Posts Tagged ‘letting go’

Our pastor recently shared a story that had a profound affect on me. Below is my paraphrased version:

A family was visiting a beach where the young son was happily finding shell fragments. Before long his small hands were full of the broken pieces. A little further down, the family came upon a beautiful starfish that that washed up on the shore. The dad told the little boy to pick up the star fish. The boy looked at both of his hands that were tightly grasping the shell fragments and then he looked at the beautiful star fish. His parents could see the dilemma their son was struggling with. Should he let go of the broken shell pieces in order to grasp the fully intact wonderful star fish? Or should he hold tightly to what he already had and let the bigger prize go?

This story immediately made me reflect on my own struggle to let go of my worry over my finances. This is not a new struggle for me. As a single mom working low paying jobs, I have always struggled with money and I have always been more inclined to keep my money clinched tightly in my fists rather than trust God to work through my obedience. Have I ever gone without? No, I haven’t. God provides as I continue to deepen my faith in Him.

It was easy to trust Him when I had a job and steady income. I knew where my money was coming from. I trusted my own ability to provide through my job. It isn’t as easy when you are working on starting a ministry that God placed on your heart many moons ago and you are no longer employed in the traditional way. God continues to provide for ALL of my needs (and even some of my wants), but I have a tendency to cling to my money. I try to call it being a good steward, but the fear I feel when spending/giving any amount of money says otherwise. I am tightly clinching my money because I am afraid that God will at some point either forget about me or decide to quit providing for me. The idea of either one terrifies me!

God is working on me. I have given to the church and other ministries/family as God has led. I help those in need as God leads. I will admit that there is still that inner struggle as my money passes through my fingers, but I know that if I am giving in obedience to God that I can look forward to seeing that blessing.

In the last several years God has stripped me of many material possessions. I struggled each time I had to let go of a piece of furniture, dishes, a car, and my money. These are the shell fragments that I clinched tightly in my hand. The beautiful star fish in my life is God and the blessings that God pours out on the lives of those who love and believe in Him. I still struggle to some degree with the money. I have yet to fully let go of my grip and trust God to provide. I am getting there. Every day there is progress. Every day I grow in faith. Every day I loosen my grip just a bit. I know that God is patient to wait for me. God loves me and His compassion is unfailing.

What are you holding onto today that you need to let go of?

What are the shell fragments in your life that you are tightly clinching in your fists?

What is God asking you to do to loosen the grasp you have on those fragments?

Will you obey Him?

Is the sight of the beautiful starfish (a relationship with the one and only God of the Universe) enough to get you to let go?

I challenge you to answer the above questions and to let go of the shell fragments tightly clinched in your hand. God is patiently waiting for you. He loves you and He is compassionate. Trust Him to bless your life as you obey Him. It will ALWAYS be worth it!

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anger management


Ephesians 4:26-27

26 “In your anger do not sin”. Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 and do not give the devil a foothold.

Anger has been an ongoing emotion for me in the last few weeks. It has been very difficult for me to bite my tongue and not say something damaging and hurtful in defense of my daughter.

Without going into specifics (that is not the point of this post), I can tell you that my daughter has been under attack from people, who have for some reason decided to hurt her. My daughter is 20 years old and so I have tried to step back and let her handle the situation. It hasn’t been easy for me. Any one who knows me, knows that I have had some anger issues when it comes to my kids and those I love. This isn’t anything that I am proud of, I am simply telling you this to say that I think God is changing me. I have not flipped out like the old me would have done. I have found comfort under the wings of my Lord and protector.

It has been stressful. I feel her pain and it breaks my heart, because I feel so helpless. I have raged against the hateful, insensitive way that people can treat other people. I have raged inwardly against these people who find it funny to bully my 20 year old daughter who is sweet and loving and would never hurt anyone.

God has been speaking to me through this situation. George Verwer (founder of Operation Mobilization) visited my church this past weekend and what he said Sunday morning really touched me. He said that he has made a practice of not letting the sun go down on his anger. He, also said that, he never let the sun go down without forgiving those who had harmed him that day. I knew that he was speaking to me.

The other part of the passage in Ephesians 4 says, “in your anger do not sin”. I admit that I have come close. What stops me is this overwhelming feeling of not wanting to disappoint God. I want to glorify God. I do not want to open the door for Satan to step in. I do not want to give Satan a foothold in my life.

