The first step

The journey of 1000 miles begins with the first step.

No matter how long our journey, it always starts with the first step. The dreaded first step is always the hardest, especially when we believe that the journey will be a difficult one. If we never take the first step, though, we never start the journey. If we never start the journey, we miss out on much that the journey brings. True, the journey will bring trials and tribulations; but through those trials will be learned lessons; and through those learned lessons, knowledge; and through that knowledge, wisdom; and with that wisdom, fulfilled dreams that may never have come to fruition without the first step!

I encourage you, friends, no matter what the journey, TAKE THE FIRST STEP! You can do it! Find someone who can encourage you, perhaps hold your hand as you stake the first step. As you venture out into new territory, find others who will support and encourage you along the way, even if they aren’t on your same journey.

You can to it, friends! The first step seems like a doosey, but I promise that once you take that first step, the journey will begin. It is important to note that the real first step occurs in your mind with deciding that a journey is necessary in the first place. This is where the manic happens, In anticipation of the journey. However, the journey cannot begin until you take the first step!

it is also important to remember that you are not journeying alone. God is always with you, and He will help you along your journey!

Here’s to the FIRST STEP!

SB

Ps. I’m interested to hear about your first step! Please email me about your journey at sbjourneyforlife@gmail.com!

COPYRIGHT 2018 Journey-For-͏Li͏f͏e. All rights reserved,

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All Things New!

IMG_5047Many Happy New Year Wishes, my friends!   It’s a brisk, yet refreshing time-of-year when we have an opportunity to begin anew!   This week, the gyms will be over-crowded with people determined to begin reaching their fitness goals; the storage shops are full of people determined to get organized; the travel websites are visited by people intending to travel more this year; the financial sites are full of people looking to spend less and save more this year – all worthy goals.

Several years ago, as the calendar year before came to a close, I made a resolution to fix absolutely everything that was wrong in my life.   My resolution that year was to:  1) get in shape spiritually 2) get in shape physically 3) get in shape financially 4) fix every broken relationship in my life.   I was earnest in my desires – I really was!   And I started like gangbusters, spending at least an hour in the gym every day, an hour doing devotionals, time balancing my checkbook, and trying to reach out to improve every single relationship in my life.  Looking back at it now, it seems ridiculously pie-in-the-sky to make such unrealistic and unachievable goals, but at the time, I genuinely wanted to improve every area of my life!  It’s not an unworthy goal; just an unrealistic one.

Within about 6 weeks, I completely burned out on all of them.  I had to force myself to regroup and focus on ONE area while making smaller, incremental improvements in the other areas.  I didn’t STOP working other areas, but I found it was not very practical to make leaps-and-bounds improvements in EVERY area of life.

I focused first on my spiritual life and began to live my life more intentionally seeking God’s will and plan for my life.  As I did that, I found the other areas fell more into line with His teaching.  As I focused on Him, my compassion for others grew.   I continued to tithe; in fact, I increased my tithe, and He poured out blessings.  I began to budget in a way to make Dave Ramsey proud.  I eventually got my physical self into shape, but then became complacent and let myself go.  It’s time, once again, to get on the bandwagon; this time, a few years later, a few years wiser (hopefully); a few miles closer to Him.

What I learned since my last go-round – to bring God into EVERYTHING we do, putting Him first and allowing everything else to fall into place is certainly a much better recipe for success. He makes ALL THINGS NEW!

Entertaining homeless angels

In the cold, crisp, December air, I see my breath as I scurry about, trying desperately to make progress on my never-ending to-do list. Scampering quickly from one store to the next, I barely noticed the disheveled homeless man holding a cup in his cold, chapped hands. He didn’t say a word, merely sat quietly on a remnant of a crocheted blanket. Dirty, grimy, probably hadn’t showered in weeks. Suddenly my heart was overwhelmed with compassion and I wondered how he might have ended up in such a bad way.

I stepped inside the door of a little shop so he wouldn’t see me, and reached inside my pockets to see what cash I had. I’m fairly disorganized, so I found a crumpled up dollar here, and a folded dollar there. I also found gum wrappers, ticket stubs and store receipts– those would do him no good. Counting, one, two, five, ten… $15. Enough for a warm meal and a cup of coffee. I would offer to take him to the small coffee shop down the road where I happened to know the owner. I knew, too, that she made delightful grilled cheese sandwiches on jalapeño bread, and brewed the very richest, strong cup of coffee around. Yes, this would be my feel-good, good deed of the day.

Feeling better about myself, I turned and pushed the door of the shop, ready to approach my homeless friend. To my dismay, he and his blanket were gone! Where could he have gone so fast? It was literally just moments ago that I had brushed past him! And then I remembered two scriptures. The first, “be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unaware” (Hebrews 13:2 KJV). And the second, Matthew 25:40 “in as much as you have done unto the least of these, you have done unto me.”

My heart sank with grief. Had I missed an opportunity to do something for one of God’s angels? Why hadn’t I thought faster, or been more prepared with a message? I was so wrapped up in my own list of meaningless things to do that I forgot about doing things that truly matter. I prayed to ask God to forgive me and help me to recognize more quickly the opportunities He gives to be a blessing to others.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved

Drinking from the saucer!

Several years ago, while having breakfast with my kids at a local diner, an older gentleman sat at the counter to our left. We made eye contact, and I said, “Good morning. How are you?” He said, ” I am drinking from my saucer! You know what that means? It means my cup runneth over with blessings!”

What a joy that man had in his heart! He was living life to the fullest! He later mentioned to us that he had been given the greatest gift there was… the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. He wasn’t ashamed to admit it, even to strangers he met over breakfast. He didn’t know at the time that we, too, know Jesus. He was just brimming with blessings and wanted everyone to know it. Even more, I was blessed just be his exuberance!

This week, as we prepare to “officially” be thankful in the United States, I am humbled by the many blessings we have in our lives; Blessings of friends and family, loved ones both near and far.

I just want to take a moment to thank you, my wonderful WordPress friends, for being a blessing to me! You have liked me and encouraged me, and reached out to help me. Know that I am blessed by all of your creativities, and you bring joy to others. You are a blessing.

Indeed, I am drinking from a saucer this fall.

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Blessings,

SB

Coincidence?

A few weeks ago a new battle began for us; well, really not a “new” battle, but a battle that had lay dormant for about 10 years, suddenly raging without warning, consuming our thoughts and minds.

Everything came to a head on Sunday morning. I was considerably distracted, and, although present in church, I failed to really hear the message. My husband and I were stressing about the situation.

Prior obligations on Sunday afternoon kept us from talking more about the situation, but when I had a few moments in between those obligations, I sat quietly in my car and watched the beginning of that days’ sermon from a pastor friend of ours that streams live on Facebook each week. Coincentally, or not, the topic of his sermon was ANXIETY. I watched about 5 minutes before I decided I needed to watch it with my husband later that evening.

My next obligation was accompanying our pastor for a service at a local senior resident building for a service we do once a month.  My aunt and uncle were coming to our house for dinner, and my mother had asked if I might be able to find someone else to play for the service that day.  Coincidentally, or not, it had not worked out, and I needed to fulfill my obligation.  I sat down at the baby grand piano and began to play music for prelude, and God’s peace began to flow through my fingers. I realized it was the first time I had actually breathed all day.

As our pastor began his message, he read from 2 Samuel 23. Coincidentally, or not, he talked about facing battles that seem impossible to win. This piqued my interest and I listened intently.  (It was, most likely, the same message he gave at our own church in the morning, but I had been to distracted to focus then).

“These are the names of David’s mighty warriors: Josheb-Basshebeth, a Tahkemonite, was chief of the Three; he raised his spear against eight hundred men, whom he killed in one encounter.”   2 Sam 23:8 NIV

Other examples where God fought a battle came to my mind as i sat and listened, emotions welling up inside me.  David and Goliath, Joshua and the battle of Jericho. During his sermon, he said, “Stand your ground, in Jesus’ Name and watch what He will do for you”.    It was during that time that i realized that i was there, in that place, at that specific moment in time so that I would hear the message that God had for me – that He is fighting our battles.     I knew it was not a coincidence that i couldn’t find a replacement to accompany our pastor that day.  I knew that it was not a coincidence that i had a few moments before that service to hear a few words on anxiety.

We are in the thick of the battle as we speak, but we are standing firm in Jesus’ Name, watching eagerly to see what God does.  We know that we belong to Him, and He has our back.

 

tree of hope

Gasping for air,

the darkness surrounds me,

oppression so great,

the waters they drown me.

No where to run,

No where to turn.

I crumble within,

beginning to burn.

I see through the fog

The might of Thy hand

that reaches below

the enclosing sand

to pull me to safety,

returning to me

that which belongs to You.

Mighty, Your tree,

In glory it stands

for all that you’ve done,

to show who You are.

The battle is won.

Keep fresh in my mind

the work that You’ve done.

Help me to show others

Your heavenly Love.

Copyright Journey-For-Life. 2017. All rights reserved.