Should I Be Worried Now?

In 2020 the practice of worry seemed to take over our world. We were told to worry about EVERYTHING! And when we weren’t worried, we heard on the news that we should be! So far 2021 isn’t much better at alleviating any of my concerns. In fact, I have gone from being worried I might get sick and die to an even greater concern that I am loosing my freedom to choose to be sick.

Knowing the truth helps alleviate worry. Back in Sep 23, 2020 the CDC released an update saying that individuals are more likely to survive the virus after contracting it. And if you’re over 70, the survival rate is nearly 95%. Age groups of 0 to 19 have a 99.997% chance of survival.

I tend to look at life with faith and I am learning to search out truth and not be satisfied with just following along because everyone else is doing something. I am thankful I have lived in a country that has allowed me that freedom. My concern is that this freedom to choose what is best for me could quickly be taken away under the guise of being concerned for my good.

So, what do you do as a Believer in Christ when you find yourself letting fear and worry take over your thoughts and even your behavior?

Last year, and even now this year I have been reminded over and over again that I have to listen to and depend on the voice of God to steady my fears. The Lord is in control. He is the only one that can dispel worry for me. The Bible actually says it is a waste of time to worry. The Psalms are great for helping me focus on God’s greatness and how He sees me and fights for me.

Psalms 56:3 says “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in You.” Psalms 34:4 says “I sought the Lord and He heard me and delivered me from ALL my fears.” Psalms 118:6 “The Lord is on my side; I will not fear. What can man do to me?”. I like to read Psalms 23 and apply it personally to every worry I might have. It is full of examples of how He promises to help us.

  • He is our protector.
  • He never leaves us.
  • He is our provider.
  • He will guide us and show us what to do when we are confused.
  • He promises to be there for us no matter what is happening around us and no matter what situation we find ourselves in.

As a child, growing up in Nigeria back in the 1960s there were many times when fear wanted to rule our life. Fear truly can be “so thick you can cut it with a knife”. If my parents hadn’t known that God sent them there with their four young children, they wouldn’t have lasted for one week much less ten years. They trusted God for healing when we were sick and for guidance when we were in the middle of a civil war. They had to overcome fear with faith and act accordingly. That is what I am asking God to reveal to me in these days. How do I act in faith and not fear? How do I let my life show more of God to this world? Let my faith and confidence in whose I am, be seen by my actions.

Should I be worried? No. God is in control and He will show me what to do.

SPEAK THE TRUTH

2020 was a year that brought lots of changes. All of us have had to learn to do everyday life in new ways. When such drastic change happens in the world around you, it exposes weaknesses and strengths in the structure of your current life. I have taken the month of January to ask myself some hard questions. The one that brought me up short was “How did 2020 change me?” As I was honest with myself I had to admit to this one huge weakness that I had allowed in my life.

I HAD CHANGED FROM BEING OPEN AND HONEST TO SOMEONE WHO IS AFRAID TO SPEAK OUT.

My nickname as a child and even as a young wife and mom, was ‘honest John”. In fact, my in-laws always said, “If you want to know the truth, ask Susan. She tells it like it is!” I was honest to a fault!

Over the years I found out people didn’t want me to be too honest. Because I served in ministry in our church, I was often asked to councel those I served when they needed help. I learned pretty quickly that many of them didn’t really want to hear an honest answer to their situation. When I was honest with them about what I felt God showed me, oftentimes, they never asked for my council again. Over time I learned to test the waters before I offered any council to see how honest they really wanted me to be.

This year the art of hiding what I am really thinking has gone to another level. In fact, I have learned that if I say what I really think or even share what I know as truth, I am often ridiculed and shamed for speaking out. As a result, I have found myself choosing to be silent because I’ve been afraid of opposition.

I haven’t really liked this new me. It has made me feel uncomfortable, like I’m hiding in a cave, afraid someone will find me and do who knows what to me because they don’t like what I stand for or believe. I have never been a ‘hide in the cave’ sort of person!!

So I asked the Lord, (who is my ultimate counselor) “Is it a bad thing to choose to be silent and let others assume I agree with their view in order to avoid saying what I believe to be true because I’m afraid of rejection and ridicule?”

This is what I heard God say, “When you chose to follow me, you chose to be ridiculed and rejected.”

