Saying “Yes”

Measuring StickIt’s been a crazy week…a crazy year…and it often seems the enemy is working overtime…I still say YES Lord, YES! Often when we say yes, the picture gets muddy and those of us (that would be me) inadvertently pull out the measuring stick to see what we (me!) haven’t done…

I haven’t completed the past week’s bible study assignment…I haven’t finished the revised book proposal…I missed an important training session for an upcoming Emmaus Walk…all exciting ways to show God I mean business

I haven’t done those important things, but I still choose YES – yes in the daily circumstances of life…yes, in serving as an advocate – yes, by being an encourager…  I will be by my daughter’s side as she fights through the fiery furnace of health challenges…yes, I will be there both physically and emotionally for those viewed as outcasts…yes, I will encourage friends and co-workers through their personal struggles and most importantly, YES I will praise my loving God who gives me strength for the battle, courage to persevere, and confidence to know He has everything under control.

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (ESV)

Lost in the Woods

Fair Breeze 040Last month I was visiting friends at their property in the country.  I’d been several times before, so I’d developed a sense of the layout.  I’d been on several walks, but never on my own.  My friends were working on a project where I was of no particular use, so I decided a walk through the woods would be nice before I set out on my way back to Houston.

There were numerous managed (i.e. mowed) trails to choose from – I chose the one I thought would take the longest – off I went with Buddy (their dog) leading the way!

In no time at all, we came to the end of the mowed path…the path ahead was still there…it just wasn’t clearly marked.  Buddy appeared confident in the direction we were headed and so I followed. Continue reading

Construction Zone – Yield Ahead…

Still catching up on blogs!

Jan 2, 2012

6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7 (NIV)

Following my last entry about God’s faithfulness, I had a deeper revelation about my old thoughts of being ‘enough’ – rejection – acceptance… it’s okay to be weak when I have God…HE IS MY STRENGTH!

As I laid my head on the pillow that night, tears flowed as I surrendered yet another part of myself to Him.  I may not be at a place of complete surrender – yet – actually, I may not realize all the parts of me I’m holding back – so much has been suppressed and buried for so long it’s difficult to know how much more there is to be revealed.

I am certain, however, God will reveal the hidden pieces of heart as I continue to seek Him.  Day by day, He is refining me, calling me closer to Him.

The best part of change is when we (me!) think it’s our idea! Here’s a good one:  last year I had an idea to save money (at least that’s what I thought!)…I have always tried to control my hair – it’s curly and unruly – the more there is, the wilder it is!  For the past 20+ years I have kept it short and even went so far as to have it chemically treated in an attempt  to control the curls.  And then there’s hair coloring – or what I called camouflage – how telling is that????  Now, I’m not saying there is a right or wrong way to manage hair…and yes, I’m aware of varying beliefs – that’s between you and God.  For me, it was the underlying issue needing attention – the issue of control.

God is slowly teaching me it’s a lot of work to be something / someone He hasn’t designed me to be and hair is just the tip of the control iceberg.  He’s also teaching me I can’t really move forward until I have purged the past.

I receive a newsletter from Be in Health and there’s a series on Personality Mis-Profiles – I read one titled “Fabricated Personalities” – I couldn’t help but wonder if it was describing me.  Am I driven by perfection as a way to preserve some sort of identity?  Have I not made allowances for weakness or failure?  What defense mechanisms have I put in place to accommodate things I have difficulty facing?  Ouch.

Of course I want to move forward, but as ridiculous as it may sound, I can’t help but wonder if there’s a part of me that doesn’t believe God is moving me in the right direction…  OR is it more likely a part of me has decided the direction and I’m trying to fit God into the equation?

In my mind to move forward – to marry, leave the corporate world, etc., means I have to sell the house, which if that’s what I’m supposed to do, I have to get it on the market.  To get the house on the market, I have to get it market-ready.  To get the house market-ready, I have to clean out the clutter…

Could it be my hesitancy has nothing to do with de-cluttering my physical house, but actually my spiritual house?  Am I ready to yield my will to His?  It’s my choice – will I choose to rest in His grace and mercy or will I keep trying to be someone other than who He intends for me to be?

Boot Camp

When last wrote, I talked about moving into the next phase of My Love Dare with God: Living My Love Dare with God...here we go..

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.  I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,    my God, in whom I trust.’  For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence..” Psalm 91:1-3 (ESV)

Allow those words to sink in  a bit…refuge – fortress – deliverer

I’ve known for some time 40 days of developing a deeper relationship with God was, for the most part, an outline of sorts – still an essential, integral part the journey; but a critical part..a connection with my heart and in my spirit, wasn’t there yet.

The real work was only beginning – taking the concepts introduced in the initial 40 days and putting them into practice – application is always a critical step of development.

My initial confrontation/realization came  last Fall —  my life was changing dramatically and the chain reaction was much more than I could have imagined.  The range of emotions seemed almost too much to bear at times.  I went from certainty to uncertainty  to greater uncertainty day after day.  I felt more alone than I had in a long, long time.  I would soon learn the loneliness I felt had nothing to do with a man – it was about me attempting to venture down a path without completely trusting  God as my guide.

