Extreme Joy

Extreme Joy

Friday, December 31, 2010

Who Would Have Thought

This time last year who would have thought. . .
  • that my daughter would spend this New Year's Eve in the bush of Africa - Turkana - watching God's starry light show in the skies instead of bought fireworks
  • that I would actually be a published writer, having published stories or articles in "Chicken Soup for the Soul: Devotions for Mothers," "In Touch Ministries," Focus on the Families "Thriving Family" Magazine, and have devotions published online at christiandevotion.us
  • that I would have attended my first Writers Conference and receive 2 awards
  • that I would have survived a very difficult year financially and by the end of the year my husband would have a new job he LOVES and is already excelling
  • that I would be getting up before the sun to row on a rowing machine 5 days out of the week and loving it
These are a few highlights that come to my mind as I reflect on 2010. Some people like to reflect on the previous year while others are ready to plow on through to the next year. For me and my family I would have to say it's been a rough year, but when I think of the accomplishments, the blessings, the changes, the pruning, the fruit, and the provisions I see that God IS FAITHFUL. This brief reflection reminds me that when I can't see His hand, I must trust His heart! And I must ALWAYS remember His Word that says, "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope" (Jer. 29:11 NKJV).

May the Lord bless you and your family.
Happy New Year!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Spiritual Belt

I have a confession to make . . . I lose weight, then gain it back. Lose it again and gain it back again. I have a belt to prove it.

The belt has not one, but three notches that are well worn. Sometimes I come very close to throwing the belt away, but hold on to it because it's one of my favorites. When I am at my last notch I realize how close I am to losing the belt for good. When I am smaller and three notches into the belt, I smile as I remember I am not where I used to be  . . . larger.

If I had a spiritual belt, I wonder what it would look like? It think it would look the same as the belt I wear. Sometimes I am lazy, sluggish, and distracted. It is at these times I began to realize that I am getting near to losing something very special -- a close relationship with my Heavenly Father. When I am lean, focused and dedicated, I look at the last notch and realize I'm not where I used to be.

As the holiday season continues to march into my life to the tune of the March of the Toy Soldiers from The Nutcracker, I find myself looking at menus, marking the calendar with Christmas parties, and planning time in the kitchen to bake. I have to be very careful not to allow myself to get to the last notch of my belt, less I have to put it aside. The same with my spiritual belt, with the holidays, I don't need to get wrapped in food, fun, and parties but need to remember what the holiday season really means.

This year I am pulling my belt tighter -- "Only one piece of pie please. Yes, the small one will do" -- and spending quiet moments reflecting, praying, and thanking God for His love and most of all His gift to us, His Son Jesus.

What would your spiritual belt look like?

image courtesy of photobucket.com