Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Monthly Challenge

Challenge 44
Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith.
-Author unknown

Let Go: Is anxiety and worry robbing you of enjoying each new day?
Start Today: Make a list of the things about which you are anxious.
Move Forward: From that list, make a new list of two columns: Things you can change; Things you can’t change. Offer the things you can’t change to God. Make a plan for the things you can change.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

A Moving Story

I had unpacked my boxes... and my heart
Behold, I will make something new. Now it will spring forth; will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, rivers in the desert. - Isaiah 43 ;18 -19
One Wednesday evening last fall, I walked into a small classroom at the end of the hall at Cornerstone Christian Fellowship where the church Bible studies were being held. As I walked into the classroom, a small group of women greeted me.
"Is this the class for Moving On After Moving In?" I asked.

"Yes, you are in the right place! Come on in and welcome!" Ann, the class leader, said.
Picture this: Just two months prior, I had moved to a new place from across the country. Having lived on the east coast my whole life, I had moved to a strange desert land where grass doesn't naturally grow and the sky is always blue.
I had no family or friends here. My house was full of unpacked boxes. I didn't have a clue who the good doctors were or even where the Wal-Mart was. I was angry at having to leave my beloved home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where we had lived for 20 years, and all my friends and family. My two young adult children, one a rising senior in high school, had to leave all of their friends behind.
Even though we had to come here for my husband's work, I was still angry with him and with the world in general. I was in despair and lost; body and soul.
And then I heard those few little words, "Welcome, you are in the right place." As the weeks would progress, we would study After the Boxes are Unpackedand I would learn that God makes no mistakes and that I was indeed in the right place in more ways than one. He knew better than I how my life would unfold and He was not "out to get me" nor would He abandon me. Indeed, I learned that I am one of his children and that He is with me every minute!
But on that first day, I was not thinking either about God's presence in my life or about his blessings. All I thought was, "Ah... Here are other women just like me." And as I watched Susan relate her stories in her videos during the class, I realized that she was just like me: a Southern gal missing her heritage and her roots.
Ann had greeted me that first day with such a wonderful warm smile, a box of Kleenex was on the table, and I knew I had found kinship and a safe place to fall and begin to pick myself up. Over the coming weeks, we would cry and hug and try to figure out what God's purpose was for us in our respective moves.
It was only much later that I was able to see God's handiwork in my move and in the lives of the other women in the class. Now things don't look as bleak, due in large part to this time of fellowship. I know that if I hadn't had that class, I might still be lying in bed wondering how I was going to face the day. God knew just what I needed and He provided it through this class and those women.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Moving Tips

Steps to Smooth the Bumpy Road of Change

Perhaps you need hope and encouragement to get you through the major impact of change in a move. This is what helped me emotionally survive and understand the process of adjustment. It all began with the choice to be either open or closed to change.
The first step I had to take was to choose to let go and leave behind any encumbrances that would prevent me from starting over and moving ahead with my life. Next, I had to actually choose to start over, even if I didn’t want to! Until I accepted the reality of having to start over, I couldn’t be ready to move ahead with my life. Finally, I had to choose to move ahead. It was time to come full circle with my move, put aside my pity party, and do whatever it took to move ahead. I quickly learned that the journey after a move is one of action.
To encourage you on your journey, try these action steps to smooth the bumpy road ahead.
Stop And Smell the Flowers Along the Way
Take time to be good to yourself! Schedule some self-care by taking a break to rest, restore, and renew your mind and body.
Ask for Help
Don’t be the "lone ranger" and feel like you have to do it alone. Let others be a part of the relocation process with you.
When the Heat Is Up, Stay Cool
When stress is rising and the pressure is on, keep a sense of humor and be flexible.
It’s Okay To Cry If You Want To
With change, comes loss and grieving. Your release valve may be tears.
Rise To the Occasion
Stretch beyond your comfort zone. Embrace the changes this move brings as an opportunity to learn and grow personally.
Take One Day, One Step at A Time
Remember the saying, "Rome wasn’t built in a day!" Some days you may feel like you’ve taken two steps back and only one step forward. You can do it! Don’t lose heart and never give up!
The anchor and firm foundation in any change and transition in my life has been my relationship with Jesus Christ. His promise of hope through scripture, the assurance of His comfort, the peace that comes from trusting Him, and the knowledge that He will always be with me, has sustained me over the years in even the most difficult changes I have faced.
Never give up and never lose heart in the transitions of your life. You canbecome a "moving overcomer." I’m standing on the sidelines cheering you on every step of the way!
- Susan Miller

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monthly Devotional- Sept 2009

Stepping Out In Faith This Fall...
Sometimes when you are new in town, it’s easier, and more comfortable to stay put in your house, or in front of the TV, or even on the computer. "After all, I don’t really know anyone," you tell yourself, "and it takes so much effort to walk into a room of strangers at a Bible study, or to go anywhere unfamiliar. It’s easier, a lot less intimidating, and not as scary, to just stay where I feel comfortable," you think.
Yes, that would be the safest place to stay. Peter probably thought the same thing too. (Matthew 14:22-32) You can imagine him saying, "It’s scary to get out of the boat, in unfamiliar waters. Besides, look at the wind and the waves! I’d rather stay right here!" Peter’s focus was on the wind and the waves, not on Jesus, his Savior. Your focus might be on the circumstances around you too, along with unfamiliar territory, and all the unknowns that come with being new in town. In fact, you might even feel terrified since you moved!
"Take courage! Don’t be afraid," Jesus said to the disciples. "It is I... Come," He said. Peter got out of the boat, and came towards Jesus. Here is where Peter’s focus shifted from his Savior to the storm around him. He was afraid and began to sink. He cried out to the Lord, "save me!" and Jesus reached out His hand and caught Peter. Then Jesus said, "You of little faith, why did you doubt?"
Why not step out in faith right now? Join that Bible study, go to that neighborhood party, take that class you’ve always wanted, invite someone over for coffee. Get out of the boat, one step at a time. You can do it. Just keep your focus on Jesus. Reach out and take His hand, and begin to walk towards Him.
Scripture To Remember
v.24-31 ...but the boat was already a considerable distance from land buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it... Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified... But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid." "Lord, if it’s You," Peter replied, "tell me to come to You on the water." "Come," he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, Lord, save me!" Immediately Jesus reached out His hand and caught him, "You of little faith," He said, "why did you doubt?"
- Matthew 14:22-32
Question To Consider
What is the "boat" you are in (fear, comfort, relationships, health, success, security) that is keeping you from stepping out in faith and trusting God?
Oh God, I am so afraid, and I struggle to take that first step towards You. Give me courage to say "yes" to your call. Help me to step out this Fall and do what I could never do on my own. Amen
Thought for the Day
Today I will step out of my boat in faith and experience the power and the presence of God.