Fallen Leaves

The winds of Autumn took the beautifully colored leaves and made them dance to the ground. That is the time when I love to walk through the crunchy leaves and smell the familiar scent knowing that Autumn is here.

It has made me think about the ‘pretty’ things we have gathered in our lives that we cling to which keep us from moving ahead in victory. Its time to release them like those leaves and let them fall away.

 

Some we may not even be aware off.

  • Fears that grip us
  • Possessions we think define us
  • Habits that keep us in bondage like our thoughts, eating habits, moral issues
  • People-pleasing acts that leave us exhausted
  • Toxic relationships
  • Believing only in ourselves and not trusting the All-Mighty God
  • Job security
  • Identity in our kids
  • Bitterness toward a job loss, a divorce, financial hardships, a hurtful family member, betrayal
  • Someone getting ahead and you seem to be stuck

We all struggle.  That is something we cannot deny. It is like needing the Autumn leaves to be blown away from us.

The writer of Hebrews knew what people struggled with. He encourages us by saying,

Such a large crowd of witnesses is all around us! So we must get rid of everything that slows us down, especially the sin that just won’t let go. And we must be determined to run the race that is ahead of us. Hebrews 12:1

Sometimes we hold on tight and don’t want to lease those things that make us feel secure and less vulnerable. Deep down, I believe we really know what is keeping us to be all God intended.  But like my trees that are dropping leaves all around me and soon to be ‘naked’, we all have to do the same thing. Being honest with God and with ourselves is a good thing. That is the start.  Just like the naked and vulnerable tree, we can understand as new leaves grow back, we can grow brighter and stronger too.

God’s Spirit doesn’t make cowards out of us. The Spirit gives us power, love, and self-control. 2 Timothy 1:7

Don’t be like the people of this world, but let God change the way you think. Then you will know how to do everything that is good and pleasing to him. Romans 12:1

It can be scary. I know that for a fact.  I have had to work at them too. Many times, life is so unfair, don’t you agree?  Sometimes my pride gets in the way until I realize it’s time to change.  We need to ask God to release some of the ‘dead leaves’ so it can bring new growth.

What do you feel you can begin to release in your life to gain victory? When you do, there will be a freshness to your life. I know it, I have lived it.

Open Your Tool Box:

  • Take a walk through the leaves
  • Think through some issues in your life that remind you of those dead and fallen leaves
  • What can you release and begin to find victory in?
  • Talk to a trusted friend and ask for support

YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

 

 

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JUST LIKE MY TREE!

Along our river stands a tree that changes colour early every season. It’s beauty stands out in stark contrast to those beside it.

I thought about us who are Christ-followers and how we are  to reflect Jesus in a world of chaos and hurt.

Make your light shine, so that others will see the good that you do and will praise your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16 (CEV)

A challenge for me would be to ask that when people look at me, my actions, and how I talk will they see Jesus? Is it something they would want to investigate and seek out?

God has made us, His precious creations, to reflect His character.  I fail Him often but my desire is to be like my tree.  How about you? When people see you and your lifestyle will they will glorify God?

Here is another shot of the tree.  See how it reflects on the water?  Just like that tree, we can reflect how we live when the Son (Jesus) is shining in us.

HAPPY FALL YA’ ALL!

 

 

 

 

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • Memorize Matthew 5:16
  • Take some time to evaluate situations in your life and if they are in tune with what Christ would do so He will get the glory.
  • May this Autumn season be a reminder how we can shine bright and reflect Jesus.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

MERCY,  MERCY ME!

Have you been feeling overwhelmed or defeated?  Does it feel that life has handed you enough stress for the rest of your life?  I can honestly say, I have felt that.  Just when I think the knot at the end of the rope is about to give way,

God’s mercy is the one constant in my life.  His mercies are new every morning.

The Lord can always be trusted to show mercy each morning.  Lamentations 3:23 (CEV)

During times of loneliness, feelings of desertion, the incredible responsibility to raise your kids, feeling nothing positive will ever happen, and thinking that God isn’t there, that is when God can meet you right where you are!  I know because He has been that for me.

God’s mercy never stops.  His love, His compassion, His forgiveness, and His faithfulness never changes because He is merciful.

When I am feeling discouraged, it is God’s promises in Scripture that help me to get up and start moving again. When I start to doubt and get frustrated, I have to hold on and realize life has many changes, but God never does.  I want to share some verses that I pray will do the same for you.

  • He gave mercy in Moses’ day, and He still does today.

Then he passed in front of Moses and called out, “I am the Lord God. I am merciful and very patient with my people. I show great love, and I can be trusted. Exodus 34:6 (CEV)

  • He is True

But you, the Lord God, are kind and merciful. You don’t easily get angry, and your love can always be trusted. Psalm 86:15 (CEV)

  • He is Love

You are merciful, Lord, You are kind and patient and always loving.  Psalm 145: 8 (CEV)

  • He Understands

We have a great high priest, who has gone into heaven, and he is Jesus the Son of God. That is why we must hold on to what we have said about him.  Jesus understands every weakness of ours, because he was tempted in every way that we are. But he did not sin!  So whenever we are in need, we should come bravely before the throne of our merciful God. There we will be treated with undeserved kindness, and we will find help. Hebrews 4:14-16 (CEV)

  • The best news! He died for us to give us abundant life and eternal life.

God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die. John 3:16 (CEV)

If this is new to you, check out the link. https://www.allaboutgod.com/prayer-of-salvation.htm

OPEN YOUR TOOLBOX:

  • Take heart in God’s promises of mercy.
  • Take some time spent in God’s Scriptures to see how merciful our Heavenly Father is.
  • When life doesn’t make sense, trust in His Mercy
  • Memorize one of those verses above.

YOU CAN DO THIS…Acknowledge God’s Mercy today!

The Loneliness Epidemic with a RX Script: Part III

I asked three women to share on loneliness.  It is comforting and reassuring to know that none of us are really alone.

  1. Cindi McMenamin: I know many women who would rather remain in an unhealthy relationship than to be “alone.”  And yet, our alone times can be doorways to discovering a deeper intimacy with God.  While we tend to shun loneliness, believing it’s a bad thing, I believe God often LEADS us to a place alone so He can show us a new side of Himself. When I am feeling alone it is then that I see God as my spiritual husband (Isaiah 54:5) and my comforter and confidante. I encourage women to embrace the alone times in their lives as opportunities to let God draw them closer to Himself.

Cindi McMenamin is a national speaker and the author of When Women Walk Alone  (more than 140,000 copies sold) and 15 other books from Harvest House Publishers. In addition to writing, she is a certified writing and speaking coach who helps women who are aspiring to write and speak about the messages God has placed on their hearts. You can find Cindi  at www.StrengthForTheSoul.com

https://strengthforthesoul.com/product/when-women-walk-alone/

(See Linda’s Library tab for the book as well)

2. Widow Woes by Julie Cosgrove

After the funeral food has been consumed or pitched out, and everyone else has returned to their lives, the idea that you can’t go back to yours begins to seep through the fuzziness of mourning. It doesn’t exist now. You may feel lost in your loss. Loneliness can set in, especially if the children are grown and gone. Even if you go back to work, once you get home, the walls begin to close in, and the silence becomes deafening. But the idea of going out alone just adds salt to the wound. So, you click on the TV and stare at the screen until your eyelids droop.  I know. I ‘ve been there. Here are some suggestions that other widows have shared with me. Find other widows as friends, and then get out and do things together. Go to a movie, fix meals together, or walk the mall to get exercise.  Join or start a women’s Bible study. If anyone understands where you are in your grief, it’s other widows. Even better, volunteer in a community or church project together. Helping others boosts your mood and gets you out of your woes better than anything else.  Like water, stagnation soon begins to muck things up. Keep moving, keep living. Your hubby would want you to do that. And above all else, realize that even though you may feel lonely, you are never alone. Your Father in Heaven has a special love for widows. He will make Himself known and comfort you if you let Him inside your life. He has the glue to mend your broken heart.

Julie B Cosgrove  Shining God’s Light Into Your Day      Award-winning Author, Devotional Writer, Professional Speaker Missionary Editor/Writer with Power to Change’s The Life Project.   The World is Online, We Help Them Know Jesus!

www.juliebcosgrove.com   blog: Where Did You Find God Today?  Twitter@JulieBCosgrove, LinkedIn, Facebook

  3. Jennifer Slattery

Jennifer’s article on Crosswalk.com came at just the right time and she was happy to let me share this article.  I have copied a couple of her points but the rest of the article is worth the read. Check out the full article on this link from www.Crosswalk.com

https://www.crosswalk.com/slideshows/10-reasons-women-are-lonely.html?utm_source=Daily%20Update&utm_campaign=Crosswalk%20Daily%20Update&utm_medium=email&utm_content=2867795&bcid=9dc05280c90011c0eb4d60d775dada3e&recip=547301084%20

10 Reasons Why Women Are Lonely

  1. Unresolved Past Hurts

Every relational break up or struggle, if not surrendered to Christ, can leave lasting scar tissue and cause inner lies to form, like, “Everyone leaves eventually”, “No one can truly be trusted”, or, “They don’t really care about me.”

To move past those self-defeating and imprisoning lies, we need to mourn our hurts with Jesus, ask Him to reveal our false perceptions, and to give us the courage to embrace relational risk.

The solution: Learn how to resolve conflicts and push through relational difficulties to develop deeper friendships.

  1. We compare our relationships to everyone else’s filtered highlights.

Our Facebook feeds have become flooded with images of girls’ nights out, happy, smiling families, and perfect date nights. However, we don’t see the fights and frustrations between every posed photograph nor all the nights our friends spend alone viewing everyone else’s posts. Sitting in our quiet living rooms with our crabby children and busy spouses, we may think everyone else’s relationships are stronger, healthier, and more fun.

Our typical response? To join the selfie-craze, if only to prove to others—and ourselves—that we’re not as disconnected as we feel. But this only increases our isolation by keeping us strapped to our computers and living superficially.

However, when we take the time to connect with others face to face, we discover most of us experience hurts, conflict, and moments of loneliness and isolation. We may even find the friend our hearts long for.

The solution: Foster authentic, face to face relationships and view social media much like you do reality television—based on truth but heavily doctored for entertainment value.

Jennifer Slattery is a writer, editor, and speaker who’s addressed women’s groups, church groups, Bible studies, and writers across the nation. She’s the author of six contemporary novels and maintains a devotional blog found athttp://jenniferslatterylivesoutloud.com. She has a passion for helping women discover, embrace, and live out who they are in Christ. As the founder of Wholly Loved Ministries, (http://whollyloved.com) she and her team partner with churches to facilitate events designed to help women rest in their true worth and live with maximum impact.

 Thank you, Ladies for sharing!

I pray that these last few weeks will fill you with HOPE and HELP when loneliness fills your heart giving you helpful resources for a positive RX script. We will have times of loneliness but in those times it can be used for positive growth. Our true RX script is to reach out to Jesus who had times of great loneliness and does understand your heart.  Search the Scriptures. How about the Psalms or the Book of Ephesians?  https://www.bible.com/

  Thanks for walking this short series with me. I hope you have been encouraged.

 As always, YOU CAN DO THIS!

The Loneliness Epidemic with an RX Script: Part II

What does an RX (prescription) script look like for loneliness? Do you have time to grab a cup of Java and spend a few minutes with me?

Everyone is unique and so are their hurts, baggage, and issues. Two questions to ask:

 

1)  WHY are you lonely?

2) WHAT can you do about it?

While a single mom, I had time alone while my girls spent time with their dad. The house felt empty and my mommy-responsibilities were put on hold. Friends and family had their own busy lives but mine was forever changing. I attended parties, church, family gatherings, school functions, and medical appointment by myself.

I WAS ALONE…AND I WAS LONELY.

Society can make people feel it is a curse to be alone. I disagree. One of the greatest gifts I had in healing and accepting my journey was taking time alone and enjoy it.  I was able to process and make some positive steps to move forward. Spending time in God’s Word helped me see Truth, be encouraged, and accept that being alone was a good thing.

However, being alone and living like a hermit isn’t good either.  God created us for relationships and connection. Adam had Eve; Naomi had her daughter-in-law, Ruth; David’s best friend was Jonathan; and Paul had his traveling buddy, Silas to name a few.

When dealing with issues, I try to unwrap it to explore what is happening and then take positive steps to deal with it.  Remember you are unique and your feelings are real to you. Acknowledging them can be the first step toward acceptance and moving on.

Question #1:  WHY do you feel a sense of loneliness? Do these sound familiar?

  • You aren’t married and desperately want to be.
  • Your ex-spouse has left and you desperately want him/her to come home.
  • Single parenthood is so busy your social life is almost nil and some friends don’t include you anymore.
  • You work night shift and sleep during the day.
  • Your workplace isn’t user friendly and you dread going there.
  • You lost your partner to death, divorce, or have a dis-interested spouse.
  • You don’t have a true-blue friend to hang with to discuss heavy-duty life questions.
  • You have moved to a new town.
  • You are a caregiver to your parents and you have no time to go out or people don’t understand your situation.

Loneliness can also cause some bad choices and mistakes so choosing not to panic is a good step forward. Loneliness can also develop bitterness so let’s all work to be free from that.

Question #2: WHAT can we do about it? Here are some suggestions.

  • Make an appointment with a counselor or trusted pastoral staff member to gain positive perspective.
  • Risk doing something new that may open doors to make new friends or opportunities.
  • Check out community events for some things to do to get out from your four walls. (involve your kids too!)
  • Join a support group. Check it out in your area or your medical office might have a list.
  • Check if a nursing home will allow volunteers to visit the lonely elderly.
  • Church has never been your thing. Maybe you would like to check it out again? Check out their website to see what they are all about and if Jesus is the center of their ministry.
  • Understand you will have lonely days and that it is okay sometimes. Begin to enjoy time alone for a spell. I call it “My Linda Time”. I have found I am good company!  Who knew! 😊
  • Is there a class during your lunch hour? I joined a fitness class and I found out the instructor lived right by me! What about a walking group?
  • Consider becoming a Big Sister or Big Brother. It’s a heavy commitment but can have amazing results.
  • If you can’t get out due to some life responsibilities, plan a phone date with a friend to catch up on things.
  • Most importantly, take time to journey with God who desires to invest in your life and fill you with His peace and contentment. Scriptures are comforting and empowering. Why not read  Ephesians 1 to 3 to understand your true identity when you are in relationship with Him?

I hope these will get the creative juices flowing. The important thing is to step forward. Choose today and take that first step. If one thing doesn’t suit, try another.  It will be worth it.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

Remember There is HELP, there is HOPE, there is HEALING!

 

Next time, three ladies will share about loneliness with some hope and encouragement. You are not alone!

 

 

 

The Loneliness Epidemic with an RX Script: Part I

In 1960, Elvis’ smooth voice sang out his new song, Are you lonesome tonight? That was 59 years ago and it still resonates the sentiment. I googled the words ‘lonely songs’ giving me over 200 pages of titles. It is estimated that 47% of the world is lonely at some point or other in their lifetime.

Loneliness is a fact of life.

Most never want to experience it and wish relief from it. Many sit in front of the television passing the time to forget their pain. Others keep themselves so busy at work or social events so they don’t feel lonely. Some parents put their kids in many activities so they themselves can have social interaction.

Social media has made it feel like we have so many friends and we have the ability to text people across the world with just a few finger strokes. We never have to hear a voice or meet face-to-face and still have 1,000’s of friends.  I mean, we certainly can’t be lonely with so many friends, can we?

God created us with a desire to interact and encourage each other.  Loneliness is from the beginning of time with Adam. He had a perfect earth with beautiful creatures and a relationship with God.  Yet, he wanted another human to be by his side.

Life  can hit us sideways with situations that send loneliness in a package we would rather not receive and scribble “return to sender” on it. There have been times I have felt pretty down and dealing with stinkin’ thinkin’. After a visit or a chat with someone, I felt so much better and my perspective and attitude had changed.

It’s not easy to feel loneliness and I would never claim it is. That is why I think it is so important to encourage each other.

Just think of a few events from Scripture. I am sure Esther felt overwhelmed and alone in her task to save her people from extinction. Noah must have been laughed at for building an Ark where no huge body of water existed. David had to hide to save his life from a jealous King.

Single parents, the elderly, youth, and even married people experience the feelings of loneliness. Some struggle more than others.  Research says that loneliness can contribute to mental and physical illness. You might be surprised of people who struggle with deep loneliness and yet look all put together on the outside.

Singles think that if they just meet someone, they will never be lonely again. Some married spouses think that if their partner will pay more attention to them, they won’t feel lonely. Youth and young adults think if they are invited to parties or accepted by the in-crowd, they won’t feel left out.  Our dear elderly wait for visitors to fill up their lonely hours. Many Christ-followers are left behind and mocked because of their stand for the Scriptures.

As a single parent, I experienced deep loneliness even in a crowd of friends.  I had weekends alone, and in my times of stress and feeling scared, I didn’t have someone to hold me and say it was going to be okay.

We need connection.

We are not exempt from loneliness but we do have HOPE. Hope gives us the reason to work through loneliness.

