I was preparing for Sunday School yesterday and had a startling revelation. The lesson came from 2 Samuel 7:1-16. I'm not going to list the entire passage here, but I encourage you to read it before continuing.
In a nut shell, David and Nathan had a great idea to built a temple for God, but God had other plans. Yes, the temple would be built, but not by David and not to David's glory. Needless to say God spoke through Nathan and Nathan revealed the prophesy of a great king coming from David's lineage one day. Of David's many sons, God would anoint Solomon to build the temple and God promised to have mercy on Solomon, but did not promise all peaceful days for him. The story continues with David speaking to God and trying to understand the message that God had given him through Nathan, the prophet.
My revelation is that we often make plans for our lives or have bright ideas without consulting God first. Is it in God's plans? Is that what God wants us to do right now? Though David's heart was in the right place, it wasn't what God wanted him to do. God was content dwelling among His people in a tent. He stated in verses 6-7, that the ark of God had not dwelt in a house since He brought Israel out of Egypt. Wherever God's people went, God was there. That's a shouting moment right there because if you know anything about the children of Israel, you know that they are hard-headed and have been through some mighty storms. I thank God because like the children, He has never left nor forsaken us. God may not like what we do all the time, but He is still there, dwelling among us; giving us His love and protection.
I also learned that God allows certain things to happen in our lives in order to help us grow stronger and closer to God. I've been learning in Bible Study that God will test us and Satan tempts us, but they use the same means. God can allow us to be tempted, but our test is that we do not fall victim to the temptations of our fleshly desires, but cling to God's unchanging hand. Need back up? Read Matthews 4. Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is a part of the Holy Trinity. Therefore Jesus placed Himself in a temptationous (my new word) situation knowing that He would pass the test. Boom!!!
Back to David. David's hands were still filled with blood from the many wars he fought. The person who would build the temple had to be of peace and live in a tranquil time. That person was Solomon, who at that time had not been born yet. How awesome is that to receive a message from God that your unborn son would do great things for God? Sound familiar? You remember Mary and the angel Gabriel speaking to her right? David was still going to be blessed because the kingdom God established for him would in turn create the eternal kingdom through Jesus Christ. All I could think of was my daughters. Nothing else would matter to me if I knew that one day my daughters would birth a nation of greatness. Now that's something to shout about.
All in all, this passage gave me hope that no matter how bad life gets, God is better. That despite my plans, God's plans are greater. God has his hands on me and gives me mercy that I can't even explain. Like David, my heart is in the right place, but I have to seek God first before I carry out anything. "My ways are not my ways. My thoughts are not my thoughts." It is by the grace of God that I am saved and by the grace of God that my children will one day receive blessings beyond measure because I held fast and true to God's unchanging hands. #
I'm having a hard time staying focused on the bigger picture and not nit-picking over the little details. I discuss issues within marriage that I learned throughout my 1st five years of being married. I am now in year 6 and there are some new lessons to be learned. First of all, I'm grateful that God chose me to share my experiences with the world and help encourage other young couples. Secondly, it's a tall order to fill to be on of God's chosen vessels.
I will be honest. I struggle to follow every instruction. There are a lot of things that I do not know and a lot of things that I do. This past month or so has taught me some very important lessons. Since I have a lot to do, I will space the lessons out over a few blogs this week, and I will try to keep them brief.
Lesson #1: Know your tolerance level
I would consider myself as a high tolerance person. There are a lot of things that I will let slide because I don't have the emotional energy to deal with every statement someone makes. I've got a lot going on and the less nonsense I have to deal with the better. There are some times when my tolerance level reaches the boiling point and I have to regroup before I will explode. There are times when my tolerance level reaches a breaking point and I choose to snap. Notice I said choose because we all have free will to make decisions in this life. Most of the time I am able to choose my battles and prepare myself for war. Other times, battles seem to fall in my lap and I have to react. Naturally, someone would take this conversation as a physical altercation, but this is far from physical. I'm talking about emotional battles.
If you are married or in a long-term fully committed relationship you will know that it takes a lot of emotional energy to keep the momentum going. Sometimes, I have to do extra to keep the train rolling. Other times I just too tired to fight and will let the train run out of steam. But oh by the grace of God, I'm still chugging along.
I said all that to say, I feel like I am reaching my boiling or breaking point with my tolerance level. I won't discuss why, but just know that it is not a good feeling. It is hard to live with a smile when you are being tested and pushed to the max all the time. I'm not sure how long this storm will last, but I know that greater is coming and God is trying to tell me something. I want to encourage you, while I am in my storm, so that you can learn from my pain. It is those times when you are being pulled from opposite ends and your heart begins to hurt. You question everything and accept nothing. You have no energy to accept. You may walk around as though everything is fine, but it's not. You pray and you pray and you pray, but no response. When will this feeling end? You try to talk it out, cry it out, laugh it out, argue it out, but still your tolerance boils.
