Canaan Bound Brigade

My Journey to the Promised Land….

Got Worry?

     Where do you turn when worry starts to take over your mind & turn a sunny day into a dark one?  The first thing I start to do when worry starts to overwhelm me is pray.  I’ve found too that if I start my prayers praising God & thanking Him for my blessings it then helps me to focus more on what’s going right vs what’s going wrong. 

     After praying I like to look up verses in my Bible to remind me of God’s promises.  Sometimes I just blindly start reading, other times I’ll actually do a search on my computer for “Scriptures on worrying.” 

     Although, your Bible should be the first book you go to for answers, I’m also an AVID reader.  It’s completely normal for me to be reading 2-3 books at a time. When my trial started my mom & dad bought me some AMAZING books which have helped me TREMENDOUSLY during this trail. They are:

Anxious for Nothing by John MacArthur.  One of the things I LOVED about this book is that after finishing the book, the back has a study guide where you then go back to each chapter & answers questions, followed by a prayer guide & then an “assignment” to put into play what you learned.   You can use the book for an actual group Bible study or like me, do it on your own.  Also included is an entire chapter of Psalms for the anxious.   Some of my favorite quotes from the book are: Anxiety is blatant distrust of the power and the love of God,  Jesus wants us to realize it doesn’t make sense to believe God can save us from eternal hell, but not help us in the practical matters of life and lastly, Jesus gives us, His children three reasons for not worrying about this life: It is unnecessary because of our Father, it is uncharacteristic because of our faith, and it is unwise because of our future.  These are just a few examples on how uplifting this book is!

When Life is Hard by James MacDonald. This book is broken down in chapters including: What Are Trials? Why Trials? What to Do with Trials? What If I Refuse this Trial? Why Some Trials Never End? & Come Forth as Gold.  This book too has a study guide in the back.

A Steadfast Heart by Elyse Fitzpatrick.  This book is based on Psalm 57 which David wrote when he fled from Saul into the cave.  This book will help you experience God’s presence & comfort in trials.

Others books I read include:

The Gospel of the Canaan Journey by Herbert W. Byrne

A Shepherd Looks at Psalm 23 by W. Phillip Keller

The Red Sea Rules: The Same God Who Led You In Will Lead You Out by Phillip J. Morgan

Life Interrupted: Navigating the Unexpected by Priscilla Shirer

Giving It All to Him by Max Lucado

Trials & Triumphs of Faith by Mary Cole

God Has a Plan for Your Life: The Discovery that Makes All the Difference By Dr. Charles F. Stanley

It’s Only a Flat Tire in the Rain: Navigating Life’s Bumpy Roads With Faith and Grace by Max Davis.

EVERY book written by Cherie Hill

     As you can see, reading is my hobby 🙂 As you can also see, so is worrying!  Here is a great website with Scriptures on worrying: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-worry-20-comforting-scripture-quotes/ 

     I HATE that I worry, especially because I know it’s a sin along with being fearful & anxious.  A sin I MUST overcome! It’s amazing how worry doesn’t tend to be just about today…..it spills into worrying about tomorrow & the next day.  My go to verse for worrying right now is:

Lamentations 3:22-23 Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

     The reason I like this verse is that it reminds me that God only gives me strength for today.  So how can I worry about tomorrow when God hasn’t given me the strength yet to face it?!  Let God meet you where you’re at EVERY morning, one day at a time.  Don’t jump to tomorrow just like we’re told in:

Matthew 6:34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.  Each day has enough trouble of its own.

     How about you?  Do you have any great books you’d like to share?  I’d LOVE to read more 🙂  Just let me know in the comments section as well as your favorite go to verse if you have one.  Until then, I’m praising my Savior for getting me through today & looking forward to Him strengthening me to face tomorrow as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

    

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Our Family

Once we lost our savings I became very bitter. I couldn’t understand why God would allow us to lose everything. That was the LAST thing we thought would happen after we obediently took our leap of faith & followed His will. I soon realized that most things don’t happen the way I expect since my ways are not necessarily God’s. Just like God says in:

Isaiah 55:9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

God had something else in store. Trials are prime opportunities for Satan to crush you….if you let him. I know Satan wants this trial to harm me, but I also know that God wants to use this trial to bless me like it says in:

Genesis 50:20 You planned to harm me. But God planned it for good.

Instead of focusing on the pitfalls of this trial, I choose to focus on the blessings. One such blessing is my greater appreciation & gratefulness for my parents.

