were to celebrate ordinary days, ordinary things that make our lives richer?

I’m just beginning to realize how much my children would love more celebration.  Our family has been going through very hard times over the last several months.  My husband has been unemployed since the beginning of November.  Praise God in Heaven, He has miraculously supplied rent, gas, utilities, food, etc.   Our life has been hard.  I want to spice it up a bit with little celebrations.  I tend to be more on the serious side, which has tended to mean worrying.  God forgive me; I’ve got to change.  Our children don’t have a lot of toys; they don’t get to go and do many things (unless they’re free-wink); but, there’s no reason we cannot look for things to celebrate and enjoy.  I’d love to hear your thoughts about this, especially if that’s your thing, or you have some ideas. 

I think what it comes down to is living in the present, enjoying and being thankful for what and where God has us now.  Just something to think about….

 

Laura

Thankful to be at Home

Trusting God for Our Needs in Hard Times

“I have never thought it necessary to save for the future or look out for myself or my family except that we trust God.  So, when we see someone in need, an old woman, a sick person, or a helpless infant– I freely give whatever I have at the time.  I know that later, when I am in need, God will provide for me.  I don’t need to look out for myself in any way other than to trust in Him.”

~George Mueller

1805-1898

Oh for that kind of faith…

a faith that is willing to give it all away for Jesus’ sake knowing that He will provide all of our needs according to His riches in glory,

a faith that trusts Him explicitly without”fretting or worrying,

a faith that does not doubt His love or His provision or His timing,

a faith that is strong even when we don’t see answers to our prayers.

Faith is hoping and believing and trusting all wrapped up together.  It is a gift from God.  The Word says that”…faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Romans 10:17  This tells me that I need to not only read scripture, but read it aloud and listen to it being read aloud.  I want to hear from God from His word.

I want that Faith that is a gift from God.

How about you?

God bless!

Laura 

Happy at Home
 

It’s Never Too Late to Live Happily Ever After

Have you made mistakes?  Have you messed up your life?  Do you feel like it’s just no use trying any more?  Is your life what you want it to be? 

Proverbs 13:12 states, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.”

I’ve made a lot of mistakes.  I’ve messed up my life.  I’ve felt like quitting.  My life is still not what I want it to be.  My heart has been sick from deferred hope.  What about you?

One thing I’m learning through the trials my family is walking through is that God’s ways are higher than my ways; His thoughts are higher than my thoughts.   It is His responsibility to take care of me and my family.  It is my responsibility to trust in Him to bring about His perfect will in my life.  My responsibility continues in that I have to seek His wisdom and choose to align myself with His perfect will.  I have to have faith that He will continue to work in our life.

Antique Roses Posters by Danhui Nai

Proverbs 28:14 says,  “Blessed is the man who always fears the LORD,  but he who hardens his heart falls into trouble.”

I do not want to harden my heart toward God or His will for my life.  I want to be soft hearted so that I can hear the Holy Spirit whispering to my soul.   I have to be willing to give up my way, my ideas of what I want.  I have to submit myself completely to the Father.  Lord may it be done unto me as You have said. 

Let’s give up.  Let’s surrender to the Lord and to His perfect will for our lives.  Let’s trust Him to work it all out for our good.  He’s trustworthy.  Jesus paid the ultimate price for our sins so that we can be counted as righteous by the Father.  Let’s have faith that He cares about every part of our life and every need.   Let’s be happy before everything is perfect! 

It’s never too late to live happily ever after! 

God bless you all!

Laura

Happy at Home