God altered my life as an author. For years, my husband and I traveled New England selling my books, meeting people, and encouraging them in relationship with God. We often discussed expanding these trips countrywide once our youngest was to graduate. I was sure it was a route to success as a writer and excitedly looked forward to it.
That’s all changed.
My husband’s sudden and fast-growing collection of vinyl records frustrated me. I felt I was supposed to be supportive, but it was nothing I cared about. In fact, it made me angry. At God’s continued nudging, I finally offered help. We spent many nights checking, cleaning, and organizing all he was amassing. For what purpose, I wondered in irritation?
Selling them seemed logical. Chris joined me as a vendor at a number of fairs until it became too burdensome. I knew my life was at a crossroad. After seeking God’s direction and arguing with Him about it, I stepped out on faith and suggested we open a store in our house. I offered to stop traveling and stay home to run it. He agreed. Years of marketing had come to an end, and I was struggling.
Chris’s Nostalgia Shop opened for business on January 29, 2018
During this transition, inwardly I was hurt and angry at God, at my husband, and at his hobby. My publisher had already closed unexpectedly in the midst of projects. Now, with the loss of hands-on marketing, my dream to be a successful writer felt crushed. Though I definitely wavered in support of my husband’s new joy, I did trust God.
Chris’s Nostalgia Shop Has Grown!
We’ve expanded the shop since it opened and our inventory has taken over much of our home, prompting big changes to take place. The work involved to run it consumes much of my days, often much of my nights, but I really enjoy this job! It seems perfect for my personality. Keeping and updating lists and organizing product, oddly enough, brings me joy.
It feels wonderful supporting my husband’s dreams. He’s been my biggest supporter over the years and it’s such a blessing to give back and see him enjoy this endeavor. I also have the freedom to write encouraging content for others while I’m working. And most importantly, with all the time I now spend focused on my Lord while I ponder and write, pray and praise, I sense His powerful presence all the time. He’s at my center again, where He belongs. Ultimately, my intimate and personal relationship with Christ is the most important thing in my life and I now get to nurture it freely.
This life change was perfect for me!
You see, God altered my life because He knows what’s best. And while change is difficult, I’ve found peace in choosing to trust Him. Let me encourage you. No matter what changes occur, perceived good or bad, trust Him. God has the best plans!
This reminds me of a little tree, Little Birch, who learned a similar lesson. Check out my children’s book Little Birch Finds Peace!
We are that river
There’s a river that God’s in the midst of. It’s so influential that even the streams coming from it refresh the distant lands they touch. It’s a holy place, that river. It houses the most High. We, the children of God, are that river. He is in the midst of us, living through us, and imparting His strength so that we can rest in Him and not live broken.
When we flow freely, unencumbered by life’s debris, when God pulses through our very being, His light shines from us like streams branching off from a river. Even the seemingly small things we do prompted by God encourage others to believe. They’re touched by Him through us, often without us even being aware.
Let God guide your journey
Entrusting our lives to God and His will allows Him to guide us through riverbanks He’s already carved. Some appear good, some appear bad. Following through on His nudges often leads to witnessing things that could only have come from One who knows all. For these experiences we praise and worship Him. However, sometimes that revelation comes later. Hold tight.
Difficulties place us where God needs us
When we endure difficulties of which others judge and condemn us, rather than lash out, stand confident. God is in control still. He positions us where He needs us to be. There’s no need to defend. Don’t allow these seemingly bad situations to hinder His work. Fight the urge to complain or attack in response. Wait in quiet trust. Keep your eyes on Him, and watch God reveal His purposes. In this way we’re able to offer an example of the pure power of God.
Resist angrily giving back what is being done to you. Restrain from seeking vengeance. God does so in His time and to a degree that serves His purposes, furthering His will. Let Him repay evil for what evil has done. It’s not your job. Let that freedom penetrate and enjoy the weight lifted.
Relax in the flow of God’s will.
Rest, relax in the flow of His will. Sink in, and don’t worry about what you may or may not accomplish. He provides abundantly what’s needed. Resting in Him renews our Spirit as we continue to grow closer and more in love with Him. Allow fully His Spirit to fill and flow through you. Relationship with Him is the most important thing of life.
There’s a river that God’s in the midst of. Be that river, trusting and filled so much that streams of His presence branch off from you, offering refreshment to others.
Seeking Social Media Acceptance
Social media acceptance is a driving force in many people’s daily lives. There’s a need for approval. And with the internet, we can reach far and wide in search of it. For business owners, it’s important to be noticed in order to be successful. For individuals, acceptance has a value that goes deeper than money. Ultimately, we spend a lot of time and energy seeking it.
I’ve dealt with many inappropriate contacts while broadcasting on LiveMe.
Evil is Lurking
It’s frustrating making connections we hope are purposeful only to discover evil intentions lurking. Be aware. Darkness is intent on infiltrating where possible. As we pursue social media acceptance, we inevitably become targets. Satan uses others to reach us, attempting to bring us down. He uses our need for attention to hurt us or make us afraid. Hidden within a cyberworld, attacks, demeaning behavior, and violations of our moral space are rampant. Rather than joyfully growing in community, as we intend, we become victimized.
So what do we do when darkness encroaches?
Know That You’re Valuable
We need to recognize our worth. If we focus on social media acceptance but fail to realize how valuable we are, we’ll struggle when inappropriately contacted. God created each of us intentionally. He loves us immensely. He sent His Son to die as a ransom for our sin, removing Satan’s hold on us. Knowing that we’re valuable in God’s sight helps us stand strong when darkness tries to intimidate.
Keeping our attention on God allows us to grow personally. We accept and care more for ourselves. Contentment is reflected from this powerful relationship. We become likable to those drawn to us by God. A separation of followers begins to take place that is organic and meaningful. We gain some and we lose some. Our social media acceptance will grow with the right followers for us. By seeking God’s wisdom and strength, we’re able to recognize and deal with the approach of evil attention calmly, firmly, and appropriately.
Seeking God’s Direction Gives Perspective
Seek God’s wisdom about questionable connections. Keep Him at the forefront. Be obedient to His lead. He can see what we can’t and knows what someone’s intentions truly are. Also, He knows when we should offer kindness instead of anger when insulted. We could be the seed God’s using to reach someone, or we could be the one to hold them accountable. Only God knows. Ultimately, seeking God’s will can put our desire for social media acceptance in proper perspective.
Find your value in God, be genuine in your social media accounts, don’t let evil contacts disrupt you, and enjoy God-given connections. For additional reading on empowerment, check out my blog, Ladies, You Are Valuable!
We’re creatures of habit, change is hard, and our minds are powerful. These three thoughts influence us negatively when old haunts taunt.
Being indwelled by God’s Holy Spirit lifts us beyond our temptations. An intimate connection with God offers fellowship with One who’s in control. It allows us strength from One who’s almighty. Living through the Spirit frees us from the weight of our guilt and shame.
Creature of Habit
What can we do when old familiar haunts of days past taunt until they become our focus again? Though perhaps not seen outwardly, their presence is felt. This was conduct of a life thought to be traded in for robes of white. The creature of habit, whispering lies of comfort, no matter the cost, rises up once more.
Change is Hard
A great weight was lifted when you gave God your life. You sensed the difference. The freedom was amazing. The joy He brought was immeasurable. Now, you sit thinking of such change. Was it real? How could it have been if temptation has risen so strongly once more? Ultimately, you admit in defeat that change is hard.
Our Minds Are Powerful
When old haunts rise, thinking consumes. It morphs to disbelief in the truth of who we are as children of God. Frustration overwhelms, and soon we find ourselves giving in to the old nature. After all, our minds are powerful. The more we think on something, the more controlling it becomes.
Haunts that taunt hold tight. Don’t let them get a grip!
What influences you? You may feel that the old haunts taunt you and lead you to fail, returning you to old ways you’d turned from when God became your focus, but you’re wrong. It’s not really the old haunts that are to blame, it’s what you do with them.
