Self Care Challenge Day 21: Simple Pleasures

Lord, I’m mixed with sadness and gratefulness. Today we end the 21 Day Self Care Challenge that you and I began weeks ago, reluctant as I was to commitment. Curiosity and desire to improve anything in my health or life that you were willing to address led to self awareness, insight, and a blessing you gave I did not expect… a new friend! A fellow believer!

We are to have a GOOD DAY by choosing one thing to do… and enjoy it. I have some clear nail polish I like to use to keep my nails strong (they hurt when they chip off) that I have not used in months. Every time I put it on, here comes another medical treatment or issue that keeps me from being able to use it again for awhile.

There was a time I use to wear make up, nail polish, simple jewelry (if it didn’t cause a skin reaction, or harm babies and children when holding them, and could take the wear and tear I take), and never went without a watch or earrings. As I started having surgeries, procedures, and other health related issues, they would make me take off jewelry and nail polish. I gave up. I’ve not worn a watch since 2004, and I don’t remember how long since earrings.

Ironic thing… health issues from the last couple of years have led to recommendations from doctors to use different skin care items, especially for dehydration. I have a special lipstick I have not used yet. Maybe I will use it? We’ll see. But nail polish is a treat for sure. Thanks for the chance to wear it. That may seem trivial, but breaking nails is not.

30 Posts Challenge: #27, Ripping Your Heart Out

It’s hard ripping your heart out when you believe you have found love… the love of your life. When the only reason you are walking away is because God tells you this is not the one. If there were not that reason, everything would be perfect. At least that’s what you think… because the world is telling you so. Your heart is telling you it is. But Christ, who is your first love insists it’s not love He has chosen for you. There is nothing wrong with this person as a friend, but the love that draws you in is not of God.

The Lord says clearly, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?” – 2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV. You have believed in Christ so long, you no longer recognize words that deceive. Confusion sets in because the one who is sending these mixed messages is Satan himself. By the time you hear James 2:19 warning “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble”, Satan no longer bothers with you. Your heart is so filled with a false sense of love that you don’t even realize you are waist high in quicksand.

This love… why is it so wrong? Especially when it is so strong? This person is not a bad person. You know God loves them. You know He died for them. You’ve heard them say God told them to be good to you before they lose you. Why is God asking you to rip your heart out? to rip theirs out? what if there is never love again? Christ has such little room in your heart with you pushing Him out with each plea to live in this fairytale that is misery in disguise… for both of you… when it is not what God wants. You are so persuaded by the world’s idea of love and the overwhelming consensus that this is the one for you that you do not remember that if Christ is not in it, then it is not of God, and is not love. If you had listened to God in the beginning, you would not be confused. You would not have another soul wrapped up in the same false hope.

Suddenly, as your head is just about to go under, you see a hand and recognize it to be yours. What has gotten your attention was the feel of a rope. Your first Love is throwing you a lifeline, trying to save you from your self destruction. The little bit of Christ still in your heart reaches out for the rope. Christ pulls it, even with you looking back. He holds you as you cry. He know what it’s like to know love and lose it… and by His grace He just rescued her. He lets her know He understands her need for love, to be wanted, to be thought of as special, to have someone be protective, and to feel that love make them smile. He promises there will be love again. Even if He is that Love. Christ shows you the loss of love was worth the sacrifice, just like He thought you were on cavalry.

Self Care Challenge Day 19: Meditation

Well, Lord, tonight’s challenge is meditation. My first thought is that it sounds a lot like quiet time with you. Yet you and I know that our quiet time often struggles to be quiet or have my complete attention. Even as we spend our time, I am either reading the devotion you give me, the scripture that goes with it, or already thinking on what you give me to write in my journal on what we are focusing on. I try to take the time to think on what you wrote, but I am either in a restaurant, a parking lot, or somewhere that other people are passing by or looking from a distance, so my mind is ALWAYS thinking or worrying about something. It is extremely hard to stay still for just a sure 10 minutes, especially without feeling guilty about it. While I take what you give me through the day, I also take that feeling guilty too.

I looked through the listed sites (well they were apps, but I’m not downloading something without knowing what it is). I tried the only free sample I came across on Smiling Mind. I wasn’t able to do it uninterrupted (family), but it didn’t seem too bad. It actually made me smile and even laugh a couple of times. Is it suppose to do that? If not, I guess my focus just isn’t cooperating. The voice said if my mind got to straying or thinking that is was normal. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad sometime? What do you think? Could this help our quiet time get back to where it used to be, hopefully my peace of mind too? Do we need a 3rd party to help my mind, like these medicines, doctors, and therapists? I will pray about it and let you lead.