Being afraid to speak the truth or speak out against a wrong I see is something I face almost everyday. It’s easy to just hide in my corner of the world and pretend I am ok with things that are going on around me when I am NOT. When I chose to follow Jesus I wasn’t promised a life without opposition. All I have to do is read the New Testament to know that the life of a follower of Jesus was not easy. It is full of situations where believers were put in prison for what they said and did. They were beheaded and their children were killed. Life was scary! Do I think those things could happen to me? I sure hope not!!! But I can’t let the fear that they could keep me from sharing the gospel and speaking out against wrongs that are being called right.

Truth has become whatever people want it to be. We even hear statements such as “Well, that is my truth.” There aren’t any absolutes anymore. But if you are a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ you should know what the truth is and it should set you free, not put you in prison!!

I HAVE TO BASE MY TRUTH ON THE WORD OF GOD!

He is the TRUTH! Therefore what He says is true. I have to know what the Bible says about how to live in this world. I have to know what my life is built on and make sure my foundation is sure. So many people who say they are Christians aren’t even sure they believe what the Bible says is for today. In order to be sure of what I believe, I have to be studying the scripture and check out what I am hearing from others to make sure what they are saying is based in scripture. I can’t just believe everything I’m told.

The days of the ‘lazy’ Christian are gone. We have to know what we know and when we don’t know we have to search the scriptures and depend on the Holy Spirit to teach us what is right!

How will 2021 be different from 2020 in my life? I plan to say more and read more. No longer will I accept what people are saying on social media or TV as truth. I plan to make a point to educate myself so I’m not afraid to speak out when I need to. 2020 was a wakeup call for me and I am excited to see what God is going to do in 2021.

I’d love to hear about the changes you want to see in your life this year.

JUST RELAX – and enjoy the journey!

I am so excited today to have a guest writing this post. Her name is Joanne and she is a dear friend of mine. She has been a gift to me in this season of life. Joanne has a heart for women and loves seeing them become all that God has called them to be. She also loves traveling, searching out cafes for the perfect cappuccino, and spending time with her five grandchildren. We have a great time together when she and her husband make their way to South Florida (as you can see in this picture). After reading this post you will want to check out her blog “Flavours”. (the link is in my sidebar under Blogs I Follow)

JUST RELAX – and enjoy the journey!

Many of my friends are in seasons of transition right now – some are retiring, or semi-retiring; one friend is beginning to look after grandchildren full time (God bless her!), others are slowing down, changing jobs, cutting hours, downsizing from their beloved family home to a condo … and the list goes on and on.

Some appear to be sailing through the changing times easily, others – not so much.

In 2018 we transitioned the church we were lead pastors of for 33 years to the next generation.  So the past two years have certainly been transition years for me.  For sure, when you pour your life as a couple into something for that long, it’s like letting go of a child that you raised.  I think I have learned a few things along this journey that hopefully will help you, whatever season of life you are in right now. 

Here are five things that I wish I had embraced fully, two years ago when my transition began.

  • DON’T COMPARE! THIS IS HUGE! God’s word says that we are not wise when we compare ourselves to others.  Comparison can very easily lead to dissatisfaction or discontentment. Dissatisfaction leads to self-pity, and self-pity can easily spiral to depression.  I remember comparing my situation to a friend who is exactly my age, pastored for the same number of years I did, etc. and it was very easy to envy her life at this stage.  But her plan is different than mine, her journey is different also.  And there are things in her life that I wouldn’t be content with.  I love MY life!
  • DON’T RUSH INTO THE NEXT SEASON WITHOUT PAUSING.  I have to say, I blew this one.  It’s easy to fill your schedule with things because you’re so used to being busy all the time. But what if the Lord has something He is trying to lead you into, and you haven’t made room for it? My first year was so busy it was crazy.  Nothing productive is ever accomplished when you rush, and there is no quicker way to lose your joy than to always be moving to the next thing.  Enjoy the pause!  It’s a time to re-group, not blindly forge ahead.
  • DON’T DO THINGS OUT OF GUILT. Depending on what your job was, many times you do things because you are giving in to the expectations of others.  If there’s EVER a time to let that go, it’s when you’re in a season of transition! I know at this season of my life, I don’t do things because of someone else’s expectations.  I say ‘no’ totally without guilt. (Why didn’t I learn this years ago?)  I know that sounds selfish, but it isn’t.  Saying no to one thing always means saying yes to something else, and vice versa.  I want to spend my time doing things out of joy and peace, not out of guilt.
  • STAY CONNECTED TO OTHERS WHO ARE IN THE SAME SEASON AS YOU. We can be such an encouragement to one another. We can share ideas that motivate and inspire each other! One of my good friends in the same season of life as I am is currently organizing a monthly zoom call for a few of us who are spread out geographically but are walking through similar things.  I’m really looking forward to it!
  • LOOK TO THE FUTURE WITH FAITH AND EXPECTANCY, NOT WITH FEAR AND INSECURITY. There really are so many amazing adventures ahead.  Seek them out!