At the time I wrote this entry, I believed I was planning to marry and embark on a new journey.  But the plans were falling apart.  In the blink of an eye, the wedding moved from 60 days away to an undetermined date.  I went from my future husband moving to Texas  to me moving away.  I went from transitioning away from the life I’d known with the help of a partner to feelings of abandonment – on my own to sell  a 30yr old home in need of much repair, moving away from a full-time corp career, being near family and friends, and most of all, remaining in close proximity to my daughter.   In other words, moving from my comfort zone to something unknown.

I was now being thrust into a position where all of the “things” I cherished would be stripped away and I would be responsible for the execution – no one here to physically push me forward.

It had to be intentional surrender and I was in a tailspin of emotions.

I felt abandoned by the man I trusted as a future partner and it was excrutiatingly painful – I kept thinking to myself, “I could do this if he were here.”

You see, even  though God provided great revelation in the 40 day Love Dare, the principles were still theorectical – I had no life application (yet!) and my old tendancies readily moved into play.

I found myself trusting a man…loving a man…an imperfect human more than God.  My instincts weren’t honed yet to look to God first and foremost for my motivation, strength, and support.

You see, God had shown me what was necessary to really take my walk deeeper two years before…

08/04/09: For God to effectively use me, He has to take me completely out of my comfort zone…that way I will be forced to lean on Him.

What does this mean to me? BIG change.

Interesting…I hadn’t read that note since I wrote it 2+ years earlier.  Am I  willing to embrace what God has ahead even if I don’t have a grasp on what the picture looks like?  No one else can do this for me – someone pushing me through won’t achieve God’s objective.

This leg of my journey is intended to be bonding time with God – much like the initial bonding between parent and infant.  In spite of past experiences, in spite of past perceived successes, this is a time of trials where establishing complete trust and dependence on God is critical – and no human can provide the incentive or fuel.

And so, God is providing me with opportunities to trust Him and depend on Him in every single facet of my life – to take refuge in Him when weathering the storms of life changes….

    • Relationships: uncertainty will inevitably create strain – can I trust God to manage it all?
    • Career: it’s not the career I love, but the confidence I have gained – will I surrender so God can redefine my sense of self-worth?
    • Possessions: I must de-clutter my life – voluntary purging of the past is essential for me to be fully available to God

I’m sure there’s so much more I haven’t recognized yet, but it is overwhelmingly apparent I’m not just moving into a new phase – I’m in boot camp to serve the Most High!

©  Celeta’s Journey & My Love Dare with God, 2012. All rights reserved.

Buckle Up!

For the past few months, I’ve been writing the real personal stuff and posting…well, surface thoughts…it’s time to dig in, folks…

It’s been an incredibley bumpy ride…Hebrews 12:11 in action! 

While much of what I will share in the coming weeks may prove a bit painful to share, the joy far outweighs any discomfort – my prayer is it can serve as a message of how good our God is to see us through each and every trial.

My first entry was a synopsis of a message by Joyce Meyer on Discipline & Self-Control…obviously I had no clue what God was about to do in my life!

She talked about Peaceable Fruit – a harvest of fruit which consists in righteousness–in conformity to God’s will in purpose, thought, and action, resulting in right living and right standing with God

11For the time being no discipline brings joy, but seems grievous and painful; but afterwards it yields a peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

     12So then, brace up and reinvigorate and set right your slackened and weakened and drooping hands and strengthen your feeble and palsied and tottering knees,” Hebrews 12:11-12 (AMP)

When God pushes us out of our comfort zones, it’s to deal with issues (yes, even those we thought we’d dealt with) – it’s His way of saying He’s not going to put up with it anymore!

Hebrews 12:12 is basically says: instead of walking around all “woe is me” – shake yourself off, stand up straight, and be thankful God is willing to help me grow.

Wow!  Isn’t that so true? Discipline rarely, if ever, feels good!  What I didn’t realize at the time? I was embarking on Phase II of My Love Dare with God: Living My Love Dare with God

 

Matters of the Heart – Part 2

Last summer I wrote about duct tape…. I discovered the only way to open myself to others was to completely open myself to God. I had to hand over my sticky plaque-filled heart and let Him do what He does best: Love me, clean away the plaque of life’s hurts and get out there to do what He called us all to do – love others.

We all know heartache comes…and yet we rarely expect it when it does – maybe that’s how you know you’ve completely given your heart to someone or something….

Perhaps the test is to decide what to do with your heart when it feels like it’s been through a meat grinder:

Do you pull out the duct tape and try to piece it back together on your own? OR

Do you call on God and allow Him to provide true healing?

My vote goes to the latter…

God assures us He works ALL things together for good (Rom 8:28) – even heartache….

God assures us He has a plan for our lives…plans to prosper us and not harm us – plans to give us hope and a future (Jer 29:11)

During any transition, we’re reminded not to focus on the circumstance and instead be thankful! He has the pruning shears out – growing us in ways we may not see today, but HE SEES – He knows the harvest to come!

“God looks forward to blessing us every day. Live expectantly.”