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Wrapping Up 12.18.16

Following are three mini posts I recently made. As I spent time exploring light, I found myself asking about the places in me that had not yet seen light. Empty. That’s the word that kept coming to mind. Thanks for following along with the discussion – as always, please comment and be sure to subscribe so we can stay connected and encouraged on this journey we are on – Blessings, Janetjohn-1414

I saw a very dear friend the other day. Hugs. The good solid – I love you friend – really – kind of hug. I looked at her and asked how she’s doing. She looked straight at me and said “empty – you know – that void – that place of empty.” And I nodded and whispered “you know I understand.” Nodding, she said, “that’s what I love about you Janet.” Tis the season. Each of us have our own personal but not always honest with ourself story of emptiness. Scrolling Facebook or Instagram sure does make us feel like we are the only ones but I can promise you – we aren’t. In a strange way I have come to embrace that feeling and use it as a reminder to stop. Stop allowing that voice telling me I’m empty and giving its bossy self any power in my life. I might be alone a lot but when that threatens to change to lonely, that’s when I put my foot down. And you know what I find? Jesus. Close by. And just like he promises in this scripture, I can ask Him to step into that void. That empty. That hole. Whatever you have named yours. And Jesus will. John 14:14 “You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” We can ask Him to step into the places in us that He is longing to fill. This next few weeks can be very hard. Please hear my heart as I invite you to lean on Jesus in new ways and seek your comfort there. Discover the true joy that brings. My beautiful new coffee cup is from my dear friends at www.missionlazarus.com You can find it there and buy some great coffee while you are at it. Coffee grown at high altitude in the southeastern mountains of Honduras. Peace all!

gray-skies-in-madisonville

Late yesterday afternoon it looked like the sunset was going to be glorious. I jumped into my car, apologizing to my dogs who thought it was dinner time. It’s about five miles to my favorite place. Driving, I caught glimpses of the setting sun – beautiful. Finally arriving at my destination it had changed dramatically and this first picture is what I saw. Not all the drama I expected. Still beautiful.

gray-skies-filtered-madisonville

Later at home I began playing with some filters I use. The result is the second photo. Same exact picture. I cropped it a little. Here’s what happened. The filter removed some colors and allowed the others to shine through. The result is very different. I wonder if that’s how we look at life often. I know I anticipate something happening one way and when it doesn’t, I move on. I neglect to look at it closer. It’s easy to forget to use the filter Jesus will give us to see the world through His eyes. This filter changes everything. The apostle Paul talks about this – it is his prayer for us. Let’s go out today and ask God to open the eyes of our heart that we may see things in a new light this season. What first may appear to be empty of beauty, empty of color and life, become full of the evidence of God in us and around us. May we look at people differently and see them through Jesus eyes.

sugar-cane-fields-and-blue-skies-wsig

Psalm 143:8 I remember the days when this didn’t mean nearly what it means to me today. My stubborn German blood refused to believe I couldn’t fix what was going on when hard times came. The same scenario kept unfolding over and over. The same questions haunted me – never finding answers – haunting me on a relentless repeat cycle. My energy waned. I tried harder. Exhaustion set in. Only when I had nothing left to give did I even consider I had been doing life all wrong. Growing up in church all my life failed to yield answers. Failure loomed inevitable and did come. Nothing was working. Until one day I asked God to open my eyes, change my view of Him in my life and stop this cycle of failure. I had to let go of so many old beliefs, old habits and self reliance. Studying the bible with a new set of eyes, I began to see what it meant not to fear being empty of myself – my plans, my desires and my way and fill me with Jesus truths. Focusing hard on Jesus changed what was going on in me. It was so hard and the battle fierce some days when I didn’t like what I was learning – like – standing up for Jesus truths – showing mercy, compassion, love, forgiveness – where no one deserved it {wait – had I become the judge there?}— recognizing I had done nothing to deserve the same grace but Jesus gave it to me anyway. Learning as I grew in my faith in Him that in the hard times – that’s when I could bask in His presence in deeper ways. But this all comes with a warning – this is not a one time deal. This becomes a way of life – a continual process of staying near God. It becomes a faith in action. God comes near and as we understand who He is to the best of our humanness, He pours out of us.

“Lord, thank You for the ways You love us. Always. You simply love us. Teach us Lord, as we seek new ways to do life as time reveals our weaknesses to us, please step into those places deep in us that need You so desperately. Thank You, Lord. Forgive us when we forget. We love You, Lord. Amen.”

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