Living Life in a Fish Bowl!

Gloria’s take on life.

with you

Moses speaking with the Lord in Exodus 33:13 says, “Now therefore, if I have found favor in your sight, please show me now your ways, that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight. Consider too that this nation is your people.”

The Lord’s response to Moses is powerful.

“And he said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” Exodus 33:14 (ESV)

I believe we can hold on to that promise also.

Over and over again God says that He is with us. Emmanuel (a name given to Christ) means God with us. We can take great comfort in this truth. We are not alone.  What a wonderful promise.

Not only are we not alone but it is the Lord who will give us rest. Peace that goes beyond our understanding is ours as we cast our cares upon Him and trust Him. (Phil 4:6-7, 1 Peter 5:7, Prov 3:5-6)

Jesus said in Matthew —teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20 NASB

til next time

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March 28, 2017 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

green pastures/quiet waters

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul.” (Psalm 23:2-3a)
Green pastures, quiet waters and restoring my soul all speak of rest and peace to me.

still waters

It is not God’s desire that we burn out or rust out. He wants us to finish strong. To say with Paul, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith;” (2 Timothy 4:7 NASB)
I believe rest and peace go together with trust. Resting in God, having peace in the midst of whatever we face is possible when wetrust God completely.

Trust that:

  • God is in control
  • it will work out for good
  • you don’t have to force things to happen
  • God’s timing is right
  • God controls the outcome
  • God is for you
  • God will make a way
  • God loves you!
If you are lacking in peace or rest I encourage you to spend time today in prayer asking God to restore your soul (will, mind and emotions.)
Then take some time to meditate on these verses from Psalm 23

 The Lord is my shepherd,
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;

He leads me beside quiet waters.
 He restores my soul;
He guides me in the paths of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I fear no evil, for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.
You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
You have anointed my head with oil;
My cup overflows.
Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life,
And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.

 

Resting in Jesus!
Til next time
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May 10, 2016 Posted by | ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections, Woman Pastor | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

overwhelmed

I woke up this morning and I knew before I ever got out of bed that I was emotionally depleted.  This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.  It is what it is.

psalm 61It can be the result of  a good thing as it can mean that I have had a schedule filled with all sorts of wonderful activities and been traveling on an emotional high.  I am reminded of Elijah in the Bible – 1 & 2 Kings.   This weekend my victories were not on the same enormous scale as his were, but there are similarities.

It can also occur due to a torrential downpour of “issues”  bombarding me.  Those things that try to squeeze the life out of me and never seem to come one at a time.  Instead they seem to come out of nowhere or where I would least  expect there to be a problem.  I am reminded of Paul addressing his troubles in 2 Corinthians 1:8 & 11:26-28.

Physical pain/sickness can also cause emotional depletion. Some days it seems like I am on the top of a teeter totter and the other person has just jumped off the bottom.  Other days the pain doesn’t even phase me.  Personally, I am so ready to have my life back.   The longer pain lasts, the greater toil it can have on your emotions.  Yet, greater trial – greater victory!

Then this morning I go and read this in Mark Batterson’s book “The Grave Robber”

“A few months ago a friend of mine was diagnosed with cancer, and we’ve been praying for spontaneous remission — the medical term for miracle.  Unfortunately, further tests were trending in the wrong direction at his first follow-up visit.  When my friend called me, it was tough to know what to say.  And the truth is, it’s better to listen than to talk.  But then I felt like I needed to remind him of a simple yet difficult truth.  “I’m going to keep praying for your healing, but healing isn’t the ultimate goal.  The ultimate goal is God’s glory.”

The goal is God’s glory!praise  (see John 9)  Sometimes I forget that.  Sometimes I act as if the goal is pain free, problem free, financially free…

Last night we had a powerful praise service.  Kneeling before the Lord is one of my favorite positions.  Yet, it’s been almost 11 weeks since I messed up my knee and have not put any weight on the top.

