Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

don’t get your undies in a bunch

Maybe it is because I am married to a Philosophy instructor …  maybe I have been subjected to one too many examples of  logical fallacies …  or it could be because our Wednesday night Bible study has had some tough  questions and at times differing opinions …   then again maybe it is just a peri-menopausal day.   Whatever it may be, as a society, it seems that we are not taught how to rationally discuss an issue without getting our undies in a bunch or our feelings hurt.

For all you Christians out there — please note that Psalm 119:165 instructs us to not allow offense to take root.  “Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.”

Lesson 101:  It is ok to agree to disagree but not ok to be disagreeable.  There is a difference!

(a side note — When I am passionate about something I have a tendency to increase both speed and volume.  This in no way means that I am angry.  Some people cannot differentiate between passion and anger.  For them, volume level determines anger.   As a teacher/preacher my volume level naturally increases as I address a group – again nothing to do with anger.)

I like to talk with people who think differently than me.  It causes me to stop and rethink issues.  My beliefs can withstand questioning.   My relationship with my Savior has withstood all sorts of questions.  God is not afraid of questions.

Sometimes after such questioning my understanding is adjusted.    Iron sharpens iron.  (Proverbs 27:17)   I would not begin to claim that I have the correct understanding of every scripture God gave to man.   I love it when someone sheds a new perspective on a scripture.

God’s Word is alive and the more we study it – the more we will grow in our understanding of what it says.

Here are some observations I have seen of people who get their undies in a bunch:

Something is said that hits close to home and instead of dealing with the issue the person becomes offended that someone would dare to disagree with them or dare to point out a problem.

They hold grudges.  Do you wear your feelings on your sleeve?  Are you overly sensitive?  Do you get offended easily?  In the words of a popular animated movie — “Let It Go!!!”  Life is way too short to waste time holding grudges.  Look for the best in people.

Pride rears its ugly head and instead of having a  rational discussion, they divert the attention to something else that isn’t of any consequence.  It is an attempt to take the spotlight off of the real issue.   Pride keeps us trapped.  It is truth that sets us free.  It is ok to say “I don’t know the answer to that.”  It is pride that makes us want to appear all-knowing.

The person somehow thinks that if they are  a bit more forceful that then surely all others will agree with them.  My least favorite discussion is with someone who is arrogant.  (pearls before swine comes to mind – Matt 7)

Tolerance seems to be the ‘battle cry’ these days.  Yet, there are some who are screaming the loudest and seem to have no tolerance for Christians and their beliefs.  I make no apology that I am a believer in Jesus, a disciple of the Word, a servant of the Most High God and that I am far from perfect but I am forgiven.  God is working on me and He is not done.   I also recognize that you have the free will to believe what you choose to believe and to reject or embrace Jesus.   I will (with God’s help) express love (not hate) to you, even if you are determined to make my life miserable.   Jesus calls us to do good to those who hate us.  (Matthew 5:43-48)

 While we may not agree, I recognize that you have the freedom to think the way you do.  I will agree to disagree.  Will you?

I choose to not get my undies in a bunch.  (My daddy would be so proud!!  He is the one who used to remind me to not get my undies in a bunch.  Daddy I am mastering that!)

til next time

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April 3, 2015 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

soul tank? huh?

Recently I was sitting in a break out session at a Pastor’s/spouse retreat when the speaker (Carol Alexander) said something so profound and yet so simple.  She was talking about our spiritual tanks and our soul tanks.

She said,  “These tanks are filled differently.”

huh?

The spiritual tank I am very familiar with.   It is a reflection of my relationship with Jesus.  There are many ways I keep that full – spending time with Jesus, growing in my faith,  reading His Word, trusting Him, meditating, prayer,  praise and worship, walking in obedience,  going to church, giving and receiving grace and mercy…

I also am very well aware of what happens as it begins to run dry.  Freshness is gone.  My life begins to resemble stale bread and I am much more susceptible to negativity.   Operating  more out of the fleshly side of me than the spirit side of me becomes visible.   Irritation is right below the surface and the list goes on.  What I couldn’t  understand was when some of these same things would pop up even when I was spiritually full.  This made absolutely no sense to me.   I would then caulk it up to hormones or peri-menopause.