Make a list of what you want to do in this new season.  For me, it was things like – family time, trips with my husband, mentoring young women, going to the gym every day, reading, counseling, preaching or teaching when asked, taking time to be spontaneous, cultivating friendships both with girlfriends and with other couples, more time outdoors, and more.

I also know that I really don’t  know the whole plan for this season yet, and that’s exciting.

In any transition, we need to listen to the leading of the Lord.  He opens doors, he closes doors.  I know His plan is good, and I want to be willing and obedient through every circumstance. He is always faithful to direct our steps.

In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths!

Proverbs 3:6

FIGHT FOR PEACE

A TIME OF PEACE IN MY DAY

The other day, as I was blowing my hair dry (weird place to get thoughts for blog posts, I know) this sentence came to mind. “Some days you just have to fight for your peace of mind.” I hadn’t slept well that night. Thoughts about the state of our nation and around the world, and just in my own little world, have made everyday living stressful.

Last month we were without air conditioning for a whole 10 days. There are so many reasons why it took 10 days to fix but the time and the money caused a lot of stress Also, being without air conditioning in South Florida in August is miserable. Additionally, I’ve tried to stay out of stores and have taken to ordering more online, but things I order keep getting delayed or lost; and, when I do venture out to a store, I find people backing away from me just because I might have gotten a little close to them, and no one talks to each other anymore 😭🤪.

These things might seem pretty trivial to some but when you add everything up, along with the many changes that have happened in our world in the last six months, you find that peace of mind is not is easily found!!!

As I stood in front of the mirror, I felt like God gave me three ways to begin to fight so that peace would return to my spirit:

  • I have to fight my emotions. I don’t know about you, but that can be a difficult fight!! I am having to fight back my feelings of anxiety and stress and even anger, so I can think rationally. One of the ways I fight is in prayer and worship. These two together ALWAYS get my emotions back on track!!! My favorite songs right now are “The Blessing” by Kari Jobe and “There’s Nothing that Our God Can’t Do” by Passion & Kristian Stanfill. I put in my earbuds and sing right along and then apply the words in these songs to things I’m worried about.
  • I have to fight in my speech. What I mean here is to guard my words. I need to be careful what I say during the day, whether it’s on social media or to the cashier I’m having a hard time understanding because of their mask, or just letting my thoughts fly out of my mouth to whomever happens to be near. I find that having people I can trust, who really know my heart, are the best ones to unload on. And then, there are times when I have to speak to myself, like David did in the Psalms, and remind myself that God is in control!
  • Fight with humility. So many times I think I have all the answers and in reality, I am only seeing things through my own glasses. Have you ever tried wearing some else’s glasses? Everything is all blurry or too large or maybe too small. My glasses (contacts in my case) give me clarity of vision but it is still only my perception. Besides, as a Christian I have no rights. My rights are what His will is. If I have given my life to Him, then I have to know He is fighting for me, and He will win in the end. Allowing Him to rule in my thoughts and speech can be very humbling. That is a fight most days. I have to be careful to only fight the battle He is fighting. Peace comes when I obey.

This verse in Psalms 34:14 NLT helps me see this principle of fighting for peace: “Turn away from evil and do good. Search for peace, and work to maintain it.” Search and work. Peace has to be found and it’s work to keep it. Peter even quoted this verse in I Peter 3:11 NLT. He was addressing Christians! As I read the whole chapter in I Peter, I see he is really telling us how to be happy, content and full of peace.

As we fight our battle for peace (and a good night’s sleep) I know we will enjoy the rewards of living in a place of peace during this time of turmoil!

Course Correcting Season

“As I look back on my life, I realized that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was actually being re-directed to something better.”