During this song  my desire to kneel before God was strong.  (to listen to the song – click on the title)   This is my desire   

I did a one knee kneel at first but then it was as if God was prompting me to ‘go ahead – kneel with the other knee too’  So I did.  No pain!   Still numbness but no pain!

restIf your heart is overwhelmed please recognize that you have a choice.  You may try to ignore it but that won’t help.  Blaming something or someone won’t help either but you can choose to go that road and stay miserable.

OR

You don’t have to remain overwhelmed.  You can recognize it for what it is and then go to the Rock (Jesus) and wait in His presence.  Take the time to immerse yourself in His Word.  Allow Him to fill you up again.  Take time to quiet your soul.

flower message

“May the God of HOPE fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you will overflow with HOPE by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13)

In closing, remembering God’s goodness is vital to dealing with the sense of emotional depletion/exhaustion/being overwhelmed.  A tool available to everyone is to start a gratitude journal.  I recommend it highly.  I don’t write in it every day but I try to regularly write in it.  The key is to not repeat something – be looking for treasures.    It does open your eyes to the beauty that is all around and the big and small ways God works in our lives.  (A great book to help you get started is “One Thousand Gifts” by Ann Voscamp.)

I am confident that nothing takes God by surprise.  My life is in the palm of His hand.  He has a plan that will turn ashes into beauty, give me joy instead of mourning, and my praising Him will overtake any heaviness that tries to rest on me.  (Isaiah 61:3 my paraphase)  He will do the same for you.

til next time

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August 31, 2015 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, pastor, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

rest – a four letter word

For busy people, rest can seem like a four letter word.  You know right up there with diet and other unmentionable words.

After years of ministry, I have found that rest is one thing that can easily get pushed back.  It seems there is always something that can occupy your time and attention.  Some Christians even wear their busy schedules as a badge of honor.

In my opinion, overworking and over-committing are two tools that the enemy uses to tire out Christians.  Ministers are right at the top of this list.  Learning how to live a life of balance is vital to living an abundant life.

NASB

If you ask  Christians about a Sabbath rest, you are sure to get an assortment of answers.  Some will tell you that on the 7th day God rested and He set  the example for us.  Some will tell you that Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.  (This one will be used both to support observing a Sabbath rest and to support the idea that one does not need a Sabbath rest.)

Rest – sleep, freedom from work or activity, state of inactivity, something used as a support  (Webster)

I grew up with parents who took very seriously a Sabbath Rest.  Sunday was all about church and resting.  I have fond memories of the Sunday afternoon drives that mom, dad, and I would take.  As a kid, it was so much more fun than taking a nap.   Yet, many a Sunday would find me reading a book and nodding off to sleep.

Fast forward to me as a newly married woman and the surprised look on my face as my husband was going out to mow the lawn Sunday afternoon.  He grew up with parents who worked every day of the week.  (They owned a couple of mom and pop grocery stores.) Sundays were the day you got all the work done around the house.

It took some convincing, but I was able to get him to agree to ‘try’ a Sabbath rest for one month.  He was humoring me.  But after that month was up, he was a firm believer in the benefits to taking a day of rest.  He accomplished more in those six days then he ever did in working seven.

A day of rest gives support to the other 6 days of the week.  Rest enables you to stick it out for the long haul.  This thing called life isn’t a sprint but a life long marathon.  Resting is beneficial, especially if you are prone to workaholic-ism.

God’s Word has a lot to say about rest.  (519 references in the NASV and 545 references in the NKJV)

I am so looking forward to tomorrow.  As ministers, Friday is our day to observe a Sabbath rest.  I have not done so well in guarding my Sabbath rest the past few weeks.  My body is loudly protesting.

Even though I have daily devotions and rely on God as I encounter each days challenges, there is something powerful about ‘coming away with Him and resting’ –  sitting at His feet like Mary.  (Luke 10:38-40)  A day of relaxation and rest!

How do you answer the call of Jesus?  “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”

til next time

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You are not alone!!

May 14, 2015 Posted by | ministry, Pastor's wife, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

climbing mountains

mountain

I am not a mountain climber.  Well, not in the literal sense.  It does seem that over the course of my life – I have climbed many ‘mountains’ though.

