The Blessing of Rest

My husband and I have been moving and shaking since 2014 when God first spoke to us about relocating.  We’ve had the opportunity to meet various pastors, ministers, and some great friends.  We’ve been to so many churches in a few different states and they’ve all in one way or another not only impacted our lives, but taught us some life changing lessons.

For every place God has taken us, we’ve always jumped into ministry.  We love to worship and offer up help in any way we can…well, accept children’s ministry. We’re like magnets for youth, but always say we don’t do kids.  It’s weird, I know.  Anyways, I digress!

When God began to speak to us about Arizona, we assumed we would come here and jump right into ministry at a church.  In some ways we did, but God had other plans.  I remember one of the biggest things God made clear was that He was going to bring complete healing to our inner parts while being here.  I never quite understood what that meant until we actually got here and life slapped us up a couple times.

We’ve experienced some extreme highs and lows being here in Arizona.  I mean, things I never thought I’d think or do….it happened.  And it hit me and my family hard.

Yesterday for the first Saturday in a long time I was intentional about doing nothing.  Normally when my husband has to work, I’ll get up and find stuff for me and the kids to do, but I simply chose to rest.  As I sat there on the couch, God reminded me of something my pastor says a lot.  The blessing of rest.  I always chuckle when he says it because I can think of a thousand things to do in a single day.

As God brought that to mind, He showed me ME.  How I had spent the last couple months trying to conquer the world for everyone else, yet I lost myself.  I lost my zeal for everything He placed in me.  I was so busy trying to be super mom, wife, family member, employee, etc. that I lost my very own self.  Then I drowned myself in a failed effort to numb the pain of being lost just for God to bring me to this very pivotal moment.

REST.

Can we say #relentlesslove?! I went to sleep thinking on rest and woke this morning with Paul on my mind.  Paul was imprisoned a few times, but during those times of  imprisonment Paul wrote the very words that encourage Christians today to keep going.  What makes Paul’s writings so inspirational to me is that he wrote them while sitting a prison cell:

11 I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.                   Philippians 4:11-13 NIV

Paul knew what it was to be in ministry and he knew what it was to live like hell.  He had all human right to complain about where he was given the fact that he gave his life over to ministry and yet was still going through so much.  The thing is, Paul chose to look at his situation through God’s eyes and not mans or his very own.  Yes, he was sitting in a prison.  Yes, people hated him.  Yes, people wanted him dead.  Yet Paul still was at rest.

Paul had radically changed.  He heard the voice of God and decided to obey and be changed.  His decision didn’t change the world he lived in, it changed how he saw the world.  He no longer reacted to what was happening in the natural, but he chose to trust the God he served not half way, but wholly submitting his entire life to God.

In doing so….even in a prison cell….Paul discovered the blessing of rest.

It’s in that blessing that Paul was able to find contentment.

It’s in that blessing that Paul found healing from the inside, out.

It’s in that blessing that Paul was able to write encouragement to the church who lived outside those prison walls.

It’s in that blessing of rest that the writings of Paul inspired by God’s rest is able to speak and minister to my heart this very morning.

You see, when we feel like life has come to a screeching halt, we start to panic.

We start soul searching as to why life has stopped. We find mundane activities to keep us busy when quite frankly, God is saying Rest.

Resting doesn’t mean life has paused or that something is wrong.  It simply means God is doing what He needs to do in and through you so you can be ready for what’s coming.

When a woman is pregnant, her baby is at rest inside of her.  It’s only job is to simply be while being fed and comforted in its mother’s womb.  Life hasn’t stopped for the fetus.  On the contrary, it’s just beginning.  It may be stuck in the same place for a couple of months, but while it’s there, it’s growing and maturing in ways it can’t do for itself.  It may not comprehend what’s happening, but all questions are answered when the child is birthed.

Today I want to encourage you to embrace the blessing of rest.  You may feel stagnant right now, but if you will simply submit wholly and completely to God, you will find that He has been doing a work in you this entire time.   If you will decide to simply stop and take in the moment, you will see that He’s been giving you time to breathe and grow.  Whether you think you need it or not.

We need it a lot more than we know.  Ministry is great and all, but the blessing of rest is what empowers us, equips us, and strengthens us for the journey ahead.

