Monthly Archives: December 2013

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goodbyes are hard

Yesterday, I wrote about letting go of all that hinders – found here.

I’ve been learning that following through on that may include saying goodbye to those things that hold me back or no longer serve the purpose God has set before me.

And that’s exactly what I have to do; what I am doing/going to do.

Personally, I’ve never liked the term goodbye. It seems so final. As if I’ll never see that person again. I typically don’t end conversations with a close friend with that word – instead, it’s see you or later, maybe even a simple bye, followed by I love you.

This instance is not the first time I’ve had to say goodbye, nor will it be the last. I’ve said goodbye to friendships that never got off the ground and others who have run their course. I’ve let go of dreams and said hello to new ones. I do that all the time.

There’s also the matter of death and loss.

I’ve been blessed in the area of loss…the closest relative I’ve had to say goodbye to was an uncle, who wasn’t really all that close – relationally anyway. And yet, it was still a loss.

If there is one thing that life has taught me, is that it doesn’t stay the same. It’s always changing and the fact that I haven’t lost anyone close to me could, in fact, happen at any moment. We’re not guaranteed tomorrow, you know.

Anyway…

This isn’t about being a nice person and keeping tabs on every little thing (people, relationships, situations) that have ever crossed my path. That would be incredibly exhausting and stressful.

This is about releasing to God what is his…and that happens to be everything he’s given me.

In the last six months, he’s been teaching me plenty. I’ve learned that happiness starts with me – not with my relationship status or the number of friends I have; the number of things I have to do in a day (although I do enjoy being busy – to an extent) or my job. None of those things can make me happy.

That being said (and combined with the close of another year), I’m saying goodbye…

  • To 2013
  • To old habits
  • To lies I’ve believed
  • To relationships I have no reason to hold on to or have.
  • To settling. Period.

Am I not grateful for having experienced all that I have this year? I am. Truly. Deeply. And will always be.

Not all love lasts, but the lessons love brings us to do. – Mandy Hale

Is this final? Probably, at least until God calls me home – I can’t make that determination for others as I cannot see their hearts. Only God can. I simply pray that God will deal with them just as he’s dealing with me; with amazing grace, tender mercy and unfailing, unending love. That part isn’t my responsibility. It’s my responsibility to let go.

I’m ready.

When the past calls, let it go to voicemail. It has nothing new to say. – Mandy Hale

I’m in the midst of a transition into a new season of life, and what once was a part of this season will not fit. They will fall away. It’s time.

And it’s time that I release my life, my heart, my dreams – all that I am – to God’s care, where they all rightfully belong. Granted, I’m not perfect and I am sure there will be days when I’ll take them back, only to release them again. All of life is a process and I am no different. I’m not perfect, nor would I ever claim to be. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I am a work in progress.

When you let go, something magical happens. You give God room to work. – Mandy Hale

Will it be easy? No. Nothing worth fighting for is, but in the end, it will be worth it.

I have had the call of God on my life since I was four and while I’m still figuring out what my calling is, He’s creating something new, helping me become the woman he created me to be and, honestly? I can’t wait to meet her.

[My] life should be so fulfilled and purposeful and centered in God that [I] see it as the cake and love as the icing. With or without the icing, a cake is still a cake. – Mandy Hale

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© Anita J. Brands. 2013. Website: https://authentictruthseeker.wordpress.com/

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a new year’s resolution…wait, i don’t make those

New Year’s is tomorrow.

Tonight, there will probably be some party that I’ll make a small, short appearance at. After all, we all know I’m not a night owl. I may or may not make it to midnight. Good thing I do not have plans tomorrow…

People around the world (or maybe it’s just the U.S.) make resolutions to start their new year off with a bang.

I was reading an article the other day about the top ten resolutions people make each year. Let’s just say I was amused.

  1. Spend more time with family and friends
  2. Fit in fitness
  3. Focus on health
  4. Quit smoking
  5. Enjoy life more
  6. Quit drinking
  7. Get out of debt
  8. Learning something new
  9. Help others
  10. Get organized

When I was growing up, my family never really made resolutions. Sure, we had goals mapped out for the next year and most of them were met by marking mile-markers as we went along.

Save money.

Get new equipment for the farm.

Pay off debt.

Diet…again. Speaking of that, move more.

The list goes on.

Four years ago – and I can’t believe it’s been that long – (March 2014 will mark three years since I made the move to Minneapolis), I made the decision to turn my life upside down and start over in regards to health (mental, emotional and physical), finances and my spiritual life. It was time to be radical and not live the way the world around me said I should.

I gave up pop. Best. Decision. Ever.

I stopped living by that blasted number on the scale and started going by how I feel and the number of inches I’ve lost instead. I’m proud to say that I’m down 45 lbs. and have lost 58+ inches over my entire body since I’ve moved to the cities. I cop it all off to walking everywhere and actually using my gym membership.

