Are you Focused?

Today I received a clear message from God...first I read it on the Proverbs 31 Ministries facebook and a few minutes later read the same scripture in the book I am reading by Lysa Terkeurst "What happens when women say Yes to God" This is what is was:

You will keep in perfect peace him whose mind is steadfast, because he trusts in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD, is the Rock eternal. ~Isaiah 26

2 years ago today, was my wedding day. The best day of my life but it was the beginning of a rough 2 years. I would like to change the saying of "the first year is the hardest" to, "the first few years are the hardest..." During this time we have struggled with many issues even though our love was always strong for each other. Love is just one important part...but only one piece and not the most important. 

During the past 2 years we have turned our focus from our marriage and each other to our God. This was a process that brought us to terrible lows and forced us to look up because there was nothing else to look at below. Our focus is a powerful can bring Joy or it can bring anxiety. Anxiety is the worst feeling in the world because of the pure unknown possibilities that are always the worst. Feeling of anxiety can ruin your life and relationships. Trusting in the Lord will bring peace...true perfect peace. Trusting is not something that comes easily to most people and certainly not to me regarding anything financial. Trusting the Lord is an every day and every hour battle for me. I have to constantly remind myself that my God is a God who provides and He has brought us through one full year of only one income. He has provided up till now, why would he stop now? One of the many lies that Satan wants us to be believe....that God won't follow through. But he WILL and it will be beyond our expectations. 

So I ask you today, what is your focus on? Job, relationships, money, health or the future? Bring your focus to the One who provides and has all your days in His sight...with your focus set to the right direction, everything else will fall into place and you will feel peace. 

Beth Moore says, "To have peace like a river is to have security and tranquility while meeting many bumps and unexpected turns on life journey. Peace is submission to a trustworthy Authority, not resignation from activity." 

I pray that you will feel His perfect peace, like a river. Keep your sights focused on the Lord. 

God doesn't waste the wait...

Do you ever feel like you are standing still? In your life? In your career? I don't like waiting...not in the grocery store line, for a webpage to load or even the light to turn green. We live in a "I need it now" society. God doesn't go by the rules of our society. Waiting is something that we may see as useless...down time...good thing I have facebook on my phone...wasted. For God...the time that we are waiting is precious. 

There are days when I can't believe my husband has been looking for full-time work for over a year...that is a long time to wait. Even longer when I have been working 3-4 jobs at a time during the past year to keep us afloat. But waiting is something that God does not waste and the time that we wait has such a great purpose that we cannot see. In the past year my marriage, my faith, family relationships and lessons learned could be the topics of 100 blog posts.  Those things were totally worth the wait but during the trails it felt almost too much to bare. 

Honestly, I tell God that I am tired from waiting. I express my concerns, stresses and sadness. I used to feel bad about this because I am so blessed in my life that I really shouldn't complain about anything! But God knows my heart and knows what breaks it. One day on a ride home from thoughts were running wild with doubts about being able to pay our next months bills. I caught myself forgetting about His promise to provide. I worked really hard to hold back the tears...till I could feel God's arms around me and the simple message. "It's ok to cry Michelle, I am hurting with you" It was permission to be upset, sad, worried and honest about how I was feeling. I let it all out that day and promised to not "keep it in" anymore. God is my God and he knows me better than anyone else. Would you hide your true feelings from your best friend? your Mom? your husband? Then why would I try to hide them from the One who made me. 

There are many ways to give my times of "waiting" some days I can lift up pure joy to my Jesus...other days I can offer my tears of sadness and fear as an offering of honesty and trust that He will carry me through anything.

 Lord, I hand over to you my good days and my bad. My happiness and my pain. You are always in control and I ask You to use my "wait" as You see fit to prepare me and mold me into the person You made me to be. 

 2 Samuel 22:31 
This God—his way is perfect; the word of the Lord proves true;
he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him.

One of my favorite songs to get through the times of waiting is 

Do I have to...?

Do you remember that feeling you had when you knew you were in big trouble when you got home after school, softball practice or from a friends house. I used to hate that feeling of knowing the minute I walking in that door that we would be having a "talk." Well, here I am at the age of 26 with those same feelings sometimes. It is usually after I've had an argument with my husband over the phone or sent a text message that I should have kept to myself. It is even worse when I am the one that is home waiting to have the argument...just waiting. I don't even like the word "argument" let's say heated discussion. ;o)

One of my biggest challenges is to keep my mouth shut sometimes! As a strong communicator, I could argue any side of the case and very well. I find my words flying out of my mouth before I even know what I am saying. These tendencies to yell at others without thinking about the consequences is of our flesh and not of the Spirit. It is not easy to keep your words to a minimum and make them all nice and fluffy when you feel a REAL need to get a strong point across. This is one of my most challenging areas of my life that I am working on to be more like Christ. Last night was my first trial...I was really upset...probably the most I have been in a while but my husband wasn't going to be home for another 2 hours. That could have given me lots and lots of time to get ready for the "heated discussion." I choose not to sit there and sulk (for very long). I choose not to call my mother and complain, cry and whine. Instead I took my dog for a walk and talked it out with God first. We need to remember that God wants to know our struggles and our pain...He wants us to share those concerns and frustrations with Him...but at the end of that, we need to hand it over.

Yes, some words were still exchanged and some tears were shed when my husband got home. But I didn't regret anything that was said that night. I went to sleep with peace in my heart, placed there by God. This morning I woke up to a quiet house to read from Lysa Terkeust's book "What Happens When Women Say Yes to God" This was near the scripture the book brought me to and was great for me to read today.

1 Peter 3:8-11 "Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessings, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing for Whoever would love life and see good days must keep his tongue from evil and his lips from deceitful speech. He must turn from evil and do good; he must seek peace and pursue it.

Step one...

I am your everyday girl who grew up in the sticks in Northern Wisconsin...I had big dreams and big plans. Many of my past 10 years were spent drifting from the life I wanted to live and I constantly found myself feeling alone, unfulfilled and knowing that this wasn't the life that I was meant to have. I had played the role that was expected that day, hour or minute. One minute I was giving campus tours...and the next I was in charge of the beer bong. Calling it a "double life" wasn't enough...more like a actress who was always playing another character. I survived college (barely) met the man that is now my husband (after meeting many frogs) and got a Masters degree. It was not until the past few years that I felt the Lord changing my heart and my life. This blog is the everyday stories, struggles and triumphs in my goal to live my life for Christ.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.