In A Storm

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With all of the hurricanes that have been hitting the US lately, and as I consider how frightening these times can be for people who are hit the hardest, I have been thinking about the storms I have weathered.

When you are in a storm of this magnitude, you have to keep your head about you and stay focused or you literally could be swept away. I remember a particular time when the circumstances of my life were in such a complete mess and the fall out from it was creating a storm, of such proportion, that I could have become completely emotionally impaired. My husband, George, had been speaking with a person whom we always respected and cared about very deeply, but the man was creating such waves out of his own fears, that my husband and I nearly drown in them.

One particular day, my husband was relaying a conversation to me that he had with this man earlier in the day. My husband was tired and distraught and so was I. As George was speaking, I started to feel that I was actually getting slapped by one enormous wave after another. With every question and accusation the man had posed to him from their earlier conversation, George’s voice actually started to fade into the background even though he was standing right in front of me. Next, my eyes started to glaze and I felt as if the pressure was starting to pull me under the water and I was literally starting to gasp with no strength to resurface. Right at that point, I heard the voice of Jesus clear as a bell; “JULIA!, Look at ME, listen to ME, follow ME!  I actually looked up to where I thought the voice was coming from. The roaring waves immediately turned into serene, foamy, level water! I came to my senses and with a clarity I had not known until that very point and I was able to be in complete peace and not be anxious. The storm, although I was still in it, was completely calmed as I looked to Jesus. It was truly amazing!

Jesus had done something very similar many, many years before with a man named Peter. Peter was a fisher man. He knew in his head that a man cannot walk on water. But one day when he saw Jesus walking on the water and he asked if he could do it! Jesus told him to come, and he actually did walk on water for a bit, but then it says in Matthew 14:30; “but when he (Peter) saw that the wind was boisterous, he was afraid and began to sink and cried out, saying, “Lord save me!”

It is natural to be afraid when the storms come whether they be natural or figurative. It goes against our natural inclinations to have faith and hold on to an anchor in the midst of a storm, but that is exactly what we must do. The heroic stories coming from the news tell of just such things during these natural disasters and have the theme of focus and faith all through them. We have to choose not to be afraid and place our grasp firmly on the anchor that will never let us be swept away in a storm.

What ever is true….

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I had been reading Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, so I have been keeping an on going list of 1,000 things that I am thankful for. But recently, while I was on a trip with my son and daughter, I purchased a handy, little book on Mindfulness and Relaxation exercises written by Dr. Arlene Unger. It had a very helpful and stretching recommendation to write a list from a-z just for that day with the first word corresponding with the letter of the alphabet.

Although this was an important and bonding trip for all of us, it also had it’s usual familial tensions!! The particular day that I wrote this list out, I was really dealing with a wide array of emotions. It was not at all difficult for me to list my son and daughter on the list or anything having to do with being together, but other aspects of the list took me more effort. It was a challenge and it forced me to give thanks to God for everything in my day and take the time to really ponder it all.

What a simple but profound routine to pull back and re focus on the positives of the day, and I see how it helped, particularly when my emotions could have run wild! The Bible says to think about what ever is; true, noble, just, pure, lovely, a good report, virtuous or praiseworthy- meditate on these things. (Philippians 4:8) ❤

 

Friends in Time

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Each Day I find, miracles in my life, gifts so great they could only be yours

Friends in time, changes kind, strength from your loving hand

I’m on my way, bearing the new man.

Lord, Here’s my life, heal my heart, heal my soul.

Lord, Here’s my life, as I seek you, make me whole,

Here’s my life, Oh Lord, make me whole.

This is my friend that I met while I was at school for Aromatherapy. God brought us together through our love of holistic health! Her husband and her were with in three hours of our home and we were able to to meet up half way and spend an evening together! I really thought the chances of ever seeing her again were slim to none!

It brought to mind the words of the song that I wrote many years before. Friends in time. I have been so blessed to know so many incredible people, so diverse, so loving, so kind, strong, opinionated, and courageous……always in my heart, even if we do not get to see each other for years.

