Friday, November 11, 2016

God Bless the USA

Happy Veteran's Day to all who have given so much of themselves in wars and conflicts for this great nation: The UNITED States of America!

We are in such a tumultuous time in this country right now. I hope that, in spite of that, we will pause for a moment to remember that there are people - sons and daughters, husbands and wives, friends and loved ones - who have given their very lives in order that we might have the opportunity to vote, to protest, to live in this freedom. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard the phrase, "Freedom isn't free." But I know this as absolute truth. Freedom always comes at a cost.

Here are the two most important men in my life, in their uniforms, proudly serving their country.

My husband serves in the USAF-Reserves.

(I'm sorry, honey. This is the only photo that I could find of you in uniform!)

My dad served in the US Army.

I am one of the fortunate ones. My dad came home safely from Korea. My husband has returned safely from multiple deployments in the Middle East. 

We know this is not the story for everyone. We know that parents and spouses and children feel the loss of those who did not return home from war. We know that some of those who have returned suffer greatly - physically, emotionally and mentally.

So, whether or not you are happy with the state of this country, always remember to show a debt of gratitude for those who have given a piece or all of their lives to ensure that you could live here freely.

God bless America!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Finding God's Will for Your Life

How many times have you wondered what God's will is for your life? Should I be single or married? Should I be a mom? Should I apply for a promotion? I have prayed over some of these decisions myself. But do you know what God's will really is for your life? Paul gives it to us straight:

"Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus." 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, NIV

It seems simple. Doesn't it? But I do not live a life that reflects this. I often find myself crabby and consumed with my own life circumstances. I am too busy, too stressed and too focused on what I want from this life.

And, how many times have you heard that you can do all things through Christ who gives you strength? Well, let me let you in on a secret. Paul isn't saying here that you can run a marathon if you have never trained for it. Let's read this verse in context:

"I rejoiced greatly in the Lord that at last you renewed your concern for me.Indeed, you were concerned, but you had no opportunity to show it. I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 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. I can do all this through him who gives me strength." Philippians 4:10-13

God strengthens us to be content. His will for us is to be thankful and content. I know that isn't easy. I find myself watching HGTV (like, Flip or Flop is on in the background right now), wanting to do all of the remodels that seem to be so simple and feeling discontent with what God has already blessed us. I look through my Facebook or Instagram feed and wish I were vacationing in the islands with friends who are there. 

Let's stop comparing our lives to everyone else. For the most part, I only post my highlights on social media. Even when I post the multiple "London broke her [insert name of bone here]...", I try to keep it upbeat. Social media isn't the place for me to hash out relationship problems or an argument that I had with my husband about some ridiculous miscommunication. We need to keep that in mind when we are scrolling through other people's feeds.

Here is what helps: journal the things for which you are thankful. Every morning, before I read my devotion for that day, I write down at least one thing that I'm thankful for. If I am feeling especially irritable, at the very least I can be thankful for the coffee that is helping me wake up...or the fact that I woke up in the first place...or the fact that I woke up in a home that provides shelter and with a family filled with love...or the fact that Jesus Christ pursued me until I turned to Him as my Savior. It turns out, I have plenty of reasons to give thanks!

For the past few years, I have done a social media 30 days of Gratitude. But the truth is, I could do that 365 days a year. God blesses me and our family daily. I guess I have figured out God's will for my life...remember that He is God, I am not, and for that I am thankful and because of that I can be content.