SHELTERED

Doesn’t it feel good to be snuggled in a warm blanket, or given a warm, tight hug from someone?  When the weather becomes nasty and the wind is circling home, it feels nice to be tucked inside. So many nasty storms have affected our world even as I type. Storms come whether it is a weather system or a storm in our personal life.  Both can affect us greatly.

Having a strong and safe shelter surrounding our heart is comforting with life storms hit and we find it hard to stand. Over the years, I have found that the Shelter of the All-Mighty God has given me peace and great comfort when I don’t understand why the storm had to come in the first place!

He promises in Psalm 91:4, He will cover you with his feathers, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart.

[BTW, rampart means a thick, defensive wall of a city]

When covered by His Wings,

  1. God Protects Us: No one will have a perfect, trial-free life. God asks us to come to Him and rest under His wings. If we are Christ-followers, we have the promise of eternity someday with Him. We also have the assurance that He will never abandon us in our personal journey.
  2. God gives us Peace: When everything is whirling around us, He give us His peace that we cannot explain. But, we can feel it in our hearts. What a wonderful gift.
  3. God Provides: He gives us what we need in times of life’s storms. It might not be the answer we think we need, but He knows what is best. We have to trust Him in this.

I remember singing an old hymn growing up.  I think the older I get, the words become dearer to my heart. William Orcutt Cushing wrote,

Under His wings—what a refuge in sorrow!
How the heart yearningly turns to His rest!
Often when earth has no balm for my healing,
There I find comfort, and there I am blest
. (verse 3)

https://www.hymnal.net/en/hymn/h/565

  • Are you needing to come under God’s Sheltered wings?
  • Do you know you can find rest for your weary soul, and a calm shelter when the storm is circling?
  • God wants you to come to Him for your safe shelter. He loves you that much!
  • The Easter season reminds us of God’s sacrifice. He gave His Son to take our place and the promise of His sheltered wings as we journey and walk in storms of life.

You can do this!

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The Grass Seems Greener

I’m so excited to see my perennial plants start to peek through the ground.  It means a new season is upon us.

Just like the re-starting of my little plants, new starts and a fresh perspective can perk us up. For me, it is time to dust off my bicycle seat, replace my winter boots with running shoes, and put away the heavy winter wear in exchange for a wind breaker.  I love when the stores display Easter lilies, bright place mats and napkins, and sell pretty potted plants and herbs to sit in the window sill.

While a single mom, it meant breathing fresh life into my lungs as the girls and I struck for the outdoor adventures.  It was also a time to re-new some goals and plan ahead for the next few months.

Grass can look greener on someone else’s life in comparison to what life was handed to us. For some it was a choice they hadn’t asked for.  For me, I took some time to pause and gain a refreshed perspective and work on the shade of green that would push me forward. To be honest, some times that shade was pretty brown and dead looking. It meant a determined decision to work through some tough issues.

  • Was I working at being content as a single parent?
  • What attitudes could I tweak to have a better view of what life had handed me?
  • When others seemed to be moving on with some exciting happenings, could I stop looking over the fence saying the grass is greener for them and saying ‘poor me’?
  • What positive words could I use to encourage my children in their development?
  • Was I trusting God to lead me through this stage in my life and believe my shade of green was going to be OK?

Truly, grass is green on our little spot in the world; we just have to look for it. Being thankful for little things and grateful for day-to-day happenings can make our shade of green special and richer. It doesn’t mean we have to agree with everything, but we can choose to have a make it or break it view on life.

What shade of green life grass will you grow in the next few months?

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • What tools will you use to help you grow this season?
  • List some new shade of green attitudes for your family.
  • Brush off your shoes and make some new memories with your kids.
  • Enjoy your SHADE of Green in your life yard.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

 

My Story..and Encouragement for Single Parents

Here is a bit of  my story with a time of question-and-answer to some of life’s challenges I went through as a single parent. The station is  AM 700 The Light.

Paste this link into your browser on FRIDAY, MARCH 29TH AT 6:30 pm Mountain Daylight time or 8:30pm Eastern Daylight time….or whatever your time is! 🙂

https://www.cjli.ca/

May you be encouraged and blessed.

YOU CAN DO THIS!  Linda

 

 

 

C.H.A.N.G.E

For most of us, day-to-day routines and doing life become like a pair of well-worn slippers or a comfy sweatshirt. Most times, we can adjust to upcoming changes and work through it. Other times well, it is pretty tough.

Sometimes life hits us sideways, knocking the air out of our lungs. Single parenting is not for the faint of heart and changes can come faster then the speed of lighting.  It happened to me when my ex-spouse said he loved someone else, had found his soul mate, and left.

Changes can come in a variety of ways.

  • Your spouse has decided to ‘leave the building’
  • You can’t make him/her love you
  • You and your kids struggle with grief and adjustments (that can be an understatement)
  • Financial hardship
  • The gossip people say about your family
  • The emptiness and loneliness inside your heart
  • Loss of friends and his/her side of the family
  • Feelings of shame and feeling not good enough
  • A move or giving up a home because of the divorce negotiations
  • Health issues appear and you don’t have someone to be with you
  • Learning to do things on your own without a spouse

I have just touched the surface, but I think you understand and know that change is part of your life for a time.  It was for me.  It was like starting at ground zero to figure out who I was, how to parent alone, and what on earth would I do for a career as the bread-winner for the three of us.

I have to say, and I know it is hindsight, but the CHANGES that happened in my life made me who I am today. I will never agree with the choices I was left with but I took these changes and began to make a new life. Many times, changes have been forced because of someone else’s choice and that can be a hard pill to swallow.  News Break! You don’t have to be defeated, but a winner!

Changes made me realize

  • Who I yield To. My life is about being a Christ-follower. That is first and foremost and I can work through life with Him. It was during that time, I learned what my faith was all about, learned from the Bible, and trusted God to help me move forward.
  • Who I am Today. I am divorced, single mom, re-married now, author, mentor, business owner, farmers wife and book reviewer. This change gave me the opportunity to spread my wings and learn to fly as the God-gifted Linda I could be. New opportunities continue to come and I am forever grateful.
  • Who I can Encourage. With my past, I can help others who are walking this journey. I believe I understand some of their heartache, their struggles, and their new journey. I also mentor women who are struggling with life and pray with them.  What an awesome opportunity.  I wrote a book to help single parents (and for those who are walking beside them) to help them understand they are not alone.

Single Mom Survival Success: Tools and Tips for the Journey. (Check out Amazon)

A lady approached me a few weeks back and said she had bought the book for her daughter but read it first because she was a widow and had been in a new relationship that didn’t pan out. She said it really helped her in her Christian walk.

Dear ones, changes can be so positive and exciting.  Single Parent, you have a journey ahead of you that is unknown and it may be tough right now.  Don’t give up!  There can be so many positive changes despite the negative ones.  Soon they will outnumber the yucky ones.  Use this time to build up your life, make new choices, and let God be your Tour Guide.  He is awesome!

We can be assured as it says in Hebrews 13:8, Jesus Christ never Changes! He is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Let Him help you through all these C. H. A. N. G. E. S.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX:

  • Identify your hardest change
  • What steps can you make to make some positive changes?
  • Understand that some changes are not your doing
  • Do you trust God to help you through these changes?

YOU CAN DO THIS!

 

 

Dust Bunnies and Clutter

I have a colony of dust bunnies in my home and they are only to happy to take up residence. I am often astounded when I get down on my knees to vacuum under the bed and couches.  It seems as soon as I get rid of a family of dust, more arrive. With busy schedules and appointments, sometimes they accumulate and I have to take them head on!

Isn’t that just like life.  It is so easy to collect dust bunnies and clutter which take up unnecessary space in our heart. With that dreaded chore of spring cleaning (what is that anyway?) why don’t we also take time to de-clutter that unnecessary life dust and clutter that keep our heart from healing and bringing a ‘spring’ in our step.

Do these dust bunnies clutter your heart?

Dust Bunny #1: Bitterness– allowing painful and hurtful situations to harden the heart without dealing with it.