30 Posts Challenge: #25, I’m a Very Private Person

Hey Guys and Gals, we are to number 25. I have been saving that one to let you know that I am a very private person and after the 30 Posts Challenge I will be changing my FB settings to private in all ways possible, with an exception to my WordPress for now. I did not tell my friend who challenged me that I was going to open myself up to the world. It would just be during the posts, provided I had no problems. To draw no attention to myself or other friends who are very private also, I told no one.

I make all of my FB settings for just Friends. Not even friends of friends. I am not listed in any directory. Someone must know my e-mail address, or see my name in anything FB requires to be public. They are only then able to send an inbox message. If I recognize a threat or something just not to be a good idea, I block them.

So… this is just to let you know if you want to keep in touch on FB, you need to request to add me while you can see me… especially if you want to continue to see my poetry… you will need to have me add you to the Gail’sPoetry group.

For now you can still see the WordPress blogs without needing a password. I will be leaving those settings public… as long as there is not a problem. You might want to look into getting a password though, as I am praying about adding a new page or 2.

Self Care Challenge Day 15: Bucket List

A bucket list… Lord, I’ve heard this a lot. I thought it was a list of things someone was to do before they died, and they were knocking them out one by one because they had limited time. Well I guess we’re all living on borrowed time… directed by you.
In taking the time to pray and think, This is my bucket list. If anyone says a bucket list and a wish list are 2 different things then take it up with God on which wishes He will be granting. 😉

Loving the Lord with my heart, soul, mind, and body are always at the top. Doing His will. Making Him happy. Making a good testimony for Him. Loving others. Using my Spiritual gifts He gives. Trusting Him with everything.
As for what He doesn’t mind us hoping for: I desire to fly. I never have for fear of flying. So flying related things…. airplane, helicopter, passport, skydiving, hang gliding, hot air balloon, even zip lining. Now I know what you’re thinking (if you know me)… what about your health… your nerves? Well I’ve seen people taking rides with professionals who knew how to prepare patients, equip them, and take them along as they do the jump. Granted they were famous or had money, but it’s possible. So… baby steps…
1. Get my driver’s license upgraded to serve as a passport ($13).
2. See if local airport still gives plane tours to see what inside looks like.
3. Ask if local plane or helicopter rides are available, if not where and how much.
I would like to 1. Fly 2.Get away 3. See the beach. 4. Go to another country 5. Ride a ferry

SO while I wait for those golden opportunities, my bucket list for now is to keep doing the baby steps:
Physical Therapy. Drinking plenty of Water. Get plenty of rest. Walk when able.
Keep listening to my doctors. Don’t forget breakfast.
Remember to thank God I can walk… period.

 

 

30 Posts Challenge: #24, A Friend Loveth at All Times

Alright, I know a lot of you read that title and think… yeah right. I know because my own cynical mind says the same thing whenever I see things like that… or when I struggle with “Do I really want to use that title? No one loves at ALL times.” If that is what the Lord gives, that is what I write. It is from scripture: “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17 KJV.  We are the ones who often forget what it means to love and have a friend.

We think because we don’t “feel” loving, or are not “being” as friendly as we could be that we are not friends. Just because we can feel angry, disappointed, offended, or lots of emotions it does not mean we do not still love someone. We are capable of multiple emotions at one time.

How we are with our children is a perfect example. We may have to correct, discipline, and even be held accountable to others for the behavior of our children. These times can frustrate us, confuse us, and discourage us, but it does not mean we don’t love them.

Friendship sometimes blesses us with a soul who knows what we are going through, because they are or have too, and share so many things in common, making life so delightful. Sometimes friendships are opposites on the same side from time to time, and are better balanced from the differences. God gives all kinds of friends. Including the best friendship you could ever hope for.

Jesus is the strongest, truest, most faithful friend one has. Even if you do not know it right now, care about it or not, or even want nothing to do with Him… He loves you! That is what a friend does… loveth at all times. We understand better when we see touching stories of someone who tries to be a friend to someone who is so horrible to them, and somehow in the end wins them over. It’s one of the most common movie themes.