Beloved, I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”  3 John 1:2 (NASB)

Just as your soul prospers – I have read this scripture many times, even quoted it.

Taking a long hard look at my soul/emotional tank, I realized that it was in need of CPR.  The tendency to see all the things that need to be done makes it easy to put off things I want to do.

every day

God has been trying to tell me this for awhile.

 

SOUL TANK

Educate your soul — make time to read, learn something new, take that class that you’ve been talking about for years, stretch your brain

Refresh your soul — have fun, get together with friends, take a bubble bath, find what refreshes you and do it regularly.

Since my sister and brothers were 10, 12, and 14 years older than me, I pretty much grew up an only child.  I learned early on how to entertain myself.  Living life to the fullest was in my DNA and it still is.  It seems to have gotten buried under the load of responsibilities.

Responsibilities.  Also in my DNA is my mother’s work ethic.  I can’t seem to do the things I want to do when there is so much that needs to be done.    Maybe that is why I seem to collect an assortment of teas and books.  I love the idea of drinking tea and reading for hours but hardly ever give myself the luxury of doing just that.   In reality, it is (for me) necessary in refreshing my soul.  I see that now.

I picked up on a tell-tale sign, for me, that my soul tank is depleting.   It is when I get the overwhelming sense that I am dealing with this (valley, trial, test, sickness, death, pain) alone.  Now it is important to realize that this feeling is a lie but nonetheless it is a strong feeling that must be dealt with.  The truth is that God is always with me and there are people I can turn to who truly care.  This feeling of ‘being all alone’ is magnified when you think someone is there for you only to find out they really aren’t.   When that happens, I encourage you to open your eyes and see the people who are there for you.  In those times when it is just you and God then know that you and God are indeed more than enough.  He is for you and with you!   Make sure both tanks (spiritual and soul) are full.  It is important to being whole.

This song is only 2:06 long – if you have time – let these words sink into your very being.

When I walk through deep waters – I know that You will be with me.
When I’m standing in the fire – I will not be overcome.
Through the valley of the shadows – I will not fear.
I am not alone — I am not alone — You will go before me.  You will never leave me.
You’re my strength; You’re my defender.  You’re my refuge in the storm.  Through these trials You have always been faithful. You bring healing to my soul.
I am not alone — I am not alone — You will go before me.  You will never leave me.

til next time

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February 20, 2015 Posted by | ministry, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

reminders

I need reminders.  Maybe it is because life is full or maybe it is because I tend to get sidetracked easy.  The older I get the more I need them.  Perimenopause certainly has changed up my life.  Wow, what an adventure!

P1060638“I can’t change yesterday but I can let it ruin the day God has given me today!”

I have this reminder on my monitor.

Yesterday was a long day.   I am grateful for the strength that God so freely poured into me.  I kept going when I really just wanted to go back to bed.    I did not act upon the feelings that tried to control me.  I did not resort to unkindness.  I hung on to the truth that God is faithful and He is in control.  Yes, I even did what my dad always told me to do.  If you have to do something anyway you might as well do it with a smile.  🙂

Lamentations 3:22-24

22 The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease,
For His compassions never fail.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
24 “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul,
“Therefore I have hope in Him.

 

Yesterday is over.  I can’t change one bit of it.  I refuse to let it control my day today.   How sad that so many people live in past hurts.

The Lord is my portion.

So whatever happened yesterday I encourage you to not let it ruin today. If yesterday was a challenging day, remind yourself that today is a new day.   “This is the day the Lord has made”  — choose to rejoice and be glad.  After all it is a choice.

If you are going to think about the events of yesterday – remind yourself that God was right there with you throughout the whole day.  His fingerprints are everywhere.  He will work all things out for your good.  How?  I am sure I don’t know, but God is true to His Word and He will work things out.  Keep trusting.

If you are going to dwell on something – dwell on the fact that God loves you.

And lastly if you are going to live through today (and most of us are) then truly live in the moments of today.  Life is meant to be lived fully.  Jesus came that we would have abundant life.   (John 10:10)  Let Him be your guide today!

til next time

February 8, 2013 Posted by | ministry, perimenopause, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

music speaks

The other day I was riding in the car with Curt and I expressed to him that I was tired.  Nothing new about that statement.  I have been feeling worn out a lot lately.  It seems like  I wake up with very little – if any energy.

