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Defeat or Victory ~ where do you live?…

farmland view for Defeat or Victory blog 4-2020

Photo by John Reed on Unsplash

During this time of quarantine – how many times will I refer to this ‘stay-at-home’ season of 2020, I have no idea. It’s what is occupying everyone’s mind these days, so here we are. What was I saying? Oh yes, during this period, we have a lot of TIME on our hands. Whether you are doing at home what you used to do in your office building, or you are rearranging schedules on the daily with new homeschool duties, there is still time to think. I daresay, there is still available time to think too much.

As I know that the majority of my readers are women, I can confidently say that we are all too familiar with the mental battle we fight each day as to whether we are enough or not. Do we measure up? Are our children thriving enough? The meals we make could probably be healthier? Why can’t our home look like “that one” we always scroll past on Instagram?
And so on.

When our minds begin to wander, where to we let it go? Do you give it free reign? Does the temptation to allow negative thoughts to replay over and over again win out over what we know is the actual truth? Are there moments when you hear the Holy Spirit whisper to you to take those thoughts captive, yet you ignore Him? Thinking those places of defeat will somehow bring you comfort or closure? NO! They never will.

Friends, this is living defeated and it is no way to truly live.

Yet, in the same way that it is dangerous to live in places of defeat, it is much the same to live in places of future imagined victory. We cannot survive in either of these places mentally because it takes our focus off what we should be doing, which is living for Jesus. Living in the present time; in the season that God intends.

And that takes focus.

One of the things that came to mind when I was thinking of ‘defeat and victory’ was of farmers fields.

I visited some Amish farms in Ohio a while back and was fascinated to learn the necessity of allowing planting areas to rest. First of all, the patterns of these fields are mesmerizing; equal parts of growth and bare dirt. I realized the beauty was in the areas of rest and not actually in the rows of corn growing. There was just something about the emptiness that drew me in but in a peaceful way.

As I researched it more, I began to understand that these fields were not dead and bare, they were alive and resting.

Farmers will typically give various plots of their farmland a rest for at least one year so that it can be ready for a new season of planting. No wonder God uses so many farming applications in His word to convey the importance of rest and growth. That bare ground is not striving to be anything but content in its waiting. It has been allowed to regenerate.

I can’t think of anything more beautiful to consider in this quarantine season in our world right now.

Exodus 23:11 says,

“but on the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, so that the needy of your people may eat; and whatever they leave the beast of the field may eat. You are to do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.”

There were periods that the Lord instructed His people to let their ground rest, not just for regeneration but allowance for people in need to gather food and nourishment. The land that was left to become fallow still held importance for the community around it.

I believe that this is a truth we can hold onto, that even in those seasons we feel bare, forgotten, and underutilized, we are still important to the people around us. We continue to hold value. We can generate sustainability for the future while we are resting.

This my friends in living from a place of victory!

In Hosea 10:12, God gives direction as to how we are to be proactive in cultivating fallow ground; in cultivating seasons of rest.

“Sow with a view to righteousness, Reap in accordance with kindness; Break up your fallow ground, For it is time to seek the Lord Until He comes to rain righteousness on you.”

Depending on the kind of crops that are being grown is the deciding factor for how long the ground stays fallow. Isn’t that how it is for us? The Lord knows the seasons that we have come out of, the ones that we are in, and the ones we are headed toward. Which means He knows how long our rest seasons need to be.

And it means that we can trust Him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christian Mentors, Moms, Parents, Public Speaking, Stay at Home Moms, Teachers, Uncategorized, Women's Ministries, Writers

Words ~ the power to hurt or heal…

One of the little rhymes I heard as a child that I never understood {and actually, I really hated it!} was the one that goes, “Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” Have you heard that one?

What a pile of rubbish!!!!

Words hurt sometimes!!! A lot!!! They cut deeper than we can imagine. Whether those words are spoken to our face, behind our back, or through the glorious glowing screens of social media platforms.

Words are powerful ~ not only do we need to be careful about what we say to others but {almost} more importantly, what we say to ourselves!

From the First5 devotional app, that I was reading today (Day 6 of Return to Refuge plan, by Kellye Schiffner Carver), she writes Habakkuk recalls God’s character and resolves to trust in Him.” This referred to Habakkuk 3:18-19, “Yet I will [choose to] rejoice in the LORD; I will [choose to] shout in exultation in the [victorious] God of my salvation! The Lord GOD is my strength [my source of courage, my invincible army]; He has made my feet [steady and sure] like hinds’ feet And makes me walk [forward with spiritual confidence] on my high places [of challenge and responsibility].”

Look at all of those positive things that Habakkuk speaks back to the Lord…characteristics that He has given us as His children…strength, courage, salvation, steady, sure, confident…not one thing uttered here is of discouragement.

How many times this month (or goodness sakes…just today!) have you said something negative over yourself? Maybe you don’t even realize you’re doing it because it’s become second nature?

Let me share a story…

For the many years of my adolescence & early adulthood, I truly believed I was ugly.  Not just slightly  unattractive or not really pretty…but really and truly ugly. I mean, I must be because people made fun of me for how I wore my hair, what clothes I wore to school, the gap in my front teeth, oh, and the fact that growing up our family didn’t eat sugar.  Like we were “that family” before eating healthy was cool.  We made our own peanut butter, my mom made cashew milk for our whole grain hot cereal, we made our own grain free granola.  Oh and the sugar free peanut butter was mostly enjoyed between TWO huge rice cakes! {Hello 1970’s when Whole Foods was only known at a few stores called Mrs. Gooch’s}!!

{all the glory that was me in the 8th grade!}

At any rate ~ the teasing was endless…the whispers were terrifyingly loud…my weirdness factor was off the charts.

It wasn’t until I was in my early 30’s that I was able to break free of the “I’m ugly” curse that I had spoken over my life. There were times in-between those years that I felt pretty, but not many…Senior Prom, Senior Pictures, my wedding day and honeymoon, and the days my three daughters were born. That’s about it.

Thanks to some super deep talks in the dark with my husband and some difficult conversations with a dear friend, they helped me walk out into the light of who God saw me as, who God called me to be, and who they saw me as. The hardest thing that my friend asked {okay…she TOLD} me to do was to say, “I’m fearfully and wonderfully made by God and I am beautiful.” But that wasn’t all of the mandate…I had to say to myself…IN THE MIRROR!

Ugh!

I had to look at myself and say it out loud…every…day! Until I could say it confidently without looking away and without disbelieving what I was saying. It took at least a month but maybe more. It was painful and I hated it. But I did it.

At first I did it because we were raising three little girls. I could see that it pained them whenever I said something demeaning about myself. My husband could see the far-reaching potential of those hateful things I said out loud about myself, and the affects they would have in our daughters’ lives. Only I had the power to change that. So I said the words. I said them until I began to see myself the way God did. The way my husband and children did. The way my true friends did.

I haven’t felt ugly since then.

Ephesians 4:29 {AMP} warns, “Do not let unwholesome [foul, profane, worthless, vulgar] words ever come out of your mouth, but only such speech as is good for building up others, according to the need and the occasion, so that it will be a blessing to those who hear [you speak].”

People!  This is not just talking about what we say to other people, whether to their face or in gossip. This verse is about how we speak to our self!

STOP SPEAKING LIES OVER YOUR LIFE!

Some of the things we say about ourselves don’t even register as a lie because we’ve said it so many times, we believe it’s true.

“I’m so overwhelmed.”

“I’m such a bad mom.”

“I’m a horrible wife.”

“I’m never gonna be like her.”

“I’m never going to amount to much.”

“I’ll never find a husband.”

Oh my friends….let me give you a great encouragement here…none of those phrases were ever said about you by our amazing Heavenly Father! NONE of them!

The first blessing God spoke over us was this from Genesis 1:26-28, 31 “Then God said, “Let us (Father, Son, Holy Spirit) make man in Our image, according to Our likeness [not physical, but a spiritual personality and moral likeness]; and let them have complete authority over the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, the cattle, and over the entire earth, and over everything that creeps and crawls on the earth. ” So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them. And God blessed them [granting them certain authority] and said to them, Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth, and subjugate it [putting it under your power]; and rule over (dominate) the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and every living thing that moves upon the earth.” God saw everything that He had made, and behold, it was very good and He validated it completely. And there was evening and there was morning, a sixth day.”

Did you catch that last part? Does it talk about us being good enough to be made? Perfect enough to be given authority? Unflawed enough to deserve to be created in the image & spiritual likeness of the Trinity? Nope…not once!! Did we have to work hard & prove our worth? Nope, not even that! Yet He validated us COMPLETELY!!!!

And everything He saw that He’d made ~ which includes you and me ~ He thought it was good!!!

We are sealed by His words of creation, and sealed forever by the salvation through Christ, the Living Word!!

All through the New Testament, the Lord calls us His beloved, His children. He calls us precious, restored, renewed & reconciled. He provides the free gift of salvation. He calls us by name and declares us wonderful!

When you don’t have words of your own, speak Psalm 139:14 (amp) over yourself, “I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows it well.”

Here’s another one to speak over yourself from Psalm 141:3 (amp), “Set a guard, O LORD, over my mouth; Keep watch over the door of my lips [to keep me from speaking thoughtlessly.]”

When we speak lies over ourselves, we begin to allow the spirit of that attribute to cover us. When we speak the truth of God’s Word over our life, we allow His character to cover us.

Either way, how we live is affected by what we speak. Our heart is affected by what we speak over ourself. And our mind listens to it all.

I still have body issues that I’m dealing with, my I know that I’m not ugly. What I do know is that I’m beautiful because God made me. I’m joyful because I live for Him. I’m happy because I know how miserable I used to be. I’m grateful that the Lord (and my fantastic husband and sweet friends) wouldn’t let me stay in a miry pit of sadness and depression. I can smile and laugh because I know my life has a plan and purpose that only God has orchestrated for me to fulfill!

The power of words is important for us to understand. It is vital to speak truth over ourself, our spouse, our children, our families, those in our circle of influence, and really, to speak God’s truth over & into the lives of anyone the Lord puts in our path!!

So if you feel like you can’t say something nice…pray a Psalm out loud instead!!

Blessings,

René

{Living out a special day with family in the beauty that is Waimea, HI ~ Big Island ~ and I actually ASKED my daughters to take some photos of me!}