Inside Out

A friend of mine bought me a coloring calendar. A new page to color for every month. Coloring is one of my hobbies. I even went out and bought gel pens for this one, since it was glossy paper. I usually use colored pencils, but those don’t really show up on glossy paper.

Anyway, as I was coloring, I felt like God was showing me something.

When I color, I start in one spot and work out from there. In this one I started in the middle and am working my way out. As I was doing that, I felt like God was saying that He works on me that way. He starts on the inside and works His way out.

Sometimes He is working on small things & sometimes big things, but they are all important to my growth. Sometimes one thing must be dealt with before something else can be dealt with. God knows how to work on me. He made me.

Sometimes things take longer than I think it should. In the picture I’m coloring, I’m only getting a little done at a time. I was thinking it would go quicker. The gel pens seem to take a little longer than colored pencils. But it’s also a big picture to tackle.

When God works on my life, which He is always doing, it’s not something that gets fixed over night. A lot of issues that I deal with, at least, took a while to become that way and they will take a while to recover or heal from.

I don’t usually show my work before it is finished, but i believe it is a good illustration of a work in progress.

I am not a finished product & won’t be until I reach heaven. He is working in me to perfect me. As you see in the picture, there are lots of places to color in. Some spaces are bigger/smaller than others. It will take some time. When I am finished it will be ready to display on the wall. But until then it is one step, color, or box at a time.

Much like my life. I must take one step, day, hour, or minute at a time.

I am God’s masterpiece. When I am finished, I will be ready to be in God’s physical presence.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Ephesians 2:10 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/eph.2.10.NIV

Also, the following song came to mind. I pray it is a blessing to someone.

Even in the Mess

When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.
1 Peter 2:23 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/1pe.2.23.NIV

This verse really stuck out to me and it has stayed with me the past few days. It’s talking about how Jesus, with all that was happening to Him, through all the beating sand the crucifixion, didn’t take revenge or threaten anyone. He put Himself in God’s hands.

If I am to be Christlike, then I need to trust God with my life & put my life in His hands. The battle is His anyway.

Even when things look like a mess, trusting God is the key.

It’s not easy. When I’m in the middle of a mess, all I can see sometimes is the disaster instead of the One who is bigger than the disaster. I start relying on myself instead of Him.

Each and every time that I realize I’m trying to rely on myself, I need to entrust myself and my issues to Him and allow Him to work, even if it seems scary to give up control. He knows what He is doing.

Life & Death

Speaking life.
Not death.

Harsh words don’t help.
Kind & uplifting words build up.

Encougement brings change.
Tearing others down brings resistance.

Hate breeds more hate.
Love breeds more love.

Stay in the world of love.
Avoid the world of hate.

Stop imitating evil.
IMITATE CHRIST

A Blessed Weekend

Last weekend God blessed us with an amazing weekend. I wanted to share it with you.

Another note before I get started. I am not being paid to mention anything that I am writing about. We truly had a great time.

It really got started when I arrived home on Friday. On our porch was the Tupperware that was ordered a couple of weeks ago. There was even more than I expected. We had earned the pan for recruiting someone to the business (we are Tupperware consultants). But there was also the lunch bag that I had been wanting, which my husband had ordered without me knowing. He is so sweet to me.

I was so excited.

Then Saturday, we slept in. It was great to sleep in on a Saturday, since I hadn’t done so in a couple of weeks.

Then we ran a quick errand.

Lunch was had at one of our favorite places, Chick-fil-A. Where I had a chicken sandwich, waffle fries, and lemonade. We sat and talked for a while & planned our day. Sorry, no photos of this stop.

After that, we drove down to Queen Creek, AZ and visited the Queen Creek Olive Mill.

It is an amazing place. It smells like olive oil the whole time your there, which is such a wonderful smell.

We decided to take a tour. We bought our tickets. Then walked around a bit. Taking pictures, while waiting on the tour to start.

The tour taught us all about olives, olive trees, and olive oil production. It was about 45 minutes long.

Next we tried gelato made with olive oil. Yummy. Followed by shopping. Bought a few things. I got to taste test the olives before I bought them. So delicious.

Found some out of the ordinary things.

We had a great time.

On the way home, we stopped off in Glendale, AZ at La Piazza Al Forno. This is a restaurant that appeared on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We decided a couple of years ago to try to go to all of them and we’re having a great time doing it. This is #24. There are around 1000 or so of these restaurants, so you may see more of them on here as time passes. You never know.

When we walked in, I could smell the same wonderful smell from the olive oil place. Our waitress was a sweet lady. They had Frank Sinatra playing.

We enjoyed some amazing food.

I would definitely recommend it.