Then I said something to him that even surprised me.

I said, “No,  it isn’t tired.     I    am    weary.   I think this is what weary feels like.”

Before he could say anything a song came on the radio.    In the silence this is what I heard.

“I am tired, I’m worn.  My heart is heavy from the work it takes to keep on breathing…………….”

Tenth Avenue North — Worn from their Struggle tour

“”I know that You can give me rest.  So I cry out with all that I have left.  Let me see redemption win.  Let me know the struggle ends.  That you can mend a heart that’s frail and worn.”

Weary.

I don’t understand it.    I am very familiar with the scripture in Galatians (6:9) “And let us not be weary in well-doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  and in 2 Thessalonians (3:13)  “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well-doing.”  I have quoted both of these numerous times.

Yet I also know that God says in Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”

Very much in need of rest.

I don’t get weary.  At least I didn’t used to get weary.  Tired, sure but that is not the same as weary.   This new realization seemed to have knocked the breath right out of me.  As if that wasn’t enough then this part of the song came on.

“I’m worn even before the day begins.  I’m  worn, I’ve lost my will to fight.  I’m worn so heaven come and flood my eyes.  Let me see redemption win…….”

The writer of this song understands.    What’s even more important is that God understands.

I am weary of the weight of my mom’s illness (dementia),  my overall work load,  pay checks being short,  the intense spiritual battle that comes from pastoring a small town church, insurance rates rising, being short-staffed for months at work, the pressure to always be ‘bubbly’, perimenopausal symptoms,  the diet/exercise health issue, and then there are the petty issues that never used to bother me.

However, none of that means God is unaware or doesn’t care.

“I know that You can give me rest.  So I cry out with all I have left.  Let me see redemption win.  Let me know the struggle ends.  That you can mend a heart that’s frail and worn.”

Weary.  I don’t like it.  This is uncharted territory for me.  Yet I know that God will see me through this.    He will even use all of this for my good, some how some way.  I am grateful that I gave up needing to know the why’s and how’s a long time ago.  I just need to know (and I do know)  that God will make a way.  In the meantime He will carry me until I am once again able to walk beside Him.

He will see you through your valley also and when necessary He will carry you!

So if you happen to notice that I am just not my usual self please don’t mention it.   It really does put pressure on me that I have found only tires me out more.  Instead just give me a hug and speak an encouraging word.  I will be sure to respond with an encouraging word for you too.  Isn’t that what helping each other is really all about?

This too shall pass and I am confident that I will be the better for it.  To God be the glory!!!

til next time

(I blog because it helps me to put on paper what is going on in my life.  God uses that to help me more clearly see what is good and what needs to change.  I am constantly amazed at the goodness of God!)

December 20, 2012 Posted by | dementia, living in a fish bowl, ministry, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

a baby changes everything

tick tock

Time waits for no man.

Everyone gets the same 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week.

The Mayan calendar stops on December 21 — do I find this significant?  Do I think that the world will really end on the 21st?  No!  Clearly without a doubt — no!

Yet sometimes time seems to stand still:

the senseless shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary

while waiting with my step dad for the ambulance to arrive during his stroke

of course time seemed to stand still during the days following 9-11

tick tock

Isn’t it funny how eight hours at work can seem to drag on and on but those same eight hours elsewhere can fly by?

Perception

Why does it seem that time is ticking faster than it ever did before?  Why is it that I feel that I am moving slower than I ever did before?

Houston we have a problem.

As a pastor/pastor’s wife of a small town church there are many behind the scene things that need to take place and lately there doesn’t seem to be enough time or energy.  I used to be so good at multitasking.  Not so much anymore.  (In fact, my son just reminded me that I was about to burn the meat on the stove.  Oy!)

In ministry if you are not careful, it can overwhelm you.  Even if you are careful (be not weary in doing good….) there will still be days when your feelings will try to over run you.  Sometimes the thought of quitting seems so much easier than the thought of pushing through the emotion.  Good thing I learned a long time ago to not make any life changing decisions while dealing with emotional overload.