Annonymous

Earlier this year I attended a small gathering of women with my daughter-in-law, Jill, and my granddaughter, Kenya. It was sponsored by a Christian lady who had just started a unique small business. She is an artist and has groups of women join her in her studio to show them how to paint a picture even if they’ve had no experience with painting and (as is my case) have no artistic skills. There were about 15 of us and we had a great time learning to paint a beautiful butterfly.

Near the end of the evening the host shared with us her thoughts and expectations for her business which are to give women from all walks of life a time to have fun together, believe in themselves, and share with others. This was in June so all of us had been experiencing lots of uncertainty in our individual worlds because of COVID. After she shared she asked each of us to share what we felt God was showing us during this season.

As each one of us shared our thoughts and fears and ways of finding encouragement during this season, one lady’s comment really spoke to me. This is what she said:

I believe the Lord has shown me that I (and I believe many people) have been traveling the wrong path in life. I have decided that now is the time to get back on the right path. I have known what that is but have not lived it like I know I should. I am thankful for this season that is shaking me enough to make the necessary changes in my life.

WOW!!! All of us looked at each other knowing she couldn’t have spoken truer words. What I understood her to say is this: don’t waste this season of shaking but look inside yourself to see if you need to make some changes in the direction you are heading.

AM I ON THE RIGHT PATH OR DO I NEED A COURSE CORRECTION?

There is nothing like change and uncertainty to expose our weaknesses and vulnerable places. This year has given us a chance to see how we handle and respond to crisis in our life. Many of us have been shaken to our core and we’ve noticed that our choices in life haven’t put us on a secure path, but instead, have revealed a very crooked and bumpy path that doesn’t support us or bring us fulfillment when everything around us changes and becomes unfamiliar.

STEPS TO GET BACK ON A SECURE PATH.

Here are just two steps to get you going. First and foremost, be honest with yourself. I believe each of knows where we have gone wrong and how to begin to change. Maybe it’s as simple as forgiving someone in your life that results in opening a door back to family and friends you’ve walked away from. Sometimes it’s coming back to Jesus with a heart of repentance. Don’t hesitate…..just take action and do what you know you need to do.

WHEN YOU ARE FULFILLING YOUR PURPOSE YOUR PATH BECOMES SECURE.

Next is to begin to step into that dream you have hesitated pursuing because of limitations you have put on yourself. I want to tell you something today, YOU ABLE and YOU ARE QUALIFIED to do what has been in your heart to do. As you take that first step; maybe it’s calling someone you know can help, or writing that first blog. Maybe it’s filming and posting that first vlog, or taking a class to begin to prepare. Just take one step. After the first one, the second one will be easier.

Stability comes when you are walking the path God has planned for your life.

Remember the lady I talked about in the beginning of this post. She had the courage to take those steps to start her business right in the middle of the COVID crisis! It was a great success that night! I know her vision was seen by all of us that attended and we were blessed to be there. And we all got to take home our beautiful picture of a butterfly.

I WANT TO ENCOURAGE YOU TODAY TO GET ON THE CORRECT PATH. DO WHAT YOU KNOW YOU ARE CALLED TO DO. YOUR WORLD NEEDS YOU AND YOU NEED TO FULFILL YOUR PURPOSE. (And I can’t wait to hear about it!!)

MY BEAUTIFUL BUTTERFLY

YOU ARE NOT ALONE

It has been really difficult to write my blog during this time of Covid19 isolation. When I sit down to write I want to encourage readers to stand strong and trust God (my latest blog), but so many others are doing such a great job doing that already. I’ve considered totally ignoring everything going on around us and just telling my readers what I am doing during this time, but that isn’t very exciting because I’m not doing ANYTHING!! So I chose my third option, which was not to write much at all. But yesterday things just started getting to me and I kind of lost it (my poor husband)! So I have decided to just be open and honest with my readers and tell it like it really is.🤣🤣

So many things have changed my normal way of living in the last six weeks.

I’ve never been told to stay in my home and am only ‘allowed’ to make trips to the grocery store. Not only are my movements restricted but I’m being told that because of my age, I am considered ‘high risk’ for this virus. I thought the ’60s were the new 40s……boy that has really changed! I can’t go visit my kids and honestly, my kids don’t want me to visit because they want to protect me. I can’t visit my mom who is 93 because I want to protect her. I don’t live close to family but I can only imagine how hard it is for those who are living in the same town as them.

