Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Seeing The World As A Non Facebooker

People claiming not having Facebook keeps others out of their business.

This makes me chuckle.

Facebook isn't how non Facebookers perceive it. 

There are boundaries. 

Every ounce of your personal business isn't poured out. 

Manage how openly you share. 
Choose what not to share.
Friend who you wish.

A few weeks ago, my Bible study class started a new study called Breathe by Priscilla Shirer. My precious Bible study leaders followed their heart in the direction the Lord called them in choosing what study to do next. The Breathe study is base off the Sabbath, not necessarily on Sunday but allowing yourself margins and boundaries daily to create tranquility for our soul. 

One of the first exercises suggest writing anything that holds too much control over your current season of life. I wrote, social media. Out beside social media, I continued writing, "I really don't like writing social media. I feel God uses me through social media." One of my natural strengths is balance and boundaries. When the study kicked off I wasn't sure it would be worth much.

The month prior, I held an online art auction. The money raised I donated for liver cancer research. My heart was bulging out of my chest claiming a break from facebook, social media. When we openly talked in class about the first exercise. I spoke up about social media. Most of the class could relate. We all agreed to challenge each others limit of social media intake. 

The first week went well for me. The second week one of my leaders suggest deleting the apps from our phone. It's been nice breaking free. The world through non-Facebookers eyes is amazing. I can sit peaceful at a red light. Usually, my thoughts race knowing what status to post next. Don't get me wrong. Facebook is a great outlet/platform geared towards being a writer, blogger, artist and photographer. The time away God is using to speak to my soul. 

He is realigning my time. 

How my time is freeing:
carpool is not spent scrolling FB/IG
I don't wake up scrolling social media
my mind is not constant spining for the next status or the next picture I will post
how many people liked my post/picture

Things I've done instead:
deleted old emails
deleted old pictures
deleted apps
organized apps
conversed with God deeper
take fewer pictures
relaxed my mind
enjoyed a day tailgating with friends/football game

My Bible study has a prayer wall. Once a day from my desktop I check in, then scroll through my home page and share blog post. Outside of this I am enjoying the freedom from Facebook.

Things God conversed with me:
stop taking so many pictures
a steadily check on social media is exhausting
listen to the season of your life
foucus on your writing
organize your writing skills
you've grown as a writer
the time will come for the final edits on you second book, even if it's after the first of the year when you mentioned to your audience/readers/platform it would be ready late fall

He used exhaustion from the online art auction to pull me in closer to Him. "Listen to what I have to say." Facebook is reminding you of everything you don't have. The walk closer to Him is reminding me of everything I already have-own, blessed with, growth, enjoy, born with, acquire etc. 

Discovering a social media break was worth the study to me.

When I wait you strengthen my heart. Psalm 27:14

How to know if you maybe in need of a social media break:
tired of seeing everyone's pictures
check it first thing every morning
look at it throughout lunch and dinner
don't hear what others are saying around you
sudden urge to take pictures of your every move
urge to show off only your highlight moments in life
urge to show off material possessions

My encouragement is to take a break.

Delete the apps from your phone.

Be free.

See.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Major Mommie Goof

Having pet peeves, I believe keeps us in check with our maker.

The last Bible study for the semester was yesterday finishing up Breathe by Priscilla Shirer.

Only, I didn't go.

It's been eight years since I had a middle school age child. Think of eight years ahead putting a highchair in your home after your last child. Think of your last child learning to drive eight years from now. Will you remember everything? Or will it hit you in the face beforehand?

"Exams. Wait. What? I am not ready for this."

6th Grade is wonderful. Great maturing time for the kids. As mine said the other day, "I like knowing no one's holding my hand."

Not giving exams a thought, I commit myself to a major "outreach" project with my friends at Bible study. Tuesday is my day doing life with other mothers. A repeating cycle of connection. A time to be around actual adults.

Postcards made.

Connect wall updated about the project.

Then it hit me. My daughter lay sleeping on the dining room floor next to me. She'd been studying while I made notecards on Quizlet for the next day's exam. A conversation on the way home from school reminded me "I will be done at 9 o'clock or 9:50 with my exam."

The next morning, I updated every one of my major goof.

My biggest pet peeve is saying I'll do something then something get's in the way. It can paralyze my soul feeling like a failure if I allow it.