This morning was one of those weary days for me.  Maybe it is peri-menopause which has officially messed up my sleeping pattern.  (Have I mentioned that I do not function well on little sleep?)   Maybe it is due to too much work related things this week.   Maybe it is a whole host of little things that seem to pile up on top of each other.  (Thank you Larry for helping to lower the flag.)

The why is really not the issue.  It is the ‘how am I going to handle this’ that is important.

I am grateful for such a wonderful worship team.  They make it easy to join right in and place your focus on the One who is truly worthy of our worship.

The songs for today were:   A couple Christmas carols and Amazing Grace (my chains are gone), Blessed be your name (You give and take away), To God be the glory, and In the presence of Jehovah.

“In the presence of Jehovah, God Almighty, Prince of Peace.  Troubles vanish, hearts are mended,  in  the presence of the King.” 

After worship Christy got up to sing the song “A baby changes everything.”   It was evident that she sang it with all her heart and soul.  What a powerful song!  While she was singing God reminded me that this’ was why I do what I do.  This is why it is worth the price.

Jesus changes everything.

Sharing my love for Him with others

crying together

laughing together

praying together

getting to witness  God at work in their lives

yes, it is why I do what I do.

Jesus changes everything!

I would have rather had Christy’s performance of the song but this one will have to do.

til next time

December 16, 2012 Posted by | ministry, perimenopause | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

how many times?

There is  a song out by Plumb that just about knocked me off my feet when I heard it.   It truly is my heart’s cry put to music.

Every once in a while I hear a song that just grips my heart.  The Warrior is a Child by Twilla Paris is one of those songs.  Praise You in the Storm by Casting Crowns is another one.  Blessings by Laura Story also makes the list.

“Need You Now (How many times)”   by Plumb

First, she starts off with the truth that no one is isolated from pain.  No one!

Everybody’s got a story to tell.  And everybody’s got a wound to be healed. I want to believe there’s beauty here.  Cuz Oh I get so tired of holding on.  I can’t let go.  I can’t move on.  I want to believe there’s meaning here.” 

I believe that God is in control and therefore nothing happens without a purpose.  That said, sometimes we all  need to be reminded that we do believe there is beauty and meaning in our lives.  God has a plan and it is good. (Jeremiah 29:11)

I  was familiar with the chorus before I ever heard her sing it.  “How many times have you heard me cry out ‘God, please take this’?” 

“God, please take this.”   I don’t know how many times I have said just that.  What freedom there is in those four words.  Yet sometimes we shoulder the burden for way too long before we remember to ask God to take it.

I don’t have to have all the answers.  I don’t have to have it all figured out.     Good thing too because so much of life doesn’t fit into a tidy little bundle of reason.  Ah, but I can cry out to God to please take this and the weight can be lifted from my shoulders.  He gives me a peace that passes all my understanding. (Philippians 4:7)

“How many times have you given me strength to just keep breathing.   Oh I need You!  God, I need You now.”

God has used various ways to remind me to breathe.  My favorite recently was the Dove chocolate wrapper that said “Take a deep breath”.   God gives us strength to keep going, to breathe, to get through the next moment!

“Standing on a road I didn’t plan.  Wondering how I got to where I am.  I’m trying to hear that still small voice.  I’m trying to hear above the noise.”

Peri-menopause is a road I didn’t plan.  I had heard stories, lots of stories but somehow I just thought I would sail right through with little problem.   I remember thinking ‘how bad can it possibly be?’   Well, I am trying to hear that still small voice.  I am most definitely holding on to God.  I need Him NOW!

“Trying to hear above the noise.”  The first time I heard that line I practically cried.  You might think that is silly but it’s been over a year now since the ringing started in my ears.  Some moments I have to try very hard to hear above the noise.

“Oh I walk,  Oh I walk through the shadows and I, I am so afraid.  Please stay, please stay right beside me every single step I take.”

Psalm 23:4 “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;…”   My battle with my mom’s dementia has made me so grateful that God is right beside me in every single step I take.

How many times have you heard me cry out??  How many times have you given me strength? 