God is a limitless God who Himself understood the power and blessing of rest.  Let’s stop trying to run the show because we always learn the hard way that we simply can’t do a thing without God.  Let’s embrace the blessing of rest so God can prune and prepare us for the movement ahead.

Until next time, Be Blessed….and Rest.

LadyWhipp

 

 

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The Bigger Picture

I grew up in a female dominated family. We literally had one male per generation and man, did I feel bad for those guys! Divorce wrecked the majority of my family’s marriages and many of the women were single mothers. Let’s just say I grew up around some strong minded (and tempered) women.
I remember being a teenager and having a frame of mind that I didn’t need a man. The quote, “I am woman, hear me roar!” was the back drop to my family’s lifestyle and we were proud of it. Yes, it was hard being single mothers, but we made it look good!
My first marriage was riddled with abuse, alcoholism and fear. I went from being a confident woman to a cowering little girl, always looking behind her back in fear he would pop up and decide to finish the job. The moment God delivered me from him and I finally filed for divorce, I ran back to school determined to get my life back.
When I remarried, I was on cloud nine. I knew I married the man specifically designed for me and my kids. He was polite, loving, and so patient with me. It was in the beginning of our marriage that my past quickly and very clearly reared its ugly head. I criticized every good deed he did. I talked a lot of smack to him and about him to friends and family. As you can imagine, it started a lot of unneeded arguments and created a lot of tension between us.
I remember one day after one of our regular fights, I had a conversation with a dear friend who lovingly put me in my place. She flat out said, “Stop it! Stop treating him like he’s going to hurt you. Stop talking down to, and about him. Look at your family. Do you want to continue the cycle of divorce and single motherhood? Be the change you want to see in your children. Show your children what it is to love and accept love from someone who genuinely cares.”
You know how the people closest to you can say the same thing over and over again and you not hear it, but it takes a random outside person to tell you to make it click? That’s what happened!
After that conversation and prayer with my friend, I began to ask God to help me speak life over my husband and support him. Funny thing was, the moment I made up in my mind to speak more positively over my husband, he comes home with a pink slip! Of course that would happen when I’m supposed to be nice!
There I was, in the middle of a test and God decides to throw a few bonus questions in there!
From that point forward, my husband struggled with work for months. I had days where I did well and some days, let’s just say were harder than others. But it got easier. During that time of seeking employment, God allowed me to see the bigger picture. It wasn’t just about him not being able to get a job, but it was about God working something in me that I lost in previous hurtful experiences. My ability to be a help mate to my husband. God needed to show me, ME so that He could restore my heart and my mindset towards my husband.

Towards all men.
The more uplifting I spoke about my husband to others, the easier it was to speak life to him and support him. In time, our relationship began to grow and we quickly became more than husband and wife, but we became partners and ultimately, best friends. I learned what it meant to be my husband’s help mate in more ways than one.
You see, when the Bible speaks of a help mate, women automatically think slave, but it’s quite the opposite. Being a help mate is being your husband’s number one cheerleader. It’s loving him just as you want him to love you and being dedicated to the partnership you have created. It’s lifting him up when he’s down and walking with him on his best AND worst days. It’s remembering he is simply him and no one else. Giving him a clean slate even when you’ve been hurt before. Why? Because if God brought you together, it is for your good!
I want to encourage you to seek God on how you can be a better help mate for your husband. Put aside your past and ask God to take you above the familiar. You see, when you’re in the forest surrounded by your past and preconceived thoughts, it’s hard to see past it. But when you ask God to bring you to a higher place of understanding, He is able to lift you up and show you the bigger picture.
Being our husband’s help mate is not just about our attitude and heart posture, it’s about our husbands and what they need to keep going as the head of our households. Let’s do what we can and use our God given gifts and talents to help our husbands be who they were called to be.
Until next time, Be Blessed!
LadyWhipp

I’m Good!

Hey y’all, hey!!! Summer is finally coming to a close here in Arizona and we’ve entered into full time school year happenings. Life has definitely taken some swings, but we’re still here and God is still teaching and moving.

I gotta have a truth moment with you, though. I hit a rough patch and let it get a few hits on me! Instead of pressing through, I gave in and began to sink. But God!