While Bible study was in progress, I rest in His presence. Listening to His communication about this major goof, I was reminded we are not restrained from failing. Often these times are used for Him teaching us something, cleansing us and growing us closer to Him. Also, can be used for others around us to see, "oh they fall too". If my fall helps even one person relate, have at it, Lord. We all desperately need God and His mercy and grace in our lives.

Have you failed at something recent?

The enemy wants us to believe:

we are true failures
everyone will talk about
you are a total idiot
no one will trust you

Moving forward can be impossible if we allow the enemy to win.

If you goof move on. Listen for His quite subtle voice to still your soul. It is possible to move on.

The secret recovery of a failure is simple.

Cling to Him.

Cling to His word.

Listen.

Learn.

Move on.

My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:26

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Let this be your year

Honoring room to breathe this Christmas season sounds awesome.

Right?

The day after Thanksgiving is a tradition. My girls are photographed by me. These photographs are then used for our Christmas card. In the years past, I've learned by Thanksgiving the cotton's picked for the year. Since cotton's been on my list of backdrops. We planned beforehand this year.

Can you believe it?

We planned.

The girls dressed in their cute comfy outfits hopping in the car. The camera sat on the charger. I bagged it in my black camera bag. In the driver seat, my bottom plops.

My husband mentioned the week before he saw cotton. I drove my car opposite from what he suggest. My mind knew where cotton would be. Forty-five minutes later, I pose the idea to my daughter, "call your dad". After the spill, "I told you where cotton would be." I turned in the first driveway. Both ways, I glanced a clear view. In the opposite direction, we head seeing cotton in no time.

I turned downhill a dusty road in front of "the best" cotton field. Giggling how the people across the street may run us off for playing in their cotton. Dust covered our toes as everyone slide out. The wind pushed hair in one's lip gloss and across their eyes. My trained daughters mandarin around cotton stems posing.

This year after Thanksgiving was relaxing. The Sunday after, I edited the picked pictures creating our Christmas card. Days later the Fed Ex carrier pulled in our driveway. My memory pondered, "what could he be delivering?" The carrier drove away. A box laid outside my garage. I opened the garage. My body leaned forward grabbing the box. The return address revealed where from the package shipped. I remembered.

Christmas.

Cards.

The only holding tradition of my family's is taking the girls picture and creating a Christmas card.

The girls are older now. This tradition might not always carry. A different season brings different things. Growing in a direction with being okay with seasons changing is awesome.

If you have not created a Christmas card for your family, let this year be yours to breathe. Be the change. Cards don't have to be created. There are things through the year we as the Murphy's don't do: beach trip at the end of school year, long trips during spring break, go to all the home college football games, etc. If I am honest, seeing or hearing those things can cause a raunchy feeling in my soul. I don't mean to, but it happens.

Please, if this year isn't yours, let it be.

Relax.

Enjoy.

Be free from the enslaved fast pace craziness. There is no bylaw saying, "You must send Christmas cards to be valued, be in the loop, or to have it together".  Rest in His goodness.

Kiss the cards goodbye.

Set a new trend.

Sabbath.

My presence will go with you and I will give you rest. Exodus 33:14

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Answer Two or More

You may have more to offer than you realize.

Are you a note taker? Do you have little slips of paper laying around with scribbled words? How about the margins of books you read, do you write on those margins? Do you pull out a pen and paper when the preacher preaches? Are the notes on your phone full of things you write down? Are your tweets or facebook status' of strong conversational wisdom you and God have discussed? Do you blog? Are you a leader?

If you said yes to 2 or more of these questions then consider yourself a writer. Although you don't have some fancy platform of readers yet doesn't mean you are not a writer. You may be further in your writing calling then you realize, whether it's the early stages or advanced stages. In Gods timing, He will prompt you in the direction you need to go. Make yourself available to His calling on your life as a writer. Now is the time to be okay with what stage of writing you are in. It shall pass. You shall grow.

Continue on the 2 or more questions you answered yes to. Build on a few more from the list. This may require you to drop one of the ones you already answered yes to.

You don't have to have a book published to be a writer.

If you write, you are a writer.

Say it, "I am a writer."

You need to see yourself as God does. You are valuable to His kingdom. He loves you and your worth is greater in Him than mankind. Don't deny the value He already created for your life.

Matthew 10:29-31 TLB

"What's the price of a pet canary? Some loose change, right? And God cares what happens to it even more than you do. He pays even greater attention to you, down to the last detail even numbering the hairs on your head! So don't be intimidated by all this bully talk. You're worth more than a million canaries.