Everybody’s got  a story to tell.  Everybody’s got a wound to heal.  Whatever you are going through, whatever challenge you are facing — cry out to God and let Him take it and give you in return – His strength.

til next time

November 1, 2012 Posted by | dementia, living in a fish bowl, menopause, perimenopause, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

feelings – control them or they control you

Feelings – everyone has them.

I feel __________— fill in the blank.

I’ve seen a big push for people to get in touch with their feelings.  Then to share those feelings and receive validation for said feelings.  After all, people can’t argue with how you feel.  It is your feeling.  Right?

Just because you feel it –  does not make it true, nor does it mean you should give your feelings a voice and speak them out loud.   Feelings are just feelings and you either master them or they master you.

As I have entered into perimenopause, getting a grip on the role feelings play in my life has taken on a greater importance.   I have found my feelings to be all over the place.  Just because I feel it doesn’t mean I should act on it.  In fact I shouldn’t act on what I am feeling until I have had time to pray about it.

Going to God in prayer and keeping His Word (which is The Truth) in front of me helps to take away the control wrong feelings try to have.

People who allow their feelings to rule over them have a hard time living a peaceful life.  All it takes is the actions of one person or just the thoughts of a situation to put your feelings in a tail spin.

A perfectly good day is ruined just because you choose to dwell on  bad feelings.

If you want to walk in victory and live in peace than mastering your feelings is necessary.

“Walk in peace instead of pieces.”  (C. Stankee)

Feelings tend to cause us to go to pieces.  They can have a downward spiral effect.

When we accept the saving grace, offered to us by Jesus Christ, we begin the process of lining up our lives with the Word of God.  This also means lining up our feelings with what the Word of God has to say.  We are to take every thought captive. (2 Corinthians 10:5)  Our feelings are a product of our thoughts.

Our feelings can be carnal.  Our feelings can be based on out right lies.  Just because I feel it, no matter how strongly, doesn’t mean it is true.  Making the decision that I will not be ruled by my feelings but instead rule my feelings will help me to be at peace in any situation.   After all, I know that God is in control and He will work all things out for my good. (Romans 8:28)  Lining up my feelings with that truth is key to me walking in peace.

The day I made the decision to place my trust in the One who loved me first; was the day my sins were covered with Jesus blood!  My life is no longer my own.  Christ lives in me.   He gives me the power to cast down wrong feelings, to strip those feelings of any power and to act on what is the truth regardless of how I feel.

Before accepting God’s gift of salvation we could choose to let our feelings rule us.  Our feelings would dictate to us how we would respond verbally, what we would do and the way we would treat others.

Now there are times we must take our feelings to the foot of the cross and leave them there.

“Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.”  (Psalm 119:165)

Our feelings can harbor offenses, resentment, pity, hate……….Feelings can lead to a father leaving his children, a wife leaving her husband, sibling relationships strained, friendships ruined, bad decisions being made………. living a life where the tiniest thing can ruin a beautiful day.

Feeling expressed can do great harm to the cause of Christ.  Many a church has split over people’s feelings.  “… as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” (Romans 12:18)  This is important if you want a life of peace.

Master you feelings.  You can change the way you feel.  Start by changing the way you think.  Are your thoughts pleasing to God?  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your sight…” (Psalm 19:14)

Extend grace and mercy to others.

Lead by example.

Let your light shine.

Encourage others to line up their feelings with the Word of God.

til next time

October 23, 2012 Posted by | life lessons, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

48 hours

I don’t know if it is that life seems to be flying at warp speed or hormones are all over the place (thank you perimenopause) or that some how I have shrunk the margins in my life but I am finding myself tired a lot lately.

Margins are necessary spaces  that give me room to breathe.  Just as margins and spaces are needed when writing a letter, margins are needed in life.  It is allowing myself some wiggle room.  Recognizing necessary boundaries is another way to look at it.  What it isn’t is filling up my days with so much activity that exhaustion is a  common result.

IfIweretowritealetterusingnospacesitwouldbedifficulttowrite.

I want to live life to the fullest.  Yet in life if I am not careful I  meet myself  coming and going.   My  to-do list can stretch on endlessly.   The demands of the job, others, or demands I put on myself can be mentally exhausting, not to mention unhealthy.   Even fun activities require energy.

