Posts tagged ‘Philippians 4:13’

Fearless

be-fearless

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong

and of good courage, do not be afraid,

nor be dismayed, for the LORD your God

is with you wherever you go.”

Joshua 1:9

 Two weeks ago my family and I began a new chapter in our lives. This chapter opened up not only as a New Year but it also began a new normal. My mom went to her eternal home after a hard fight with cancer.

Mom pictured with my dad on the right and my husband, Jim in the middle.

Mom pictured with my dad on the right and my husband, Jim in the middle.

The Word Cancer Came Into Our Home

Five and a half years ago mom learned that she had cancer.  Once hearing this news and sharing with immediate family, Mom very firmly requested that we say nothing to no one. Yet, she did allow me to share with my Ladies’ Bible Study group, church family and Jim’s family here in Kentucky. I was allowed this privilege only because I live in Kentucky and she  lived in Georgia.  I am so grateful that Mom allowed me to share with these select few. They have held me up with love, prayers and encouragement as I took this journey. It is difficult for a girl to live away from her family especially her Mama. There is just something special about mother and daughter relationships.

Mom and me.

                         

Mom and me on my wedding day.

      

The Struggle

Over the last five and a half years, my brother and I struggled to keep a tight lip on what was going on with Mom. Deep within our hearts we so much wanted to share with others so that she would have more people praying for her and a support system for Dad. When the topic would be brought up it was quickly put to an end. Mom would have nothing to do with people knowing what she was going through.

Needless to say, not only did I struggle  carrying  this secret in the presence of those who knew her but there were times when I would become frustrated and question why Mom was so hush-hush about her battle with cancer.  I questioned how Mom was going to field the questions given to her as she would lose weight and she began to wear wigs. What was Dad going to tell people when Mom was not up to be out with him after a chemo session. (Mom and Dad did everything together!)  What would the response be to all of those inquiries?

dscn2239

” I’m Fine”

Despite Mom losing weight and wearing a wig, Mom would respond those inquiries of how she was feeling with the phrase, “I’m fine.”  When Dad or any of us were seen out and about without Mom we were told specifically by Mom to tell people she was fine. Mom did not want anyone to make a fuss over her. She chose to battle this beast with her own Southern Belle style and dignity.  She lived fearlessly knowing that she was a Daughter of the King and that she could face anything placed before her because  her strength was drawn from Christ. ( Philippians 4:13)

In her daily walk with Jesus, it was Mom’s choice to focus on the needs of others. She preferred sending cards and words of encouragement to others who were going through a storm.  Not only did she chose to encourage those fighting a life storm but she chose to encourage others in their ministries, their walk with Christ and celebrate life’s celebrations with others.  Mom was also my encourager in my daily walk with Christ and in my life as a mom, wife,  blog writer and Bible Study leader.

gods-presence

God’s Presence

On the morning of December 27, 2016, Mom took her seat at the Great Banquet in Heaven. This date was already significant to our family because it was her late daddy’s birthday.  Later that morning, I opened a box of pictures to sort for the slide show that would be shown at the funeral home. The first picture I picked up was of Mom on her wedding day on her father’s arm waiting to be given away to marry my dad. What a beautiful message  God gave me at that moment. Mom had taken the arm of her heavenly ushers to be presented before her King.

Mom with her dad on her wedding day.

Mom with her dad on her wedding day.

On the evening prior to Mom’s visitation, I prayed to God asking Him to send me something assuring me that Mom was ‘fine”. Perhaps this sign would be a butterfly in my path, a word from a friend or a feather from an angel.

As we gathered outside the funeral home to go in, Dad opened the door to let me go in first. Before I took the first step into the building, I looked down and on the threshold of the doorway was a feather. This *feather symbolizing that Mom had crossed the threshold into eternity and that I along with my family were and are under God’s care and protection.

red-cardinal-two

Sunday, New Year’s Day, it was just Dad and I left at the house. Dad and I were eating breakfast and watching the birds come to eat at the feeders on Dad’s deck. Then, for just a few moments three red cardinals appeared on the deck. Again, another reminder that God was and is with us. The last three years Jim and I have lost someone of significance this time of year. The first being his dad losing his battle to cancer, the second being Jim’s favorite aunt and the third was my mom going home. For me, those three cardinals represented these three precious people that had and will continue to have a great influence on my life.