I just can't see the end, but my faith will not allow me to forget that God is still in control. I cannot see the victory line, but God is able and I know He cares about me. I feel stuck. Because I know my tolerance level, I know what I am willing to put up with and what I do not have to accept. Right now, I'm torn between confronting my pain, so that I can bring my tolerance level down, or just letting it go and moving on.
My heart is heavy. It hasn't felt like this in a really long time. My heart is heavy. God I need you!!!!!!
It has been 2 weeks since my last post. That is a long time and a lot of processing I need to do. In case you haven't realized my now, my blog is not only for me to encourage other people, but my way of processing life. Since my last post, I have had my first book signing, found out the gender of my baby, and began co-facilitation. A slew of ideas has popped into my head on what my next book will feature, where I will work after graduation, what my child will look like, what I will cook for dinner, and many more.
I chose the title 2 weeks later because I realized that life goes by fast. If we are in a constant state of movement and do not stop to smell the roses, we will miss out on life. Life is not running errands, finishing papers, meeting deadlines, promotions and meetings. Life is celebrating the air, smiling for no reason, embracing hope and doing what makes us happy.
For me, that means learning to let go and say no. A problem I have struggled with for years. I cannot do everything. I cannot be everything to everyone all the time. Sometimes I need to be selfish and only focus on me. If I don't, I will lose me. So 2 weeks later, I have learned that I need a vacation and to get a grip on reality. My schedule has changed for the 100th time and it has been a big adjustment. I now have to revamp my time for family and self-care, while allowing time for my writing, studying, and work.
I'm keeping this post short on purpose. It's 10:54 pm and my self is telling me that it's time to sleep. No sleep = a cranky Kelli. Tomorrow's assignment is to find 1 rose and smell it. Translation: carve out time for you and no one else. Good night all!!
One topic that I have not discussed in a long, long time is depression. If you've been battling this crippling disorder, my heart goes out to you. Right now I feel like a member of depression's family is trying to over power my mind. How do I know this? Because my stress level is like a pot of boiling water. I can simmer for long periods of time without any problems. It is not until the heat gets turned up that I have a hard time keeping all of my water in the pot. I don't mind the spikes in temperature, because it keeps me alert. What I do mind is who is turning up the heat. My enemy today was "depression". I fought it hard all day, but felt like I caved in this evening.
I can write this now (without tears) because the Holy Spirit is not allowing me to wallow around and neglect my responsibilities. He keeps pushing me to share and release some of the pressure that was building up with the fire got turned up. My release today was tears. Tomorrow it will be music. The next day it could be talking. Each day, I have to find an outlet to release the pressure. The Spirit gives me time to process and cope, but not enough time to forget whose I am.
I thank God for my faith and my babies. They keep me grounded and lifted. I thank God for my husband because in his own little way, he lets me know that it will be alright. This is my support system (or at least part of it). Let's call them my pot holders. They give me covering when I have to handle the hot water. Your support system or pot holders may be different from mine. That's fine. I recognize when "depression" is trying to turn up the heat and distract me from what God is giving me. I refuse to be misguided. I also know that many people aren't able to process their depression and struggle to come out of the fire. I do my best to contain my boiling water and not let it spill over into anyone else's pot.
In my pain, I encourage you to seek help when you feel yourself getting overwhelmed, stressed, anxious, and depressed. Don't suffer in silence. There are so many pot holders out there, just waiting to help you get through your problems. The ultimate problem solver is only a prayer away. "Just call Him."
If you had asked me this question several years ago, my response would have referenced the physical attributes of the human body. As many people tend to shift their thoughts to certain areas of the anatomy, I have learned to think from a holistic perspective.
Flash forward to today, and my response will still be yes, size does matter. When assessing someone's character, I look at the size of their heart. That's what matters to me. Figuratively speaking, a small heart equals a stingy, selfish, uncaring, unlearned person. An extra large heart equals a generous, caring, loving person who puts other's needs before their own. But what about those people who are in between? Sometimes, I want to be selfish and tend to my needs. Other times I want to give until it hurts. That leaves me and countless others in the average-above average category.
Quite frankly, I like this category. I have the freedom to go above and beyond what is expected of me and retreat to my nutshell when I need it. How you view yourself will determine if size matters to you. If you feel like you could be doing more you have room for your heart to grow. If you feel you need to do less, you have to create room within your heart to allow for more self-care.
One thing is important to remember. The size of a person's heart is not to be judged, but to be appreciated and accepted. You have the power to change the size of your heart and encourage others to look into theirs. Do you know your heart size?
Another Day's journey
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