Hope

Holes Made Whole

I just returned from an extended trip to the home country. I had four glorious weeks at H O M E in Montana.

One would think that in all of that beauty and serenity, that words would have come to me like a firehose but that is not what happened. Since returning to the desert, the words still have not been there. So weird for someone th at is constantly thinking and pondering and wondering and seemingly has a lot to say-sometimes too much to say.

While I was reading Bible scriptures and trying to get back in the groove today, I was thinking about the feeling of home and all that it was and all that it is. I was thinking about where God has me in this moment and season and seriously wondering why I could not feel Him. As if He has gone anywhere.

Maybe I was so focused on praying about my daughter’s return to health from having contracted COVID-19 that there was no room for any other words.

Part of the issue is that I am still recovering and reflecting on all that I was able to see, do and experience while at home with family in the places I love most. The other part, I suddenly realized, is that He is not gone away but my heart and soul are so at peace that I am not sure what to do with myself.

I know that He has filled so many holes in my heart over the years and that He has and will continue to do so. I just realized today that He was doing just that while I was on my little adventure. I was so filled up in His presence and surrounded by His glory that the holes were made whole. Even if for just a little moment in time, I was completely at peace and totally in a place of calm and serenity.

As a recovering codependent that tends to thrive in chaos, find chaos and create chaos when things become too calm (i.e. too close to making room for feelings and vulnerability) I am not looking for chaos but definitely not settled in calmness. So weird how that little itchy spot still tends to itch without me even realizing it. No surprise to Him, I am sure.

John 3:17 says this: “Jesus replied, “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will.”

No truer words apply for this day. No greater hope for what that scripture means for the one day that He returns or even for tomorrow.

The words are coming, He continues to fill the holes and make me whole, and I am full of gratitude and hope even when I don’t understand.

So how are the holes in your heart? Are you feeling them or are you filling them? What are you filling them with?

Hope

You Are Welcome Here

Hello! Thanks for stopping by to check this out. Welcome to Joy Junkie!

I just want you to know that you are welcome here. I talk a lot about Jesus because He is my one true higher power. I want you to know that even if that is not your belief, you are welcome here.

I am not going to push you into believing something. But I am going to welcome you and encourage you to join in. I only ask, of all the people that read and comment, that we are respectful and kind to one another. Anything other than that-there’s no place for that here. This is a safe place so let’s respect each other.

My hope is that we can learn from each other and find ways to relate and care for one another without judgment or condemnation. I think we can all learn a lot from a lot more learning and listening. Wouldn’t you agree?

So glad you stopped by and looking forward to what comes next! Come on in and stay awhile.

Hope

The God of Still and Again

I was reminded a few months ago about how generous and patient our God truly is. I was sitting in a coffee shop, sharing time with a friend who is in a place of self-awareness and struggle; confession and conviction; of hard and beautiful all at the same time. 

It’s a place that most of us have been at least a time or two. As I am sharing my experience, my understanding and the truth about who she is in Jesus, it hits me that He is the God of still and again. 

I get a little wound up and passionate, emotional and full of supernatural giddiness when I see how He works in all of those moments in my own walk, to then sit across the table from another human being and listen to what she is experiencing. I still ask Him if He is sure He really wants to use me in that way, because just a few days before this I was leaning heavily on the team in my life to share hope, truth and rationality with me. His answer, so far, has always been yes, again and still. 

Honestly, when I think about that very basic concept and truth I am pretty mind blown. I try not to overthink His goodness, and instead learn to receive it and walk in it. 

But it is the thinking about what is true that brings me back to center and most of the time, the people that share their hearts with me across the table, have somehow forgotten who they are in Him and who He is in them. 

It’s a place that I end up, too, if I am not intentional.

I realize that no matter how many times I tend to do or think the wrong thing when I know full well what is right, He is still there waiting. He is still ready to embrace the prodigal daughter again and again. 

When I backslide into old thinking and let fear chip away at my true identity, my braveness, my surrender to the process of growing in obedience and trust; He is still there waiting. Again. 

In recovery, in following Jesus, we have a toolbox full of tools that we can pull out at any time. If we are already regularly using those tools, then there’s a smaller window of opportunity to fall or backslide or get super distracted by the enemy and his schemes. 

The tools are there still and again, because they were given to you and I by the God of still and again. 

Right now, are you in a place of still and again only on the wrong side of serenity, wholeness and sanity? What have you done to change that? Now is not the time to make a list of what a failure you have been and decide to give up or even think that you have fallen too far to be loved and welcomed back. It is time to confess it, share it and turn back to the tools you have been given starting with the One who provided them. 

Hope

Grit and Grace

What makes us tick? What makes us stronger and more resilient in our lives? Grit and grace and a blending of both. 

Left to my own devices, I can fall prey to self-sabotage. Left to my own devices, I can fall prey to believing the lies that Satan too easily likes to replay in my mind. Left to my own devices, I can choose grit and grace. 

I cannot do any of it without Him. I can do it with Him, through Him and because of Him. It is not my first response, sometimes. Sometimes I forget, sometimes I choose to forget and sometimes I am tempted to forget. How about you? 

Here is the fun thing about learning to be a better human and constantly trusting that He has me covered by grace and that there is also grit involved. I have not arrived. I am still learning. I am still getting skinned knees and the freedom in that is this: I am not ashamed. 