You’re Worth It!
Stop thinking about them! Be aware. The more you think on them, the more power they have. Turn your thinking instead to God. Whenever temptation rises, consciously turn your thoughts to God. Talk to Him, aloud if you must. Put on music that honors Him and sing along. Read something that points to Him. Whatever it takes for you to focus on God instead, do it. Taking the time to refocus is worth it! You are worth it! God is the answer. He is what will break the spell when old haunts taunt!
Give thanks to the Lord?
In Psalm 92:1-2, it’s suggested that it is good to give thanks to the Lord. In addition to that, singing praises to His name adds to the jubilant recommendation. And finally, we’re to declare God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness both morning and night.
How can we give thanks and sing praises when life is a struggle? If we’re walking in the darkness of loss or hurt, why would we? What is there to be thankful for when life is tragic? If God is almighty, we might question why He’d allow the difficulties that have us far from peace.
Who is it good for?
If it’s good to give thanks and praise to the Lord, who is it good for? I’d gather that God has continued without fail whether we’ve thanked and praised Him or not. Then it must be good for us! It is, and here’s where faith can be your catapult to living joyfully instead.
It is good to give thanks to the Lord!
Life is tough. Our journey here on earth seems to be a mix of tragedy, good fortune, confusion, and happiness. There are days of achievement, but there are also days of discouragement, pulling at emotions that dictate what kind of day we’ll experience. We strive to find balance, experience peace, or make some sense of the life we’re living. Have faith. There is good for us.
Does God really offer lovingkindness and faithfulness?
Lovingkindness, by definition, is tenderness and consideration for others. It’s the opposite of ill will toward someone. Faithfulness is the quality of being faithful or true to another person. These are God’s traits toward us, and yet the difficult lives many of us succumb to lead us to question whether He really offers them to us.
How can we excitedly tell others of God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness? We who are broken can’t even absorb His wonderfulness for ourselves. Additionally, we’re expected to exhibit these traits as proof of our faith. That’s some pressure, huh? No matter how much we try to apply faith, we’ll struggle. God’s traits aren’t meant to be applied. He lives them. When He is at our center, His qualities show through us.
Can we offer lovingkindness and faithfulness?
Is it possible for us to offer lovingkindness and faithfulness? Due to our own failure to achieve these qualities, we condemn ourselves. Also, we’re resentful of others who lack the same ability. Do we offer lovingkindness to those who’ve hurt us or our loved ones? Likely not. What takes its place? Animosity, frustration, an overwhelming feeling of unfairness. We wish our enemy would pay consequences that make them hurt. We want justice! At what cost?
Our journey here on earth seems to be a mix of tragedy, good fortune, confusion, and happiness.
Fidelity, faithfulness, for many of us, is a lofty expectation too, often met with disappointment. Many have been hurt by unfaithful people. On the other hand, though we judge people for this, we also find ourselves among those who struggle with being faithful. The guilt can be crushing.
So, if we don’t have anything to feel thankful for, if we’ve nothing praiseworthy happening in our lives, why would we even think of God as faithful? We’d be hard pressed to consider the things God is allowing as lovingkindness. Right?
God’s qualities fill us!
However, as the Psalm suggests, in a posture of praise and thankfulness for our Lord, we can declare God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness. Again, these are God’s qualities. They are part of His essence. He is a God of love. He will not turn from His children, ever, and we can experience what these qualities mean personally to us. Greater still, we can exhibit them outwardly, even in the most trying of circumstances.
When we ask Christ to be at our center, when we ask His Holy Spirit to come into us, God’s qualities fill us. This takes a step of faith, asking Him in. I want you to take it, though, and watch God move! The more we focus on Him, talk with Him, listen for Him, wait on Him, and grow to trust Him, the stronger we experience His qualities. He has much to teach us who come close to Him. God’s lovingkindness and faithfulness are personally revealed to us. As a result, the revelation of His essence causes us to give thanks, sing praises, and declare loudly what He can do. God allows His traits to shine through us to touch others as He intends.
You will declare God’s lovingkindness!
