Heart Colors

Nature astounds me. Although I doth protest, and loudly, about the fading warmer temperatures, I must concede that fall is my favourite season. Brilliant colors bursting forth as the season changes fire off my pleasure centre and increase my desire to be in the midst of the transformations. Sunlight still presses into my skin and awakens my cells with its deposits of life and vitamin d. My thoughts are filled with God and wonder and creativity as I walk among the fallen leaves. In those moments I want to experience all that He has for me and freeze frame the astonishment.

Sometimes I am so overwhelmed that I think I am strange. My wonder is almost tangible, the desire to experience the fullness of nature consumes me. I literally could sit and watch the trees change colors, or soak in a sunrise or sunset repeatedly. For me it never gets tiring to witness these wonders. It is like I want to take a giant straw and slurp down every last bit of life that these creations offer.

Ok I also concede to the fact that I am a little strange but my heart rests in that. Strange – unusual or surprising in a way that is unsettling or hard to understand. Some people may find my faith strange, others may find my straw gulping desires strange, still others may see my writing as strange. Photosynthesis is strange, this process of plants turning water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and sugar so that the plants may live and how as the season shortens and the light lessens, the chlorophyll leaves the leaf, exposing the colors that were there all along.  So  likewise, even though my faith, my desires, my process of writing may be unseen, they are all still a part of me.

God’s love is never-changing but what does change is our ability to receive His love. My prayer over the past few months has been the Ezekiel 36:26 prayer that God will remove my heart of stone and replace it with a heart of flesh. My friend sent me the New Living Translation which I don’t often read but I love how it translates this verse, “And I will put a new spirit in you, I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

I see evidence as God heals what has been broken in my heart and removes my shame to give me freedom that it is from this more tender, responsive heart that I drink in His goodness. I think it was Joyce Meyer that recently said, Even though God has amazing things in our future, He is limited by our capacity to receive. I don’t want to be limited any longer, I want to do the things that I can and co-operate with God’s healing so my spirit can awaken to be loved and to love myself and others. A while ago I asked God for a song and although I don’t think True Colors was written as a Christian song, I choose to see God in it. Praying that your true colors will shine through, as the leaf in the fall and that your hearts will rest in Him. Strange or not.

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Get up on the Inside!

Pollyanna Mindset was my diagnosis. If anyone is familiar with the classic novel Pollyanna, a little girl by that name is known for her optimistic attitude and blasts into a town to try to spread her positivity. You may think, well that is not such a bad rap! I agree in and of itself a personality of that nature is good  but when it is referring to the way I handle money it is not quite so rosy!

This ‘diagnosis’ as I’ve called it is based on $pent by Stephanie Holmes -Winton. A book referred to by our new financial advisor as God continues to speak into aligning this area of our life. These are some of the characteristics that are described from a Pollyanna mindset : blissfully unaware when it comes to finances and you are fine with that, a delight to be around and don’t see bad in anyone or any purchase for that matter, if you have a spouse you abdicate your financial responsibility to them, just as likely to overspend on others as you are on yourself, if you and your spouse make a healthy income, it is not unusual for you to turn gift buying into a sport…okay, okay we get the picture and it is ugly to me because it is accurate, although I still don’t see what is wrong with gifting others…

Needless to say, hard work is necessary in this area. Especially when my husband’s mindset is an Undercover Agent but that is a story for another time. Let’s just say thankfully our marriage is strong and he is Very patient with me. So when I heard Joyce Meyer teaching on Living Courageously this morning and she said we need to get up on the inside, I knew what direction this blog was going today.

Jim George wrote, ” Complacency happens almost without notice. Check and renew your heart daily.” It is so easy for us to drift into those comfortable places that don’t call for radical transformation or any big interference in our lives. As I am learning though when we are fully surrendered to God’s will for our life or moving toward that place, it is impossible to sit in the comfort because even that becomes uncomfortable.  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful, Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:11

I mentioned this verse in my last blog and there was a time when I would always associate the word discipline with punishment and although that is one meaning of the word, it also means training expected to produce a specific character or pattern of behaviour, especially training that produces moral or mental improvement. God wants us to become like what He says we are. He says we have been given all we need for life and godliness and that we are more than conquerors through Him and that the power that rose Christ from the dead is in US!!! That truth in itself should have us standing up on the inside and every side in astonishment at His goodness, grace and mercy. Sit in that for a moment…

My Pollyanna confession is part of the hard-line decision I am making to line up with God’s will. As Joyce said, “Make a decision, do something, lest you do nothing.” It starts with one choice, one move to get up on the inside and let the power of Christ move through you to do the things He is calling you to do to be more like Him. As you become more like Him, you will impact the world one decision at a time.

Ready or Not?!

September always seems to catch me unawares. I watch it coming full tilt as I mourn the end of summer and then Boom! Here it is. Although the cooling of the temperature brings some sadness, the turning of the leaves and the structure of the return to school does bring excitement to my spirit. I love organizing things and having things in order which in my apparent lack of discipline seems like quite a conundrum. You may not be able to tell that the area of discipline is in need of an upgrade just by looking at me, unless of course you peeked at my bank book or looked at my scale or watched me manage my time. These areas have been specifically highlighted to me recently with much conviction by the Holy Spirit and even though I know changes in all areas at once would be difficult, it is all inter-connected and I believe this is a time of new beginnings.

As I prayed about this new season, I was humorously reminded about the conversation in the movie Shrek between Shrek (who is an ogre for those who don’t know) and Donkey ( who is a … donkey). Shrek was trying to explain to Donkey that there is a lot more to ogres than people think.

“Ogres are like onions.”

“They stink?”

“Yes, NO!”

“They make you cry?”

“NO!”

“Oh, you leave them out in the sun and they get all brown and start sprouting little white hairs?”

“No! Layers! Onions have layers, ogres have layers.”

I am sure that we have all heard this analogy at one time or another. As God continues to heal and redeem things in my life, I am astonished by how some things seem to have endless layers. Sometimes God highlights an area and I think, really God, still? Now hear me too that the devil loves to tempt us to think that Jesus hasn’t finished with some areas and we need to go back there. This is when we need God’s discernment to know whether to dig deeper or remind that tempting voice, ‘It is finished.”

As Joyce Meyers quips, “I know I am not where I need to be, but thank God I am not where I used to be!”

Do I have the answers to more self-discipline? No but God does. He is aware of my layers. He has seen how I have not utilized the self-control that He gave me. Does He love me any less? No? Does He love me so much that He won’t leave me here? Yes!

God is a God of transformation and He desires to do that in our hearts. At this time I am to cocoon in and gather his strength to be able to face these lifelong battles , in the process I will be changed, as will my writing and in effect everybody else that He allows my words to reach.  Discipline in Greek means ‘to instruct’, so as God disciplines me, this instruction will echo into my behaviour.

“No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained for it.” Hebrews 12:11

Is there an area in your life that you need to submit to God’s transformation? Onions have layers, ogres have layers and we humans have layers. It is what makes us unique, made in the image of Father, Son and Holy Spirit 🙂 Enjoy the process as we become more like Him.