Dry Seasons

Due to the frigid cold temperatures this winter, we’ve had to crank up the heat in our home. The heater is constantly running and still doesn’t seem to bring us the warm result we seek. However, it has created an unwanted outcome of an extremely dry atmosphere.

While having “cold symptoms”, my son and I have faced dry noses, lips and throats. After taking a hot shower, my skin is also left dry. When my dear friend visited, her beautiful curly hair began to straighten out from the dryness.

All this dry air had caused these particular instances to lose their form. Leaving us with pursed lips, wrinkly or cracked skin, and lifeless hair.

To absolutely make sense of all this scientifically, I did some online research. According to this article at smartfog.com, the author explains it best; “Because our bodies are comprised of approximately 70% water, it should come as no surprise that exposure to dry air can lead to dehydration. When you’re exposed to dry air, the air will attempt to draw moisture from anything it can, including the human body. The moisture in and on your skin will evaporate, as will the moisture in your lungs, eyes, nose and body.”

Therefore, to overcome this period of dryness my best solution is to moisturize. Using a facial creme, body lotion, chapstick, and various moisturizing hair products are very ideal for external attributes. General protocol to remedy the internal body is to drink the minimum intake of 64-oz of water in a day.

It is remarkable when God showed me how my daily winter struggle coorelates to a recent dry season I faced in my spiritual life.

I went two, long months feeling mundane in my spirit man. I would wake up each day feeling as if I was just getting by minimally. I didn’t know what was happening to me, but I knew I didn’t like the feeling.

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However, these feelings were not a product of who I am as a person. I would describe myself as a goal setter and an achiever. So, through my feelings I pressed onward each day. I made an appoint to recite scriptures over my day and to read some daily devotions.

Whenever the enemy cranked up the heat against me spiritually, I continued to become more dry. As a result of this my spiritual life began to lose its form. With each passing day, I was threatened by a crack, a wrinkle, and lifelessness. Because what I was doing to get by wasn’t enough.

I needed to moisturize! And how, then, do I achieve that spiritually?!

Jesus answered, “..whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”- John 4:13-14 (NIV) 

I can get proper spiritual moisture by drinking from the living water of Jesus. He is the solution. Sure, reciting scripture and reading devotions are fine. But it just does not satisfy the way that Jesus does.

I must partake of His life-giving scripture by consuming it daily. I must seek Him in prayer by communictaing to Him my happenings. That way, He is able to quench my thirst and moisturize my spirit!

A dry season is not a time to run away from Jesus. It is not a time to sit idle until it passes. No. It is a time when I must run toward Him with my head held high. It’s okay for me to admit to Him that I feel dry. Because then He is able to lovingly and gloriously respond, I am all that you need.


And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”- Philippians 4:19-20 (NIV)

New Year, Renewed Me!

When I think of ringing in the new year, my first thoughts focus on the phrase “New Year, New Me!”. This lead me to ponder, ‘What it is that I would like to be new with me?’.

Outwardly speaking, a new hair style and color. Getting fit with a structured exercise regime. Eating healthier and wiser while cutting out an excess amount of harmful foods. However, while these things are beneficial or ideal for society, I’m actually more concerned about what’s going on inside of me.

Lately, I’ve felt that it would be much better for me to start over. For instance, those things I’ve said and done that I wish I never did or could take back. A blank slate would feel appropriate- a new me.

But as is seen in times past, I can make proclamations to be different from who I once was and not see a lasting change. These so-called, “resolutions” have good intentions that soon fade away.

I decided a new year isn’t all about what I can do to be “new“. A new year is essentially a spin off of my old self. It’s a continuation of who I already am. With that said, a new year is a grandeur opportunity for me to be “renewed“. You see, it’s not about changing who I am. It’s about challenging myself to be who I want to become.

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This revelation is not my own. God showed me that I should find joy in who I am, because He created me. When I accepted Christ as my Savior, He made me new then.

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!- 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NLT)

My new life in Christ has already begun. Each day is a continuation of that new life He began in me. I am lovingly reminded to look to Him to continue His renewing in me. A complete transformation, or a renovation, if you will.

..Though our bodies are dying, our spirits [inner man] are being renewed every day.- 2 Corinthians 4:16 (NLT)

Isn’t it just like God to equip us for every single, little (or big) thing we could ever need?! Here’s His promise to the inner man:

Mind- 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) 

Heart- Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me. ..grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.- Psalm 51:10, 12 (NIV)

Strength- but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.- Isaiah 40:31 (NIV)

This person that I want to become is the image of God- truly righteous and holy. The challenge, then, is to follow His truths- day in and day out. I am already given the tools I need to be renewed. I just have to trust in His promises.


Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.- Ephesians 4:21-24 (NLT)

 

Pointing Fingers

Why is it that the people I’m closest with are the ones I hurt the most? I seem to have this tendency of becoming frustrated very easily. I’ll point fingers at so-and-so. I’ll accuse, I’ll blame, I’ll criticize.

Out of frustration, I can become angry, bitter, and even speak ill about those whom I love. I can’t say that I’m proud of this. It’s just that in the heat of the moment I simply lose control of my emotions.

Then recently, an old saying began to replay over and over in my mind. “When you point one finger, there are three fingers pointing back at you.” Just maybe, okay truthfully, those accusations, blames, and criticisms are somewhere hidden in me.

I can’t help but wonder why I put myself up on that pedestal. The one that proclaims I’m so much better than they. When, realistically, my behaviors- as a result of frustration- only proves I’m no more righteous than they.

I had a very recent encounter with a week-long battle of anger, bitterness, and slandering the ones that I dearly love. This type of behavior only yielded the same reactions from my loved ones. I had to do something to change this. And fast.

I prayed. I humbled myself. And my answer was one of those extreme encounters with God that lead me to a greater revelation. His revelation. Humility picked me up off my pedestal and knocked me to my knees.

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That old saying that kept repeating in my mind was not a new concept to God. In fact He’s the original author of it:

“Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.”- Matthew 7:1-2 (NLT)

Its true. When I accuse, blame, and criticize, the same will be returned to me. I quickly recognized my wrongs as sin. I confessed to God and asked for forgiveness. But I knew this was more than just an “okay, you’re good to go!” This was a real matter of a heart change that needed to take place.

The only hope for that change was surrounding myself in truth. The word of God. It’s the blueprint for all of life’s circumstances. And my change of heart was found in Ephesians 4:29-32, 5:1-2 ::

  • I must quit speaking ill will and only use words that edify those around me. Not just the ones I love the most, but even my enemies (Matthew 5:43-48) too! “Don’t use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.”
  • I must stop living a life that points fingers at others. This not only offends them, but God as well. Upon doing so, I am guaranteed grace to overcome- by the same God who gives me His grace and salvation. “And do not bring sorrow to God’s Holy Spirit by the way you live. Remember, he has identified you as his own, guaranteeing that you will be saved on the day of redemption.”
  • I must not dwell upon those frustrations that ultimately lead me to accuse, blame, and criticize. “Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.”
  • I must confess and ask for forgiveness from my sins. The same blessings I receive from Jesus after I’ve done wrong is to be projected from me unto others. “Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

This revelation reminded me that God so loves everyone in this world, not just me. And, yes, I am esteemed, favorited, and beloved- but so are they. We are all His sons and daughters. I must “Imitate God, therefore, in everything [I] do, because [I am one of] his dear children. Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ.” 

Simply put, I must walk in the way of love


“And so, dear friends, ..make every effort to be found living peaceful lives that are pure and blameless in his sight.”- 2 Peter 3:14 (NLT)

I Know It Will Be All Better

It was 2 AM. Another wake up call by my crying toddler. Three nights had gone by with this same pattern. However, this night was different.

I am one who normally picks him up out of his crib and tries to soothe him back to sleep. I will lay with him on the spare couch, rub his back, and whisper affirmations to him until he nods of soundly.

On this particular night, I wanted to take a short cut. I felt too tired to try. I planned to leave him in his crib and shush him back to sleep. But, his cries were piercing my heart and his words were sobering to my groggy state-of-mind.

While shedding some tears he inquired, “All better?”. My previous intentions were interrupted and I was quickly humbled. I rubbed his back and said, “Yes, it’s all better.”. Still crying he asked, “I know, baby?”. It was then that I understood how much my gentle affirmations meant to him. I picked him up and said, “Yes, I know, baby.”.

Most often, he wakes up because of teething or growing pains, the frigid cold from kicking off blankets throughout the night, or having a bad dream. My presence alone is just one form of reassurance. However, he seeks me to pick him up. He listens to my voice to affirm, “I know, baby. I got you. It’s all better.”.

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I pondered about this typical routine and how it correlates to critical circumstances in my life. I’ve often encountered growing pains, the frigid cold of trials, and what seems like bad dreams in my reality. After I’ve had enough of all I can endure, I lay there and cry out to Jesus. Where are you God?, Do you know what I am going through? Is it going to be all better? 

God gently answers:

My presence is always right here. “So be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid and do not panic.. For the Lord your God.. will neither fail you nor abandon you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 (NLT). 

I know exactly what you’re going through. So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do..” Hebrews 4:14-15 (NLT).

Everything will be all better in due time. And the Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness. ..for the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will. And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.” Romans 8:26-28 (NLT).

I can truly withstand any circumstance. God’s got it. He’s got me. He holds me ever so tightly and never lets me go. He whispers His words of affirmations to me through His Word. All I need to do is believe in His presence and trust in His promises. Just like my sweet child has learned to believe and trust in me.


Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.”- Philippians 4:6-7 (NLT) 

My Identity: from Crisis to Clarity

For what seems like too long, I’ve struggled with my identity. Who am I, really? Other than my given name, I have titles that include; daughter, sister, niece, aunt, wife, mother, speech pathologist, homemaker, and blogger. But, all of these are not the total essence of who I am.

In philosophy, essence is described as, “a property or group of properties of something without which it would not exist or be what it is”. For instance, take a completely designed canvas. The first property is a blank canvas. Next, comes the artist’s conceptualized design. In order to bring the design into existence, the artist must, then, gather all the appropriate materials. The artist proceeds in creating the design. There may be some roadblocks, typically involving trial and error. However, all of these things must take place. This is the essence of the completely designed canvas. Without which, it would just be a blank canvas.

The essence of my identity is much like this. When I was a newborn, I began as a blank canvas. Never encountering, never experiencing, never enduring. With growth, I began to make observations and form concepts. I would plan things that I would have wanted to try. I would have avoided those things that I was discouraged by. And, yes, there have been roadblocks, typically involving taking and making mistakes. However, all of these things had to take place. All of these characterize who I am; without which, my identity would not exist.

I have spent much time encountering, experiencing, and enduring; both good and bad. This ‘group of properties’ have dealt me my fair share of roadblocks- otherwise known as hardships and responsibilities. I’ve learned some lessons from ‘the school of hard knocks‘. And any time I’ve tried to face these obstacles in my own strength, by my own ideals, and with my own efforts I was setting myself up to fail.

“But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me was not without effect. No I worked harder than all of them- yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.”- 1 Corinthians 15:10 (NIV)

I am what I am- the essence of my identity- has been only made possible by the grace of God.

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So profound. I can prove this to be true by my own life’s examples. Whenever hardships and responsibilities have come my way, I’ve acted selfish. I’ve proclaimed, “This isn’t fair!”, “Why me?”, “I don’t want to do it!”, or “This is going to hurt too much.”.

Oh, but, grace. God’s good will, loving-kindness and favor has gifted me with His strength, increased my faith, and nudged me to exercise His virtues. His grace gives me the ability to not take and make those same mistakes over-and-over again.

I’ve encountered, experienced, and endured hardships. But, because of the grace of God, I have increased hopeful expectations, perseverance, and a vigorous disposition.

I’ve encountered, experienced, and endured responsibilities. But, because of the grace of God, I have gained more maturity, determination, and leadership skills.

Indeed, all of these ‘properties’ contribute to the essence of my identity. Yes, it is my actions and reactions that propel me to encounter, experience, and endure obstacles. However, beyond my mere efforts that fail me is the ever-present power of God’s grace working in me. And, He promises to continue giving grace- in order that I can overcome my failures- until my life’s canvas is made complete, and I will be able to receive his eternal salvation.

Heavenly Father, I confess to You that, at times, I have been selfish. I ask for Your forgiveness. I thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be the atonement for my sins. I thank You that because of Jesus, You bestow Your grace upon me. I ask and gratefully receive Your power that makes me capable to not make the same mistakes again. It is in YOUR name that I pray. Amen. 


“But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”- Acts 20:24 (NLT)