My finances look better than they did when I moved here. Finally!

I could go on.

I’m not anywhere near where I would like to be or, rather, where I envision God wants me to be, but I will get there…step by obedient step…moment by intentional moment. Perhaps he’ll call me home when I do.

2014 won’t be any different. Starting tomorrow, I plan on being intentional about getting into the Word on a daily basis – I even found some pretty cool reading plans, one that goes through the Bible in a year and another that camps out in the New Testament all year long (you can Google reading plans or click here or here). I plan on getting up earlier; I’m just hoping it’s not after a long night tonight. I plan on hitting the gym for the third time this week – on the plus side, I also discovered that they do get the Hallmark channel (and other movie channels) at the gym. Maybe I’ll watch a whole move while I’m walking on the treadmill, climbing on the elliptical or biking away the miles. We shall see. I also plan on cleaning and reorganizing part of my apartment. I also need to put the Christmas stuff away.

Along with the following:

  • Remember that bucket list I posted? Check here.
  • Continue to cultivate emotional maturity…learn not to take everything personally. They really don’t affect or have anything to do with me anyway. I can choose not to let them affect me.
  • Continue to learn and apply the difference between time and energy management.
  • Remove all unhealthy assumptions. In other words, extract the lies I’ve believed.
  • Invest in someone younger than me.
  • Embrace and continue to build new and deep relationships. No more of this surface level stuff when it comes to those I call friends.
  • Learn how to really manage my finances – budget, meal plan, save, etc.
  • Plan. I’m a planner by nature – my girlfriends give me a hard time for it nearly every day. What can I say? God gifted me with the gift of administration. I’m still trying to figure what to do with it.
  • Rest well. I intend to take time each day/week/month to rest. To be still.
  • Love the Lord – with all that I am.

Bring it on New Year! I love a challenge!

How about you? What are your goals or resolutions?

I pray that as you make them, you’ll include God in on the fun. Without him, the success rate is practically nil, or so I’ve discovered. And don’t forget to have a little fun!

my wish for you in the new year

Even in the midst of turmoil, trial and strife.

“I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – Jesus, John 16.32b-33

Jesus never said this life would be easy. It will be hard.

It is hard.

It would be even harder without him.

This world, not to mention Satan, has a tendency to play with our minds, offering things that seem more alluring and spinning lies about how this thing or that person/relationship will fill the void that we all have.

Everything this world offers (thing, money, relationship, job, etc.) will not last. They always change and I can guarantee that at some point or another, that thing will cause you more heartache than you ever thought it could. 4e606f0877a23b8d40255bfb307320b8

Believe me, I’ve been there.

Some days, I’m still there.

Only in Jesus can peace, hope and the ever-constant state of being of joy be found.

Only Jesus lasts….from beginning to end; Alpha and Omega (Revelation 1.8).

Only Jesus is constant. He’s the same yesterday, today, and forever (Hebrews 13.8).

Forever

Satan is also very good at creating doubt where a firm foundation should be. One of his most effective traps for robbing Christians of peace, joy and hope is to convince them that they need to earn these gifts from God.

Grace doesn’t work that way.

There isn’t a price to pay.

Jesus paid it all on the cross and we don’t owe a single thing on that debt.

It has been paid in full.

And yet

Yet…

We fall for it all the time.

If you’re struggling with this, I encourage you to find time during those moments when you’re about to fall for Satan’s claims – hook, line and sinker – or even when you have and turn to God.

Get into the Word.

Pray.

Read the Psalms and praise him for all that he has done and continues to do.

Find an accountability partner.

Walk through life with other believers.

Listen to/for him.

And believe the truth that you can’t earn God’s love. There isn’t anything you can do to earn his love or make him love you more than he already does. He loves the same, ever constant.

My prayer, my wish, for you in 2014 (and beyond) is this:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15.13 NIV

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with the new year comes a new lens

ef707021510966629c883de78cdff843I’m all about keeping my readers up to date with any upcoming series/writings that my creative mind is currently spinning. January 1, 2014 kicks off a new year.

Another new beginning

A fresh start

Chances to begin again

That being said, I’m going to attempt taking a fresh, new perspective (for me at least) in reading the Bible.

Most people read through the Bible in a year. Sadly, I’ve tried and failed, but what good is there in not getting back up and trying again?

I’ll be doing so again, but will be adding a character study with each reading.

Each character

Not just the big ones.

I’m talking about Enoch and Seth, Mordecai and Tamar (both that are mentioned in the Bible).

There are more than 365 characters, so what follows may be longer than a given year and I can guarantee I won’t be writing one up every day. Some may need more study than others. After all, Moses has more than one “story” connected to him.

For example, there’s the way he was found in the basket among the reeds in the Nile by Pharaoh’s daughter, the way he was raise in the palace, the burning bush, the ten plagues, the crossing of the Red Sea, water from the rock at Mara, the Ten Commandments…the list goes on.

There may even be more than one write-up per character, especially the big ones.  

I’ve also been reading through Nichole Nordeman’s Love Story (found here) and her creative writing and fresh perspective forces the reader to look at scripture differently.

I want that.

A changing of my mindset

A different perspective

I grew up reading the Bible, starting at a very young age. It’s easy for me to allow it to become commonplace; for me to go through the motions.

I’ve read this one before…nothing new since the last time I read it.

What now?

Do I really need to read it again?

And when it comes to books like Leviticus, I inwardly cringe (sorry God). In my opinion, it’s one of the most boring books of the Bible…all numbers, whining and complaining…most of it seems repeated from Exodus, Numbers and Deuteronomy. I’ve often wanted to rip my hair out with how bored I get with that book (I highly recommend pairing it with another book – it will make it that much more bearable).

That being said, I hope you enjoy my findings as well as any research put into this project.

Happy New Year!

all that hinders

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. Hebrews 12.1-3 NIV

The world we live in believes that how you play the game isn’t nearly as important as winning or losing.

God’s way is quite different.

In the end, He wins.

His disciples win.

It all comes down to how you play the game or, in this case, run the race.

The first thing we must do is cast off everything that hinders. God isn’t talking about sin here as that opening statement is followed with “and the sin that so easily entangles.” If I want to be a starter in this game (and I don’t want to be sitting on the sidelines, watching it all unfold – I’d rather be in on the action, thank you very much!), you need to cast off everything that holds you back from what God would have you become – the person you were created to be.

The things that hold me back differ from the things that hold you back.

These are the things that get in the way of what you feel you should be doing.

For instance, it used to be the four to six hours of television or movie time I used to put in every night. During that season of my life, I didn’t have the “time” to spend with Jesus each morning. Since then, I’ve chosen to spend an hour or two reading Christian literature or my Bible each evening, limiting my TV/movie intake and choosing to go to bed earlier so I can get up earlier. It took some discipline (it still does some days), but I did it.

I am doing it.

The fact that I’m most definitely not a night owl makes the going to bed earlier that much easier.fc0cd4467a5ad1c81fb9ef7c24886fa3 What a perk! My mom even confirmed this weekend when I asked if I was that way as a kid. The answer: yep. From the time I was a baby, I was in bed by 8 PM and slept soundly until 5:30 the next morning. Like clockwork.

Cool.

But if that was something that hindered me in the past, what is holding me back now?

A number of things:

  • worry over finances has held me back from using what I do have for God’s glory
  • a light case of depression has held me back from making healthy choices
  • a past relationship that I have struggled to let go of has held me back from moving on and being open to receiving what God has for me right now
  • and more I have yet to uncover, I’m sure.

Did you know that there is no rule in the book of life stating that you have to hold onto a relationship with an ex, even if they ask? You don’t. If it is something that stops you short of receiving God’s best, let it go. Release it.

He/She wasn’t yours to begin with.

Let it go. Release it.

No matter what that looks like – changing your number, deleting the contact from the phone, getting rid of all email/letter communication, putting photos away, stop using Facebook – do whatever it takes to let it go. You can’t move on if you don’t. I couldn’t. Some days I find that I can’t. So I’m letting go.

I’ve been getting a log of encouragement in that department from my mentors, many of my friends and Mandy Hale…a positive voice for single women. I have to take a moment to give thanks to God for a couple of my brothers who stood alongside me in removing all traces from my life, for the time being. Their actions make me appreciate and respect them even more – so, boys, if you’re reading this, thank you for being an encouragement in my walk with Jesus. You are appreciated, deeply respected and admired.

I am not less of a person because I don’t have the titles of girlfriend, wife or mother attached to my being.

I am me and that’s awesome.

I have Jesus and he’s all I need.

He is enough.

And because he is enough, I am enough.

I’m embracing it…or learning to.

The Holy Spirit’s message is clear: there is faith available – even that the size of a mustard seed – let go and go get it. Do whatever it takes to seek that faith, to have it and to hold onto it. Jesus, through the work of the Holy Spirit, can do that for you. He can help you overcome sin and cast off all that hinders.

I’m set to run the race before me. I don’t know what 2014 holds, but I do know who holds my life. Come rain or shine, I’m his. I’ll cling to him, I’ll strive to continue to do so, even as he reveals what he has for me and I know it’ll be better than anything I ever had planned or could dream up for my own life.

My prayer for you is that you choose to do the same. Enjoy the run!

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