My husband and I have gone through this season of one hit after another and we both have had moments where we’ve looked at each other like, What is happening?! We’ve fought anger, depression, confusion, and the urge to flat out walk away from it all. We even allowed life to make us unhappy in ways we never thought we would be. I’ve struggled with habits I thought I let go of a long time ago in an effort to cope with this unknown feeling of blah.

Funny thing about old habits is that even though we expect the same result, when we know better, God requires more. We can’t drink ourselves to sleep or pop enough pills to get that numbing feeling anymore. It’s that relentless love… Even in my most darkest night, God found ways to speak to me.

Today our pastor said something that made me wonder which window he was peaking through this morning to eavesdrop on me and my husband’s conversation.

We spent our morning talking about how rough life’s been and how we couldn’t see how things changed so dramatically. On the flip side, we brought up how even though things were different and hard, we’ve also been blessed.

When we got to church, the first thing our pastor said after worship is How’s everyone doing? Then he goes on to say that no matter how things look, whether it’s how we hoped or not, we should always be able to say, I’m good! Why? Because as long as you’re in God’s will, you ARE good!

Paul did most of his writing while sitting in a prison, yet he learned what it was to be content in whatever situation he was in because he trusted in the God he served. Joseph came face to face with the very brothers who betrayed him years prior and instead of dwelling on his past and what they did, he chose to love them and help them during the famine.

I think of David and how even though some of his writings in the book of Psalms start with him crying out in fear, distress or anger, there’s always a turning point in that very same chapter where he has his But God moment. It’s where David refocuses on the One who has the ability to get him through. Notice I said through, and not out.

Does life hurt sometimes? Like heck. Is it confusing most days? Yep. Does it frustrate the heck out of you not knowing how things will turn out or where life will end up? Always! Especially for a planning freak like me! But when you make a decision to serve the One who wrote your story before you were even a thought in your mother’s head, that requires you to TRUST that very same God!

So why dwell on what you have no control over? Why stress over stuff thats fleeting? What seems impossible to us is nothing but pure reality to God. We just have to trust that God is able. My question for you today is, Do you trust God? I mean, really?

Believe me, I’ve had to question myself as well. A few times! I’m speaking to myself first and foremost before anyone else!

Today I want to encourage you to really open your heart and have a truth moment between you and God. Do you trust Him? I mean really trust God enough to not be completely railroaded by life and all its twists and turns?

What’s holding you back or making you pause when people ask you how you’re doing? Are you playing the movie of all the bad situations going on instead of smiling while reminding yourself of how God is keeping you and yours through it all?

Choose to be intentional about what you respond to and how you respond. Choose to trust God even when you can’t make sense of any of it. Choose to pray and submit it all to the God who can keep you and grow you through life’s ride. Choose to smile and sincerely say, I’m Good!

Until next time,

Be Blessed!

I KNOW WHO I AM!

As we bring this summer series to an end, please allow me one more week to pour into you.
I remember being younger and in that prison cell in my mind. I had gotten so used to faking it, that I honestly couldn’t tell my truth from a lie. I had been through so much in my life, both caused by myself and others.
When I hit rock bottom, I was in a messed up place. Never in a million years did I think I could do a thing to make up for the things I had done or the people I had hurt. But God.
As much as I thought my diagnosis of LGL Leukemia was a rightful punishment from God, it was actually my saving grace. It was through that experience (among a few others along the way) that I came to see God as a God of wholeness and freedom. You see, I spent too many years imagining in my mind how I truly wanted to worship, but never did a thing because I was my own worst critic. How could someone like me worship so freely? Do you not remember all the messed up things you’ve done? What makes you think you can be that free??
I not only had an issue with unforgiveness, I had an issue with my identity. I didn’t know who I was or WHOSE I was.
To be quite honest, even to this day I have my moments of struggling to remember who I am in Christ. Especially when rough times hit.
My husband recently had the gastric sleeve and the recovery has been one of the worst ones I’ve ever seen. We’ve had some bad days and some even worse days where I thought I was going to lose my husband. I’ve experienced all sorts of feelings watching him endure such a dreadful recovery from anger to fear to heart wrenching pain. I’ve felt it all.
In those moments, God has reminded me over and over again that I have to look to Him. I literally have no choice. Living here in Arizona has my husband and I in a place where my we literally have each other and our kids. We don’t have super reliable friends or people in general that we can call, so it’s been a very eye opening experience to go through this recovery. We’ve taken turns encouraging each other and even encouraging ourselves to press through, but we’ve made it. Not by our own efforts, but solely WITH GOD. God’s grace, mercy and love has been the driving force of our survival through all this.

This week I want to end this summer series with encouragement.

Know that:

God is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all any of us could ever ask or think. Ephesians 3:20
He will supply ALL of your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19
If He can feed the foul of the air and clothe the lilies of the field, SURELY He will take care of you! Matthew 6:26-28
I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor God’s seed begging bread. Psalm 37:25
God takes an account of your every tear Psalm 56:8
Those who see the Lord lack NO GOOD THING Psalm 34:10
If you keep your mind on God and trust Him, He will keep you in perfect peace. Isaiah 26:3-4
You may have troubles, but the Lord will deliver you from them all Psalm 34:19
You can cast your cares and worries on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will not let you be shaken. Psalm 55:22
If you trust in the Lord and not on your own understanding, submit to Him and He will make your path straight. Proverbs 3:5-6
God has great plans for you;Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
God works all things out for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28
If you hope in the Lord, He will renew your strength. Isaiah 40:31
If you seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness, all these things will be added unto you. Matthew 6:33
We walk by faith and not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7
If God is for you, who can be against you?! Romans 8:31
We can have confidence knowing if we ask anything according to God’s will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have what we asked of Him. 1 John 5:14-15

For this week and ongoing, Be Encouraged, Speak AND BELIEVE God’s Word over your life and the lives of those around you, and most importantly, Be Blessed!

I AM: WHOLE AND FREE

The one thing I learned in my experience of healing was that healing in itself does not automatically make a person whole. I still had so many things I needed to work through even after my healing that I honestly thought would just disappear once the healing took place…it didn’t.

I know I was and still am healed. I see it and feel it with every passing day when I don’t have to make another testing appointment or take another pain pill for those excruciating joint pains or get yet another iron infusion because I’m minutes away from passing out from exhaustion. However in all the hoopla of being healed, I never took into consideration one single question: Am I whole?

You see, the Bible says where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom, but it leaves out one crucial element. Are you whole enough within yourself to acknowledge and accept that freedom? Imagine a person sitting in a jail cell for years upon years while the key is sitting on the floor right outside. Unless they’re willing to believe that they can be free, nothing is encouraging them to get those keys and be free. You have to know Whose you are in order to know yourself and your worth.

I remember growing up in a family of very dominant women. I treated men and people in general a certain way because I knew I was a strong woman. I watched the women in my family endure a lot and come out on top, so why I would I be any different? I had an undeniable confidence in who I was from a very young age because I knew where I came from and the type of strength they showed me.

The same should be with us and Christ. When we actually tap into Whose we are and what He’s capable of, it should make us unstoppable. It’s in knowing who God is in our lives and what He’s placed in us that we are able to see things as they truly are and conquer all that comes our way. The enemy will try his hardest to throw things our way to discourage us, but when we make it a priority to seek out our Source and know God in a more intimate way, there is nothing the enemy can do to deter us.

When I was sick, I allowed the enemy to distract me in such a way, I began to make preparations for my death. As excited as I was to hear the news of my healing, I can’t lie, there was a part of me that feared it would come back and bite me.

I began to read a book by Pastor Toure’ Roberts called Wholeness and man! It opened my eyes to the fact that I was so far from whole. It was a pure shame. I began to see more and more the nooks and cracks of places I needed to fill with Christ so He could make me completely whole and in essence, free.

When we truly learn to love and seek God with our whole heart, mind, and spirit, He brings a sense of wholeness and confidence in Him that no devil can take away.

This week as you go about your days, I pray you will take time to seek God with all your heart, mind and spirit. In doing so, I pray God will reveal to you the very nook and cracks that need to be filled by Him so that you can become whole in Him. I speak wholeness and freedom over you from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet. I speak wholeness and freedom to every area of your life, including your family. I pray God makes you so whole that it spills over to the people around you and they come to you wanting to have and know the freedom you display in your life.

Until next week, Be Blessed, Be Whole, and BE FREE!