My wonderfully smart husband decided that it was time to slow things down and take some time off.   We cleared our schedule and took some much-needed time off for rest.

48 hours to be exact.   After work on Thursday we drove out to the campsite.  Nothing on the agenda for the next 2 days except rest and relaxation.

Going from full speed ahead to coming to a halt was a bit difficult for me.  Then add to it that we were the only camper in the whole park.  Yes, that was just a bit creepy for me.  Not to mention that  it was rainy and cold.    However, Curt put on a movie.  (Yes, we were roughing it.)  The campers heater finally kicked in  and some how I made it til morning.  Everything looks better in the morning.

We have this great deal, my husband and I.

Camping has not always been a good experience for me.  In fact some of the worst times of my life have been while camping.   So, the arrangement we have is that if I will go camping with him then he will be my knight in shining armor and I am queen of the camper/tent.  This particular trip I was mentally exhausted and he was indeed my knight in shining armor.

In addition to watching a couple of movies, I read an entire Louis L’Amour book and did some studying on rest and the importance of proper margins/boundaries in my life.

Chris and Galina came out for supper Friday night.

We played UNO and Galina was on a winning streak.

While Curtis on the other hand liked to collect cards.

As you may notice we don’t sit next to our mate.  The reason for this is that the men in my family like to play cut throat and it is just better for the spouses to not be on the receiving end of that.

Finally Curt did win a game.

What Curtis really  excelled  at Friday night was pie making.

Or was it pie swording?

Um that isn’t a sword, but I did feel like I needed to grab the other one for defensive maneuvers.    Boys will be boys!

On Saturday it was nice enough to sit outside.

Returning to the Merry-go-round of life it is now  up to me.  Will I allow myself to return to  charging full speed ahead or will I install some margins back into my day?  I do believe that God gave us an example to follow when it comes to resting.  Genesis 2:2 “By the seventh day God had finished the work He had been doing; so on the seventh day He rested from all His work.”    Taking time to rest is important to over all health both mentally and physically.

48 hours  – yes sometimes you just need to clear your schedule and get away!

til next time

October 21, 2012 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, perimenopause | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

feelings

This is my 350th post.  What shall I write about?

Feelings………..

I feel ________________. (fill in the blank)

People can’t argue with how you feel, right?   It is your feeling.

I’ve seen a big push in the last 10 years or so to get in touch with your feelings, to share those feelings, and that you should have validation for said feelings.

BUT what if your feelings are wrong?   People who allow their feelings to rule over them have a hard time living a peaceful life.  A friend once said, “Walk in peace instead of pieces.”  (Christy S.)  This is possible when we trust that God is indeed in control and that He is making a way where there seems not to be a way.  The truth is He is working things out for our good.

Whatever we are facing He is very much aware and an ever-present help in trouble.  So if we feel like we are alone or it is too hard or  we just can’t take it – we have bought the lie that says God is not able.

When we accept the saving grace offered to us by Jesus Christ, we begin the process of lining up our lives with the Word of God.  This also means lining up your feelings.   “Be ye holy for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:16).

Our feelings can be carnal.  Our feelings can be based on out right lies.  Just because I feel it, no matter how strongly, doesn’t mean it is true.

The day I made the decision to place my trust in the One who loved me first – was the day my sins were covered with His blood!  My life is no longer my own.  Christ lives in me.  I am to take every thought captive.  Feelings come out of our thoughts.  Our thoughts can be wrong.  Feelings can lie to us.

Before accepting God’s gift of salvation we could choose to let our feelings rule us.  Our feelings could dictate to us how we would respond verbally, what we would do and the way we would treat others.   Usually with a “that’s just the way I am” attitude.

I have noticed my feelings wanting to take center stage again in my life as I am dealing with peri – menopause.  I guess that is why I have been thinking about the role feelings play in my life.  Certainly center stage is not where feelings belong.   Now there are times I must take my feelings to the foot of the cross and leave them there.   “Great peace have they that love Thy law and nothing shall offend them.”  (Psalm 119:165)

Our feelings can harbor offenses, resentment, pity, hate …..  Feelings can lead to a father leaving his children, a wife leaving her husband, sibling relationships strained, friendships ruined, and certainly can lead to bad decision-making.   If we let our feelings control us then the tiniest thing can ruin a beautiful day.

