Monday, July 24, 2017

Love & Crisis

I am bursting with stuff to share, but really haven't known if it's the time to share it.  Or even if this is the platform.  There have been some foundational lessons that God has been teaching me.  Gosh, I haven't blogged so long.  I don't know where to start.  I long to connect with my readers on  a more personal level.

 I don't know how many of you are married.  But statistically marriages will go through a crisis about every 10 years.  It could be health, financial, loss of a loved one, parenting issues, etc.  My husband and I went through our first crisis last year, and guess what?  Last year was our 10th year of marriage.  Ours was financial.  Honestly, it went on for about 2 years but reached the worst of it last year.  We were in danger of losing our home.  The only reason we are in our home today is because God used our family and our church to help us.  But it was rough for awhile and it truly tested our marriage.  We had the worst arguments of our marriage during this time.  But we had decided we were going to let this make our marriage stronger not weaker.  There were times, we were ready to give up.............. but you never let a temporary situation cause you to make a permanent decision that you will regret.  So many great things have happened as a result of our crisis.  It has forced me to let go and trust God more, it has humbled me.  It is still humbling me.  We are doing better but we have alot to dig out of.  As a result of this crisis, I got a job after being a stay at home mom for 9 years.  I got a job at my kids' school with an amazing staff that has become like a family to me.  God gave me a purpose at my kids' school. It wasn't just to be there working, His timing and His purposes were evident.  Now one of my new daily prayers is "God whatever you do, do it in a way that keeps me humble"  Life is better when I'm trusting God.  It takes away the stress and anxiety.  Even now I have to remind myself of that, as of late I have been anxious about a couple changes with my work

I have stopped being so overprotective of my kids.  God has shown me, with Jesus, that the reason why Jesus died on the cross for us, is because God knew, at the beginning, that we were going to forsake Him.  That His creation would fall into sin.  As a loving Father, instead of trying to stop us and control us, He provided a way to help us rise up again.  That's what good parents do.  We don't try to control our kids, we provide a way for them to rise up again when they fail.  Just like us, they will fail over and over again.  Just like we don't have to be afraid to fail and we can take comfort in knowing that God already has a way to lift us back up, we don't have to be afraid of failure for our kids and they don't have to be afraid either.  We want our kids to live boldly and God wants us to live boldly. 

So, if you are like me and you are asking the question "How could God let this happen?"  It's because He is a loving Father, who doesn't want to control us. That wouldn't be love.  Love does not control.

         "Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is no puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil........................."(1 Corintheans 13:4,5)

Friday, October 9, 2015

Let it all go and fall

In the last week, I have come across 2 scenarios that have encouraged me in a "free falling" posture.  One scenario I saw on TV.  It was a special, documenting people's lives.  There was a guy, who climbed this mountain and he ended up slipping, and as he fell through the air, his arms and feet hustled to gain his ground back, but only for a few seconds and then he stoped fighting, relaxes his body and rests into the fall.  He knew he wasn't going to survive the fall and he didn't fight what was coming.
Then, there was another scenario, I read about in a book called "Discovering Your Soul Signature".  This was a true story as well.  There was a young women who was driving her "Mini Cooper" down the street and she was rear ended by a school bus that was going about 50 miles per hour.  Her car wrecked, but she opened the door and got out the car with no injuries, and she said "that at the moment of impact, her body went limp. She just completely … let go.”

I have never tried this posture of letting go and "free falling". But I'm sensing that there are times and seasons where we need to take on this posture.  Stop scratching and clawing and just open your hands, let go and fall into whatever awaits us.  I'm sure it's good, because God says he has good plans for us:

Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. 

Many of us think we can't let go.  We are scared to let go.  We are scared of the unknown.  We are scared of not trying to control outcomes.  But I believe that in "letting go" the adventure of your life will truly begin.  

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Crazy, sexy me?