Then there are all these questions running through my brain like: What will remain changed with all of this? Will I always be considered ‘high risk’ now? Will my mom be afraid to leave her little apartment for fear of catching this virus and dying? Are my grandkids only going to know me from facetime and won’t know me by my kisses and hugs anymore? Will our world change so much that we have to live in separate worlds from now on? So many questions with so few answers.

MY EMOTIONS HAVE BEEN ALL OVER THE PLACE. I go from being angry, to feeling scared, to experiencing extreme loneliness, to being over sensitive and then under sensitive. It’s like I’m starting menopause all over again!! Am I alone in all this?? I don’t think so.

So what do I do?

I tried just ignoring all these fears and concerns but dismissing them didn’t make then go away. When we think we’re hiding them we really aren’t and those around us will confirm that! As painful and disturbing and embarrassing as it is I have had to open up and admit I have been worried about all of this and what the future will look like. As I’ve done this I am also realizing it is ok to have these feelings and emotions. That it is ‘normal’ and everyone has them in times like these. What I can’t do is allow my thoughts and fears to dictate my emotions. My fears, I’ve discovered, are not usually based on reality, or truth, but are almost always based on assumptions. What if’s. When I let fear take over, my emotions take over, and I become irrational. That is not what I need now. My mind needs to be clear and my thinking needs to be based on truth.

Here is what I am doing to relieve my stress and dispel my fear:

  1. I am reminding myself I am not alone in my concerns and that it is ok to have them. Psalms 23:4 “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me.”
  2. I am living day by day and not getting too far ahead of myself in assuming what the future might look like. Today has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.”
  3. I am not hiding my concerns anymore but addressing them openly by asking those I trust for wisdom. Proverbs 22:17 “Listen to the words of the wise; apply your heart to my instruction.”
  4. I am reminding myself every day and sometimes moment by moment that God is in control and I don’t have to fear. He has already gone ahead of me and will be there when I get there so I don’t have to worry. Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.”

I’ve written all of this to hopefully encourage you and to let you know YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Around the world, we are sharing a similar experience as we are trying to protect ourselves from the COVID19 virus. My prayer has been that this experience will cause us all to realize how much we need each other and that our only hope of surviving any virus is by trusting in God’s grace and healing power. I run to Him every day and thank Him for sending His Son to die on a cross for my sins to give me life eternal. This life I’m living now is not forever but I know my forever life is secure because I have given it to Christ. If you have realized you need Jesus in your life I would encourage you to begin to read the Bible and ask Him to come and meet you right where you are. He cares!

FOR NOW, I AM DREAMING OF THE DAY I GET TO HUG MY GRANDKID’S NECKS AGAIN!

It’s Time to Stand in Faith: A Story of God’s Provision

In the last few weeks I have been asking myself questions like “how do I stay strong in this fear driven world?” And “what if I get this virus?” And even “what if my income is affected by this shaky economy?” I’m sure you have found yourself asking the same questions. There is so much unknown and the ‘what ifs’ are constantly on my mind.

This is when talking to myself becomes a healthy thing to do.

I remind myself of other seasons of uncertainty that I have lived through (and survived) and have seen God provide for me and my family in miraculous ways. The Bible is full of these kinds of stories but they are even more real when they are your own and come out of real-life experiences.

When I was 16 I lived in war-torn Nigeria with my missionary parents and three brothers. We were in our third term when we found ourselves caught in the middle of civil war. There was a time when our area was taken over and we were cut off from all communication with the outside world for 6 weeks. (This was before computers and cell phones, so being cut off was really that.) Our families back home didn’t know if we were dead or alive. Altogether there were three families, consisting of 6 children (the youngest being four years old) and 8 adults. Stores were closed and food was scarce as there were no trucks bringing in supplies. The roads out of the area were blocked so we had no other recourse but to stay put.

My dad and several of the men decided to drive 30 miles into the nearest town. We knew there were some American oil bases in the area and we hoped that some of their people had remained to watch over their equipment.

When they arrived at the American oil base a large man in his Texan hat came out to greet them. When it was explained that we lived 30 miles away and there were children and more adults the man said: “If you guys are staying around then you need to come with me.” They got in his Land Rover and he drove them to a huge warehouse. As they drove up my dad said: “This is the warehouse I saw in my dream last night!”

Long story short, we were given as much food as we wanted and also given a movie projector and movies to watch (that was well before home movies were even heard of). I remember eating canned pie filling and steaks, food that was fit for a king (in my mind)!