We had such an amazing weekend. God has blessed us with each other & I was so grateful to get to spend time with my amazing husband.

Becoming Like Children

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 18:2‭-‬4 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.18.2-4.NIV

What does it mean to be like little children?

The message says it this way:

For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, “I’m telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom. What’s more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it’s the same as receiving me.
Matthew 18:2‭-‬5 MSG
https://bible.com/bible/97/mat.18.2-5.MSG

The part about starting over like children caught my eye. In our Christian walk, we have to start somewhere. God is asking us to become like children & start over.

When faced with a situation, children tend to ask parents what to do and trust what they are being told.

When I was a counselor, kids were not afraid to tell me what their parents had told them to do. They would say “mom/dad told me/said…” You may have even been told a similar statement by a child in your life.

Why are we so afraid to say what God says about something? Speaking Gods Word is just like that. We are saying what our Heavenly Parent says to do. We are trusting what He says.

When the world is telling us it should be one way, we need to say what God says and say it boldly like a child would.

Following what God says isn’t always easy, unless we become like children. Children want to please their parents. Most parents out there may beg to differ at times, but they do desire their parents approval.

If we seek after and desire God’s approval, we will find it easier to do what He says.

We will still be tempted, but it will become easier and easier to turn to God ,if we become like children. When a problem arises our first response will become prayer, seeing what the Bible says, and then doing what God is telling us to do.

The Bible is God’s Word & it shows us how God wants us to live.

Studying the Bible is part of our Christian walk. We have to know what it says in order to do what it says & we need to know what it says before situations arise.

I know I need to read it multiple times a day. Sometimes it’s little doses & once a day it is deeper study. But it all helps me live better.

Prayer is another key component. Talking with God & listening to what He says. Kids don’t know what their parents say unless they’re listening. So if we aren’t listening, how will we know what He says.

Communication

Difficult at times.

Saying things just right.

Don’t want hurt feelings.

Don’t want anger.

Don’t want to make things worse.

Do I say something.

Do I not.

Feeling awkward.

Feeling unsure.

Can I just hide?

Giving It To God

I was reading a devotion tonight that reminded me to give my situations to God.

I need to trust Him. He has my best interest at heart.

I may want something to be a certain way or to happen, but God’s timing is perfect. He knows what He is doing.

There are several things in my life that I want to be different, but I can’t make them different by forcing it. I need to leave it in God’s hands.

Holding onto it only makes me anxious. I constantly plan how it might happen. If I leave it with God, then I don’t have to worry & plan. I just know it will happen when it is supposed to. It’s less on my plate.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6:33‭-‬34 NIV
https://bible.com/bible/111/mat.6.33-34.NIV

One step at a time

God showed me something else while unpacking the other day and I wanted to share.

I was working on the one box at a time strategy & he showed me how important it is to take one step at a time. He told me that even if the step seems small or trivial, it is still important to do so.

For example, this week, while unpacking, God was getting me to go slow and not to do too much at one time. I wanted to get major stuff done this week.

But He showed me how rest after a certain period of time is also a step. Trying to do too much at one time could hurt me.

Yesterday is a good example. I did several more boxes than I probably should have trying to get things done. I was exhausted and my back was killing me.

Rest is an important step. Not only does it give physical & mental rest, but it allows God to work during those times.

I have seen God work for me in times when I wanted to go make things happen. But I listened to God and rested. At the end of the rest period, I realized He had been working on my behalf. He was opening doors and performing miracles. That has happened on so many occasions.

With the unpacking, we have come a long way. We still have a bit to go, but most of it is done. He showed me that even with the rest periods, it could still get done & that it doesn’t have to happen all at once. I also needed help with some things, so waiting for my husband to be available to help was part of it. I can’t do everything all by myself, which is a whole other topic in itself.

Progress

I was sitting here thinking of the mountain of boxes that I have to unpack, now that we have moved into our new apartment.

Then I noticed the pile of empty boxes by the door. I have a lot left to unpack, but I have already made progress. When I start feeling overwhelmed I can look at the stack of boxes by the door & see how far I have come.

One box at a time is how it will get done.

The same is true for other areas of life.

When we are discouraged about how far we have to go in life or overwhelmed by what has to be done. Look at how far you’ve come & take it one step at a time.

Nothing Separates

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38‭-‬39 NIV

https://bible.com/bible/111/rom.8.38-39.NIV

There is nothing you could do to make God love you less or turn His back on you. You are not too far gone. There is nothing He won’t forgive. Me and you are the reason He came and died and then rose again. So that we could be reconciled to Him and be part of His family. He loves you unconditionally! There is nothing that could make Him love you less than He already does.