So I know my title is kind of "off the beaten path",  but lately God has been taking me off the beaten path.  I have a story about me.  When I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior, words cannot describe the joy that I felt, and I was glad to be in the house of God every chance I could.  I loved my church home.  Some things started to happen that I didn't pay much attention to, but they had a traumatic impact on me in the long run.  When I began my Christian journey I was totally myself, basking in the joy of my Savior. However, over time I started to cover-up more and more of who I really was, little by little; until I didn't look like myself at all anymore.  I remember the first time one of the women, in the church, gave me something to cover my legs because I had on a skirt.  I want to add that my skirt was knee length.  It's funny because I didn't know why they kept handing me this, I don't know what it was, a cloth to cover up.  This was during the sermon so I would quietly say "No, I'm fine".  I thought that maybe it was a courtesy in case I was cold.  I didn't really grow up in the church so I wasn't familiar with church protocol regarding the matter of covering up, if you had a skirt on.  But after some days I figured out what they were trying to do, and I was kind of offended and I don't know why.  But I just decided I would not sit that close to the front of the sanctuary anymore, if I was wearing a skirt.  That was only the beginning.  I started to also find that I was drawing alot of attention to myself, but it was not on purpose.  It was not my purpose at all, but it was happening so I got very self conscious about how I was dressing.  I started to only wear baggy clothes, I stopped keeping my hair done, and I stopped wearing makeup.  I just really started to try to play down my beauty.  I think I was use to that attention when I was in other places, but I was so naive, because I didn't think I would draw that type of attention in church.  It caught me off guard and I thought it was the right thing to do, to start to cover up.  During that time, I had a discussion with a very close friend who had a strong walk with God and he began to ask me why I was dressing like I was, why was everything so baggy?  And I told him why; and he told me that I didn't have to cover up myself, he told me I should not be afraid of my own beauty.  He told me that I should not feel like I have to play down my beauty because of other people.  I eventually lost some of my pizazz in all that cover-up.  Now I'm on a journey back to my pizazz!!  Back to my crazy, sexy, me.  While I know, as a Christian, that this post might offend some other Christians who feel that the word "sexy" and the word "Christian" should not be used in the same sentence.  But I strongly disagree.  To me, the word sexy means attractive, appealing to the senses in a pleasurable way.  To me, God is very attractive, very appealing, and very pleasurable.  I think that the people you meet, who are really on fire for God, would probably agree with me.  Every Christian I have ever met, with a vibrant relationship with the Lord comes off as very attractive.  Jesus is attractive, He is intriguing, He is provocative.  God made us, so we are attracted to certain attributes for a reason.  God embodies many of the characteristics that attract us, as human beings, because we are made in His likeness.     You have to get to know Him outside of "religion".  Because "religion" can sometimes play it safe, dress it up, cover it up, make it look safe.  Religion sometimes does not introduce us to a provocative, intriguing, exciting, adventurous, intimate God.  Religion introduces us to a safe, rule-giving, boring, condemning God.  That is so far from the truth about God.  God is in fact very sexy, very attractive, super cool, and very provocative.  To be Christlike means not being safe.  It means being provocative.  Since Jesus is very attractive, He makes you very attractive when you accept Him as your Lord and Savior.    For those that doubt in terms of what I stated here, you should read the Songs of Solomon.  If that's not "sexy" I don't know what is.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Start fresh by forgiving yourself

Did you know that every morning you wake up with new baby nerve cells, in your brain, that have been born while you were sleeping; and that these are at your disposal to be used in tearing down toxic thoughts and rebuilding healthy thoughts.  According to the book, "Switch on Your Brain", the birth of these new baby nerve cells is called neurogenesis, which brings to mind the following scripture:
Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed,
Because His compassions fail not.
23 They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.

"They are new every morning".  To understand that God produces something tangible to carryout His word in our lives is just amazing!!!

Many times when I fall off the wagon, concerning anything that I'm suppose to be doing in life, I get discouraged and beat myself up and that just keeps me from getting back on the path that I need to be on.  What I am learning to do now is to remember that I get a "fresh start".  Remember that God has destined us for "fresh starts".  A "fresh start" is a part of your destiny and my destiny.  Even if you messed up royalty today, you can leave that behind and know that you can still be great tomorrow.  Don't allow the guilt that results from messing up, to hold you back from the greatness that God has placed in you.   You have to forgive yourself, just as God forgave you in Christ.  God wants us to make forgiving ourselves such a lifestyle, that our mess ups don't shake us anymore.   He wants you to be free from your mistakes. He doesn't want the mistakes that you make to control and guide your future behavior; and the only way that can happen is to forgive yourself everyday.  In God's mercy we get to start with a fresh slate everyday, as long as we don't continue to remember our mistakes in such a way that they hold us hostage.  I have been held hostage to my own mistakes in the past; and that really held me back.  I just realized that I have to allow myself to be free from the mistakes I make on a daily basis.  I can't let them define me and I can't let them lead me to believe that somehow I have gotten off coarse.  The only way that your mistakes can take you off the right path, is if you let them.  The only way you can let them, is by not forgiving yourself.  When you forgive yourself, daily, of every mistake that you have made, you are free to keep moving forward in your life.  If you don't, you might find yourself standing still in some areas.  Choose a "fresh slate".  Forgive yourself daily.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Disciple your emotions

In the past the word "disciple"  has never came off to have a warm meaning to me.  I have never viewed it in a negative way. I am a disciple of Christ and I believe in discipleship.  But the statement of "disciple your emotions" has been popping up in my mind for at least a month now.  I thought I would explore it.  As this popped up in my mind, it started to have a warmer tone to it.  Think about it:  Which one sounds gentler: "Discipline your emotions" or "Disciple your emotions".  I believe we are suppose to disciple our emotions by taking them gently and leading them into to the light of God's word everyday.