Not only did God provide but He provided more than we needed. It was a miracle provision I WILL NEVER FORGET!!!

As a young adult, this made a huge impression on my life. I can honestly say that I have never doubted that the God I serve will ever let me down. I know He loves me and cares not only for my needs but goes above and beyond my needs to take care of me. He is a miracle-working God and it’s during seasons like we are living in that He shines. If we can trust Him and depend on Him and remind ourselves that He will take care of us, I believe we will see and hear miraculous stories of provision and healing come out of this season. The scripture below challenged me today.

Stand in faith for yourself, your family, and your friends.

PS. I would love to hear some of your stories of God’s goodness during this season of quarantine and self-distancing as we share with each other in the comments. Look for the good and let’s encourage each other!

A TIME TO FOCUS

FOCUS: a point of concentration.

Being able to bring things into focus is difficult when your world is suddenly turned topsy turvy as all of us are experiencing with the Corona-Virus. You don’t know where to focus first. The things that were so routine have become non-essential. All of a sudden all you want to do is eat and watch the news and worry about what you might have missed buying at the grocery store because you know they are probably out of that very item!! Everything is out of focus, so to speak. My life hasn’t really changed that much yet it seems like it has because every conversation I have with anyone else is centered around urgency and worry and concern for what might be coming next. AND IT IS ALL HAPPENING GLOBALLY!!!!

Well, I just want to add a word of encouragement along with all the other bloggers and YouTubers and Instagramers and FaceBookers…… This is a season when we need to remember what is important in our lives and not let our minds get caught up in thinking too much. Thinking too much is exactly what it means, thinking too much. This will prevent us from taking action. It consumes our energy, disables our ability to make decisions, and puts you on a loop of thinking and thinking over and again. And that’s why you feel like you are going in circles! I don’t know about you but if I were to let my mind go to the fear of the unknown I will find myself in a place that won’t be of any good to me or anyone else.

When I am feeling overwhelmed I make sure I am doing certain things; exercise every day, read my Bible, pray and do something I enjoy to fill my mind with good thoughts. (Right now I’m reading a good book and enjoying the scenery around me.)

Yesterday while reading in Genesis about Joseph I found myself identifying with him on a couple of levels. First, he was just going about doing something good when suddenly he found himself thrown into a pit and then sold as a slave. He went from a favorite son to a slave. And that was only the beginning. I KNOW HE HAD TO WONDER IF GOD HAD ABANDONED HIM, LET ALONE HIS WHOLE FAMILY TURNING AGAINST HIM.

As I read this story I began to see that Joseph’s situation is similar to what we are experiencing now. In the middle of it all he had to keep focused so as not to allow his mind to be filled with fear and worry. All began to become clear when Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dreams and said: “Can we find anyone else like this man so obviously filled with the spirit of God?”

Pharaoh saw Joseph as God’s provision for a time of difficulty.

God had a plan all along. He needed to get Joseph into a certain place so He could use Him to save his nation. We are all in places of some kind of influence and I believe now is a good time to focus our eyes on what God is saying to us in the middle of all this chaos of the Corona-Virus. Every one of us has been affected by it on some level and if we ask God I believe He will show us how to be Joseph’s to our world. Your Joseph moment might be when you have a chance to speak to your kids and interact with them in a time when you have their full attention. You may be able to help a neighbor that hasn’t been open to you before but they need help now. This might be the time to get serious about doing certain things you have been putting off such as getting your finances in order or building a reserve of food in your home. I saw one Instagrammer with a large family putting in a garden. Maybe you have time to talk to your mom (hint, hint to my kids) or call grandma more.

Joseph saved his nation but there is no way he would have been able to do that without God placing him in just the right place. While he was going through prison and slavery and being wrongly accused I know Joseph didn’t really understand what God was doing. But He kept focused. He kept God first and knew he was going to be ok because God was in control of His life.

This virus is not from God but just like Joseph said at the end of Genesis, “What the enemy meant for evil, God has used for good.” Stay safe and healthy and remember…..this too shall pass!

A SEASON TO TREASURE RELATIONSHIPS

Relationships change with every season. Friends that were close in those younger years don’t always remain close as our season in life changes. When we move, relationships change as well. We find ourselves making new friends and forming new relationships.

In order for relationships to remain they have to change as you change.

