Presence

The past few days, I have felt overwhelmed physically.

A few of my sore muscles are having a hard time giving up their tension, despite prayer and the efforts of my physio & massage therapist.

Sleeping on my left side is foreign to me, I have always been a back or right side sleeper, and with my right side sore, staying asleep HSS now become an issue.

I am generally not a big whiner, but a solution finder.

I am in a situation I cannot control. nor see a quick end too.

The trail ahead seemed very steep last night.

I could only pray, “Help” before falling asleep.

This morning, as I awoke and spent time in His Word & Presence, He has reminded me I am not in this alone.

He is with me.

He is strengthening me.

He is helping me.

I was only looking at my physical symptoms, but God was looking at my whole person.

My spirit is reaching out for Him more than ever before, because I don’t want to make it through without Him.

My solution, my Hope is found in Him alone.

I am actively bringing my thoughts into alignment with His Word & promises.

I am being honest about my feelings, but not letting them run my decisions.

But how I am physically weary of being sore.

And that is the area God reminds me I need to bring into alignment with His truth.

I can keep going when I depend on His strength.

He is more than enough for me, even as I struggle.

Its okay to be real before Him, and fully rely on Him for all I need.

Maybe one of you needed to hear this this morning too.

I hope He draws close to you, and reminds you of what you need to hear from Him directly as well.

Once again, it is well with my soul.

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Because all things are possible, in, with and for our God!

Community Chatter

Relevant Magazine recently posted an interesting article (6 Things Every Strong Community Needs) that got my brain pondering: Community

Here are their six headings, and my comments.

Intentionality

Sometimes we have to purpose to become community. And other times, it just happens.

This can happen in school, work, church, or your neighborhood. You may have kids all in the same grade or sports team, you may meet in a coffee lineup every day, or share a hairdresser…. Community is happening all around us.

We have to be intentional to plug into it.

Diversity

Not everyone is going to be just like you- in looks, quirks, likes or gifts/talents. I recently commented to a few of my closest friends that we all seem to have one skill we are able to use to bless one another in an area that person is needing a hand in. It is awesome how we can become so much more when we pool our resources, and encourage one another to be ourselves in healthy ways.

A Willingness to Embrace Awkwardness

Getting close to a group of people you don’t know can be very awkward…and I should know. I much prefer to write or sing it versus speak it to people. Its not a matter of feeling scared, but in feeling I won’t be accepted if I show who I really am. Yet, once we feel safe in community, this can be a wonderful picture of true caring for one another in being a safe place to land when you need it. This leads to….

Openness

Being able to be yourself with a group of people is a precious aspect of community. Yes, there will be disagreements as no group of people will agree about every thing all the time. The freedom to be open in a respectful way where everyone is honored is a vital piece of a strong community.

The Ability to Have Fun Together

If you have a good mix going on in your community, this will naturally occur once people feel free to be themselves in a safe respectful environment. I remember a few people I worked with at school meeting with me for coffee, who made the comment they didn’t know how funny I was. I replied, “When you are lunch monitoring preteens, you can’t let them know you are fun loving, you need to show your work face.” :). Don’t do so much work that you never take time to relax and unwind with one another over coffee, a movie, or a group outing.

Inclusiveness

If all feel welcome, you are showing a healthy community to those looking in from the outside. There are times when you are in a set few weeks where you are intently studying something, and a new person in the mix for those meeting would be awkward all round. That’s why every month I lead my ladies group, we have a fun night built in somewhere. Maybe coffee at the nearest book store, maybe second hand shopping, sometimes a movie night. A time when anyone is welcome to come and hang out.

Final Thoughts?

God invites us into community with Him in these six ways too:

Intentional. God intentionally invites us all to come.
Diversity: God welcomes everyone from any & all backgrounds.
A willingness to embrace awkwardness: I think Jesus demonstrated this by reaching out to us all right where we are at.
Openness. God is 100% approachable, all the time. The ability to have fun together. God is great company, and people who hang out with Him are able to find joy in His Presence ­čÖé
Inclusive. All are welcome to join His family. The perks come from. the privileges you are blessed with when you are in.

I find I am able to maintain my hope and focus on God when I feel connected, and a part of community:
At home with my family.
At work as part of the team.
With my closest friends.
But especially in my walk with God.

What do you feel you need as a healthy aspect of community?

never beyond reach

Because maybe Jesus wants us to know there is no place we can find ourselves where His presence cannot reach us.

Bonnie Gray, Finding Spiritual Whitespace

Sometimes there are lines you can read that reach out to squeeze your heart so tightly, it becomes hard to breathe.

The quote above just did so to me a few moments ago.

I am still trying to catch my breath.

There are also times when God orchestrates the internet going down, and having some unexpected time to read when I would usually be working.

These past few weeks, I have been struggling to hold onto the hope I have in Him.

There, I put it out there in black and white.

And I have pressed in to read up on hope and write about hope, all the time hoping this low season would pass.

I am eating well, sleeping well, exercising, working well, connecting with my hubby, kids & friends…

But deep inside, part of me has been lonely for more of Him.

Except until I read that line above, I thought my feeling low was jot worth bringing to Him.  You know, the ‘this too shall pass’ mentality we all slip into from time to time.

With all the horrors and war and brokenness out there in the world, why bother God with a few blue days strung together?

Because He is with me.
Always.

He has brought me to this exact moment to show me He is with me in this. 

He is enough for me.

He is here for me to press into, to snuggle up to, and rest in His presence.

There is no place in this world, or hidden within me, where He cannot reach me.

My part? 
Be honest, and open myself up to Him.
Spend time soaking, worshipping, resting in the knowledge, the truth, that God IS with me.

The ember of hope I have kept close to my heart is igniting again.

My day no longer looks so blue.

If you too need to be encouraged and reignite your hope today, Psalm 139 is a wonderful journey to walk through.

Join me as we find our hope renewed in His Presence.
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