We have so many ways of dealing with our emotions.  We hide them, we resist them, we dislike them, when they are positive we embrace them.  But we hide, resist, and dislike when they are not positive.  I don't think we should.  I think we should explore our emotions even when they are negative.  Ask yourself why you feel "some kind of way".  and wait quietly for answers.  Don't allow your emotions to make you anxious.  Don't be afraid of them either.  Scripture is a refuge in which you can explore your emotions.  Figure out how your feeling.  Many times it will be a pointer towards how to disciple your emotions at that time:  Look at the scripture below:

Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
And whose hope is the Lord.
For he shall be like a tree planted by the waters,
Which spreads out its roots by the river,
And will not fear[b] when heat comes;
But its leaf will be green,
And will not be anxious in the year of drought,
Nor will cease from yielding fruit.

The scriptures above have been great for helping me disciple my emotions.  There are times where I look at a scripture like this and realize that I feel confined instead of spread out.  I feel parched and thirsty instead of feeling like I have a constant water supply.  Scripture can give you a description for your emotions whether good or bad.  When I feel confined, desperate,  and anxious that means I'm currently not trusting in God.  That doesn't mean that I don't trust God, it just means that I am struggling in certain areas with it.  This scripture is so great because it tells me that all I must do is turn my attention back to God and trust Him again.  It points my desire back towards refreshing and peace,  which turns me away from trying to produce my own results.  It reminds me that, it is through trusting God that I will be fruitful and successful in life.  When you disciple your emotions, it's just a gentle way of exploring what you are feeling through the bible and then guiding your desires by reading God's good desires for you.   

Cursed is the man who trusts in man
And makes flesh his strength,
Whose heart departs from the Lord.
For he shall be like a shrub in the desert,
And shall not see when good comes,
But shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness,
In a salt land which is not inhabited.

I'm a Christian but, at times, I can still find myself in a dry and thirsty place and even though I'm saved, so I'm not cursed.  I know that I have found myself feeling dry and thirsty because in some area I have started to rely on myself and I am not trusting God.  I know that the description of  "dry", "thirsty", "deserted" are indicative of a place where God does not want me.  Below is where God wants me:

Psalm Chapter 1
Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
    Nor stands in the path of sinners,
    Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
    And in His law he meditates day and night.
He shall be like a tree
    Planted by the rivers of water,
    That brings forth its fruit in its season,
    Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.

Be Blessed and Peaceful today

Friday, August 28, 2015

Lets talk.......

I have had this blog for about 7 years now, yet I have found myself wondering about my audience.  Nobody leaves any comments so I wonder "Who is reading it?".  I wonder what my audience needs in their lives right now.   I know there is a purpose why you are here on this blog.  I have even considered taking it down, because I have been doing it for so long, but I feel like I'm talking to myself most of the time.  That's kind of why I first started it, because I needed a place to talk to myself, but now I have grown to a desire to touch my audience.  Not just myself.

I'm actually praying God will show me what to do with this blog, because I don't know that it's growing.  And anything I pursue in life, after years, I really need to see the growth of it.  Is this blog living in a sense where God is breathing on it to be a blessing to many???  Definitely praying about expansion and next steps.

In the meantime, I have come to realize that you are reading this as more than just a body on a computer.  You are more then just your mind.  You are a soul.  In the culture we live in, we get treated like we are just our minds or we are just are bodies.  Maybe we are just our accomplishments.  This could not be further from the truth.  We have actually bought into it, in many subtle ways, myself included. We have felt we have to obsess about our bodies, or that we have to heap up accomplishment after accomplishment for our life to be worth anything. Or we have to appear to know all the answers  Or maybe you feel like you are just your paycheck and without that, you feel like you would be lost. Maybe you feel like you are the sum of what you can offer to others.  That's a big one that I'm guilty of.  But that is yet another lie.  I am so much more that what I can offer to you or to anybody.  I am a soul.  A living breathing soul and so are you.  Our souls are with us before we are born and they are eternal.  They never die.  How awesome is that.  Your soul is your forever companion and we ought to do right by it don't you think? 

When we find our value in the wrong things we tend to let the wrong things guide our lives, dictate our schedules, and determine our value to the world around us.  God says you are valuable just because you have a soul, that's why before you even come out of the womb and accomplish anything, you are already valuable to God.  Before you make any money, before you touch any lives, before you get married, before you have kids, before you step foot in a church, before you take your first steps, before you say your first words.  Before any of this you are already valuable to God, because of your soul.  It is your soul that is the upmost value to Him and should be the upmost value to you. 

Jeremiah 1:5 - Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you;

Even with this said it is so hard to get away from the feeling of worthlessness or get away from attaching our worth to the wrong things.  But this gets tiring. And your soul grows weary because you are not nurturing your inward person (your soul).  Have you ever felt empty?  Have you ever felt like you have an insatiable appetite that never gets satisfied?  Have you ever felt like you constantly need to be busy, for your life to be worthwhile?  Have you ever felt like you are just waiting until the next thing to happen?  Do you find it hard to exist in the moment? Does quietness or stillness make you uncomfortable?  What do you do?  Who do you consult?  The Psalmist, David, consulted with his soul.

Psalm 13:2 How long shall I take counsel in my soul
Psalm 42:5 Why are you cast down, O my soul? And why are you disquieted within me?

Our soul remembers things that our mind does not.  You must take counsel with your soul.  Many things that we think we are without are already within us.  Answers we seek, because our soul is our connection to God.  Our soul has had intimate fellowship with the Lord and our soul remembers God's plan for our lives.  Our soul remembers what God spoke to us before we were formed in the womb.  Your soul remembers, consult with your soul

As I pray about this blog, I hope that you will leave comments, let me know you're out there and I pray I can learn more about you and you don't remain anonymous.  You can even send email.

Ande Carr 


Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Study - Switch on Your Brain Ch3 Part 1

Excerpt from "Switch on your brain"

"Main Scripture: Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good,…pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 NIV

Linked Science Concept: Through our thoughts we can be our own micro surgeons as we make choices that will change the circuits in our brains. We are designed to do our own brain surgery and rewire our brains by thinking and by choosing to renew our minds." 

I have meditated on the scripture above over the years but I always wondered what it really meant.  I think I have understood bits and pieces but when I read this book, it showed me that we are actually hardwired to fullfill this scripture in our lives.  God has given us the equipment to carry out His will. He has!!!!  This book shows you how to begin to use that equipment. 

Dr. Leaf states that "This scientific power of our mind to change the brain is called epigenetics and spiritually is is as a man thinks, so is he (Proverbs 23:7) The way the brain changes as a result of mental activity is scientifically called neuroplasticity. And spiritually, it is the renewing of the mind (Romans 12:2)"

The scientific evidence for scripture is simply profound.  God's word is true and His intention has always been to carry it out through us.  If you are anything like me, you have wondered why it's so hard to change and break old habits.  Maybe you have wondered why you haven't seen any growth spiritually, even though you are trying to do all the right things to learn more about God.  This book is not the entire answer but it does shed some light on how we can begin to play a very active part, with God, in being transformed by the renewing of our minds so we can begin to carryout God's will in our lives.  Within scripture you hear constant references to the "heart" "mind" "spirit" "soul", none of which you can see.  The scripture below talks about the power of the things that you cannot see:

Hebrews 11:3 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible

When you consider the scriptural truth above; it is no different then how we produce output in our everyday lives?  For example, when it comes to the spirit, we cannot necessarily see the "spirit" but the spirit can be measured by it's fruit.  

Below is more excerpts from the book:
"The decisions you make today become part of the thought networks in your brain. The two copies of the chromosome that you carry in each of your cells contain the entire set of genetic material necessary to make you. An interesting point: A cell in your brain and a cell in your kidney contain the exact same DNA. And while in utero (in the womb), the nascent (emerging, developing) cells differentiate into either a brain cell or a kidney cell only when crucial epigenetic processes turn the right genes on or off. So God has designed perfectly timed epigenetic signals to switch on in the womb as the baby is developing. “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you” (Jer. 1:5). 

The epigenetic marks in our genes that may predispose us to smoke, eat too much of the wrong foods, be negative, or worry can change.  The way we react—our thinking and choosing—becomes the signal that activates or deactivates the generational issues in our lives. "

What Dr. Leaf says above further confirms Hebrew 11:3 when it says that the things which are seen were not made by things which are visible.  

Take away thought - In our culture today we give much time and fuss over the things which are visible, but the things which are not visible tend to suffer.  I think realizing that the way in which we think is the creative process that God has blessed us with, to be co-creators with Him, in the lives that we are called to live out on this earth.  You no longer have to passively, will yourself, to do something unsuccessfully; because you now know that you have the equipment to carry out your very thoughts.  Your brain carries out the intentions of your mind.  It is your brain that is central in producing the output for the rest of your body, but it is a passive instrument merely responding to our mind.  It is in our minds in which we think,  it is our brain that carries it out.    


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