To Live Fearless

april-fearless-pose

Mom may have fought in silence but in her silence she taught me the true meaning of what it means to live fearlessly in the days ahead. No matter the battle that is put before us God is with us. When we acknowledge God’s presence in the battle we are able to face the fight ahead of us and fear less.

I have adopted this “Fearless” motto for my journey ahead of me. It is through my faith through Christ Jesus that will give me the courage and strength to face whatever is before me. I can hear  my sweet mama singing the  lyrics below  from the hymn, I Know Who Holds Tomorrow in her soprano voice.  I know she didn’t worry about the future in her fight because she knew who was walking with her and she walked fearlessly each day.

I don’t worry o’er the future,
For I know what Jesus said.
And today I’ll walk beside Him,
For He knows what is ahead.

Jacqueline Ward Daniel Hill November 2, 1943-December 27, 2016

Jacqueline Ward Daniel Hill
November 2, 1943-December 27, 2016

*I have a collection of feathers all the same coloring that I have found in my path over time. They are always found in places in my path where you wouldn’t think a feather would fall. The feather found on the threshold of the funeral home is probably the most precious one yet.

Don’t Let The Pirates Take You Down

pirates

On April 8, 2009 there was a cargo ship heading for Mombasa Kenya. The Captain of the Ship was Richard Phillips. The ship consisted of twenty crew members.  CNN breaks in with breaking news that this cargo ship had been boarded by modern-day pirates.

For those of you who know your geography, you know that the waters  this cargo ship was sailing are known for piracy. Therefore, it makes sense that Captains and crew members who sail ships through this area are trained in how to handle an attack by pirates. It is through this training that the captain stepped up not letting the pirates get the best of him.  It is also through this level of discipline that our trained armed forces were able to secure the release of  the Captain and his crew. The Captain was not going to allow these pirates to take him and his crew down. Determination, diligence and focus are how this crew and all those involved in the rescue were able to help bring about a positive outcome.

There are times in our lives where pirates board our lives. Situations happen out of the blue where the intentions are to bring us down and hurt us.  These pirates work with the pirates of negativity.  Their goal is to attack, steal and see how far down they can bring us down. They are ambassadors for Satan. They love to see a ship go down in a blaze of glory.  Much like the pirates who took that ship heading to Kenya, they are out for themselves and no one else.

pirates on ship

When these pirates attack we have to remain focused, determined, disciplined, and diligent on how we respond.  Just as the Captain and the crew were during those initial grueling hours of captivity, it is during these times when it is even more important that we stay focused on God’s word, hold tight to His hand and seek the good within the evil.

running

There are times, however, when we do the opposite. Something bad/evil happens and we take off running. We run looking for answers in other places rather than seeking the answer from God. For some reason, we feel as though God isn’t going to make the outcome a positive one and he just doesn’t work fast enough for us. Thus, we go wondering to the wrong things for the answers. It is when we do this we are allowing the pirates to take us down. We are allowing them to sink our ship.

sinking ship

Saul is an example of allowing pirates to sink his ship. He was God’s ( The Captain’s) choice of being the first king of Israel. Samuel was instructed by God to anoint Saul as king. However, as time went on Saul began to be disobedient to God. As a result, he began running and looking for answers outside of going to God, listening for God and trusting God.  He went as far as looking for answers through mediums. Eventually, all of his  running, disobeying God and seeking answers outside of God got the better of him. He reached the point where he could not see beyond where he was standing and deliberately fell on his sword and killed himself.  He allowed the pirates of disobedience and hostility to take over his life and he went down not in a blaze of glory but in a glaze of tragedy.