Christ saw we were miserable, and our death was only going to make it worse. Satan tries to tell us death is the answer to our problems, but what a horrible and tragic lie. Christ came to take our place in that misery. When He returned to the Father, He knew we would receive the Holy Spirit to comfort us now, along our journey. He also ensured eternal peace with our Father in heaven. He left us an example.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” – John 15:12-14 KJV

Self Care Challenge Day 13: Friendships

This is a nice challenge. Don’t we all have someone we need to catch up with? Owe a ring to? Owe an apology to? Need to forgive? Or simply shower with the surprise of “Hello, Friend”? It’s amazing how an assignment or friendly challenge can encourage us to accomplish something we want to do… like calling a friend. Psalm 8:24 says “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.”

I fell asleep last night as I was working toward posting for challenge 13 of the 21 Day Self Care Challenge, but praise the Lord I got that call in to a dear friend in Florida. She is so loving with such a heart. So often I miss her call, and yet she is so forgiving to keep trying to call, or loves me just the same each time I get a chance to call her back. Even if I have to leave a voice mail message, she is sure to call back. I love hearing the messages she leaves on voice mail… especially the ones just letting a song play through.

Last night I caught her as she and her mom were in a hotel in Atlanta, GA because of an issue the airline had that left them waiting in the plane for a good bit. She and her mom were grateful to be in the hotel at this point. It was a brief call, but nice to hear her voice, passing a hello to her mom, and ask how she is… which was in need of special prayer.

I was also blessed this weekend to spend time with a friend. It was noisy with a little rowdiness, but we barely noticed, and eventually it was just us. It was a pep talk to my soul as this friend knows my tendency to be weary. How loving they were to remind me of my journey through the years, and to see my weakness as a sacred treasure… drawing me nigh to God, which in turn gives a spirit to encourage others. God is the greatest to bless me with such loving spirits.

Lastly, there is the challenge from a new  friend the Lord has given from a land far away. Another encouraging soul… to many. I love her picture of a sunset from her office view. Pictures allow God to show His beauty in places we would otherwise never see. This challenge reminds me I’ve been trying to add friendship to the 30 Posts Challenge. Guess God is saying this is a good time as any.

Self Care Challenge Day 12: Health Check Up

Health Check up…. well, Lord. Where do we go with this one? Especially since at the moment I am so spent and so weary?  I really don’t want to talk about my health or all of my doctors, appointments, or anything. I guess we could just sum it up that I am very aware of my health, as are all of my doctors, and my next appointment is just a few days away. The positives are I don’t have near as many appts as I did back in the fall, I’m at least walking, and able to stand on my feet. Praise your Holy name! ❤
Thanks for my McTea today! And I did try a tea I have not tried before… green tea and chamomile mixed… as You so thoughtfully surprised me with. You helped me get so much further in reading. How marvelous are Your ways for me. You have been in this challenge all along. Thanks for the journey… and for being with faithfully all the way! I love you and hope the world always knows it! gaillovesgod ❤

30 Posts Challenge: #22, God Speaks, I listen.

Ye shall not respect persons in judgment; but ye shall hear the small as well as the great; ye shall not be afraid of the face of man; for the judgment is God’s: and the cause that is too hard for you, bring it unto me, and I will hear it.  – Deuteronomy 1:17 KJV

Today a friend and I were talking about something that has bothered me for quite awhile. I was addressing the fact that important factors about an issue were not MY thoughts when I had believed they were for so long. It was important because it is something that seemed to bother me more that I thought it did in just believing they were my thoughts. As I kept thinking on this while going about my day, and trying to do some reading, the Lord gave me these verses above.

They were verses of God leading His people to a promised land, but there were doubts holding them back. As I got to verse 17, I sensed the Lord speaking to me regarding the conversation with my friend, and the guidance that I had once mistrusted because of the qualifications this person of the past had in my life to make such a judgment, and had my confidence. I doubted the voice of a little girl who knew better. Anger created a new fear…. many fears… fears and doubts that I still try to sort out. But as I read this verse, I hear God telling me to bring what is too hard for me to Him.

While I have a lot of respect for this person who helped in so many ways long ago, my God is telling me NOT to have respect for someone just because he is in a position to judge… to listen to the voice of that little girl who was there. The judge was not. What is too hard for me to understand… or is simply too hard… I am to bring to my God, my Father. It is hard… it is too much… but I bring it to Him and He is faithful to hear. He is a promise keeper. He is arms wide open, and a place to lay my weary head with someone who was also there. He knows better than I.

I thank my God for His word, for His whispers, for His angels He sends my way in friends… like the one I was talking with today… and the one who gave me the challenge to be reading… for those who are willing to listen… to just be there… to help me sort it out. God shows up in many ways, and makes His presence so known.

Self Care Challenge Day 11: Tea

Ooooh, dear Lord, what a sweet idea… a tall cold glass of sweet iced tea. They say it’s a southern thing, but I know tea is loved in many places of the world. Maybe a little differently enjoyed or preferred, but tea is a delight.
When we were younger we used to drink tea from the can with so much sugar. My grandmother however brewed hers and drank it unsweetened. I used to think the heat killed the taste. As I got older and my siblings to brewed some when we were out of canned, I discovered a whole new delight. Since then I have been addicted.

Now I have to admit that I have to watch how much I drink now because of struggling with tachycardia a lot, and the caffeine raises my acid levels even stronger than sodas usually. I drink mostly water, milk, chocolate milk, a caffeine free soda or 2 a day, and juices (orange, grape). Every once in a while I still have my tea, usually a McDonald’s $1.00 tea on a lot of ice because it lasts so long and is so strong to begin with that as it waters down it becomes perfect.. and the ice leftover tastes awesome.

Tomorrow I will drink a glass for the self care challenge… and drink it as I read. 😉

30 Posts Challenge: #21, I Love Singing Hymns

For those of you still following my journey of 30 aspects about me you may not know, we are getting closer to 30. So if there is something you would like to know, throw it at me. As for now, I want to share with you how much I love to sing hymns.

I really love to sing whatever God gives me, but He has placed a special place in my heart for hymns. Most are simply scripture put to music. They help us learn and remember God’s promises, truths, and His love for us. They also remind us of what Christ has done for us, the importance of reaching out to others with the same love given us, and that there will be a day of reckoning and eternal peace.

Now I have been in choirs off and on through school and church, but am NOT a professional singer, and have not been in a choir for years. Choir is therapeutic in that when I did not feel like singing, I still had to. And of course God’s word would lift my Spirits, and my troubles were made small. But life made some changes.

I lost my ability to look people in the eye and speak audibly. I eventually realized the complication but became so accustomed to hiding in the congregation, just lip syncing, and gave up being in choir. It took years for God to work with me in lifting my voice without closing it every time I knew someone could hear it. My health progressed to a point that it is hard to be reliable for a choir, so instead the Lord has me focused on singing for Him… out of obedience… for setting a good example (especially for my son)… to praise Him… with an actual voice… and to gain and keep the confidence I need in Him.

A few years back, my son and I were at church, and his music professor was teaching Sunday School. He challenged and encouraged everyone to read one hymn a night with their family devotions and sing it together. He emphasized that most people don’t know all of the words to one song, not even their favorite. He said it was because they don’t learn the message first. So my son and I started doing just that. What a difference!

My memory is not as excited as I am about the hymns and their messages, but my heart surely is. Sometimes I simply recite them, as best I can. Even when I am hurting, confused, or just struggling to keep it all together. Hymns are as healing and comforting as God’s word itself… and as it should be. The stories of the hymn writers are like reading parables on God’s disciples. I just can’t get enough of either. I am constantly singing around my family and close friends from morning to night. You really should check into learning a hymn! God has some very personal messages in them for you! He loves you!

Self Care Challenge Day 10: Books

Lord, I know you’re in this one! I love how personal you are. You know me like a book. 😉 Even the jacket that I put on carefully as a testimony. It is Your testimony, but they do judge the book by its cover… and then unfortunately judge You because of me.
Tonight is make a wish list of 5 books to read. Just today, You allowed 2 books on hold at the library… books You encouraged me to look into, to come in. When I read the Challenge, I smiled with you and asked 5? You made it quickly easy.

1st…You have convicted me to read Your word The Holy Bible through, as any other book I would. It’s all about interest and discipline. If someone called while reading, watching a movie, or online, I would let them know (if I even heard them) that I am busy.

2nd… There is the devotional You had a dear sister at church buy and sign inside to encourage me. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence. I will absolutely continue this as every single day, almost every single word has been personal! It’s been Your personal love note to me!

