Thursday, February 12, 2015

One Pebble At A Time

One small little pebble, even a few, don't really amount to much.  You can't really create anything of significance when you only have a dozen in the palm of your hand. 
I want you to think of each word you utter as one small pebble....that adds up to ALOT of pebbles in a lifetime.  Every pebble from every word spoken is added to build one of two pathways.  One pathway that leads to life and another path that leads to death.  Think about every person God has put in your life...which pathway are you adding pebbles to in each of those relationships?
It's easy to look at one small pebble and see it as insignificant and harmless.  One word spoken in anger, frustration, or hurt...not a big deal.  We all have our "off" days, right?  The person on the receiving end of my harsh words...they know I love them.  So you've just tossed a pebble onto the path leading to death.  Then you turn around and speak a word of praise, adoration, encouragement, or you've laid one on the path leading to life.   
Which pathway do you want to put the most time, energy, and effort into building?  It happens one pebble at a time but over a series of weeks, months, and years it adds up to something of absolute significance. 
  Edify. Encourage. Uplift. Praise. Comfort. Inspire. Strengthen. Compliment. Esteem. Respect.
Choose Life Giving Words and you will construct the most beautiful, thriving, flourishing, healthy, lush pathway.
Look beyond the pebble to the completed pathway.  Your words matter.  Every. Single. Word. Uttered.
If you struggle with your words, with anger, with coming unglued, I encourage you to: 
  1. Get on your knees, right now, and pray these words - "Jesus, I desperately need you to bring change and to set me free.  I am hurting.  I am struggling.  I don't know how to get my emotions under control and I need your help.  I repent before you for all the words I've spoken in anger or frustration.  I want my words to build a pathway of life in my marriage, with my children,  and in all my relationships.  I want my words to honor my husband, encourage my children, and edify others.  Please provide the tools, resources, and help in my life to begin to make some very needed changes in how I speak. Change me from the inside out.  I have laid so many pebbles down on the wrong pathway and although I can't undo my past, with your help I can begin to build a beautiful pathway from this day forward.  In Jesus name I pray, Amen."
  2. Go to anyone whom you have harmed by your words and humbly seek forgiveness. 
  3. Spend time every day in God's Word and in prayer...even if it's only 5 minutes or doing devotionals alongside your children (that counts too!)
  4. Have a "grateful" journal you can write in daily and list out things you are thankful for in your life.  It's easy to focus in on the negatives in those we spend the most time with and lose sight of all the wonderful aspects of our life.  Don't take any person in your life for granted.
  5. Find a wonderful Christian Counselor and commit to a season of individual counseling.  Perhaps there are some things from your past where healing needs to happen in order for you to begin a new pathway in your life.
  6. Read - "Unglued: Making wise choices in the midst of raw emotions" by Lysa Terkeurst
  7. Recognize that you can only take steps to change YOU...and changing the way you speak is a great start!!!
I share all of this out of my own personal struggles and experiences. 
I can't undo the past but I can create a very different future. 
Every Pebble Matters!

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Finding the Blessings in Detours

The other night my girls and I were driving home very late from a friends house.  We were on a country road with no other vehicles around and I was driving about 45mph.  Not long into our drive, I noticed a vehicle up ahead with its lights flashing.  The vehicle was on the opposite side of the road with it's headlights facing my direction.  As I neared the vehicle I slowed way down, uncertain of what was going on.  Thank goodness I made that decision to slow down and be cautious because just up ahead a huge tree had fallen and was completely blocking the highway. 

There was absolutely no way of getting around the tree and the ONLY choice I had was to make a U-turn and take a much longer route home.  It wasn't until I was much further down the road that it suddenly hit me...if that truck would not have been there with it's flashing lights warning me of the danger ahead, I would have certainly crashed into that tree.  I don't even want to think of what that could have resulted in. 

The detour definitely delayed things but eventually my 3 very sleepy girls and I made it one piece.  I was thankful I had the option of a detour to get to my destination.  Waiting hours for that roadblock to be removed would have been awful (though I'm sure my friend would have let us stay overnight in that case!)


The book of Genesis tells the most incredible life story of Joseph.  In Genesis 37, Joseph went looking for his brothers, who were out pasturing their sheep, to see how they were doing.  If only there would have been flashing lights or big signs along the way, warning him of the danger ahead.  In the blink of an eye, the course of his life changed.  He was about to take a major detour...or what appeared to be a detour.  He was betrayed by his own brothers and sold into slavery.  He was falsely accused and thrown into prison.  He was a slave when he should have been a free man.  If anyone understood roadblocks, detours, sorrows, and discouraging circumstances, it was Joseph.  

It wasn't until over a decade later that God's amazing plan was revealed.  In Genesis 50:20, when he stood face to face with his brothers, who had betrayed him so many years before, he spoke these words..."You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people."  This detour actually turned out to be one of the most amazing blessings, not only for Joseph, but also for his entire family.  Throughout it all, Joseph remained faithful to the Lord, strong in his convictions, continued to walk in the gifting's God had given him, and had the courage to rise above his circumstances.

What roadblock are you facing in your life?  What unforeseen circumstances have you found yourself in?  What is before you that is causing overwhelming discouragement?  It might feel bigger than life.  You may not be able to see anything else ahead because that darn "tree" is blocking your view.  Do you feel like your life has taken a major detour?   

When we face difficult roadblocks, its natural for our flesh to want to sulk, kick, scream, cry, get bitter, grow angry, blame God, and to remain stuck.  Joseph certainly had every right to respond this way.  But there IS another option...crank the steering wheel and make a U-turn.  And then trust the Lord to navigate you home.  Detours are a major inconvenience but there can be blessings along the way and a plan that unfolds greater than you could imagine.  God has a plan...and it's always for good.

What I love about Joseph is that he did not allow the detour to bring defeat.  His circumstances did NOT define him.  He made the most of a situation that was completely out of his control.  He rose above his hardships. 

"Lord, whatever is before this precious soul, it may be something that came so suddenly and so unexpectedly into their life, it may feel so overwhelming, more than they can handle, and beyond their ability to overcome.  I ask that you would lead them along the path, giving them the strength and endurance for the difficulties they are facing.  Sometimes we just can not escape the pain, we have to walk through it, but you are there every step of the way.  May they put all their trust in you Jesus.  May they cling to you.  And although they may not see or understand your plan in the detour, may one day that plan be made known.  May they also see your blessings along the way.  In Jesus mighty name I pray.  Amen"

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