There are going to be times when pirates are going to board our ship. They are going to try their best  to take us down. It is in those moments we need to realize that no matter how horrible the pirate is treating us or the situation is going God will use the situation for good if we acknowledge him and allow him. The key is that we have to grab tighter to his hand. We have to trust our Captain and realize he is at work in the situation even though we feel as though he is not there.  It is so important not to give into the temptation of running to other things and people looking for the answer(s) we think will fix the situation.

holding God's hand

May we be like Captain Phillips when the pirates board our ship. May we stay focused on God and diligent on how we respond. Also, may we have the following scriptures inscribed on our hearts and say them repeatedly to ourselves as we face those grueling hours of what feels like captivity. If we do this there is NO WAY the pirates can take us down and steal our joy in the LORD.

“And we KNOW that in ALL things God works for the good of those who love him.”

Romans 8:28

“I can do ALL this through him who gives me strength.”

Philippians 4:13

In closing, I want to share a beautiful paragraph that is in my Life Application Bible. It sums up the theme of the book of Samuel. It is something I have copied into  my notes and look at it when those ugly pirates try to board my ship and take me down. I encourage you to print it and put it somewhere to have as an affirmation during those times ugly pirates are boarding your ship.

“God is at work in this world, even when we can’t see what he is doing. No matter what

kinds of pressures we must endure or how many changes we must face, God is ULTIMATELY

in control of our situation. Being confident in God’s sovereignty we can face the difficult situations

in our lives with BOLDNESS.”

Play It Through

This picture popped up on my Facebook news feed the other day.  Immediately, as I laughed, I recall the many times in high school band when a piece of music was put in front of the group to site read. I never will forget the moans and groans when the piece was first handed out. Before playing the piece, we were given time to look it over and our director would sometimes point out potential trouble spots. Then, the time came to play the piece for the first time. Oh, it wasn’t a beautiful piece the first time played. Over time and multiple practice sessions, however, the piece would begin to sound more like what the composer meant for it to sound. Some of those pieces that were thrown down to site read eventually became the best played and favorite pieces of the band.

In life, there are times when we are asked to site read. In other words, we are put in situations that we know nothing about but have to do something right then and there. It is in that moment that we have a choice to either walk away and do nothing or we can jump in, look over the situation, listen to our director, and play it through.

As I write this, I am reminded of the times I walked away versus the times I listened to the director and played it through. Interestingly enough, the moments I walked away, in retrospect,were sources of my greatest regrets.  The pieces given to me looked too difficult and I then missed an opportunity to grow.  But, the times I have chosen to listen to my director and play it through have become the most precious of moments in my life. Not only were they precious moments but in each one I could look back and see where God molded me and how it was in those moments of playing it through deepened my relationship with him.

Has God given you a piece of music to site read? Are you moaning and groaning because the task looks too difficult? Maybe you are debating if you should stay and play it through or just walk away. Before you decide to walk away, may I suggest that you talk  and listen to the director. There is no a doubt in my mind that God has blessings in the midst of the task he has put before you. Who knows, it could turn out to be one of the most precious memories of your life not to mention a wonderful opportunity to grow in your relationship with your Creator.

“I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13

Yes, Dear

Megan and Drew

 

The other day while getting my nails done, my nail tech and I were sharing with each other about our families and backgrounds. It made for good and interesting conversation. As we talked, I told her that I had a son who would be getting married this summer. As she heard about the details, my nail tech asked me this question “what advice would you give your son as he prepares to get married?” At first thought, my response was for him to learn two words “yes, dear.” Of course we both laughed.

Then, as the conversation progressed, I thought more seriously about her question. “What advice would I give Drew as he plans to get married?” My answer includes the following advice:

Remember to say “I love you” every day. Once you are married, it is so easy to get caught up in the everyday routine of life. As you get caught up in the everyday routine, it is easy to assume that you love each other but those words should be spoken to each other each and every day.