Write.

Monday, December 7, 2015

I said God

Saying something about God in written words is easy.

Saying something about God to the guy at the cash register is a little harder. I handed him my receipt along with the item I was exchanging. We walked over together looking on a table for the new item. Once we found what I was looking for, I proceed to ask him about another item. We walked over to a shelf on the wall. 

This is a store I've shopped in for years. So knowing their normal sales procedure and knowledge of the products, I could almost guess he'd not worked there long. 

After helping me find the second item, I asked him how long he had worked there. His response, "about three weeks". By this time we were back at the register, I smiled nodding my head. "Oh, three weeks. That's cool." 

"Yea, my wife got me this job for now. I used to work at such and such police department."

My eyes lit up, "really". I proceed to tell him I was very familiar with that line of work as it's in my family. "Yea, the administration was a little off and I just needed a break." Expressing I understood, "will you ever go back into law enforcement?" He wasn't quite sure. 

It happened in that moment, I said, "You know, God could have been using the struggle to remove you from there. He could be pressing you on to something bigger and better He has in store for you. Don't give up on law enforcement. There's a need for it more this day and time than anything. I know it can be scary to be out there."

He nodded his head. We talked a little more, I showed him how to combined punch cards. Paid. Said, "You have a good day." Walked out of the store.

This part right here is between you, the reader, and me only. "He'd be better off on the road."

I know without a doubt God was using me in this guys life. This was a store, I typically don't like to go in. Simply, because it's way out of my way. It was something on my to-do list I set out to conquer. I could've gone any other day. He might not have been working another day.

God is good like that. He is tiny stepping stones for some of us. And big gaping leaps for others.

What a great opportunity to shine His love in this guys life. It's easy to share a word from God or even scripture on Facebook, on my blog, in a book, at church or Bible study. This was the real deal. I didn't set out to say this. It rolled off my lips before I knew it. I felt His empowerment. Hopefully, this guys soul ruffled with His spirit like mine did. 

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Act 1:8


I pray this equips him. And is used as a piece of his story one day. May he remember it for life. 

My thoughts are: 

This guy may have been saved as a child but not currently walking. He may have been out of church for awhile needing this reminder to follow Him again. He may have never had someone mentioned God to him and draw closer to knowing Him. Or he may have been already listening for Gods favorable voice and heard it in that moment. 

Go beyond what you normally do. Ask God to show up in places He wouldn't normally in your walk. Ask him to use you in others life in public in your daily routine.

Say, God. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Teammates

Looking down at our phone is like looking down on life.

My car crossed over one lane of traffic turning left out of my neighborhood. A Christmas gift list floated in my mind while it laid on a list in the seat next to me. At the red light, cars passed beside me and in front of me. Then the arrow turned green. My car turned down a second two-lane road. As cars passed me head on, I noticed several drivers looking down, like face parallel to their lap. My life flashed in front of me, as each of my family members and each of the drivers family members did. Guessing they are looking at their phone. This happens daily on these two roads. 

We "mise-well" be funneling beer.

What's the one thing you hear coaches on basketball courts, soccer fields and football fields say? "Keep your head up and know where your teammates are at all times." Brothers and sisters, God wants the same thing. He wants us on His team. He wants us to hold our heads up. He wants us to see what's going on around us. He wants us alert at all times so we benefit our lives as well as others. He wants us to be teammates

Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8 

Let's look up at our teammates and be alert, be aware what's going on around us before we crash the game. If playing on our phone while in the car is necessary, let's find a designated driver.

I want to play on your team.

Will you pass me, safely? 

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Character Test

Aiming to humble oneself before the Lord grows Christ-like character. 

Yesterday, the Lord placed a verse on my heart. A verse, I wrote on a notecard 2 years ago. Deuteronomy 8:2 It says, "Remember how the Lord your God led you through the wilderness, humbling you and testing you to prove your character..."

At the time of originally writing the verse, I was walking through some things to me just didn't seem right, seem fair. Who can relate? Walking through that time frame, I wrote verses on notecards. No certain verse just verses I came across. A stack of versed notecards accumulated. 

Over the Thanksgiving break this year, I pinned the notecards with clothes pins to a decorative piece in my dining room. Yesterday, while serving my family doing things around my home, I stopped at the verses. The first and only one I read was the Deuteronomy 8:2. A rush of refreshment washed over my body enlighting my soul. 

My thoughts then transferred over to a friend. Whom I know is walking through something that "just doesn't seem right". I've been praying for her while walking alongside her. 

It was in those moments, reading His words on the notecard, I put two and two together. Thinking about what I walked through and thinking about what she is walking through. He answered me in ways back then I couldn't see. I shared all of this with her. Cultivating her struggle was helping me with something I struggled with almost 2 years ago. God is good if we listen. If we anticipate His goodness.

I know he was growing my character. At the time walking through it, I knew it was happening but was like "God, I am grown. How could you grow me anymore? Just please let me be, let me be the obedient child of yours and do what you have called me to do." Let me say, "we are always growing." Isn't that awesome? I want to grow more. I want to help others grow too. 

I grew spiritually. He bumped me up a notch. Knowing I had some junk inside me, only He and I knew about (stupid pity stuff-darkness-self doubt-etc.). Stuff you just don't sit around talking to people about for reasons you just don't know how to say it, people will think your crazy, admitting it to others just isn't happening, because we don't even want to admit it to ourselves or know how to or that we need to. I know now all those funky feeling was Him awakening my soul to a deeper relationship with Him. 

So think back over the verse again. I see two major words: wilderness and humble. 

Wilderness is an uncultivated, uninhabited, and inhospitable region. Think of boondocks, boonies, desert, bushland and the wilds. When I think of wilderness, I think of very unfamiliar places. Unfamiliar places can show up as a hard time: conflict, disappointment, difficulty, temptation, times of dryness, and delays. 

Humbling is to have or to show modest of one's importance. Humbling ourselves before the Lord is releasing pride, arrogance and understand our flesh is inadequate. It's a form of truly worshiping Him. Think of submissive and respectful among being strong in the Lord. This doesn't mean we are wimps or we shouldn't say things to others in those hard time because in fact we should. He could be using the time to grow others around us in the same setting on different levels. It's understanding humility in the Bible and putting it to practice; you are a winner even if you don't win. Joy and pleasure wash over us out of acts in a godly manner making for our influence greater in situations. 

Bumping those two words, wilderness and humble, together grows character. 

Understanding this allows us to response quick in God's way during character building situations. We have the choice to be more like Christ by our simple reactions. 

He wants us to be like Him.

He wants us to grow in character.

He wants to test us. 

How has He grown you?
Do you know His character?

Monday, November 30, 2015

The Room is Empty

I am aware of the space surrounding me.

Thanksgiving day passed. Everyone returned to school and work. The blind next to me raised halfway allows sunlight to shine on my face. I sit at my writing place. The Christmas tree lights shine across the room into the dark of the tree branches. I ponder finding joy in the loneliness of writing. 

A soul longs for quiet moments, but how quiet? How do you find the balance blocking out the chatter of the world, the chatter of the enemy, self-doubt, the lonely?

I am encouraged to ask myself first "did you pray" before starting a day of writing.  

Praying I know brings peace. 

The peace embraces the silence of loneliness. 

Communicating this to our souls as a writer brings the importance of writing to a higher understand. It's beyond us. It's an act of obedience reminding us to whom we belong, that we are loved, we are truly important, and we are secure in Him. 

So I ask you-the-writer, "Did you think to pray?" before starting a day of writing. 

View the time of writing as your time with God.
Focus on the need for Him.
Let Him fill you up.

He will equip you reminding you, you are His. You are secure. There's no room for lonely thoughts of doubt when the room is full of Him. We must not allow loneliness to consume our soul. Loneliness is known as a lack of purpose. As an obedient child of God's, we have all the purpose in the world of writing.  

Allowing the lonely time to strengthen our prayer life is refreshing. I am reminded of this in Isaiah 66:9, a time of loneliness (suffering) is also a time of something new being born. Writing is a form of birth. Laboring those lonely pains births a new writing, a new prayer life.

Shall I bring to the point of birth and then not deliver? asks the Lord your God. No! Never! Isaiah 66:9 TLB

Do I bring to the moment of birth and not give delivery?” says the Lord“Do I close up the womb when I bring to delivery?” says your God. Isaiah 66:9 NIV

In the same way I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born,” says the Lord“If I cause you the pain, I will not stop you from giving birth to your new nation,” says your God. Isaiah 66:9 NCV

Let the lonely be a launching pad to your greatest calling.

You are called to write.