My parents have completely embraced us on this journey. They have prayed for us, offered words of wisdom & comfort, emailed/texted encouraging scriptures, provided for us when needed & most importantly supported us for following God’s will. I have always been close to my parents, but when this trial started closing in on me, my relationship with my parents took on a whole new meaning. I realized I had taken them for granted when life was easy. After EVERYTHING I have been through these past couple of months, I no longer take them for granted. I now realize how truly blessed I am to have them in my life & I honestly couldn’t have continued on this journey without them. I realized that no matter where our journey takes us, my parents will always be there to help in ANY way they can.

My gramma has touched me in ways she’ll never completely understand. Jeff & I got married while he was still in college playing football back East. My gramma & grandpa used to mail us letters with money enclosed as a treat to use on ourselves. That was 22 years ago! When our oldest son went off to college 3 years ago, my gramma started mailing him letters with some money for him to have as a treat. When our trial started do you know what my gramma did? She started mailing us letters once again with some money for us to have as a treat. Her letters are another blessing that I am receiving as a result of this trial. Jeff’s mom has been faithfully praying for us & calling Jeff weekly to give him words of wisdom as well as share scriptures. My brother John & his wife Becky have also been praying for us. Becky started her blog 2 years ago & then introduced me to blogging. Her blog can be found here: http://organizingmadefun.blogspot.com/

My sister-n-law Jeanene & her husband Justin have brought me many smiles on days I didn’t feel like smiling. They have been on their own journey & are full of wisdom & encouragement to help me continue on mine. They too are praying for us!

Jeff & I are TRULY blessed to both come from Christian families who pray for us, encourage us & understand that as Christians this is all part of our walks & that God DOES have a plan for our trial. I can’t tell you how many AMAZING conversations we’ve had at our house with our families on all the ways God is working in our lives. Not only are we growing from our trial, but our family is too as they watch God at work in the midst of all this. My go to verse right now in overcoming our trial is:

Matthew 19:26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

I know when Jeff quit his job our families didn’t plan on joining us on our journey, but they have & together we are all continuing on to Canaan.

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Rays of Light

     One of my favorite things to see is the sun’s rays peering through dark stormy clouds & illuminating the sky.  I can’t help but think that amongst my darkest days, God’s rays of light are just waiting to peer through my darkness & illuminate my day.  Throughout this trail I have encountered MANY rays of light when my journey took me through some dark days. 

     The first ray of light God brought into my life was Cherie Hill.  Cherie Hill is an AMAZING author & blogger.  You can find her blog here http://cheriehillblog.blogspot.com/  Cherie also has a website called Scripture Now where she will email you scriptures to inspire you.  That website is http://www.scripturenow.com/ I stumbled across Cherie while searching for Christian books to read on my kindle that dealt with trusting God, faith, hope, etc.  Her books are as follows & can be found at: http://www.amazon.com

Be Still: Let Jesus Calm Your Storms

Beginning at the End: Finding God When Your World Falls Apart

Waiting On God

The Ways of God

Hope Being Gone

Be Still

     I have read every single one of her books & have highlighted probably 80% in each of them!!  YES, they are THAT inspiring!  They have truly helped get me back on my feet with a new outlook on conquering my trail & not succumbing to it!  Even if you are not currently in a trial, Cherie’s blog, website & books will help prepare you for the next one you WILL be experiencing according to 1 Peter 4:12: Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you.  So don’t be surprised when you trial comes, instead be prepared!

       This was made for me by my blogger friend D who you can find at http://theshadyporch.blogspot.com/  D is on a blog vacation for the Summer, but will be back come Fall 🙂  I won a Fall themed subway art on D’s blog that she made & I LOVED it!  I asked her if she would mind making me one of all the words that God had placed in my heart to help me persevere on my journey.  As you can see, she did an AMAZING job!  I have this on my armoire in my bedroom where it’s the first thing I see each morning when getting out of bed.  It’s a GREAT way to start my day!  D has also faithfully emailed me & prays for me. 

     Then there’s Kim from http://www.athomewithkim.com/ I stumbled upon Kim’s blog in search of healthy recipes.  She is also a Christian whose blog not only talks about healthy living, but also has some Godly inspiration too 🙂  Kim is another sweet friend who gave me a shout out on her blog in order to help get the word out about my blog.  She too emails me to check in & is praying for me!

     I have already talked about Kris on a prior post, but want to mention her again for those who are new to my blog.  Kris blogs at http://alwaysalleluia.com/ She was kind enough to let me guest post on her blog here: http://alwaysalleluia.com/2012/05/24/trust-god-the-father-guest-post/.  Her blog is amazingly inspiring!  I know I will be refreshed & renewed after reading it.

     I met Ruthie at one of my Bible studies when she overheard me telling my friend about Jeff quitting his job.  When my friend walked away, Ruthie leaned over & told me she would be praying for me & handed me her blog card.  Her blog is http://ruthiesgift.blogspot.com/  Ruthie was diagnosed with ovarian cancer 2 days after her 43rd birthday.  Her blog is an amazing testimony of her journey & her focus is, “You can’t do cancer without God”  Her perseverance through her trail is truly inspiring as she keeps her focus on God & not her cancer.  Ruthie recently mailed me a picture of the words BE STILL written on a chalkboard beautifully framed above her fireplace.  That picture is now on my fridge as a daily reminder not only to be still, but of Ruthie & her beautiful heart!

     It wasn’t by chance that I stumbled upon ALL these woman.  God led me to them knowing I needed their rays of light to brighten my dark days.  It seizes to amaze me how God continues to work like that.  He knows exactly what we need to continue on our journey.  My next post I will share about my family & friends & how they continue to support & embrace us during this trial.  I will also share about some more AMAZING books.  In the meantime, I’ve got a great book to get back to as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

   

    

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Pride

     Welcome back!   In September of 2011 I started a new Bible study at my church called CBS.  As we sat in a circle & began introducing ourselves I felt my heart racing.  On the outside I made sure to smile & act like everything was just great, but on the inside my world was falling apart.  I played the part well until the prayer sheet was passed around.  I knew our prayer sheet was confidential & that what I shared would remain within our group.  Yet, I wasn’t ready to be real, I wasn’t ready to let go of my pride.

     Pride is defined in the dictionary as:  the quality or state of being proud.  Upon introducing myself,  I shared what made me proud.  I was a stay at home mom, happily married for 21 years with 4 wonderful boys.  Then I got the prayer sheet & was convicted.  Do I write the whole truth, please pray for my family as we’ve just lost all our savings & aren’t very sure how we’re going to get through this? Or just some of the truth, please pray for Jeff’s job?  Ya, my pride won out & I chose the safe route, please pray for Jeff’s job.

     Shortly after I got an email from a friend I hadn’t spoken to in quite some time.  She happened to log on to my shutterfly account to view my pictures.  (I don’t have a Facebook)  She emailed me to tell me how blessed I was & how much she enjoyed looking at all our photos.  Our camping trips to the beach, camping at the Rose Parade, my college son’s football games, my high school son’s football games, etc etc.  She was going through some hard times & wished her life was more “together” like mine.  I was convicted that I needed to call her.  I knew God was telling me to swallow my pride & give my friend a dose of my reality.  So I did & guess what?! We have been each other’s biggest supporters since that phone call & the best thing of all?!  Her & her husband just went to church for THE FIRST TIME this past Sunday!!  One of the MANY blessings that have come from this trail.  Praise the Lord!!

     After coming clean with my friend I “just so happened” to get a phone call from my core leader from CBS.  She asked if I could be more specific with Jeff’s job situation that everyone was praying for.  I knew God was once again telling me to be real.  That next Thursday at CBS I did just that, I shared everything through tears & the love & support of those 13 other ladies was amazing.  You know what else happened?!  Throughout the rest of the year almost EVERY woman in our group became real & shared something that they normally wouldn’t have.  We had an amazing year as we not only regularly cried together, but truly bonded.  Here are some great verses on pride:

Proverbs 11:2 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 16:5 The Lord detests all the proud of heart.  Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 18:12 Before a downfall the heart is haughty, but humility comes before honor.

     Humility…such a hard pill to swallow!  But by denying others the truth about your trail, you are not only denying yourself the blessing of having others faithfully praying for you, but denying them the blessing of witnessing first hand God at work.  Here’s what the Bible says about humility:

1 Peter 5:6 Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.

James 4:6 But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”        

James 4:10 Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

     Your trail may make you feel down, but trust me dear friend, you are NOT out!!  God is SOVEREIGN & He WILL help you each step of the way.  Next week I want to share some AMAZING books & blogs that God led me to, to help encourage me & sustain me on days I felt down AND out.  As a result I have made new sisters in Christ who are now praying for me (& I them!)  God hasn’t left me on this path, no, He’s still there leading me as I’m continuing on to Canaan.

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