Dear Friends and Family,
One of my girlfriends encouraged me to post to my blog since it’s been a while…you know, I am really thankful for the encouragers and the exhorters. God really uses them in a big way in my life.
One music ministry related update is that God is enabling me to get fully adjusted at my church and they have welcomed me onto their praise team, which is both exciting and humbling! I honestly haven’t felt worthy, technically speaking, and I am not even a very bold person. Most people say I come across timid in person. This church is large compared to churches I have attended for over the past couple of decades, but I am learning God doesn’t like us to stay in one place for long, spiritually speaking…He wants us to grow from glory to glory (2 Corinthians 3:16-18)! Actually, there were many years as a teen when church for me was in my bedroom studying the Bible and praying by myself and listening to a preacher on television, and when being used by God on a stage was unfathomable for me! I am thankful that God, my husband, and some people at this church were both persistent and patient with me so that I may grow in this way. I am also thankful for the people God has placed in my life since childhood who have prayed for me and supported me. I know I am no spiritual giant, but God has brought me a very long way, and He has delivered me from my own personal Egypt!
Another positive thing that happened recently was that the pastor of my church challenged us to kick off the New Year with a 21 day fast called the Daniel Fast. He basically challenged us to simplify our diet, cut back on technology, and plug in more with God, prayer, the Word, our life, our families, etc…I don’t think I have really fasted since I was a child. I believe there is a lot to be said about doing things as a group, in which there is encouragement and accountability! I definitely didn’t do a perfect job of executing this fast, but I truly believe God rewarded my efforts and sacrifices, as little as they were. After talking with my husband, we decided to fast from eating out and from sweets completely…now there may have been some frozen or prepared dinners from the grocery store and some things with small sugar content, but we stopped eating out and cut out sugary things like candy, pastries, ice cream, flavored creamers, soft drinks, lattes, and any kind of desserts. I honestly thought this was going to be very hard, because I ate quite a bit of sugar every day and ate out at least a few times a week, not counting special coffees like lattes and iced mochas (basically a chocolate coffee LOL), but little did I know that God had prepared me! He prepared me by giving me a great discontent about certain things in my life, like my addiction to technology, my addiction to unhealthy foods, and my very messy house…yes, my house had fallen away since my “Cleaning House” blog post. Sighs…As a side note, I really think balance is important in life. I don’t think cleaning house should be the only priority, but I also think it should be on the priority list! We can take anything to extremes, and I am an extreme type of person so God is teaching me boundaries! I am not aiming for a perfect house, just a house that helps my family achieve peace in the home and allows us to be even stronger and more focused in other areas of our life.
Right before the fast, God blessed me with the money to buy a Kindle, which was money I got for my birthday. This is something I have wanted for years. And then He instructed me not to clutter my Kindle like my house is cluttered, and to simply put one Bible and one book about getting my house in order. I didn’t know what book that would be, but after a little research, I found the right book for me. I am hesitant to say the name because I don’t know if it would be right for everyone, but God knew the right one for me! It was written by a Christian author decades ago, so some of her ideas were a little outdated, but her sense of humor, her understanding about the mind of a cluttered person, and her good, common sense and simple ideas were just what I needed to motivate and inspire me!
Now that the fast is over and I have read most of that book, I will tell you some of the ways God blessed me through obedience:
1) I have a closer walk with God.
2) My faith is stronger.
3) Some of my old optimism and passion has returned.
4) I have lost 7 pounds. (I know what you’re thinking. Everyone says I don’t need to lose weight but I was about 25 pounds heavier than before I had kids so I had a desire to lose some of that.)
5) I have found new inspiration and motivation to get my house in order. So far, all three bedroom closets are organized, my family room is organized, my husband’s desk is organized, all of our paperwork in the house is under control and filed away in filing cabinets, and my kids’ rooms are organized.
I still have a long way to go, but it’s a good start!
Please pray for me to be persistent and continue to grow in all of these areas and most of all in my walk with God. And I pray that God will encourage and grow you as well! Here are the scriptures that have been an encouragement to me in the past couple of months:
Hebrews 11:6: And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.
Matthew 5:6: Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Matthew 6:33: But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Psalms 37:4-5: Take delight in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this.
Proverbs 3:5-6: Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.
Philippians 1: 6: being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
Matthew 11:28-30: “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”
Nehemiah 8:10: Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.
Philippians 4:4-9: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentle spirit be known to all men. "The Lord is near. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
Thanks for your time and as always, stay in touch! E-mail or comment and I will respond!