Too Blessed to Stress

Before we begin, let me say thank you. I am so grateful for our guest authors and layout artists! Last week we had a treat from Kim Jones. This week Brenda Neuhaus shares with us.

I watched “Minute to Win It” the other night. It’s not one of those shows I tune into each week, but the kids and I were looking for something to watch together and this was the compromise. I refuse to watch one more episode of something on Nick or Disney that involves a band of tweens who think they can sing.

This episode of the game show featured two gal-pals from Kansas City, Kansas. I was a bit put off by them at first. Someone at the show thinks that all girls from Kansas must look and dress like Mary Ann from “Gilligan’s Island.” Really? Have you been to KCK lately? And, after living in Kansas for seven years, I’ve met several women who grew up on farms and 1) Not one is named Mary Ann; b) they don’t wear short denim “Daisy Dukes” with gingham blouses and put their hair in pigtails; and 4) we all agree that The Professor should have his tenure revoked. Dude, you can make a car out of cocoanuts but can’t get seven people off an island?

I digress. After I got over how they looked and how they were being “marketed” by the show’s producers, I found out these darlin’ young ‘uns were trying to make money to build orphanages in Third World countries. I thought, “Hmm, some entertainment for the kids with a positive message thrown in to boot. Maybe the boys will learn something here…”

But, as always, God had a lesson for me instead of the boys. As the pressure built and the suspense heightened and the potential windfall for the orphanages got bigger, the girls got a phone call. It was one of their dads, calling in to give them advice and be a voice of calm.

I don’t know what all he said, because I stopped listening and paying much attention after he said this: “It doesn’t matter what happens next. Just relax. You’re too blessed to stress.”

Does God speak to you with fanfares and flourishes? At that moment, it seemed to me that United States Marine Band had stopped by and was beating out “Fanfare for the Common Man” at ffff. (That’s “really loud” for your non-musicians.)

Too blessed to stress.

Finally, I get it. When I’m tied up in knots about something trivial or major, I need to be reminded that I am blessed. When I’m facing a fight that needs to be solved in a minute to win it, I need to remember: Don’t stress, you’re blessed.

Apostle Paul, I get it: “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)

Who knew God could use a game show with a couple of Mary Ann-impersonators to change me. Who knew? He knew.

My friend Ferryl has lived with some sorrows and trials which surpass that which affects most of us. Here’s her response to Brenda’s meditation.

Photobucket

And to bring us back to the start, here’s a layout from Vicky:

Photobucket

Thank you ladies!!

Credits for Ferryl’s piece: TumblefishStudio, paper and journal words, strips, arrow, heart recolored; lauren Bavin, crumpled overlay; Lorie Davison, fantastic doorway(Flying Dreams); KPertiet, loosely labeled tiny “blessed,”
SClingerman, blessed page outline. Fonts, problem secretary, sanctuary, waking the witch, mistral…also the side journaling.
Credits for Vidky’s LO: Cone on Get Happy Bundle by Angie Young and Art Dolls 2 Templates by Cilenia Curtism both @ Scrap Art Studio; Font: Typewriter from Hell.

Views shared on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of OSAi.
 

On Bliss

Today’s Monday Meditation is by Kim Jones. Kim’s newest occupation is owning and managing Designed for Healing, a natural foods and more store in southwestern Missouri.

Have you ever experienced Bliss?  I’m sure the word conjures up all sorts of scenarios in your mind. For the purpose of this blog I’m focusing on that tickly feeling I get when I take that first bite of Creme Brûlée or any food that sends my senses soaring. I’m sure   I’m not the only one who has felt a bit transported during an exceptional meal. The same thing can happen as you soak in a certain vista that lies before you. It could even be in your own back yard. Giving yourself permission and the time to really be present in the moment, to experience and appreciate the lovely view provided by the Creator and to truly taste that burger fresh from your grill is taking a step toward knowing Bliss.

For me, moments of Bliss are filled with gratitude, prayers of thankfulness and a good old fashioned “wow that’s good!”.

Life in general is difficult at best. I’ve heard the phrase, “find your Bliss” for years and I think it’s encouragement to really find joy in your daily grind and to find opportunities to notice that there are exceptional things in your life. The challenge is to slow down a bit, don’t think of food as just fuel, look at your surroundings with fresh eyes.  You can take a trip to exotic or historical destinations and eat fine and fancy food, that would be fantastic! Just consider that while the grass is green on the other side, Bliss can be found on your side of the fence, right under your feet, if you take time to find it.

I think the business of just “doing” life gives us a layer of callouses on that part where bliss is found. But where is that exactly?  Your heart? Your spirit? Your mind?  I think bliss resides somewhere in our senses.   I know that you must “slow down” in order to experience it.

It is possible to be so sensorially numb from the stresses of life that we have a hard time or maybe it’s impossible to register pleasure. I love to have my head massaged but there was a time in my life when I literally could not feel that fantastic tickly sensation when my hair dresser would give me that luscious head massage as she washed my hair……nothing!  My mind remembered how it should feel and tried to fill in the blank but no….I felt nothing.   That is a sign of serious stress and if it happens to you, you might need some professional help. I found a nice mix of self-care disciplines restored my ability to feel.  I  enjoyed a mix of massage, acupuncture, yoga, dance, a good counselor and faith.  I recall the bliss I felt when I could really enjoy that head massage again. Surprise, relief and a lovely tingle.

If, in this season to be thankful you find yourself not really feeling, you can take action. Try to take some time for yourself, check your stress level.  Pray for a renewed heart and mind and practice enjoying everyday events.  Affirm that there is Bliss in the simplest of things and expect to find it.  It takes practice to peel away the callouses that can steal our Bliss.  I can tell you it’s worth the effort.

 

Kim’s piece made me think about feelings, our own, and the verse that goes, ‘yes, you want truth in the most hidden places’ or ‘you desire truth in the innermost being’ (Psalm 51:6).

In 1993 I was driving to work. I felt like God told me to acknowledge my feelings. Not wanting to be ruled by my emotions, I had ignored, squashed and denied til I didn’t even know what they were there or that I was feeling instead. He wanted to address that.

My response was something like this: I’m on my way to work. I’ll do it later. And I did … 7 years later.

Michelle Tumes says it better than I:

Hark! The wind of passion
Swiftly weaving over your soul
Bless the surge of thunder rolling onto your shore
Greet the deep emotion
That sleeps beneath the ocean floor
Watch elation bound release it’s furious roar

Feel! Feel! Feel! Feel what you long to
Feel! Feel! Feel! Feel what you long
To feel.

Pound the sands of courage
Reach for clouds that cover the foam
Dance with bold expression
Leaping form silent abodes
Face the wild commotion
Free restraint and struggle no more
Let the moon raise all that
Dwells in the tides of your core

Feel! Feel! Feel! Feel what you long to
Feel! Feel! Feel! Feel what you long
To feel

Weep,sigh,laugh,cry
Flee from the snares that wish to
Deny how you feel
Hope, live , love, yearn
And feel, feel what you long to

Views shared on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of OSAi.
 

Jehovah Jireh

For years I’ve had a plaque which currently hangs in our salle de bain right next to the mirror. It has a quote from Philippians on it, “My God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” I’m so grateful for this truth. Today I feel the need for Jehovah Jireh, the God who provides, keenly.

The meaning of this name is The Lord Who Provides. The name is literally, The Lord Who Sees, or The Lord Who Will See To It. This is what we long for when we have a need that is personal and special; One who will see to our needs and provide for us. This is what Jehovah-Jireh means; the Lord will see to it that my every need is met. One Who knows my need because He sees. One Who is able to meet my need in just the right time as He did for Abraham, and One Who can meet it fully. For Abraham, it was the ram caught in the thicket that was offered in Isaac’s place. For us it is whatever we need. (by Emery Nester)

“Jireh” translates into “provide” which is a word with wonderful Latin roots. Pro means “before” and video means “to see.” So it means to see in advance or before the need is known. God is preparing an answer before we know that it is a need. See Genesis 22:1-14 (from Hannahs Cupboardl)

You’ve probably had similar experiences. In October we realized there wasn’t as much money as we thought. We found an overlooked debt which should be paid immediately which will make serious inroads into our savings. We need a heating system (this is our second winter without one) and are trying to find funds for the payments. And we need to do this soon because the tax benefits etc to this present package may not be available in 2013. Saturday the car broke down and needs serious repairs. Today the specialist Stephane saw said that he needs expensive work on his teeth and that delay is most inadvisable.

So I’m relying on Jehovah Jireh, praying for wisdom on how to curtail expenses, and am reminded of our October Bible study passage from Matthew 6.

That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life?

And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?

So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear? These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Thank you Mark Cooke for sharing St. Augustine’s prayer which I echo with all my heart, “Almighty God, who knows our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking: Set free Your servants from all anxious thoughts for the morrow; give us contentment with Your good gifts; and confirm our faith that according as we seek Your kingdom, You will not suffer us to lack any good thing; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

Views shared on this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of OSAi. Image credit: Papers and eles by 4OSAi.