We all need each other don’t we? And all of my friends make up parts of who I am. I have learned from them all, even (and probably especially) the ones who may have parted my company. Iron sharpens iron and love never truly fades away.

It was actually surreal that I could hold her and see her and talk- which both of us couples did for hours! Listening to each other’s journeys over the last few years and we have both been on some unexpected, adventurous journeys!! Growing in faith and trust, and looking to the future with expectation. I re count it today, and I am very thankful for the opportunity to see each other. ❤

 

 

 

Choosing Forgiveness

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I’ve been understanding forgiveness on a whole new level over the last year. I’ve dealt with asking for forgiveness, forgiving myself, forgiving others and not being forgiven. One thing I completely agree with James McDonald on: “Christians need to be masters at forgiveness.” This is a challenging thought, but it’s true. And whether you’re a Christian or not, you know forgiveness changes your life and allows things to move in a healthy way that would be impossible otherwise.

The biggest challenge and help to me has been to understand that, “I am completely forgiven and fully pleasing to God. I am totally accepted, deeply loved and absolutely complete in Christ” (Robert McGee, The Search for Significance).

With God’s help in believing this is true, I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength! I want to be rebuilt and energized in that truth, so I can do everything I was created to do in this life and not waste one more second in unbelief.

I want to encourage you that this is possible! You can change your life, your patterns, your habits, your hangups, and your failures. You can take that mustard seed of faith and it can grow into a flourishing tree!

I completely relate to King David when he said, “I would have lost heart unless I had believed that I would see the goodness of The Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). Forgiveness is not an easy road, and the battle is mostly in the mind. But unless I believe (without seeing) that forgiveness produces good fruit and leads to a more abundant life, I will give in to hopelessness and despair. I have been there many times, and it does not bear anything good! Not for me or any one else around me.

So, I am encouraging myself even as I write this, and hope I encourage you today!I encourage you to check your heart, investigate the things that weigh you down, and ask yourself if there is an area in your life (or that situation you can’t let go of) in which you really haven’t forgiven a person, or even God. Don’t let this day pass without getting it out in the open, confessing it, and receiving forgiveness for it. Don’t carry it around another minute, day, or year. This is precisely the Reconciliation Jesus Christ provided to us through the cross and what we can meditate on further through this Resurrection weekend. The books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John can greatly aid us on this journey of forgiveness<3

 

Refocusing

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What do you do when you run into someone you would really rather not see?

We all find ourselves in situations where we would rather not run into that person. Maybe it’s just because we’re having an off day and would honestly prefer not to run into any person! Or maybe an unfortunate circumstance happened, and there is still some friction in the relationship. Or perhaps, the problem is within yourself, and you haven’t made amends in your heart toward that person.

I’ve had many such opportunities in the past year, and like it or not, I’ve had to face the music more than once. In my   situation, I caused harm. I asked for forgiveness and some of the people I hurt have extended it to me. Others are on their own journey with it, and I respect that. But what do you do if you come face to face with someone and you would prefer not to?

Here are some of the things I have put into practice when met with these uncomfortable situations:

  • I breathe deeply through my nose and out through my mouth.
  • I release endorphins and serotonin by giving a big, beautiful smile! ( Or in some cases; gently smile, nod and in both cases, keep walking.)
  • I lift my thoughts to God and choose to love Him most.
  • I turn my thoughts to my husband and the journey we have invested a lot of time and energy into.
  • I turn my thoughts to my children and how I want to support them and be the best Julia I can be for them.
  • I realize if I always avoid awkward situations, I make a practice of hiding, and I do not want to hide.
  • I feel the pain. I acknowledge that this is reality, and it hurts!
  • I realize the next time I see this person it will not hurt me as much as it does today. Every day I am getting stronger.
  • I choose to be love, be grace, and be beautiful.
  • I ask the Holy Spirit to fill me and use me right where I am.
  • I remind myself that I am forgiven, accepted, and pleasing to God, and that this is the basis of my self-worth, no matter what others may choose to think about me.

 

There are times when you run into someone you would rather not see, and it’s really hard to recover from it, even if you’ve taken some steps ahead of time to prepare. If this happens, you may need to take several days to recover, and that’s OK. Some difficult situations are, well, difficult. Maybe they simply overwhelm your mind. Don’t beat yourself up. And if complete downtime is required, find ways to find times for yourself where nothing is expected of you so you can refresh.

Facing a situation is refocusing your thoughts.

I have followed these steps over and over in my mind when I run into a difficult situation with a person I would rather not see. I realize that in the long run, going through the situation is better than avoiding the situation. Then I give God what I can’t control, knowing He can work all things for good, and what’s more, He wants to!

I hope these ideas are helpful to you, as well. Sometimes being healthy means knowing yourself and your limits, and it means being thoughtful enough to plan ahead for your own mental and emotional well-being. Life is a journey, and it’s okay to make little maps to help yourself navigate it. 🙂

What are some ways you refocus your thoughts in a difficult situation? I want to hear from you today!

Happy International Women’s Day!

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I have to say, Never have I embraced my woman hood as much as I have in this last year! “I have loved you with an everlasting love, I will build you and you will be re built” Jer. 31 3-4.

This was my verse last year, and i have gone through and am still in, the re building process! I was dismantled….in  an explosion….pieces of me scattered every where! My heart and my mind where pretty critical, but they were not only saved, they have started to regenerate in ways they couldn’t have before and are much stronger than ever!

That is a reflection of how awesome and masterful our Creator is! He delights in taking broken and making them beautiful. I accept that.  I am broken, I am beautiful! I am fear ful and wonderful. I am precious and deep. I love with everything in me and I hurt the same. I do not have time for shallow. I write, I sing, I play the guitar, the drums, the piano. I ask, seek and knock and I worship. When I laugh, it’s from my toe nails! When I cry it is with despair. I am focused, I am motivated and when I get knocked down- I won’t stay there. I care less about what people think of me and I care more about people.I hike, ride my bike,  and walk in sunshine (even if it’s 2 degrees)!I repent and I forgive. Love means more to me than it did a year ago, it is more vulnerable with safe people and it is more practical but it is more sacred. I am more of the reflection of the One who designed me than I had been, with my emotion, passion, life,broken ness and the culmination of all the other amazing women in my life. I was created to be me, this one woman.

Celebrate the women in your life today on this International Women’s Day!

Forgive…..

forgivenessDr. Jesse Gill says; “Forgiveness is the substance of very strong people.”….Wow! That catches my attention because, I desire to be a strong person in a vulnerable kind of way. Now, I do not always want to forgive quickly, but I know that I must forgive to have freedom for my self and to have relationship with others.

In his relationship book, Face to Face, Dr. Jesse Gill offers some other helpful insights regarding forgiveness and intimacy in relationships. “God is so invested in having your spouse know His love that He wants to strengthen you in the toughest moments to be His arms of embrace stretched out to your spouse. There is no clearer illustration of this than the moments we do not feel like showing love.” Isn’t that true? That is so true in every relationship and those statements really encourage me to express that. Now, we cannot always control how others will or will not respond to that “stretching out”, but as far as it depends on us, we can be that to others.

Ultimately, we must “put on love” as Paul says in Colossians 3:14 which is ”
the bond of perfection.” We must put on love and forgive quickly and often-It is an active thing to do.

I often wonder if my readers wonder why I talk about relationships so much when this is an aromatherapy blog?! Well, it is also a Holistic Health blog, and our heart and attitude have more to do with health than what we put on or inside our body. But just in case you are curious about some new Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, I will make sure to highlight some this week! Have a great week enjoying what ever schedule you find your self in, and be active and forgive!!

We are right here with you and we want to hear from you today:-)