This situation has led to the establishment of a new bedtime ritual:

1. Surrendering the anger- Every evening I say a prayer, letting go of any anger that I have built up against anyone during the day. I voice it and surrender it.

2. Forgiving- In that evening prayer, I forgive anyone who has hurt me in any way during the day. Even when that means forgiving the same person, day after day after day.

During the day, when that feeling of anger comes poking its’ head around, I try to surrender the anger immediately. I say try, because I am not always successful. Sometimes I fail miserably! But, I try. I surrender the anger and make a decision to act in a way that will bring honor to my heavenly Father.

If you are dealing with anger, you are not alone! Anger is an emotion we all feel at one time or another. It is a part of life in this fallen world. Acknowledge the feeling and let it go. Make that commitment to act with integrity, no matter what the situation. If you need some encouragement, contact me. God loves you, single mom, and so do I!

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college ahead

When the kids were growing up, I always insisted that all 5 of them would go to college. I did not do well in school. I hated it and finally graduated from an adult school when I was 20. I did make a couple of attempts at college and finally earned an associates degree in 2011, just before my 41st birthday. I wanted more for my kids and always pushed them to value their education.

I always assumed that they would want college as much as I wanted it for them. As they have started to grow into adulthood, I have realized that I may have to change my expectations.

My 20 year old daughter, Cherokee, graduated from high school in 2012 as a member of the National Honor Society. She had taken several AP classes in high school and was on her way to college. She did start college in the Fall of 2012. She was going to apply for nursing school and become a pediatric nurse or a medical missionary. That was the plan. Almost immediately, she started to falter. She realized that she doesn’t like hospitals or needles. She really did not have any idea of what she wanted to do. In October, she found out she was pregnant and left school after one semester. She talks about returning to a community college. She is intelligent, independent, and motivated and I have no doubt that she will figure it all out. At this moment, she is working and focused on being mommy to a beautiful baby girl.

My 18 year old daughter, Kiowa, has surprised me by being the one who is in college now. My surprise is only because Kiowa has always hated school. She is smart, but academics has not come easy for her. She graduated high school this past June (2013) and started classes at our local community college in August. She is majoring in visual communications. She wants to do video in a news room. I think this college experience will open many doors for her and I think she will stick with it. She still struggles academically, but she is determined. She is the one I didn’t think I’d see in college and she is the one who will make it work.

My 17 year old daughter, Cree, is a lot like Cherokee. She has always done well in school. She is taking AP classes as a junior in high school, but has no idea what she wants to go to college for. She loves art and is a budding artist, but isn’t sure if that’s really what she wants to go to school for. I sat down with her and we discussed her options. As I have become enlightened, I have realized that college is not for everyone. Some people will never go or simply need some time to experience the world. As my girls have become young adults and have struggled to find themselves, I have discovered that 18 is such a young age to know what you want to do with the rest of your life. Cree is a student leader in her youth group at church. She loves the camps and retreats. She went on a week long camping trip to a youth center in Colorado in June and loved it. She loved Colorado. She is seriously considering doing a year long internship at the center when she graduates high school. I think this would be a great experience for her.

I have two sons Talon, 13 and Ty 11. My sons are not academically inclined. Talon is doing well in 7th grade, but does not like school. He talks about college, but time will tell. Talon likes to fix things and build things. Ty loves cars and nothing else. They both love being outdoors. I am excited to see what the future holds for these two sons of mine.

My kids have taught me these last couple of years not to push my own agenda on them. I want the best for them, but they need to find out for themselves who they are and what they want to do with their lives. Even if they make mistakes. I need to allow them to spread their wings and fly. It is a hard thing for a mom to do. I hate sitting back and watching a potential train wreck. I want to run to them waving a red flag in warning. We can’t always do that. At some point we have to let them choose their own path. They know that I am always here for them, but I can not live their lives for them. At some point I need to place them lovingly into the strong hands of our heavenly Father and trust that He will guide them in their journey through life. This does not happen without tears being shed. I am excited to see what great things they will do, but I also want to hold them close and protect them from the pain of the world. College is not everything. Life is a classroom and sometimes we learn our most important lessons there.

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praise God

Philippians 4:6-7

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

The goal of practicing contentment, the goal of rejoicing is to be given the gift of God’s peace. The peace of God is a gift. It is a gift that our loving Father wants to give us, but it is up to us to receive. I have started an Online Bible Study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. This study is based on the book, “When Women Say Yes To God” by Lysa TerKeurst. One of the tag lines for the study is Palms Up. Are we living our lives tightly holding on to what we have, or are we living our lives with our Palms Upwilling to give it ALL to God?

In order to receive the gift of peace, we have to be willing to let go:

1. We have to let go of our own agendas. You may dream of being a missionary in Africa, but that may not be where God wants you right now. Look around and see where you can serve in your own community. Let go of what you want and embrace what God wants for you.

2. We have to let go of our materialistic attitudes. Let go of everything you think you HAVE to have and embrace the fullness of God as He meets your needs on a daily basis.

3. Let go of the climb up the corporate ladder. If you are only working for material possessions or the greatest vacations, I encourage you to take a step back and really seek God’s will for your life. We ALL have a God given purpose on earth. Let go of living in the rat race and embrace the simple, but blessed life God has waiting for you.

I am ready to let go of greed, worry, fear, and anything else that keeps me from accepting the gift of peace. I am ready to live my life with Palms Up, embracing the peace and joy God has waiting for me. I invite you to join me, as I let go and live Palms Up.

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At this moment, I am propped up on my bed fighting a nasty cold. Normally, I would be in the prayer room, but my body said otherwise. I needed this day of rest and am actually glad to have this time to catch you up on my crazy life. Monday was Kiowa’s last day of high school. I’m not sure what she is going to do. She wants to start a running group, so she may do that. She is young and her life is a blank canvas. She just has to choose the colors she wants and paint her life the way she wants it (or hopefully, the way God wants it…). The other big news, is that Cherokee is getting married Saturday. Her boyfriend, Nick, graduated Friday from basic training with the United States Marine Corps. They will get married Saturday and then he will be gone again Tuesday night. They found out that they are expecting a girl, so our little Ava Rose Fields will be making her appearance in mid June. I am so excited to be a grandma!

rosie wedding

On a more emotional level and because I promised to share the good, the bad and the ugly…I have to tell you that this wedding has been somewhat difficult for  me. Not because I don’t like Nick. I do. Cherokee and I have always been close. I am close to all of my kids, but Cherokee is the first born and she will be leaving, as soon as Nick is done with school and stationed somewhere. She and the baby will be leaving. This has been hard for me. I also, at times, struggle with the fact that she chose to live with his parents when she left school in December. She chose to live with his parents and live with the baby there until they can join Nick. In all honesty, I have dealt with the green-eyed monster called jealousy. I have had moments where I felt like Cherokee loves them more, moments when I felt like they get all the important news first, because they are “better” parents. I have found myself comparing myself to them and coming up short. Now you know…God has been dealing with me on this issue and I refuse to let the enemy wedge his way between myself and my daughter. He would love nothing more than to break this relationship and have victory. I won’t let that happen. I am aware of Satan’s tactics and I love my daughter and grand-daughter to much to let Satan win. I love my soon to be son-in-law too, and am proud of his accomplishments! I can’t say that I won’t have these feelings in the future, but I know where they stem from and I know that I have control over those feelings as long as the Holy Spirit dwells within me. I am not consumed with jealousy to the point where it would tear apart our relationship, but there are moments when something triggers that feeling and then I feel it for a day or so and then with God’s help let it go. I can’t allow myself to dwell on those feelings.

ava cute side

I will cherish the time I do have with Cherokee and Ava Rose and then when the time comes I will release them and know that God is with them and is guiding them into His purpose for their lives. He has a plan and a purpose and I, as a loving mother, need to get out of the way, as hard as that is to do. I need to trust that God loves my children even more than I do and will protect them when I can’t.

My kids are growing up and that means that I am growing older and prayerfully, wiser. I have made many mistakes along this path of parenthood, but I have done my best to raise my kids to be men and women of God. I trust that God will take my mistakes and use them for the good. As they spread their wings to fly solo, all we can do is train them up in the way they should go and trust God with the rest. Am I done parenting these two? I don’t think our jobs as parents ever end, but somehow, I think we transition into a friendship with our grown children that says, “I am here for you as a parent, but I will respect you enough to let you live your life as a friend.” The transition is never easy and I pray that God will give me the grace to listen as a friend, before I act like a parent as my children grow into their own lives.

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