So you must get to know your Creator on a very private and intimate level. Keep your eyes on Him constantly, converse with Him always. Seek His wisdom, love, peace, and guidance every day. Naturally, His traits will infiltrate your being as His Spirit responds. Finally, the old will pass away. Every morning and every night you’ll find it hard to resist and you will declare it!
We praise You Lord. We thank You for Your lovingkindness and faithfulness toward us, even when we hadn’t seen or deserved it. May those who’ve wronged us see these traits of Yours shining from within us so that they might also find hope in You.
Thank You, Lord, for Your lovingkindness!
“The Son of man is come to save that which was lost. Lost…In the fog of life, many of us feel lost, afraid, hurt, in need of peace. Talk to Jesus. Let His powerful light in. He will comfort and heal the lost and the broken.”
Recently, I posted the above picture and encouragement on Instagram and Facebook. I received a few comments. One, in particular, brought to mind God’s power of revelation. “When is Jesus coming? … I feel like we’re being sold lost hope,” they wrote. That’s a powerful statement, and there’s truth to it.
Where does hope lie? Does hope lie in lessons taught or behaviors practiced? No. It needs to come from Someone greater. Are the dark circumstances throughout the world causing hopelessness? Hope can’t come from earthly conditions. Likewise, earthly incidents can’t take hope away. True hope only comes from the Creator. Literature, videos, and sermons based on what we’ll experience some day when Jesus returns or when we reach Heaven inundate us. There seems to be a lot of hope in a distant event as if we can’t enjoy a relationship with God now. That is discouraging. We can enjoy a relationship with God now. And furthermore, we can experience His qualities of peace, joy, and love now too. Ultimately, I want to encourage all that God holds the answer. He IS the answer to every question. Here is my Facebook response:
“Jesus came and died a Savior for the lost. Those words, “The Son of man is come to save that which was lost,” came from Him. I agree though. We’re being sold a lost hope. Perhaps it’s a “false” hope, sold by man.
When hope lies in what others are telling us or in what we’ve studied and work to apply we will struggle and lose hope. No amount of studying and applying techniques will bring about true peace. It’s not something in the distance, just beyond reach, taunting us until we figure out how to feel it.
Peace, joy, love, and freedom are qualities of God, our Creator, and are experienced personally when we are in a deep and intimate relationship directly with Him. This can be immediate. When we become fully centered on Him, ask His Holy Spirit to fill us, and dwell in His Presence, those qualities fill us and hope is found.
It’s nothing that can be experienced by learning or trying, earning or applying. The hope and joy of God comes by revelation from Him only. That is why it takes a relationship with Him to fulfill it. We don’t have to wait for a future coming, our death, or Heaven in order to have hope fulfilled.
Jesus said He must go so that He could send those of us who ask a Comforter (the Holy Spirit) which will guide us individually into all truth. Talk to Him! Get to know Him. Invite His powerful light in. God does comfort and heal.”
So let me encourage you to turn to God. If you’re lost and broken and in need of peace, or if life is difficult and you’re weary, look to Him. It truly is that easy. God is the ONLY One who can fill you with peace and joy. Ultimately, there is no twelve step program that imparts true peace or love, because those are God’s qualities to impart. Face Him and talk with Him. When you seek, you will find. Be insistent. Ask God to fill you with His Holy Spirit. His Spirit living within you also fills you with His qualities, and you can rest in them, drinking of them. You will find comfort there so desperately needed.
God sends His Holy Spirit to fill those of us who seek Him. When is Jesus coming? Is His coming a lost hope? Direct connection to Jesus through the Holy Spirit quenches that question. Certainly, it comforts and encourages us to continue on in hope. Through His Holy Spirit, God reveals truth to us. Revealed truth imparts hope that is concrete. Rather than a sense of lost hope, we can sit at the feet of our Savior, enjoying His presence today.
Blessings on your journey with your Creator,
For more encouragement, join my mailing list today! What are you thoughts on peace? Drop me a comment below. Also, if this message was encouraging, share it with others. God bless you.