Teamwork is another important key to marriage. It is important to work together on schedules, each others goals, and dreams. You never see a team win that does not work together. It also includes encouraging and helping one another during the hard times as well as in the good times.

Continue to date one another. It is important for you to set aside a date night once a week. This is a time to put the world and work aside and simply enjoy each other’s company. Date night is a time to renew your relationship and to share the dreams that you have together as a couple.

Then, you have heard the saying “always kiss me goodnight.” This saying is so true. Never go to bed angry with one another. Always resolve issues and/or disagreements before you lay your head down at night. Kiss each other goodnight.

In giving advice to my son, Drew on marriage, I know that there are many more things I will think of telling him between now and August.  Yet, the most important piece of advice I give is to always worship together, pray together, and keep Christ in the center of the marriage. A home focused on Christ is a happy home and a home that works through anything and everything. “You can do ALL things as a couple through Christ Jesus who strengthens you.” ( Philippians 4:13 )

As my nail tech was finishing up with my manicure, my husband walks in the salon and catches the last of our conversation. We ask Jim what advice he would give Drew as he prepares for marriage and Jim’s response “yes, dear.”

If you have any words of wisdom for young couples getting ready to tie the knot, feel free to leave me a comment. I would love to hear what other pieces of advice people have for young couples.

Blessings-

He Will Have The Last Laugh!

Since I began my blog post, people have asked me how I got started.   When I think about how I got started, I realize that  there is a testimony within the whole scheme of me starting a blog site. God had been tapping on my shoulder. I had excuses.  He laughed at me and said “we’ll see”.

If you have read my post on Stop, Evaluate, Prioritize, you know that at one point, I had hit a wall and absolutely had to cool my jets for a while.  As I stopped, evaluated, and prioritized, God brought me to the realization that seasons in life were changing for me and a new purpose for me was in the process of being re-defined.  Along with that, God began tapping me on the shoulder telling me that I would be writing to testify about His love, grace, forgiveness, and His son Jesus Christ and eternal life.

God tapping me on the shoulder has gone on for over a course of a couple of years.  He would tap me on the shoulder and say  “April, this is what you need to do.” My response would be, “you talking to me?” along with “maybe later”, “I don’t think you have the right person.” I was like Moses when God told him that he would lead to free the Israelites from Egypt.  Moses’ response was “go to my brother Aaron, he is a better speaker than me.” I would tell God that he already had someone in the family doing such a task.  He already  has  my dad who is a minister, who  writes short stories, poems and has also published a couple of books.  Along with my dad, I told God that He had my son who writes, and I would also say” and  what about all those Christian authors?!” ” isn’t that enough to get the word out!”.   God listened to my excuses.  He just laughed in my face.  As He laughed at me, He kept tapping me on the shoulder telling me to share about His kingdom.

The Almighty Father never gave up on me and His purpose for me at this season of my life.  He spoke to me again and this time it was through my son Drew.   One evening, Drew and I were talking to each other. He and I got on the subject of  purpose in life and me being in a new season of my life. Not long after that conversation, Drew sent me a tweet that said “think about what you are really passionate about and let me know.” I tweeted back with “I’ll have to think about that one.”  Next thing I know, he is telling me I should blog and how to get started.  Thus, here I am  with a  blog site sharing the love of Jesus Christ.  Furthermore, I am sure that God is sitting up there in heaven giving Jesus and the angels a fist bump. God won and is having the last laugh with me!

Lesson learned, don’t argue with God because you will not win. You may think you don’t  have the courage to do what He calls you to do but He supplies you with what you need. I don’t know what God will tap me on the shoulder to do next but I do know that : I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. 

What is God tapping you on the shoulder to do?  What argument or excuses are you giving Him ?   Realize you might as well stop the excuses and arguing with God. I encourage you to just let Him fill you up and do the work He has commissioned you to do.  Furthermore, don’t laugh when he tells you do to something.  For, I have learned many times over that   He will have the last laugh!

Blessings-

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