My goal is to encourage you that you are not alone and that loneliness is a journey we all walk. Would you walk with me in the next weeks as we talk about loneliness  surrounded by HOPE?

That is why in my book for single parents (see link below), I end every chapter with this phrase,

There is HELP, there is HOPE, there is HEALING!

I say it because it is absolutely true in my life and it was the promises of God that moved me ahead.

  • I am lonely and trouble. Show that you care and have pity on me. Psalm 25:16 (CEV)
  • If the Lord had not been my help, my soul would soon have lived in the land of silence. When I thought, ‘my foot slips’, your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.  When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul. Psalm 94:17-19 (ESV)
  • The Lord Your God will always be at your side, and he will never abandon you. Deuteronomy 31:6b (CEV)

Are you lonely tonight? Claim these Bible verses and believe the God of the Universe wants to engage in your life. You are not alone. You can begin by asking God for His HOPE.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

Next Time: The Loneliness Epidemic with an RX Script: Part II

 

https://www.amazon.ca/Single-Mom-Survival-Success-Journey/dp/1460007956/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=single+mom+survival+success&qid=1563648095&s=books&sr=1-1)

 Riding the Waves!

Call me crazy, but I love Body Surfing. Spending many summers body surfing in no more than waist-high water with my family, reminded me that life is a lesson in waves and its counterpart, wind.

Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Ephesians 4:14

As wind picks up so do the waves and they are not for the weak swimmer.  Even for us who have been doing this for years is always done with great caution, with other people, and close to the shore.

Like the waves I encountered while body surfing, life can be like that as we are hit on every side forcing us to make important choices. It can literally take our breath away. Trying to figure out our next life step, we hear opinions from one, another voices theirs, and then we are grappling with our own thoughts.  We can always stand firm in true Biblical teaching while riding the waves.  Are you searching the Scriptures and letting it penetrate into your very soul?

Wind and Waves will come.  How we deal with it will determine our peace and fulfillment in Life.

Waves can be deceiving

As I stood watching huge waves come rolling toward me, some had no power when they finally reached me. The same is as Scripture says, by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming. Knowing and searching for what the Bible says is so important.  If not, every person’s opinion could feel like truth. With resources like www.biblestudytools.com  it can help you identify meaning. Places of worship who teach God’s Holy Scripture and books that are founded on God’s truth can enrich your life to study the waves and wind of life.  Cunning and crafty people can try and falsify Truth but with good resources at our fingertips we have the opportunity to be stronger in our faith. Truth will surely set us free.

Waves Can Strengthen us

Those times body surfing, some waves would knock me over and force me ahead by some very powerful and painful ones.  I stood up spurting trying to gain my feet on the terra firma. I know sounds crazy.

As I look back and reflect over the years, I was knocked over by huge waves of life situations and I can truly say it strengthened me.  I am not the Linda I am today without those waves.

Are you facing waves of loneliness, loss of a loved one, problems at work, or is single parenting just overwhelming right now? Just as I always had someone to scream and laugh with me in those wavy waters and help keep me safe, we need to have trusted faithful friends that can walk alongside us to do the same thing.

Waves will stop

Mark 4:39 “He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm”. 

The first few minutes of body surfing in waves were fun.  My stamina was good, and then all of a sudden, I reached a point of feeling exhausted. It is then I know the wise choice is to walk toward shore to a firm foundation. I can only imagine the dilemma the disciples were dealing with while facing the storm of wind and waves.  They knew they were beat unless they got help.  We can’t carry the waves of burdens our self.  We can do as the disciples did and ask the Savior for a rescue.   He can do this.

You and I both know that life will have waves. Some are big trials, others on-going.  Do I wish I could be free from the waves that knock me sideways? Humanly speaking, of course!

As I walked back along the beach with the wind and waves roaring in the distance, I reached the grassy field and it became quiet and calm.  So it is with our lives.  We have times of great trials that can take our breath away and other times we can experience great peace.  We need to ask Jesus Christ to be our calming spirit in both situations.

What waves of life are hitting you sideways that you need the Savior to say, ‘Peace Be Still’?  I believe we are not exempt from waves or wind. What I do know is that as the wind and waves come, we have our Anchor, Jesus, to keep us in His care.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • Define your wind and waves
  • Ask Jesus to calm your storm and help you
  • Search the Scriptures for God’s Truth. It will set you free

YOU CAN DO THIS!