I am not the same person I was in my teens, thank goodness! We change as we experience more of life, hopefully for the good. I have found that the friends who have been in my life for 20 years or more are ones that have grown and changed as I have. Wether my relationships are new or have been in my life for a long time, they are have become more important to me in this season. And it’s a proven fact that relationships keep us younger, and healthier.

What has surprised me in this season is how precious relationships have become to me.

I am the oldest in my family and so is my husband. Over the almost 46 years of marriage and five major moves, we have experienced seasons of change in our relationships with our siblings. There have been seasons of closeness, and then seasons where we weren’t so close. Those not so close seasons were when are families were young and our careers all consuming, as well as when each of us were living across the country or on the other side of the world from each other!

Here are 3 ways relationships become easier over the years:

  • We find it easier to forgive and forget. Maybe it’s because we realize none of us is perfect and we are more willing to accept the mistakes of others because we know we made just as many.
  • We become more willing to choose our fights and not feel like we have to confront everything we don’t agree on. Some things just aren’t worth fighting over anymore!
  • We need each other! In our former seasons of life we took pride in being independent but as we age and gain some wisdom, we begin to realize the season we are heading into is one where we will need our friends and family. Relationships become much more important to us.

Every season in my life has changed me and my relationships. I am finding that even those I had in my early years are different and on a newer level. They are sweet and very precious to me. We are getting to know each other again and enjoying the memories of the past as well as well as building new memories in the present.

Siblings and friends. Life is real and not always easy. We need each other and life is better with them in it!

You may find yourself in a season of disconnect with your siblings or maybe you are having a hard time making new friends. I have found that I need a point of connection in order to connect…(wow…profound, isn’t it:) With my brothers we have been able to reconnect because our kids are grown, our time is more free, and we are currently living in the same country! But we have also had to make it a priority to see each other and to talk regularly on the phone. It has been important to us and I am loving it!

I believe the best place to make new connections is in a local church. Most churches have small groups that meet together during the week and just attending regularly makes you a familiar face and you begin to connect. Another great place to meet people is by participating in a group sport. No more rocking chair seniors. The ones around me play tennis, ride their bikes and keep as active as their health allows.

If you want to enjoy this season then begin to make relationships your priority. Forgive, forget, and be intentional about reaching out. This season of life can be one of great enjoyment and fulfillment.

Something I Would Tell My Younger Self:

Build on Life’s Challenges

In 2019 I wrote a blog entitled “Something I Would Tell My Younger Self: Prioritize the “S” Word in Your Marriage. Since that blog I have thought of other things I wish I would have known in my ‘younger seasons’.

Every season in life has it’s good times and it’s not so good times. I love remembering those sweet moments when my little boy smothered me with kisses and my little girl watched me adoringly as I put on my makeup. Those moments that seemed so trivial at the time but mean the world to me now. RECORDING THOSE MOMENTS has gotten so much easier with our cell phones and Social Media. The challenge still remains to make them significant. It seemed like I was always too busy just living life, not realizing life was rushing past me very quickly! Enjoy them in the “now” season.

Times of difficulty and challenge should be remembered too.

Don’t look at the challenges you face in life as being put there just to make your life miserable. They have a purpose that is hard to see when you are in the middle of them. Those times are when I learned the most and changed the most. As I remember them now, I realize they made me a better person. If it was a challenge because of a mistake I made, I tried to learn from that mistake and allowed it to be a stone I built on. My husband and I realize now that the challenges we faced in our marriage and as we raised our children improved us as we faced them and learned from them. They made us stronger, not weaker. Even those hardships in life such as illness and unexpected loss that seemed so difficult, set our life on a completely different coarse and turned out to be used for good. They developed positive things in our life that we wouldn’t trade for anything.

So, younger self, as you walk through life, remember the good AND the not so good. Build your life so it just gets better because you learn to embrace every season and learn from every mistake and disappointment and challenge and blessing. They make you stronger and better.

This verse in the Bible kept me focused on the bigger picture in every season of life; “FOR WE KNOW THAT GOD CAUSES EVERYTHING TO WORK TOGETHER FOR THE GOOD OF THOSE WHO LOVE GOD AND ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE FOR THEM.” Romans 8:28

My favorite books are those written about amazing people who have faced unbelievable challenges in life that have made them stronger and better.

Here are some links to books that have been an inspiration to me: