HOPE*ann*FAITH

Living and Writing on Purpose: God * Life * Love * Realtionships * The Important Things.


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Embracing the Simple Life


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I’ve decided to be the authentic me. I’m weary from grieving my husband and son. I’m weary of being who others want me to be.

I’m even working slowly returning to my authentic hair color! Pulling out the red and looking for the gray.

I realize I cannot be who others want me to be, because the events of my life have me in a place of transition. I cannot make it faster. I cannot slow it down. And I certainly cannot go back. Oh, if  I could but go back . But that’s a fairytale and this is my real life.

I’m weary.

And when I think about finally embracing the authentic me, the honest and simple me, I feel peaceful. I feel like God, Himself is embracing me – the real me, the daughter He created.

My life has been utterly shattered. My little family literally cut in half in a year and a half’s time. Yet, here I stand.

Unashamed that I haven’t showered today. Okay with the fact that I was honestly relieved when our church’s game night was cancelled, so that I can remain home and embrace the solitude. Finally content to be me, finding who I am while gently shedding the mother and wife.

I am okay to stop the constant need to improve, strive and acquire. I won’t compete and grasp for those things that I don’t even really desire anymore. I don’t believe that their must be pain to gain – acquire – acceptance in this life. God said to be still. He said He would fight for me and I could keep my peace. (Ex.14:14).

This is my life. I desire humble (simple) and safe. Quiet but not necessarily alone. My husband and I did quiet together, he was a soft spoken, intelligent man. I desire to enter into that safe quiet and embrace the humbleness of solitude.

The Word says: Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10). Be still in this verse literally means: desist, cease your efforts. This is Jehovah Rāpha – The Lord your healer urging you to allow Him to be my focus, my exaltation of Him in my life. This exaltation of God heals us. It’s His child reaching for her father in her weariness.

STOP – Five Minute Friday   

 

I desire to be still. To not rush to those decisions that exalt themselves above my peace. The peace that God promises me in His Word. To not worry about cleaning my house, because everything/one tells me it must be “clean”; that my comfortable clutter and the dishes on my counter make me less than … I’m okay with my way of just maintaining the order of my house right now.

I desire a whole and healthy body, spirit and soul. And that means slowing down. Being still. Allowing God to order my life. Embracing who I really am. Passed the widow, the wife without a purpose. The mom, the mother without a child to care for. The “whoever” others expect me to be, when I just want to be me.

I’m embracing the peace of God.  It’s where I want to spend time getting centered and balanced in this 52 year old broken woman. The authentic me.

Thank you for taking the time to read my musings.

2Andrea


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It’s Not about Me {YOU} … It’s a God Thing


Forgiveness …. I have written MANY posts about forgiveness over the years {You can peruse that library of posts right here, if you’re bored!}. Much like you, and most people, I’ve forgiven MANY for MUCH. That’s the way life is.

But what about those people … those acts, that we cannot seem to forgive?

Is it in our nature to forgive? I don’t think so, not in our natural, carnal selves.

To err is human, to forgive divine. ~ Alexander Pope

Forgiveness is a Spiritual thing of healing.

Forgiveness is a God thing.

“I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions, for my own sake and remembers your sins no more.
 Review the past for me, let us argue the matter together; state the case for your innocence. Isaiah 43:25-26

So if God blots out my transgressions (sins) and remembers them no more and offers to argue (discuss, workout) the matter with me; who am I not to forgive those who transgress against me?

Forgiveness is not about ME. It’s about God … It’s me being about the things of God.

Like I said: I forgave many for much; and when I say much I mean a tremendous amount of wrongs! And in this world, even in our families, today, tremendous wrongs are an everyday thing. We’ve fallen so far into the depravity of the world’s view that the “I’m not hurting anyone” mantra is rote.

Well un-forgiveness is painful! To ourselves and to the other parties involved.

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.  But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Forgiveness is a God thing. Good thing He made us all in his image, to be like Him and do His work in this earth.

Un-forgiveness is like a cancer, one we choose to cultivate! It doesn’t harm the un-forgiven party as much as it harms us, ourselves. It causes bitterness and resentment and eventually total distrust of all, if left unhindered.

So if forgiveness is such a hard thing; and yes a thing, in my studied layman’s opinion, that we are incapable of on our own, without God; how then do we do this thing?

For me it was a hailmary task. I had nothing left in me when I came searching for home … for God. I’d been physically, emotionally, verbally and sexually abused. I’d been abandoned by act and deed and choice and neglected due to illness and lack and simply lack of responsibility.

And finally … I had found refuge in the Hubs before he was the Hubs. I didn’t trust at first. I actually fought, inadvertently my own worst hit man. I undermined my own security and happiness for many years. That often being the result of those who endure much abuse and neglect over time; they grow to believe that this is their lot in life and that they somehow deserve the cards that were dealt, when in fact, they, themselves deal from the bottom of the deck they are holding. Essentially choosing their abusers, as a form of control , and controlling when and how the abuse occurs (this is a DEEP subject that needs a post of it’s own, someday). Anyway, this is how I dealt with life prior to the Hubs and my road to my Salvation!

My road! Ha! It was God’s road and His plan! Seriously (again, for another post).

So back to the path of forgiveness ….

It was only with God, on His terms and with my submission to the Word, that I was able to come to a place of forgiveness for the Many and Much. For the most part I’ve been successful … it’s been 13 years, this month!

I didn’t forsake the fellowship. I attended (attend) church and keep my mind renewed by staying in the Word and prayer and relationship with God.

To forgive is to set the prisoner free and discover that the prisoner is you. ~ Lewis B. Smedes

Let me say it this way …

My hailmary, as I walked down the aisle, to the altar one Wednesday night, to accept the grace of Jesus as my Lord and Savior, was to beseech God, for what I wasn’t sure, but somehow I knew this was where I had to be, to fix it all. The very next thing God began to work on (FOR YEARS) was my un-forgiveness! It really was the first (well after ridding me of my previous “religion”) thing that was tackled in my spiritual walk. And it remains an everyday discipline.

The Many and Much are not gone. They walk and talk and tap at my heart strings, trying to play their melody of anger and resentment from time to time.

But I am FREE. I set aside the echos of my past and turn to the Word and fellowship of my fellow believers and continue to move forward, “It’‍s the only direction God gave us.”Gabe in Wish I Was Here; and I forgive, again.

Forward

Abandonment is an issue these days. Being the wife of someone battling cancer you find that your family and friends are kind of afraid of you. Oh they ask after the Hubs and offer prayer and blessings. But rarely do they ask the wife how she is, afraid that they won’t know what to say. Their priority if they are believers is to concentrate their prayers on his healing (and oh, how thankful I am for that!) and if they aren’t, I hazard to think of the pity prayers they offer up!

And there is the cancer itself, that threatens everyday to leave me alone, my heart destitute of the only honest and true love for me that has existed in this world (aside from Father God’s, that is.).

So I wake each morning thanking God for the faith and hope that He has given me, it’s His really. I thank Him for the army of intercessors that have gathered around the Hubs and I soak in those healing prayers knowing that they are for me too, even if they are not offered to me, per se. …

And I forgive Me, for being human and angry and resentful, for shaking my fists at the circumstances of my wisp of a life, right here and right now.

Because when we realize that God has forgiven us our worst, hidden in that dark corner of our deepest crevasse of soul, sin and remembers it now more, though we keep it in the corner of that crevasse, we can then begin to forgive ourselves for those sins, not the least of which is a lifetime of resentful un-forgiveness. Only then are we able to realize we aren’t capable of forgiveness on our own, so I …

Repent and thank  God that He has created me in His image to be about the work of His kingdom and ask that He help me to forgive the new Many and Much and move forward on the path He would have me walk … today.

Today … I walk in faith, not looking to the right or to left, simply looking to God, and I walk in forgiveness. Tomorrow I will start again, because Jesus did …

 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. Matthew 26:28

Thanks for reading my faithful friends. Blessings to you all.

ASignature


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Growing Mature in the Waiting


Five Minute Friday … All writing, no editing! Join our community over on Kate’s blog; where we share from the heart, throwing grammar and punctuation to the wind!

I’ve attempted this post three times in the past six days! The words come to me in God’s timing … and I wait on them before I venture forth. =)

Today’s (Friday, the 30th’s) Prompt is: Wait … Go!

There is a lot we wait for in our life times. We spend time waiting on line, on hold and on God. And there in lies the key.

Waiting on God and His perfect timing. For me this took much discipline over the years. I (we) want answers and guidance right now … but good comes to those who wait, and who wait on the Lord. Right? Do I hear your amen(s) echoing out there?

Lametations 3:20-26

My soul still remembers
And sinks within me.
This I recall to my mind,
Therefore I have hope.

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
“The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I hope in Him!”

Hope ... I will wait for Him.

Hope … I will wait for Him.

The Lord is good to those who wait for Him,
To the soul who seeks Him.
 It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the Lord.

There is much I (we) wait for here in Hutchland these days. The most pressing is healing and restoration! Cancer, Heart Issues, Obesity and Addictions; they all are what we are waiting for in all faith, trusting God at His Word. Knowing His promises are secure and our blessings are in the acknowledgement that healing and restoration was attained in our Salvation.

We have hope … in Jesus. Not the wishfullness that the  world sees as hope. Our hope is in the Lord and we will do all that we know to do. We are utilizing every option that God has presented to us in these life trials we are struggling with.

And then … We wait …

and … Be still [wait] , and know that He IS God; He will be exalted among the nations, He will be exalted in the earth.

Psalm 46:10

And in the wait, in the hope, in the clinging to God’s Faith, I find myself assured of the Answer. I find control of emotion and wisdom in the wait when I rely upon Him for the answers.

He, God, Jesus, Holy Spirit is also Answer.

So as I (we, YOU) wait, rely on God and His perfect timing. And when you wander from the line, losing your place, repeat this …

I trust YOU, Jesus. I will wait on YOU, God.

STOP.

Thanks for reading my friends! This has been a FMF post (finally!). God bless YOU!ASignature


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The Kitchenista! Vegetable Soup


Seriously, check this out! I met Ashleigh while beginning to blog and I love this chick. She is the bomb, the complete package of beautifully, truthful human-ness!

And now with the food. I think I want her for my wife! ❤

RECIPE: Vegetable Soup.


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Defining Grief in {my} Life …


This week’s prompt for Tuesday at Ten over on Karen’s Finding the Grace Within is Grief

My last post was a letter to sorrow, because Grief (which that prompt was actually about) has not entered Hutchland in her proper form; yet, like I said in my post, “Dear Sorrow,” , her cousin Sorrow had come to visit.

Grief has so many meanings! So many actions.

Grief Defined

Grief Defined

I’ve found that I’ve written about grief on several occasions, over the year … you can read a few here: Grief A Study.

In my life I’ve grieved the loss of much; but that grieving was not always caused by the loss of a person. The action of grief blankets many areas of life.

I’ve grieved, without honest knowledge until many years later, the loss of my family to divorce, my mother to mental illness and my father to the desolation of the marriage and for many years to alcohol.

I’ve grieved the loss of a childhood from the age of 4; of innocence, environmentally and sexually, from the age of 4.

I’ve grieved my past from a loss of memory of over 8 years.

I’ve grieved my own 1st marriage.

I’ve grieved the deaths of my step-father, my grandfather, two uncles and my grandson.

I’ve been visited by Grief. she has her place in our lives for processing purposes only. She is a tool to assist us to adjust to this most tragic change in our lives.

But that is all Grief is to do. She is not to reside in our lives indefinitely!

YES, everyone grieves and we all do it in our own timing. the reality of loss is devastating. I believe, though, that the devastation should only be momentary. She should only remain long enough for us to rearrange our memories, so that they may keep what or who we lost in our hearts; where those we love and things we treasured were, in the very first place.

Grief is a state of the heart. And she should ease up, though at times achingly slow, into a soft, treasured memory of love.

Grief should never become a permanent shield that we use to block things of life and love, so that we cannot be hurt. When Grief becomes that shield she damages our very spirit and soul. She cannot be allowed to reside within our heart.

Reading some of the posts I’ve written while grieving has caused a sadness within me; especially the posts about my grandson. My only memory of him is the pregnancy and his leaving us during his birth, but we love him all the same. It sounds almost odd to me, in my thinking, that I, honestly and with all of my heart, love a little boy who never opened his eyes or drew a breath, but I do so love and miss him. He was ours; a vital part of us.

But you see, I only grieve him now when I think of our losing him. I grieve the time we did not get with him.

And then I put grief to bed and  I cherish the love and connection he caused in our lives as he grew and thrived in the womb. He touched us ever so gently and that makes me warm with love for the little man.

Today Grief would like to enter early, laying her ground work in the heart of our hearts and the heart of our home. But we are not allowing her to come before her time.

That is a problem in our society today, I believe. I truly think that people anticipate the end of things and allow Grief to affect them before her time.

Grief is for AFTER the loss. She is not something we need for the preparation of the loss.

I believe we lose precious time with our loved ones and in our relationships and life dealings when we begin to prepare for an unknown eventuality.

One of the things God intended for us was for us to Have Life and Life More Abundantly; John 10:10. Well Grief is a thief, she diminishes us, she does not cause us abundance. Especially when she is allowed to visit before it is time.

Ecclesiastes 3 tells us there is a Time for everything …

 “a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;“; Ecclesiastes 3:4

Grief desperately continues to visit us here, with all that we are enduring. But we, here in Hutchland, refuse to live less than abundantly through these trials.

Cancer is a trial not, necessarily, the death sentence, as people would lead you to believe; because Jesus has conquered death!

Addiction is a trial, not a death sentence, as people would lead you to believe; because Jesus has conquered death!

Therefore, though sadness sneaks in from time to time and fear attempts to take root, I choose to look up to where my true help comes from. I refuse to handle these trials in our life according to the world’s rules;  after all I, we, are Kingdom children residing for a time in a fallen world.

I will handle trials, sorrow and grief according to Kingdom Rules. I will rely upon my Father God and Jesus and Holy Spirit as I walk through the shadow of the valley of death … (note it is only a shadow, it is NOT death!).

I am greatly relieved that I have been delivered from the need for secular counsel and guidance. Life’s journey is a much easier path with Jesus at my side and Holy Spirit’s guidance.

I no longer have to look to others for guidance through grief or sorrow or even just a challenging moment. I simply communicate through prayer and am more often than not blessed with the answer instantly through Holy Spirit.

It’s a discipline, but one I have been working on for years now and it brings peace and comfort regularly these days.

Our days and weeks here are sometimes wrought with opportunities to give into fear, sorrow and grief. and honestly, like everyone else. Fleetingly the fatigue at the end of a day makes them seem the easier choice; allowing me to think that I could curl up into myself making everything just dissolve into nothingness. Then I remember, there is relief for the Spirit, through the Spirit, and my heart begins to fill with comfort.

When Grief visits you, remember, as quickly as you can, that God is there, waiting with open arms of comfort and peace for you in this time. You need not be engulfed in the arms of Grief and Sorrow, they provide no peace or comfort. Though they do have their place at specific times of our lives, their presence should lead you straight to God the Father for comfort.

I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2

I will lift up my eyes to the hills— From whence comes my help?
My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1-2

This was yet another study on Grief in my life … and after reading my past posts I think I’ve come a very long way in understanding how grief should be handled in a life.

What is grieving you today? Is it a lose or an annoyance that you’ve not yet found a solution to? Either way, as always, I encourage you to lift your eyes and seek guidance, not from man, but from our loving Father God.

Blessings to you all, and prayers for peace in comfort for you in all of your lives. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read my thoughts.

ASignature

Tuesday


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Dear Sorrow,


I’m a little late to the party over at Kate Motaung’s blog ;but at the time of the link up I hadn’t completed my journey into grief.

The Hubs battling cancer and the boy battling heroin addiction takes up a lot of one’s time and mind space. Not to mention battling heart ache and depression. All at that same time. You see Grief has not managed to settle in here in Hutchland … but her cousin Sorrow has come to visit.

Dear Sorrow,

There are so many things you want from me here today. You entered quietly and sit pretty and dainty in the corner just waiting on Grief to arrive.

You arrived just before midnight on New Years eve; determined to begin 2015 with our family; and you did. Like a quiet breeze of numbness after the phone call. My boy, in custody, again. Ending the festive and peaceful Christmas season wrapping your cool, almost light, arms around my shoulders. Lowering yourself, snug at my side, whispering your sweet lies into my ear. But you are simply at my side. You can only whisper, hoping I will give in to your almost warm and comfortable dark.

I realize you are a part of life. You visit in times of loss and hardship and stay for awhile. Lingering too long over a cooling cup of tea and hardly nibbled sandwich in a lonely, quiet living room. Sitting a touch too close on the sofa of a darkened, quietly sleeping home in the wee hours of the morning.

It seems I must face you; but I refuse to believe that I must allow you to reside here, in my heart of hearts, in my spirit.

Sorrow, you are not meant to reside. You are not meant to remain.

Life adjusts and it changes as God, Himself is put in charge of this home. This heart of our family.

Somethings need to be so that Joy can move in and reside.

The battle with cancer continues; definitely on the path of healing.

The battle with heroin continues, now, hopefully, on a path of healing. Definitely on a path of repentance.

Life continues and I, Sorrow, continue forward with a goal of self-discipline in mind.

So, Sorrow, I don’t believe you have a place here in the heart of our home, yet. There may come a time for you to visit a while, but it is not today.

Today I seek a deepening of my relationship and dependence upon God, the Father, Jesus the Son and the Holy Spirit. Today I seek a deepening of my trust in Jesus for all areas of my life. I say: “I trust You, Jesus.”

So I bid you farewell today, Sorrow, you have no place here.

When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their distress and troubles. The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent. Psalm 34:17-18

Today's Prayer

Today’s Prayer

Thank you, dear Reader Friends, for stopping by. Be blessed.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.

And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in His tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord. Psalm 27: 6


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Begin … 2015


prayer.begin WELCOME TO 2015

At midnight we ended the old year and began the new one simultaneously. Many of us spent a week in review of some kind, possibly planning what not to repeat and what new plans and goals we were headed for.

Good old Resolution Time!

Well resolutions are not for me. I am not into setting unrealistic goals that I cannot manage to complete or even remember at the end of January! =)

Resolutions are truly a hindrance to one’s life progress. They create a sense of failure at the beginning of every new year. At least that’s how I see it.

So if one doesn’t indulge in resolutions for the new year what is it one does with the vast 365 days laid out before us in the vastness of that thing called the future? What is the plan?

For me, I quasi participate in the My One Word movement. This year I may sign up for the 1st level accountability group, but I don’t know. This will be my 4th year picking a word for the year.

I chose my word a few days ago: Self-Discipline(d) – I find it funny that my words are always either hyphenated or compound words. Like chips … you can’t just have one!

To begin my plan is to obtain self-discipline in all areas of my life. And when I say self-discipline, I mean this:

Self-discipline: is the ability to control one’s feelings or emotions and overcome one’s weaknesses; the ability to pursue what one thinks is right despite temptations to abandon it.

Synonyms: self-control, restraint, self-restraint, self-command, willpower, purposefulness, strong-mindedness, sound-mindedness, resolve, moral fiber, doggedness, persistence, determination and grit!

I intend to purposefully control my emotions. I have a great friend, mentor and now my pastor, who when we met, I decided in my heart to become her. I wanted to be able to conduct myself with the class and composure that she possessed. I wanted the peace and self-control she has as a person, wife, mother and leader. Since that meeting we’ve become very good friends. I’ve taken over her post as church secretary and armor bearer to our pastor and now I am her secretary and armor bearer. I tell you, it’s an honor to be her friend and to have her in my life.

And over the years I’ve found that God intended this for me and that He had given me the tools to succeed on this particular path.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and of a sound mind.

2 Timothy 7:1

The NIV translation says, ” … power, love and self-discipline“.

The world tells us that we cannot control how we feel. We cannot choose who we love. Our feelings and emotions are out of our control. NOT SO.

Romans 8:9-11 basically tells us that Holy Spirit lives within us, giving us life over death (or control over our sinful nature). Sinful nature sounds awful I know but what that means is that we actually have control over our carnal or natural nature. We most definitely control our feelings, as well as our emotional reactions and actions in all areas of our lives.

And in Galatians 5:22&23 the Word tells us that Holy Spirit produces in us the fruit of His Spirit.  It is His emotions we experience in the circumstances of our lives. He produces His emotions within us so that we exhibit the benefits of His presence in our hearts – love , joy, peace, patience, kindness , goodness, faithfulness, gentleness , and self-control.

So why did I choose self-discipline?

Well for the last three years my word was Wholeness. A good goal and I’ve come a long way in becoming whole in Christ. So a the beginning of 2015 I changed it up, but not by much. After all, self-discipline is a major part of walking in the wholeness of one’s life.

As many of you know I have A LOT on my plate these days. And 2014 went out with quite a blow to my spirit. Please pray for my youngest son, if you would. And 2015 came in with me HAVING to control my emotions.

Pick a word for the year … I promise you that immediately you will be challenged by your choice!

We began 2015 with a kiss good night and in the morning we began the year in prayer at our church. We were reminded to pray the solution, not the problem. Periodically we review how we should be praying so that the blessings and promises flow in our lives and ripples out into our community. It’s a great reminder not to fall into that wordy, self involved prayer style where we think because we see the circumstance as huge we much add many words to get our point across to God. How silly that is, but I do it too, sometimes.

So this morning I was in a position to keep my composure amongst my church family while praying for our particular situation (that cropped up last night before the new year was rung in). There was that challenge proving within me that I had chosen the correct focus for this year.

So this is the plan:

1. Deepen my relationship with God with prayer and structured time in the Word.

2. Devotional: Jesus Calling ( I got it for Christmas!) and following her purposeful time with God – we’ll see how that works for me; but the daily reading comes with scripture to read – keeping me in the Word.

3. A Blessing Box – an attitude changer … a tool to purposeful positiveness.

That’s how I began my day. That’s how I began 2015.

How did you begin 2015? Did you make a resolution or set a goal? I’d love to hear from you!

Thanks for reading my friends. And Happy Happy New Year.

ASignatureby your words ... FWThTuesday