Feelings expressed can do great harm to the cause of Christ.  Many a church has split over people’s feelings.  A much as possible live at peace.  (Romans 12:18)  This is important if you want a life of peace.    Making the decision that you will not be ruled by your feelings but instead rule your feelings will help you to be at peace in any situation.  You know that God is in control and He will work things out.  (Rom8:28)

Are your feelings lying to you?

Instead choose to:

Extend grace and mercy to others.

Lead by example.

Let your light shine.

Encourage others to line up their feelings with the Word of God.

It will surprise you just how wonderful the day can be when you refuse to stir up your ‘feelings’ but instead walk in truth!  Even in the hardest of situations God’s peace is available to help you walk through it in peace.

til next time

June 8, 2012 Posted by | menopause, perimenopause, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

perimenopause

It is sometimes referred to as the change before the change.

A couple of years ago I found myself in uncharted territory.  My energy level barely registered.  Yet my responsibilities and commitments continued to increase.  Things other people had committed to do but were unable to do (for one reason or another) fell back into my lap.

Picking up the slack is just a part of who I was.  It was one of the hats I wore as a PW.  Adding things to my plate was the norm.  Seeing things that needed to be done or should be done just came  natural to me.  Multitasking was an art form that I had  mastered.

BUT

Things were changing.  I couldn’t seem to get it together.  The pressures of all the various things on my plate seemed to be suffocating me.

Looking back now I realize that I was entering perimenopause.

Perimenopause….

Some women state that they had no symptoms and sailed right thru.  How?  Only God knows.  Sadly it is not my experience.

Here are a few symptoms:  irregular bleeding, problem sleeping, weight gain, hot flashes, bladder control weakness, mood changes, sudden tears, night sweats, fatigue, hair loss, difficult concentration (brain fog), memory lapses, dizziness, bloating, allergies, brittle nails, changes in odor, irregular heartbeat, depression, anxiety, irritability, panic disorder, breast pain, headaches (migraines), joint pain, burning tongue, electric shocks, digestive problems, gum problems, muscle tension, itchy skin, tingling extremities……….

Brain fog is the hardest for me personally.  With all the various things I have going on, multitasking was a huge part of my life.  Brain fog and multitasking mix about as well as oil and water.

I have it on good authority that the brain fog will lift.

So I wait.

While I am waiting:

I will continue to fight the symptoms with prayer and praise.

I will look for ways to reduce multitasking in my life.  One way I have done this is to release myself from helping with the set up of all activities held at the church and the need to be the last one to leave said activities.  In the past 20 years there were but a handful of times that I left an event while clean up was still going on. (All but one of those times has been in the last two years.)

While I am waiting

I will remind myself to take a deep breath.  When pressure increases – breathing can tend to become shallow.  Three deep breaths helps me to focus.

I will extend grace and mercy to those around me who don’t understand.  I will guard my heart.  (Proverbs 4:23)  I will dig deeper into the Word.  When people say things that are hurtful and my hormones are all over the place, I will remember that “nothing shall offend me.”  (Psalm 119:165)

I will be mindful to not do or say something that later I will need to apologize for.  “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable.” (Psalm 19:14)

This starts at home.  Perimenopause can certainly be a trial for my husband.  After all, I don’t understand what is going on – so how could he?

His wife, who used to be able to handle so many things all at once, now at times can’t seem to handle getting supper on the table.  His wife, who one minute is the confident women he married, the next minute is crying over something so very insignificant.

Perimenopause

I am trying to embrace this period of my life.  Yet I wonder at times ‘who is this woman?’

While I am waiting:

I will hold tightly to the King of Kings.  Jesus will bring me through this season of change.  I am confident that all of this will make me more sensitive to the needs of others and more like Jesus.  In my weakness, He is strong.

So to all you women who find that you have entered the peri -cycle – know that you are not alone. Know that this too shall pass.  Be kind to yourself.  Recognize that you may not be able to do everything you could before AND that is ok.

Extend grace and mercy to others for truly you will need some yourself.

And remember that God is an ever-present help in trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

til next time

May 29, 2012 Posted by | perimenopause, relationships | , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments