Posts Tagged ‘spiritual’

Faith Filled Friday

Friday, June 23rd, 2017

I have noticed that over the last few years it has become increasingly difficult to write. Ten years ago, writing used to be much easier; I always could find the words that expressed my feelings. It was as if I was a waterfall of emotions, both good and bad.

 

In these last years I am not sure why I struggle so much. Perhaps writing has shifted from an expression to more of a fight against the silence? Might I write to combat the silence? To feel, to live, to breathe, to yearn for that waterfall to flow again despite the drought that overtook it?

 

I have started asking myself a question lately which I cannot seem to find the answer for. How can one love life so much and yet feel the passion slip away despite grasping and trying so hard to not let it go? So I have been asking for God’s interjection to get my heart and mind networked again.

 

I don’t believe I have a problem with the heart or maybe even the mind in this. I believe it’s more about the road in between, the one that connects the two together. Maybe it’s the street signs along the way that I have missed? Or maybe it’s the pot holes I swerved to avoid and maybe lost my direction or directive. Maybe it’s the mud slides of life that cover the road and I find myself waiting to travel between the two again. I will trust Him to show me the way to bring the two together, to network mind and soul. I believe that with God and connection to God, anything is attainable and quite possible. My faith will certainly hold the road…

 

I will not let the fray of life take me from my spirituality, nor my faith… Please God irrigate through these empty lines new and old passions to the place within me that is found wanting.

 

Only God can hydrate these parts of us. Are you experiencing a spiritual drought? Are you plugged into your source?  I pray that in the days to come, you and I would feel the hydration of God’s love feeding our passions and helping us through and to the networking of mind and soul.

 

~John

 

Wednesday’s Word

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

Welcome to Wednesday’s Word @ Coffee Hour with Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. I’m so glad you joined me today. Grab your coffee and come on in.

Well, summer is in full swing, right?! The seasons seem to be rolling right into each other, one right after the other, and as they do, I declare in my heart to do something different, not let life pass me by without my involvement. One way to ensure that that doesn’t happen is to soak myself in His Word, His love letters to us. There is nothing like some Biblical principles and promises to splash perspective on anything we are going through!

I remember when I was intimidated by the big book; and I know many are, right? Where do we start? Do we hold it in our hands and let it magically open up on its own, allowing the wind to open the pages and settle on a portion of scripture? Do we follow a one year reading plan – oh my goodness, I must say, those aren’t for me; I get too curious as I’m reading and often go off on research detours! Well, I thought it would be fun to do a Biblical exercise with you; one that I guarantee is life-changing!

In July my church will be doing a summer of Psalms and when I heard about that, it took me back to when I first began reading the Psalms: I would read it silently to myself, then read it aloud, let my heart hear the words, and then I would rewrite it according to what was happening in my life. In other words I would put myself and my circumstances in there. Guess what? Everything about you and me is already in there, but let me tell you, there’s power when we do this. Scripture is alive and doing this helps it to come alive in our life!

So, I thought I would try this with you for a few Wednesdays. So today is the 21st so let’s go to Psalm 21.

Many Bibles will offer a description of who wrote it and why, so we see that this Psalm was written after David won a big battle, so it’s a Psalm of praise. So before we start, think of a time where you experienced a victory, a victory that at the time seemed so amazing, and that includes a long-awaited answer to prayer. Remember how you felt? Do you have that in mind? Good. It’s so important that we remember these victories because when we are in a spiritual desert, it’s those remembrances of victories that can quench our thirst.

Here’s the Psalm:

“1The king shall have joy in Your strength O Lord; and in Your salvation how greatly shall he rejoice.”

Let’s stop there and rewrite it now

_______ (put your name in there) shall have joy in Your strength, O Lord; and in Your free gift of salvation how greatly shall I rejoice.

“2You have given him his heart’s desire, and have not withheld the request of his lips.”

Now, if you are in the midst of a battle or unanswered prayer, it could be written something like this:

Rewrite: You will give me my heart’s desire and You do hear the request of my lips. Let’s go on to verse 3 & 4.

3For You meet him with the blessings of goodness; You set a crown of pure gold upon his head. 4He asked life from You, and You gave it to him – length of days forever and ever.”

Rewrite: For You, oh God have met me with blessings of goodness and when my time on earth is done you will set a crown of pure gold upon my head. I have surrendered to you and in exchange you have granted me eternal life, length of days forever and ever.

5His glory is great in Your salvation; honor and majesty You have placed upon him. 6 For You have made him most blessed forever; You have made him exceedingly glad with Your presence.”

Now, I know we aren’t kings going into battles trying to take the land, but we each have a victory to win, a battle that He waits to fight for us, a sort of promised land of our own, so with that in mind, let’s rewrite these two verses:
Rewrite: My reward is great for it is within the gift of Your salvation; You have called me Your own, and have given me honor, though sometimes I don’t feel it in this world, I know You have called me blessed forever and when I am in Your presence, I am exceedingly glad.

Now, notice, I was honest, so you be honest, too. Share your heart, your burdens, cry out to Him.

7For the king trusts in the Lord and through the mercy of the Most High, he shall not be moved.”

Rewrite: For I do trust in you Lord, and because of Your grace, mercy which fills me with strength, I shall not be moved; my faith shall not waiver!

Let’s do one more verse and then I’ll let you go to finish up on your own.

8Your hand will find all Your enemies; Your right hand will find those who hate You.”

Let’s pause here a second and let me ask you: Do you have any enemies?  Most of us don’t like to think that we may especially because “enemy” is such a strong word and involves hatred. There is beauty in this verse, for if someone deems you an enemy, then they are an enemy of the Lord also! Let me show you:
Your hand will find all those who deem me their enemy for if they hate me, then they cannot love You, and only You can see into their heart.

Your turn, go ahead and go on to verse 9; have some fun with this and don’t try to be grammatically perfect.

Loving the Psalms,

Evinda

Monday’s Musings….

Monday, June 19th, 2017

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Monday’s Musings @ Trench Classes United. Today’s blog is written by a special guest…someone I’ve known since she was about knee-height to me! She holds a special place in my heart and I saw this post she had written last week and asked if I could share it. It is so transparent, so what we represent at Trench Classes United. I pray you will enjoy it as much as I did. Who can’t relate to “turning down the volume of the His voice?”

Today I battled with my own flesh, trying to escape the Lord’s convictions about going to the river. Wanting badly to go, I simply decided to turn down the volume of His voice. I do that when I don’t like what I’m hearing, or when God is trying to move me in a different direction than I planned. It could be something He wants me to do or something He wants me to stop, a turn He is asking me to take or one He wants me to avoid.

If He’s moving me where I want to go, I am happy to listen to Him. It’s when I don’t like where He’s moving me that I suddenly grow deaf.

I got home tonight after going about my day as though I were going to go to the river tomorrow and I’m not sure what I was doing when I heard Him say loud and clear “NOT YET”!!  I stood still for an endless moment.

There was no mistaking it!

In this situation and many others, it has felt as though God holds the button for His volume control, no matter how hard I try to snatch it from His hands. I’ve learned that He will use whatever alarm He needs to use to wake me up. He didn’t say I can never go to the river again, He said just not yet.

The Lord didn’t allow my fleshly desires to overpower His will and my commitment to be fully submissive to Him. Letting go requires a death of sorts, as we mourn the loss of a life we were clinging to and embrace the dream of a God who is clinging to us.

Saying yes to God means saying yes to a bigger life, and He won’t settle for less. He doesn’t want us to either. Turn the volume up!

Love,

Breanna

 

Faith Filled Fridays

Friday, June 16th, 2017

Welcome back everyone to another Faith Filled Friday…

Have you ever fallen…and looked up to see others not only looking but laughing? Well, I have, just the other day, and as I fell in front of a bunch of people and heard the giggles… a thought came to me.

When I fail, when I fall… doesn’t it really offer proof of my dedication to keep trying? That I am still working hard toward a better life? Surely if a wave had an epiphany to realize it is not a mere wave but in essence the ocean itself… then maybe even one’s clumsy falls have an enlightenment to itself as well? The act of getting up itself is a mighty spiritual thing.

I am trying to add positive things to the negative thoughts that sometimes pour from my mind. Instead of an explanation point at the end with negativity, I am really trying to emphasize the good that is coming because of it. One of my goals in this life is to try and get to a point where I direct more feelings of happiness and positive directions instead of only redirecting the bad that has happened. It’s a start to change the mindset and this is a different step.

I admit this is very difficult step for me. I have so many things go wrong and I feel the failure in deep emotions… but hey my friendly morning crows will still show up in the morning… LOL Ha’… see I just did it. 🙂 Seriously, though, I have two crows that come by every morning. It seems that I have earned their friendship and have earned their trust. I feed them some grapes and popcorn…. I just know that they look forward to seeing me.

Lately when something happens to me that really hurts me, I finish the sentence or statement by putting that out there about those two crows. I have no doubt that God has sent them my way. At least I hope He did, for they have been a much needed source of comfort.

Trying to be more positive for me is a sort of homecoming I want to realize in my own life. Thriving…fishing for an ending that shows hope, and redirects energy to at least realize a possibility that despite what might be holding me down, or holding me back might just be a resistance much like a head wind where thought it is grueling, soon enough more muscle helps you push through. A place where once you push through, you find yourself upon that enlightened wave that realize its true genetic structure is so much more… the ocean within me.

Much love as always everyone…

 

~John

 

Wednesday’s Word

Wednesday, June 14th, 2017

Dressed to Impress…or Eternal Success?

Colossians 3:12

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Thank you for joining me for Wednesday’s Word & Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United.  Summer is in full swing, huh?!

It was a workday and I stood in my closet in Yucaipa, California trying to anticipate what the weather would be like later on in Los Angeles. Hmmm, I wondered aloud, what to wear? I was trying to focus on the task at hand, but my head was wrapped around a new discovery: someone who I thought was a friend had un-friended me on Facebook and I was just a bit irritated! J I don’t want to give the enemy any more credit, so I won’t elaborate on this, but I am certain that you understand the feeling of rejection followed by frustration when this type of thing happens on social media. What a way to go into your day, huh? And yet, there is the fact that everyone is given freedom of choice, and we are not His puppets on a piece of string dangling from heaven. Oh, sometimes don’t you wish others were? J

As my hands ran through the hangers of clothes, my mind was racing, and yet there was a smile on my face because that earlier discovery of rejection did not overtake me, nor did I give in to the temptation to message that person to ask what the heck or defend myself. Instead, I actually put her first on my prayer list for the day. J

Oh, back to the “what-to-wear” dilemma!

I was preparing for an all-day video deposition, so I knew I’d need to not only feel comfortable but confident. Video depositions are quite a bit more challenging because you have to get every “okay,” every “hmmm,” every false start, and every sound, which can be challenging to write, let alone spell on our little court reporting machine. J J

My eyes skimmed over a couple of skirts, and I pulled a couple of sleeveless blouses off the hangers to see how they would look, and then a colorful sweater to finish each of the outfits off. I put my first choice on…and didn’t like it at all! Then I put the second choice on, and it just didn’t do anything for me. “Ugh, is it going to be one of those days?” I groaned aloud.

I hung them all back up and went back into my closet and gave one more glance at my skirts. I saw my pleated navy blue with off-white polka dots, quickly picked out a crème colored lacey top, and grabbed a navy blue sweater off its hanger and determined to like it. Wisdom has taught me to give more attention to how I am dressed internally than externally, and I can really work myself in a tailspin if I spend too much time in my closet.

My thoughts returned to the day ahead. As I get older, I’ve noticed that there are times that it takes a lot more energy to remain patient with attorneys and witnesses. You would think that with almost 27 years of experience that wouldn’t be the case, but then again, it’s just more opportunity for me to rely on Him, and invite Him into the deposition with me.

I quickly did my makeup, and hair, and then put on the outfit I had chosen, grabbed my blue strappy pumps and headed downstairs with the words of wisdom in Colossians 3:12 echoing in the hallways of my heart and I am grateful for the reminder that while I may need to feel confident and comfortable in my earthly outfit, I truly need to dress for eternal success more than I need to dress to impress.

I can be confident not because of what I wear externally, but because HIS word says I am dearly loved and I had spent the time I needed with Him that morning to be reminded of just that! Living like I am “dearly loved” will clothe me with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, even for those fast-talking witnesses and attorneys who sometimes cause me to want to throw my computer and run away. Something tells me that if I turn my focus on my eternal outfit, my external outfit won’t matter so much! I’m off for another day on the record!

Dressed for Eternal Success,

Evinda

 

Monday’s Mantra

Monday, June 12th, 2017

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United. It’s another Monday and hopefully our Monday’s Mantra will make Monday a fun day and not a mundane day! Grab your coffee and come on in.

Have you ever yearned for heaven, or wondered what it would be like? In our connection group last week, we were discussing heaven and there were a couple of very profound questions we had to share our answers to. One of the questions was what would we ask Him when we get there, and then what do we expect to be freed from once there.

It was a powerful discussion where we each shared transparently. Many of us had questions and a genuine lack of understanding about death and abuse of children. I mean we talked about some pretty emotionally excruciating tragedies that we all are either walking through or that our friends are walking through.

As I listened, tears in my eyes mirrored the tears in the eyes of everyone there.  I realized that oftentimes, in our humanness we want to understand these things, and the truth is that we cannot. We cannot wrap our brains around the why, or the how, much less know HIS thoughts and understand His ways. This is when faith is moved from “park” to “drive”!

The truth is:

Faith is not a denial of painful circumstances; it’s the ability to allow Him to work in and through the painful circumstances.

Coffee Hour Friend, are you going through something that is requiring you to take your faith out of park and move it into the drive position? He has much to reveal to us in His time, and one thing we can count on is that though we don’t understand now, we will then…when we are face to face with our Abba Daddy whose plan has always been to offer us a hope, not to harm us, to life us up, not beat us down.

Faith-ing thru the journey,

Evinda

 

Faith Filled Friday

Friday, June 9th, 2017

Welcome back to Faith Filled Friday. It’s good to have you back. 🙂

Yesterday I read something that really stood out to me. It said: “I myself am made entirely of flaws, stitched together with good intentions.” These words were a total gift for me. My entire lifetime I have wanted to help people, to be an instrument of love. I noticed at a young age it was the only way I ever really felt good. Seeing a smile on a person’s face was just a beautiful sort of motivation to me.

The more I thought about what I read, the more I realized that it’s not merely good intentions I am stitched back together with, but the very actions of love I have projected by helping my fellow man. I admit that at times I put down something I should have completed so that I could help another. Or I give so much I have little for myself…this can be a flaw, but I will always believe in my heart that God is pleased with me for following my heart in loving other’s…even perfect strangers.

In the end when stitches are pulled from their host we are left with scars that are not only visible on the exterior, but felt on the interior. These scars that span incredible distances and time are in fact the very teachers that carry sisterly lessons. Doesn’t Jesus carry the scars in the palms of his hands and feet? For some reason I find that comforting that Jesus walked, lived and even died amongst us for us. The older I get the more I realize just how special that really is.

Our inner and outer scars are surely reminders into marking and remembering the struggles in life we have been through. For me they are the bookmarks that tag the very chapters of survival through incredible fear, pain and heartbreak; still here, still living and most importantly, still loving. They bear witness in an innate ability to keep from turning jaded or bitter. How blessed I am to not turn to such things despite almost being the victim to it.

I will never be perfect, far from it. In fact I wear that transparency like a suit. And although scars are the bookmarks of celebration that we made it through, every breath of healing eventually brings me back to my favorite chapter of all: “Blessed to be Alive.”

~John

 

P.S. I shot this week’s picture while in the assistance of a little one that needed some help. These moments are surely gifts when you realize that God himself has trusted you with his precious wildlife. Several birds, ducks, horses, dogs, cats, a turtle & one seriously soft rabbit! All part of one huge blessing! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Monday’s Musings/Mantra

Monday, June 5th, 2017

                                                                                                       Is Your Love Alive?

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Monday’s Mantra @ Trench Classes United. Come on in for a few minutes and let’s explore this concept of love that is alive. I don’t know about you, but there are times in my “love” life that I need to be guided away from the propensity of falling into a rut instead of staying in love.

What do children, pets, plants, faith and love all have in common? They are alive and must be nurtured to be kept that way. What are the differences between children, pets, plants versus faith and love?

The first group is tangible, can be touched; the other two, faith and love, are things that most of us spend our lives pursuing, but not intangible by any means. When I think of the phrase, “Love is alive,” I can think of several analogies wherein that seems to be a true statement. Children, for example, are a good way to recognize that love truly is alive for if a child is not nurtured physically, it can die and if starved emotionally, it is crippled in more ways than one.

As a parent, we put their needs ahead of our own and care for them, nurture them, consistently, even when we don’t feel like it. We do it because our love for them motivates the actions. When they misbehave, we don’t send them away; hopefully we discipline them in love, and use their misbehavior as an opportunity to speak love into their life. This is love in action, love that is alive.

On the flipside of that, there is much to be learned from a child on the subject of love. Their love is not only alive, but so unconditional, so pure. Even though my son is twenty-six, every time I hear him say “I love you, mom,” my heart is squeezed.

Those of us who are pet lovers, don’t we go out of our way to care for them and provide for them, even when we don’t feel like it? Some of us even treat them like they’re people, talking to them as if they can understand what we’re saying, feeding them the leftovers from our plate and letting them sleep in bed with us. That is our love for them in action; in other words, it’s alive. And if you think about it, it is something we do day in and day out. We don’t even think about not caring for them, or not providing food and shelter for them. Our love spurs us into action.

Those of you who love to garden, or enjoy having plants in your home, again, you choose to care for those plants, to keep the weeds away from them, to feed and water them. Why? Because you enjoy what they bring so you continue to protect them so as not to lose the joy they bring you.

Your faith, though it is not necessarily something seen, is the same way; it needs to be fed daily. My faith happens to be in God so each and every morning I spend time feeding it, nurturing it, strengthening it so that in tough times, I am not so shaken. Instead, because my faith is alive, I am rewarded in more ways than I can count. If your faith is not fed, it will wax and wane with the wind.

So it is with love. It must be nurtured to grow. It cannot stay still and survive, but why is it when it comes to the kind of love we’re supposed to express and experience in our significant relationship, we tend to treat it like the air we breathe? We take it for granted. Isn’t that one significant relationship more important than a plant or a pet? Doesn’t that one significant love help us with our children, inspire our faith? I can’t help but wonder if we treated the one we love with a love that is alive, would there be fewer divorces? Wouldn’t life be a little easier with the one we love, less of a rut and more alive!

Father, stir it up in me, a love that is more alive than dead, a love that spreads, while speaking for itself.

Thoughtfully,

Evinda

P.S. Join me Thursday for Coffee Hour Live and Step 10 to Loving the Unlovable at 10:00 PST www.facebook.com/EvindaLepins

Faith Filled Friday

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Welcome back to Faith-Filled Fridays.

As a photographer, I have tried to tune my eyes and camera to hunt for things that are beautiful and appear to be the most free in this world. In this hunt, I have come to find an inner need to bring these small things that are often missed in the background of life to the forefront, to try and brighten the exposure just enough and show just where it was hidden and why it’s such a treasure to discover yet another gift from God above. I want to bring these things to the eyes of others, but it’s also important for me to bring feeling to the picture, or perhaps explain the feeling from the picture.

 

I have also found just how easy it is for us to miss these small things in the people we love. For example, the things people do in the background of our lives that for some reason we never notice or maybe we are living life so fast that we just don’t even feel.
How easy it is to find ourselves tuned out of the wavelength God wants us on, a place where love and feeling is not a gamble to give and especially feel within. Listening and hearing are truly a different entity.

 

We must listen from the soul what the ear hears. When we do we might just bear witness to the love that is trying to infiltrate the parts of us that have weathered the grief and mourning in life. I thank my Higher Power for not just the typical footsteps I have grown accustomed to, but even more for the new hungry ones that are only fed by the next one after it.

 

When we are listening to understand and not to respond in this world, it often works out. It is then in that moment we are equipped with the pair of eyes that God wanted us to see with, the eyes of the heart.

So what might you see when you see this image I attached? Do you see the bends in the road leading to a tree’s tunnel that breaks through to the sun’s morning rays? Or might you also see this bend in the road as a wavelength we can groove too. A wavelength we can gratefully ride toward the light of a new day and precious promise. The light that greets us and our hungry footsteps…

 

Listening, learning, feeling, seeing, all are parts equal in….Loving

 

John

 

-Monday’s Mantra

Monday, May 29th, 2017

 

Welcome to Coffee Hour @ Chicklit Power and Trench Classes United, and our Monday’s Mantra, written by our friend Jenn Woosley! Trust me when I say you are going to love this blog! Come on in.

At yoga last week, our instructor spoke with her usual insightfullness. “In order to find peace, you have to let some things go.” Her comment echoed thoughts that have already been spinning in my mind.

I call myself a recovering perfectionist. The pictures I share below are of my house this week: a messy table, laundry in the dryer since Monday (gasp), dishes that I did this morning but they sat in the sink all night…and a bed I left unmade as we hurried out the door this morning.

There was a time in my life that I could not have handled any of this. It would have caused me anxiety. Or, now that I know better, it upped anxiety that was already there. I have always cleaned and organized when I felt most chaos internally. I’ve only understood this in the past year or so as I’ve begun to allow myself to feel in the moment, name the emotions, allow them to surface and deal with them appropriately. When I can sit with my feelings, without stuffing, fixing, ignoring or covering them, I no longer have the same need to control my environment.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve tried to find peace. I know all the Bible verses on it, I’ve learned certain tricks that supposedly bring it about. I bought into the belief that appearing perfect outwardly was part of the answer.

Now I know, peace is not something I strive for. It’s not what I get when everything in my world aligns properly. Oh no. It is there when I allow God to come in and quiet the chaos in my soul. I let Him show me what I need to let go of. I let go of it being about me. So many things I get upset about are because of how it affects ME..what will people think if my house isn’t neat all the time? What will people think if I have messy emotions? How will I deal with those imperfections?

This is merely an example from my life of how I’ve learned to let some things be. For you, it might be something else that you need to let go of. May you ultimately find peace in your journey

Jenn

P.S. Join Evinda on Thursday for Coffee Hour Live on Facebook at 10:00 PST for more of the Loving the Unlovable series, Step 10! www.facebook.com/EvindaLepins