GRIT (noun): courage and resolve; strength of character.

So here how this plays out in my head and in my life when I need to find my grit and also His grace. Grace for myself and grace for others and not always in that order. 

Phase 1 looks like this – 

GRIT- Get Right Into Trouble

Phase 2 looks like this – 

GRIT- Go Right Into Timeout

Phase 3 looks like this-

People there can be loving and learning at the same time; there can be loss and love at the same time; and there can be grit and grace at the same time. 

My challenge for myself today is to remember to not camp out in trouble or time out. My challenge is to camp out in revelation. What are you challenged to do for yourself today? How is He speaking to you? Wanna chat? Let’s do.

Hope

Choosing to Believe

Step 2: We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 

“For it is God who works in you to will  and to act according to His good purpose.” Philippians 2:13

Today, as I am writing this, friends….no truer words could ever have been spoken. I am so grateful for the first-hand experiences of His power and love. I think we can easily become immune to that, or maybe so comfortable with it that it becomes comfortable and maybe even taken for granted. 

It is dangerous territory to get into a place of comfort. Living there for a minute, probably not a big deal. Staying there, however, can lead to complacency and denial and self-will from my perspective and experience. 

We all tend to want to do what is safe and comfortable. Safe and comfortable is not always wise. Safe and comfortable is not always the place of His will, but our own if we are honest. If I am honest.

What are you choosing to believe in your place of safe and comfortable? Safe and comfortable is a mindset that can either be Satan’s playground or God’s fertile ground. Amen.

Choosing to believe. Those words and that real-life experience and choice has hit me upside the head time and time again. Recently in a very powerful, tangible and real way. 

I fail to live up to my own standards before I open my eyes. Let’s be real, for most of us, before our day even starts we do, say, or think something that is stupid and not of Him. I don’t pretend to be perfect, and the reality is I choose to believe and accept that I am not. 

I also choose to believe that He knew that about all of us long before we ever came into this world. This not-so-safe and highly uncomfortable world. 

I am choosing to believe that none of us are as we should be not as an excuse to justify my weakness, but as an act of choosing to believe in a power greater than myself that will restore me to sanity and quickly, if I allow it.

I know that I choose to stay comfortable and find comfort in the wrong things easily, if I am not seeking God and His will for my life above all things. 

My challenge for myself, and to you, is to examine what you are choosing to believe. 

Do you find yourself in a place of safe and comfortable? Are you truly safe and comfortable, or are you in denial? Do you find yourself growing in faith and belief more when you are in the safe and comfortable place or when you are not? Who is your safety and comfort? Is it Him or someone/something else? 

Hope, Keeping it Real

Traditionally Non-Traditional

Someone once said to me that I didn’t have any specific traditions for holidays.  At first, I was hurt by that statement and I really wanted to strike back with, “I DO have traditions, I just don’t have YOUR traditions.” But, I held my tongue captive, and after a while started to think about what she said.

 It still hurt a little, but I have been working hard at not allowing other people’s opinions and behavior to control my own for some time now. I have also learned how to see every bummer first as a blessing…giving power to negative self-talk gives your power to the enemy and frankly, he just doesn’t have the final say in my life.  

See, I enjoy being non-traditional with my traditions especially when I plan it that way. Once it was a coping mechanism, and now it is a normal way of life for me and I give myself permission and space to be okay with that choice. Before a lot of healing and recovery, traditions were attached to dysfunction and wounds of the past. In the middle of that healing process my damaged beliefs said being non-traditional meant not pleasing other people and not pleasing other people equaled failure.  Today, being non-traditional is my choice to celebrate growth and is a healthy decision for me. 

I believe that the unhealthy traditions I had before meeting Jesus have been made into new and beautiful creations. Maybe you can relate. I once held to the tradition of comparing my life and reality to the highlight reel of someone else’s life. I had the tradition of feeling anxious that my holidays would not look like I expected them to, and I had the tradition of making myself believe that that was a bad thing. There was the stronghold tradition of believing that if it was true that it was bad, then that meant I was a bad person. That’s a lot of false belief grounded in trauma.

 One thing I have come to understand in growing up in grace with Jesus is that he was non-traditional before non-traditional was cool. 

As I grew up in His grace, I began to enjoy being against the grain and so much more grateful for choosing to create memories and traditions that were my own and found so much more freedom and life in these moments than I did early on.

I am not against traditional things. I am not against joining you in celebrating your traditions. I celebrate others and their normal whether it is my preference or not within reason. The beauty of freedom in Jesus is that I am no longer a slave to people-pleasing, lack of healthy boundaries or fear of rejection. I struggle, but I am not chained to any of it. 

I have learned from Him who I am in Him and I have discovered the real me along the way. To love and honor myself, choosing to be far more relaxed, calm and loving towards myself and others. I have learned to do what’s right and healthiest for me.

We can choose to incorporate traditions or start new ones. We can choose a place of serenity in that compromise, but not break a promise to ourselves by not honoring our own preferences in the middle of that. We can choose to experience relationships and keep low expectations in the process. 

I do have traditions, they just aren’t yours. I am grateful that my being non-traditional resembles Jesus who teaches relationships over rules. I am grateful that He cares more about my desire to create room at the table more than what is served at the table. 

Let’s talk about it: Have you chosen to bend to the words and thoughts of someone other than God? What’s the first step in changing that today? Comment below. Let’s chat!