Dust Bunny #2: Bondage to lies – not believing what is Truth so issues are kept in bondage.

Dust Bunny #3: Beauty-less– feelings of worthlessness and comparing to someone else.

Dust Bunny #4: Blaming God- not willing to accept that God isn’t to blame despite unfair situations.

Dust Bunny #5: Brashness (attitude)- Letting stinging thinking cloud perspective on life so there is no option to see beauty and positive situations.

Corrie Ten Boom, a Jewish victim of the Nazi Holocaust, experienced horrific life experiences but chose to get rid of dust bunnies in her life.  She said,

Happiness isn’t something that depends on our surroundings…it’s something we make inside ourselves.

Life isn’t all rosy and many times unfair.  We know that for sure. Honestly, there are days when I am tired of fighting the dust bunnies and clutter that keep true freedom from reigning. It’s too hard, too much work, and too painful. I want to throw up the white dust flag of defeat.  Sometimes it is hard to remember the past positive experiences that brought peace. Do you feel that way?

God never promised us a perfect life  here on earth but a life He would walk alongside us and help us through it. It is with that belief, we can be well on our way to clearing the clutter whether of bitterness, brashness, blaming, and selfless-love to understand we are worth fighting for.  Each victory, whether small or large is a success.

Let the Spirit change your way of thinking and make you into a new person. Ephesians 4:23

Spring cleaning can begin right away even if the wintry weather is still fighting to stay. If we can let the Holy Spirit change our way of thinking and look at what life can be, Springtime has arrived!

So instead of:

  • Bitterness  choose Joy.
  • Bondage to lies choose Truth
  • Beauty-less choose inner Beauty and Self-worth
  • Blaming God choose Trusting in His goodness
  • Brashness (attitude) choose a Positive outlook

It’s time to fight the Dust Bunnies and clutter….

GRAB YOUR VACUUM CLEANER AND DUST RAG

  • What dust bunny do you struggle with the most?
  • What steps can you take to begin to vacuum up and get rid of it?
  • Do you trust God to help you de-clutter and have victory?
  • Begin to know and believe you can have victory, one step at a time.

YOU CAN DO THIS!

An Amazing Love Card

Did you look at yourself this morning in the mirror and tell yourself you are amazing!  I know, I know, the kid’s lunches need to be made. Then a fight broke out with two of your kids as you are trying to get them out the door for school. You realize you have a button missing on your blouse and are looking for a safety pin. Your desk at work as a massive pile of projects to get accomplished and its Valentines day.  Bah humbug!

I hated Valentines every year as a single parent.  Couples were going out for dinner, some friends were getting engaged, the card isle at the gift shop was crowded and they weren’t picking one out for me. I was always glad when Feb 15th came around.  I hear the same sediment from other single people too.

What made my heart skip a beat was homemade cards from my kids. This was from my one daughter when she was little and it’s a keeper. It always made my heart feel better. I knew they loved me.

We need to feel loved and appreciated and not just on Valentines Day.  We have this amazing Love card from God called the Bible? It is filled with verses that say, without a doubt, how much He loves us.  Let me share some to encourage your valentine-shaped heart and help fight the blues (or reds I should say!)

Here are a number of wonderful Love words.

  1. God won’t abandoned you

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 8:38-30 (NLT)

  1. God loves to bless you

Matthew 5:3–10
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. God blesses those who mourn, for they will be comforted. God blesses those who are humble, for they will inherit the whole earth. God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied. God blesses those who are merciful, for they will be shown mercy. God blesses those whose hearts are pure, for they will see God. God blesses those who work for peace, for they will be called the children of God. God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3-10(NLT)

  3.God Longs for Your Heart

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. Ephesians 3:17-19(NLT)

4.God loves to Help

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 (NLT)

5. God is love EVERY day

The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. Lamentations 3:22–23 (NLT)

  1. God loves to share His wonderful Resources

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15:13 (NLT)

 God is Love!  You are special to Him and He wants to celebrate and walk with you. Isn’t that awesome!

 OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • God is Your Valentine every day of the year!
  • Remind yourself how loved you are
  • Pick a verse and put to memory
  • Shout Hurrah when February 15th comes around! 😊

YOU CAN DO THIS…REMEMBER YOU ARE LOVED!

 

 

Up and et ‘EM

Winter months can seem never-ending.  I live in a place where our heating bill could be a mortgage payment and putting on layers upon layers of clothing takes more time then the actual time outside!  Well almost…

I find during these months, it is good for me to have an action plan or I would just lay on the couch with a heavy blanket and watch the days go by waiting for the first sign of a tulip!

I make myself get “up and et ‘em”. I sharpen the skate blades, tighten up my snowshoes, and turn off the Television.

One of my goals this year is to watch less television. I used to hardly watch any tv, then it began as an extra hour, then two…. So, its time to get off the couch. I just recently went on a  trip to the library to get a good book  so it gets me out of the house and try new authors. I know it can be easy to download one, but for me it is nice to get out walk through the selves of books, chat with people (quietly) and choose something different.

I am taking an aqua fit class with a friend.  It literally does my heart good, I get to have some good laughs with my girlfriend, and the library is in this complex!

I am taking a Bible Study with some girlfriends.  This increases my faith, gives me good support in my life, and lets me encourages others and think beyond my own life box.

Lazy habits can hold me down. Just sitting around can sometimes be easier but certainly not fulfilling for a purposeful life.  Life has a lot to give us if we can look for possibilities.

Here are some ideas off the top of my snow-covered head that might help all of us get off that comfy couch. Don’t worry you will be back.

  • Craft class
  • Night school interest course
  • Walking group in your town (we have one in our high school which I attend) or a volleyball group (we have one at our church)
  • Healthy food instead of those fat-laden snacks that we feel will comfort us in the dreary months of winter
  • Host a ladies group if you have health issues or can’t find babysitting that can’t get you easily out the door. A breath of friendship is great for the soul.
  • Non-profit organizations could use your volunteering time. Take the kids with you if they will allow it for some family team work
  • Shut down the social media stuff for an hour a day then two and realize life is more than that
  • Take the kids outside for some fun. I used to take the girls out occasionally for a tobogganing outing for about an hour in the evening during those frosty nights. That was the last thing I wanted to do after a long day at work, but once we got out there it was fun.  We laughed, we got some fresh air, and spent time together.  I did land on my head one night trying to do a daredevil stunt so I put a note to myself…’don’t act like you are 16 years old!’ 😊
  • Check out the community board and see what is being offered for free this time of year. It may only be for an hour but it is accumulating memories in the memory box. Sometimes they have a little craft club for an hour at the local library for kids
  • Meet someone for coffee, or invite them in
  • For some who have weekends alone because your ex has them, plan something fun other then sitting on the couch. Visit friends, take a trip to another town for window shopping, check out some skills you would like to learn (with the kids away you don’t have to pay for babysitting).  Join a book club, visit seniors in a senior’s home, grab a coffee and go for a walk in the park and breathe.
  • Maybe it is time to start writing those articles or book you have always wanted to do. Perhaps you might want to join a knitting club to knit your first scarf, join a bowling league, grab some books on different places in the world that you always want to know about…then maybe start saving for a trip there even if it takes 5 years to save.
  • God has placed you here for this time. He wants you to enjoy life amongst the stresses of life.

May He grant you according to your heart’s desire, and fulfill all your purpose. Psalm 20:4 (CEV)

Life is tough with stressors that seem to hit us sideways from week to week.  Allow yourself to experience some relief from that.  Pull yourself off the couch and like me grab your warm coat, mittens, hat and open the door.  There is a new adventure out there. It doesn’t have to be big…but start somewhere. Your couch will be waiting for you when you get back.

OPEN YOUR TOOL BOX

  • Make a decision to get “up and et ‘em”.
  • What would you like to learn or do?
  • Understand you are worth it to enjoy some time to refresh yourself.
  • Is there an activity you can look into for you and the kids?
  • Enjoy your couch time while you are reflecting on some enjoyable things you have done and are doing.

YOU CAN DO THIS!