Monday I found myself facing a ‘mountain’ that I have climbed many times in the past.  Quite frankly,  I would just as soon not have to climb  this ‘mountain’ again.  Which reminds me of the prayer Jesus prayed in the Garden  –“Not my will but Yours be done.” (Matt 26:39, 42, 44)

climbing Climbing in the Badlands was fun.  Although the terrain felt a bit crumbly under foot, it was fairly easy.    Going up was a breeze but what goes up must come down.  Getting down was more of a challenge.  Some ‘mountains’ we face are more of a challenge.

sheer rockI chose not to attempt to climb this mountain even though it wasn’t that big.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we were given a choice as to which ‘mountains’ we would climb?   I am a firm believe that God is in control and my life is in His hands.  As I come to the base of this ‘mountain’ I know that lessons will be learned, faith will grow stronger, and my relationship with Jesus will grow deeper.  He is my provider (Phil 4:19) — my ever-present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1) and He is with me (Heb 13:5.)

‘Mountains’ can be financial, relational, physical, emotional …. something that appears too big.  But it is not to big for God.

The Bible is filled with examples of people facing mountains.

Daniel’s ‘mountain’ was the lion’s den.
The three Hebrew children faced a ‘mountain’ in the form of a fiery furnace.
Joshua’s ‘mountain’ was Jericho.
Jonah’s ‘mountain’ was the belly of a fish. Yes, sometimes mountains are a direct result of something we have done or not done.
Sold into slavery, falsely accused and jailed were ‘mountains’ Joseph faced.
Paul faced numerous ‘mountains.’ They came in forms of beating with rods, receiving 39 stripes, and having  stones thrown at him. Other ‘mountains’ he encountered were being shipwrecked not once but three times. He was robbed. He faced the ‘mountain’ of betrayal and the list goes on.

God is able to remove the mountain.  If, for reasons we may never figure out, He wants us to (go through the trial) climb the mountain, then He will be right there with us and equip us for the challenge ahead.

Here are some of the ways he does that.

God’s Word helps us navigate the twists, turns, hills, and valleys but we have to read it.

 

 

path

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalm 119:105 (KJV)

studyas newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby,”      1 Peter 2:2 (NKJV)

Are you feeding on the Word of God?

NASB

Rest is another tool that God gives to us.  Yet, we can fill our days so full that we forget the benefit of rest.  Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”

There are no Lone Ranger Christians.  We need each other.   This is another way God equips us.

church“You use steel to sharpen steel,  and one friend sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17

Sometimes worry or fear will try to set in as we face the ‘mountain.’  God’s word tells us what to do.  Pray!

Casting all your care upon him; for He careth for you.”  1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)

“Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.”  Philippians 4:6-7 (MSG)

A list of things God equips us with would not be complete without mentioning praise.

“From the rising of the sun to its setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised.”  Psalm 113:3 (NASB)

Praising God is a powerful weapon that we have to help us over whatever ‘mountain’ we are facing.

So as I face this ‘mountain’ I will dig deep into God’s word.  I will be mindful to quiet myself before God and rest.  I will not face this alone but reach out to others to help.  (I thank God for a wonderful church family.)  Prayer and praise will be on my lips.  Yes, this is how I face the “mountains’ (trials) that come my way.

“When I trust deeply that today God is with me and holds me safe in His embrace, guiding my steps, I can let go of my anxious need to know what will happen. I can be fully where I am and pay attention to the many signs of God’s love within and around me.” (anonymous)

How is your climb going?

til next time

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January 28, 2015 Posted by | ministry, relationships, spiritual reflections | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

rest – why does it take so much effort to do nothing?

 

my prayer

Almost 90 days ago I joined a book club on ‘Becoming the Woman God Wants Me to Be.’  It is a 90 day guide to living the Proverbs 31 life.  Donna Partow addresses most every issue from faith, to Godly habits, to healthy eating, to our body, to finances, to  dress,  to food, to household, to family, to ministry, to retirement, and to finishing strong.

In the beginning she writes — “He (God) has brought this book into your life at this particular time because there are certain things He wants to show you, lessons you need to learn………….you won’t be able to apply every lesson or implement every strategy .  That’s okay.  Let the Holy Spirit be your guide as He instructs you day by day.”

She was right.  There was no way I could do everything, nor did I feel the need to do everything.  It did cause me to think about areas in my life that I don’t generally give a lot of thought to.  So when our vacation time came around, my mindset was on rest.

Why does it take so much effort to do so little?  I have pretty much mastered the art of taking a Sabbath weekly.  Even so, there are weeks that I find myself once again needing discipline to not do that one little task or finish that one project.

Vacation – period of rest from routine

When was the last time you took a few days and did very little?

Some of our vacations are anything but rest.  However, this last one was all about rest – well mostly.

our song mmmmmore donutsgo babedonutsIt started  with a conference for Chi Alpha (which is a college ministry my husband leads) on Sunday – Tuesday.   We rubbed shoulders with a bunch of 20 somethings.

FYI –  I have heard a lot of chatter about the under 40 ministers.   Close to 90% of the people at this conference were under 40 – many of them in their 20’s.   From what I witnessed, they are alive and well and taking their mission field by storm!!

Sunday night was game night.  We broke up into six  teams. We were to create a Chi Alpha song to the tune of a Christmas carol. Here is our song to Away in a Manger.   We aced it.

The other pictures are of Curtis trying to eat 30 powdered donuts in like 2 minutes or was it 3?

 

We then spent two nights/ three days at a cabin – no charge.  What a blessing.

my view during my devotions

my view during my devotions

 

'a river runs through it"

‘a river runs through it”

hiking

selfie

selfie

towels

around half of them were done on vacation

around half of them were done on vacation

REST!

BOOKS!

HIKING!

CRAFTS!

From there we had no clear destination.   The agenda — rest!

The year is coming to a close.  Some of the busiest times of the year are up ahead.  For our family, there are a couple significant changes that will affect the upcoming holidays.  My mother passed away and our daughter-in-law chose to leave.   Life, however, marches on.

“Weeping may last for the night, but joy comes in the morning.”  (Psalm 30:5)

Yet even as the Proverbs 31 woman can laugh at the days to come,  I too can and will laugh because life is worth enjoying.  Celebrating the little things as well as the big things is on my agenda.   After all God has clothed me with strength and dignity.  (Proverbs 31:25)

I trust God!

til next time

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November 14, 2014 Posted by | living in a fish bowl, ministry, Pastor's wife | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

scheduling down time

There are things in my life that just radiate warmth and contentment.

A gentle rain
Laundry blowing in the breeze
Curled up with a good book and a blanket
Riding the motorcycle on a deserted highway
Listening to the wood crackle in the fireplace
Walking in fresh fallen snow
Laughing with friends
Swinging in the sunshine or pretty much any weather
Spending an evening at home with the family
A cup of hot tea
The smell of lilacs

The key is to remember to take time to step aside from the daily list of things that need attention and ‘smell the roses’.    God’s beauty is all around.  His fingerprints are everywhere.

Sure I would like to blame my crazy schedule or my husband or the demands that ‘seem’ to loom over my head.  The truth is though, that it’s up to me to decide whether or not I am going to take some time each day to relax. 

People who have a tendency to work ‘all the time’ must make down time part of their schedule each day or it just doesn’t happen.  I know this from personal experience. 

Yet knowing and doing are two different things. 

A life lesson that I have learned, yet find myself learning over again, is that all work and no play (down time) makes Gloria a very stressed out person.  This is not an example of the life that God has for each of His children.

So today I had breakfast on my swing.  By then my first load of laundry was ready to hang on the line (which is not considered work to me — I enjoy it that much).  Now I am going to go have a cup of tea on my swing and read some of a wonderful book “When Women Long for Rest”  by Cindi McMenamin. 

Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God.”  I love the translation that puts it this way “Cease striving and know that I am God.”

What are you doing today about down time? 

til next time

September 5, 2009 Posted by | just thinking about stuff, life lessons | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments