FMF – Joy

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Welcome to this week’s edition of Five Minute Friday! This week’s theme is “joy”. FMF is a weekly online gathering of writers where we write for five unedited minutes. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, please visit Kate’s blog for more details…

After two decent health days, I am back to any motion of standing trying to bring me down like a deck of cards (which apparently means I rather skip dinner than stand again…). It’s been weeks of feeling like this. Nonstop almost, or so it seems. I could scream. I could verbally share my frustrations with the world, or even manipulate my facebook account into sending out word weapons in effort to share my true thoughts on the subject (of standing).

… But, it will not bring me joy.

Joy isn’t a feeling.

It has to be a heart felt response to – yes- our lives, but more than that. Joy is something God is capable of giving us – even when we feel like we are in a place that is quite rough.

Joy is deliberate.

It is found in my mindset, and where those thoughts wander.

It is found in what I choose to do with my time, mind, and energy level – while I sit in captivity and do anything but stand.

. . .

I started writing out the Word of God. As a chronically ill person, I have quantities of time available. But, that’s not my identity. My identity is wrapped up in my Savior, not these moments where I sit on my bed wondering what to do with myself for the rest of the day… God is where the joy is found.

I have been trying to write out the Word of God, in these moments. It’s a new habit I am forming. It allows me to get to know my Abba Father on a much more intimate level. This is where the joy is found.

While standing is not anything joyful, God is present in the storm. God is the One strengthening my body as I rise, and giving my heart the courage to stand.

God is the One giving me courage and joy, in midst of heartache.

While our trials don’t last forever (imagine that!), my God does. Scripture is clear. God endures forever. It is found in Scripture many many times. Just as God endures forever, so does every single one of His attributes – including joy. This is what He gives, He lovingly offers to those who have believed in His Son Jesus Christ and been called into His beautiful family!

During today’s Scripture writing, I came across this verse in 1 Corinthians 1:9.

“God is faithful! God has chosen you to share life with His Son Jesus Christ our Lord!”

I absolutely love this verse. Jesus is my forever companion, and that is where my joy is found!

Jesus is my full-time Companion who walks with me during the storm, and brings with Him joy to be available to me.

I really enjoyed Andrew’s guest post on Five Minute Friday. Be sure to check out his post.

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Five Minute Friday – Create

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Minute Friday!
This week’s theme is “create“. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, please visit Kate’s blog for more details… Each week, a community of bloggers come together with the common goal of spending five unedited minutes to write on a topic.

Thomas Merton once wrote:

“We must make the choices that enable us to fulfill the deepest capacities of our real selves.”

In order to reach ourselves at the deepest level (being real with who God created us to be), we must create. While not all of us are creative people, God has uniquely designed us. He has uniquely given us passions, that can be used to know God and ourselves at a bigger level. We must be willing to ask the deep question –

“How am I making choices, that allow me to go deeper?”

Tonight, I had the opportunity to create. I have been working on designing my blog right here at Gracefully Overcoming. I have been creating, envisioning, and organizing, and there has been an intense passion to do that.

God has given us a passion for life and certain things. For me, writing is one of those passions. I am tremendously blessed to be able to have this place to sit, write, and sort through my thoughts.

As I continue to make these choices to create (or write), I need to remember what is at stake. I need to remember to keep creating, so I can grow as a person and follower of Jesus Christ. I have a few favorite ways to create these days, that are helping me push past the barriers of life and go deeper –

  1. Writing, as I learn more about God, His precious Son Jesus, His love and grace He has for me, and the gift of new life!
  2. Scripture Art, which enables me to sit with a particular Scripture, think on it, pray over it and life as it happens, and grow in that experience.

These are my two primary ways of going deeper. See when I spend time seeking Jesus, I learn so much about myself. It is a growing experience that knows no end. As a follower of Jesus Christ, I am reminded that God is continually making me new. He is continuing to create something new in my heart and life. He is continuing to strengthen me, as I endure different things in my life.

God is the ultimate Creator! 
And, He has so much creating He wants to do in my life (and yours too!)

“Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me (Ps. 51:10, KJV).”

Five Minute Friday – Grow

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Minute Friday!
This week’s theme is “grow. To learn more about Five Minute Friday, please visit Kate’s blog for more details… Each week, a community of bloggers come together with the common goal is to spend five unedited minutes to write on a topic.

Growing Up in Christ

“Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church (Eph. 4:15).”

This summer, I know I need to be deliberate- if I want to see growth in

~  my love relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ.

~ the area of writing, and honing this gift God has given me.

~ the kind of relationships I have with other believers in Jesus Christ.

~ the treasure discoveries I make, as I study Jesus and His Word.

Growth Steps

If I want to grow, I must be deliberate.

So, I am taking steps. Because, I do want to see that growth.

Here is what I have been doing.

♦ Studying Philemon and Jude for the month of May (join us on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #GOScriptureWriting).

♦ Writing up a Scripture Writing Journal for a 6 week plan using the book of Ephesians (stay tuned its release date! My hope is to study it for the months of mid June/July – so )

♦ Keeping coloring books and utensils on hand, to keep me calm and focused on how to make the absolute best out of my days.

♦ Make writing a habit.

♦ Welcoming silence into my life. As an introvert with Dysautonomia, I know having that silence is a really important thing.

♦ Continuing to plug along in my exercise routine the best as I can. Some days, I have to skip a work out due to Dysautonomia/Pots. Other days, I have to journey at a slower pace. It is not about trying to lose weight, but see that growth as a person who faces health concerns that make exercise a difficult journey.

How are you pursuing deliberate growth in your life?

In Order…

In order to grow and become more like Jesus, I need to take proactive steps to make this summer one of tremendous growth – and – not a time of defeat and stunted growth.

I have no idea what this summer season holds in store for me. But, I do believe I am nearing a place of saying…

“I am ready. Whatever You will, Father. Let’s make this journey together! I am trusting You to get me through this, and to help me grow leaps and bounds as Your daughter and one who is following You as her King of Kings!”

Five Minute Friday – Unite (Part 2)

Yesterday, I began talking about unity and reconciliation. Often times, I don’t pay attention to the “unedited five minute” rule of FMF. Funny, isn’t it? I really just like to utilize the writing prompt. So, let’s resume where we left off last night…

We are talking reconciliation. This is a huge topic in the church! Isn’t it? We claim the power of God, but wrestle with allowing God’s power the room to completely transform our relationships.

But, we are reminded that God is the God of reconciliation.

Reconciliation is Possible!

In 2 Corinthians, we are reminded that… if we are united with Christ, we are made new!

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us. So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making his appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (5:17-21).”

Do you see the way that God has uniquely designed us? We were made to be reconciled. There has always been this intent of unity on our lives. And, it is when we come to Jesus that we find this unity. Unity is made possible through the blood and resurrection of Jesus Christ – our Lord and Savior! How are you allowing Jesus to be the Lord over your broken relationships?

Jesus came to give us peace and life. Yet, I am finding myself in the midst of disunity. Maybe, you are the same. Let’s go to the Living Water (Jesus) today – and see what He can show us!

Reconciliation: The Worship Act

In the book of Matthew, we are reminded that unity is a worship act. Jesus tells us straight up –

Therefore, if you are bringing an offering to God and you remember that your brother is angry at you or holds a grudge against you, then leave your gift before the altar, go to your brother, repent and forgive one another, be reconciled, and then return to the altar to offer your gift to God (5:23-24, VOICE).

We are even reminded that if we have an issue with another brother (or sister), we need to go work toward reconciliation and then come back with our offering. Reconciliation is life giving, but it is not always a quick as we might think. Sometimes, reconciliation takes time. Some relationships take a few days to be restored, while others might take years.

Just remember: While God is working on your heart, He is working on theirs. The outcome doesn’t change the truth that reconciliation (unity) is a worship experience God is glad you are having with Him. You are giving your relationships to God, and trusting Him to mend them. That is going to leave a beautiful impact on your life.

Just watch and see!

The Lord is good, and does good.

Some Tips on Reconciliation –

  • While some relationships may seem broken, keep praying and trusting God.
  • Keep extending grace and peace to that individual who is acting unforgiving toward you (Matthew 5:7; James 2:13; Romans 12:18).
  • This one might be the hardest to live out without holding a grudge against them. Simply give them time. Remember He is working on their hearts, just as He is working on yours.
  • Keep practicing unity, even when it seems difficult.
  • While you pray for them, ask a select few to confidentially pray for this relationship too. You can even use non-specifics, to protect the details of that relationship.
  • Watch God work in your own life, as you pursue peace and unity. He will open doors. Just watch and see. You won’t want to miss all God is doing.

In Closing

God is serious when He writes us, through His Word, about unity.

God doesn’t want there to be disunity.

God wants what He has divinely joined together, to stay together. This is not for marriages alone.

Those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ, are made brand new.

We have been joined to Christ and one another.

How can we choose to walk in unity with Christ and His Church?

Five Minute Friday – Unite

Five-Minute-Friday-4-300x300Welcome to this week’s edition of Friday Minute Friday!
This week’s theme is “unite. To learn more about Five Minute Friday,
please visit Kate’s
blog for more details… Each week, a community
of bloggers come together with the common goal is to spend
five unedited minutes to write on a topic.

“So a man will leave his father and mother and be united with his wife, and the two will become one body (Gen. 2:24, emphasis mine).”

Since the very beginning, God designed the human race to be united to one another. In Genesis, we see that a man is designed to be united to his bride. To such an extent, that other relationships are put on the back burner. “He will leave his father and mother, and be joined (or united) to his wife.”

To be united, it is a sacred thing.

Yet when sin broke in, unity became a complicated thing.

When sin entered the world, unity became this intensely complicated task that we strive for – as human beings. Not only do we wrestle with trying to find out how to be united with God, we have the same struggle in our own interpersonal relationships.

This world offers little hope in how to achieve this reconcilation, that our souls crave. It teaches us that perhaps we need to be a bit more selfish, that it is the other person’s fault, etc. We need to consider where we have sought unity. What tools did we use, to achieve unity with our families, friends, co-workers, and near-impossible neighbors? How have you sought unity?

Our Hope

The Scriptures reminds us that Jesus is the answer. As we search out unity, we need to know that Jesus Christ is the answer! We don’t need to run out and do all these amazing things in our own strength – to try and bring reconciliation to these broken relationships.

What we really need is to invite Jesus, to step into these broken relationships, mend them, and make them brand new.

Our methods of madness and troubleshooting need to be laid down and exchanged for Jesus Christ – the Living Water. After all, He is the Author of reconciliation!

We need to run to Jesus.

Our efforts would be far better spent if we would just put down our self-help books, our google searches, the article reading, and run to Jesus and His holy word that does more than inspires – it transform! I don’t know about you, but I am ready to be transformed by the Word of God!

Our God is a God of reconciliation (see 2 Cor. 5:17-21). Not only can our God mend broken relationships and make them stronger than ever, the whole process can be used as a way to worship God.

How can you pursue reconciliation and unity this week?