Don’t you just love the days when God shows off just how divinely he plans??? Accurately describing this divine appointment is a bit challenging to me so of course I deferred to visual aids! This is a story of two different women, in two different states….both with a passion for God…. these two women follow a blog by artist Sue Carroll (1Arthouse – Doodle 101) and on this certain day, Celeta read Sue’s latest post…. Kathy saw Sue’s post and decided to search FB for her art…. Sue has been a great long distance art teacher to Celeta (me!) and often posts about her on Creative Hearts Paper Studio FB page….
Kathy’s search landed her on Creative Hearts and as she scrolled thru the posts, she saw me reference Revelation Wellness…. Kathy followed God’s prompting and reached out to me…
A conversation that started around Revelation Wellness, quickly expanded to the sharing of a dream God planted…. a grand dream that ‘lil ole me might be a part of!
I gotta tell ya’…. I was on a JOY high most of the day! God started stirring something in me that I can’t quite describe or explain, but it’s something special…that much I’m pretty certain!
Stay tuned for updates! I’m diligently slowin’ my roll so God can lead without me getting in the way 😉
One thing is for certain, attempts to modify daily habits while in the midst of quite possibly the hardest life battle proved to be futile in my case. But never say never with God! Where there’s His Will, there’s definitely a way…
To be honest, I leaned on what I knew so well to be my comfort of choice…food – for others, it might be shopping or a host of other things. I’ve always known food could be my arch nemesis, but it wasn’t until this past year that I began to see my poor choices in a different light.
God is so incredibly patient with me – no matter how often I choose other things before Him – He’s always right there waiting to show me the better way. My ‘intro course’ was an online group study of a book called Wellness Revelation – yes, it’s about weight loss…. but not just the pounds type. It’s about losing whatever is weighing you down.
I had a gut hunch (aka God promptings) that before I embarked on changing the foods I consumed, I needed to have an understanding of the “whys” for my choices. So for nine weeks, God and I spent a lot time together during the weekly lessons to shed light on my whys. I learned a lot, but primarily the revelation that I wasn’t allowing God to be my comforter and that I was mindlessly choosing food to fill a void only He can fill.
Following the study, God then showed me the Whole30 program – a dramatic shift to eliminate processed foods and sugars. But here’s the key: I had to surrender my efforts first because I knew I couldn’t make real change alone. The 30 days passed before I knew it! I was 10 pounds lighter and feeling better than I had in years. My primary goal was to have more energy and that goal was achieved! But then it was like, “now what, Lord?” Whole30 is not intended for long term, but I knew I needed more practice… and then there it was, a 21-day sugar fast – not terribly different, but a reinforcement plan of sorts with daily scripture and encouragement to cheer me on.
Here I am four months later… celebrating 5 years as a cancer thriver, down 20 pounds and still incorporating healthier choices. Like all things, there’s no magic pill… it’s not a ‘one and done’…. it’s a daily walk with the Lord leading the way.
My one word this year is FOCUS! Something I often need desperately… my mind has a tendency to flit from one thing to the next… and most often, I totally forget the thing I started out doing…. sound familiar?
This morning was no exception… often the week post-injections is kinda iffy; the medication designed to help strengthen my bones increases bone pain, and the meds focused on starving cancer cells leaves me feeling achy and just plain yucky… it’s like a see-saw – one day I think, “woohoo! I’m over the hump!” and the next day is “dang…not so fast…” Today is a “dang…not so fast” kinda day… unfortunate, because I REALLY wanted to go to church, but knowing if I push myself, then my body rebels in a not so nice way… so here I am… in bed… fighting away resentment…
Oh yeah… back to the focus (or lack thereof!)… my NUMBER ONE task – objective – goal…call it what you will… is to ensure the bible study is ready to start at the end of this month… and I am overwhelmed at times with the “what were you thinking????” thoughts. So what do I do? ANYTHING but focus on the task at hand!
Example? Well, other than writing this post? Oh…the thing that prompted to me write this post??? Bible tabs. Yeah…innocent enough, right? I bought a new interleaved Bible for art journaling this year and it needed tabs… as in yesterday…. never mind I’m not ready to start working in the new Bible… it was tab-less… sure, I could buy tabs… but no, I must make them… with cute paper and my tab punch and handwrite each of the sixty-six books… which led me down another rabbit hole… I have sooooooo much to learn!!!!
A seemingly simple task churned up more insecurities…. I know so little about God’s Word!!! My thoughts immediately jumped to planning out a better reading plan…and maybe I need to do a certain study….. and….. and…. and….
And I started writing a post, which has brought me to this: FOCUS!!! But I can’t truly focus on the job God assigned to me until I surrender everything else to HIM…. yeah… that thing – surrender…. you see God most often speaks to and through me with writing…. I rarely know where I’m going until finally He says…”see????” and my heart smiles wider than the Grand Canyon!
What is God trying to tell you today???? You aren’t where you are at this very moment by accident… just like for me, today started as a “dang…not so fast” day and it wasn’t so much about what I didn’t get to do, but definitely about what He needed to teach me. He’s got a plan for every.single.minute. and it’s incredible!
I’ve slowly grown to realize a sermon strikes the target of my soul when it lingers in my thoughts throughout the day (and often many days afterwards!) as it travels from my head to my heart. This time last year our church pastor preached on the I Am Second series….thankfully, they are taped because I missed too many. I’m especially thankful God prodded my lazy behind and got me moving that particular Sunday! The sign out front should’ve read, “Hey Celeta! This message is for YOU!” And boy, howdy….was it ever!
My “one word” last year was surrender and here’s an honest moment for ya…I haven’t exactly made a vast effort to even think if my thoughts & actions reflect such a thing. Ouch. You see….this is why I write. Or don’t write. God is so merciful to help keep me from writing just for the sake of writing. The thing is, when I do write, it’s raw…it’s vulnerable…it’s authentic.
And just in case you missed it…for me, surrender leads to vulnerability and vulnerability results in faith in action aka writing. What’s your faith in action? What gets you to your faith in action? I think it’s different for everyone and rarely one thing – isn’t it simply wonderful how uniquely different God made us?
Back to the sermon….it was awesome! The key scripture was Proverbs 3:5-6 and our pastor used the analogy of a trapeze act. There are two roles: the flyer and the catcher. As our pastor described, “Faith in Jesus can be compared to a trapeze flyer being caught by the catcher. I am like the flyer. God is like the catcher. MY PART is to trust, surrender, give up my life. GOD’S PART is to catch, to hold, to do in me and for me what I can’t do for myself. That’s what surrender looks like!” And there we are….back full circle to surrender.
When I get in my head too much, I fall back on wanting to “do a good job” for God…in some form leaning on my abilities versus leaning on Him to provide …for Him to do in and through me what I cannot do for myself.
So here’s to letting go of the trapeze bar…surrendering to my Catcher…God.
Check out messages from Parkgate Community Church – click here
Last year I slowly began the process of embracing my new norm… a process that highlighted a hefty chunk of pride. I’ve said time and again that I want to be a bold witness for the Lord… and I’ve taken a few small faith steps in that direction, but definitely no leaps – that’s for sure!
As I began thinking and praying over my “word” a few weeks ago, EMBRACE naturally floated to the forefront of my mind. But that wasn’t quite right…then I thought about WITNESS – what was holding me back from being the bold witness I claim I want to be??? Duh…I knew that answer, pride! The prideful part of me still wants to do it all myself, somehow showing God just how much I love Him. Throughout the weeks of prayer, God kept whispering “deeper”…and I finally landed on my biggest obstacle to fulfilling all of the above…SURRENDER!
So here I am, with my one word…a very uncomfortable word at that, which makes it even clearer I’m on to something…
Join me, won’t you? Let’s learn how to confidently go before the Throne of Grace. A place where we have the opportunity to surrender our hopes and dreams, our doubts and fears to the Almighty. In return? We can receive His Strength, His Boldness, and His Power to pursue His Plan.
Surrender your heart to God,
turn to him in prayer,
and give up your sins—
even those you do in secret.
Then you won’t be ashamed;
you will be confident
Dessert First – Fill up on His Word!
Ever find yourself in those times when your plate has become so full it seems you’ve pushed God off the plate completely? I have found myself in that predicament far too often! How about a different approach? How about dessert first?
The thing is, when I put my relationship with God on the plate of life with everything else – I don’t really PUSH Him off to the side….I scooch Him off inch by precious inch – that slow fade effect Casting Crowns sings about. And here’s what happens:
I find myself awake in the wee hours of the morning; thinking of the many things on the “TO DO” List! Job responsibilities: unrealistic deadlines, short-staffed, you name it….. add in financial obligations: auto repairs, home repairs, a multitude of unexpected expenses…out of town guests: a blessing for certain, yet stressful…family illnesses…the list goes on and on… Continue reading