3rd… You’ve been encouraging me to focus on gaining confidence in You and keeping it… not in myself but You as my strength. The only person I know who encourages others to do so is Leslie Ludy. I have her quote as my cover picture on FB.
The most beautiful women I’ve ever observed are those that have exchanged a self-focused life for a Christ-focused one. They are confident, but not in themselves. Instead of self-confidence, they radiate with Christ confidence. – Leslie Ludy
You’ve also been telling me to be confident in You, I need to be set apart. Wouldn’t You know it (and of course you do!), Leslie has a series on being Set Apart. The one You have brought in is Set Apart: Feminity

4th… Her other book that came in is When God Writes Your Love Story. You and a friend of ours are discussing this. And it is the testimony that You have written in my life.

Lastly… I have been trying to finish the Table 41 by Joseph Suglia on WordPress, but have only gotten as far as Table 9

Summary/Wish List
1. The Holy Bible, AKJV
2. Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young
3. Set Apart: Feminity by Leslie Ludy
4. When God Writes Your Story by Leslie Ludy
5. Table 41 by Joseph Suglia

30 Posts Challenge: #14 Designed to Follow

In Genesis 3:16 the consequences of Eve’s sin led the Lord to instruct that her desire would be to her husband. The New Testament has a marriage guide for a woman to know her husband is the head, and to submit herself to her husband (Ephesians 5:22, Colossians 3:18). Finally, in 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 women are told to be silent in church, and to ask anything they want to learn from their husbands at home. I am not trying to start a submission war or a theological debate. I am using these passages to convey my journey as a single woman who believes in them, in these current times.

In the previous post 30 Posts Challenge: #12 Dying to Self, I told you my single status, and gave a summary of why I used the term dying to self. Because of the importance of not just dating to date, or marrying just to marry, I have another aspect you may not know. In trusting God with my singleness, I am also trusting Him with my design to desire and my design to follow. I am designed to submit to Him. This is my personal journey designed just for me.

There are days I do miss having someone to talk with about things, especially spiritual things, from another godly point of view. There are times I miss sharing a simple walk, a chat, or a beautiful sunset with someone enjoying one of these moments with me. God has blessed me with beautiful and strong souls, very wise hearts, and fiercly protective warriors. But as much as I love allowing a man to lead and guide me, whether into a room, or through life, I must not let my desire to follow allow me to take the wrong path.

For me, if life is not about God it is not worth living, nor dying for. If God’s will is not center, I do not want any other will centered around me. Life has daily challenges, hard strifes, and grievous burdens. It also has simple tasks, days of joy, family, and friends. Decisions made in moments little or big can make or break a life, a testimony, and even the relationship that required the choices made. Families, friends, and churches are usually most effected… your home address, which church to choose, friendships or family relationships are left out at times, and young couples decide family names they can agree on for babies.

I am not against marriage, afraid of it, or too independent. It’s being just the opposite that made it hard to stay out of a relationship since my teens. Finding a man who wants to lead, and loves a woman who will be there for him is not hard. Finding a godly man who wants this is just as possible. Finding the man God wants for me is “the problem”. I am not to find what God wants to bring to me. He wants me to trust Him that He will let me know.

This is vital because God used the last 14 years alone with Him to undo what had been done, to build up what was broken down, or simply missing. I never would have known what a healthy relationship is without this time. Learning my own relationship with God built the foundation. Watching, listening to, and being counselled by seasoned couples with God at the center of their marriage has helped me prepare. Watching marriages built on the same thing come apart has taught me marriage is not the answer to hardships. If God is not first, last, and all along the way, I will likely be as lonely, anxious, depressed, or many of the things I face with now as a single.

I do not know if I will be blessed with marriage or if I am to remain blessed in singleness. I have not made a bargain, nor a wish, nor have sought to make some great sacrifice as though I am a heroine. I am a woman of God, single, trying to get through each day and what each day brings. I am as prone to desire to follow, as God has designed me to be. I, too, am steadier, wiser, and able to do more with someone alongside me. Yet, I have someone who is all that and more. He knows my anxious heart, my darkened spirit, when I need the strength to say no, or the courage to say yes. He knows me better than anyone else on how hard I love, how deep I care, and how easily I trust. I praise Him for wanting me to desire and follow Him first and always!

Lastly, I am often told I leave a cold shoulder for someone who may be interested, or that I need to let others know I am on the market. In this generation if Jesus were here and single again, instead of lining up for healing they would line up their daughters. The man God has for me (and that’s IF God does) will not need to worry. God has His back, just like He has mine. He will thank God for helping me to stay strong and committed, knowing I am determined to do the same for him. We will BOTH want God first, even before each other. Whether it be for God, my husband, or both, I am absolutely off the market!