Meet Me In A Forgotten Corner Of My Heart

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Be Still and know that I am God

Be still and know that I love you…that I hold you in the palm of my hand…that I have counted the hairs on your head…that you are the apple of my eye…that your name is written in my heart…”Do not be afraid it is I.”

There is nothing in us that needs to be hidden from God’s love. Our guilt …our shame…our fear…our sins…He wants to see it, touch it, hear it…and make Himself known. There is no other God than the Lord of Love.

Be still and know that I am God. God is not in the storm, nor in the earthquake, nor in the fire, but in the still, small voice , the gentle breeze, and the sheer silence…

Be still and know that I am God. Take these words with you in the week to come…let them be like a little seed planted in the good soil of your heart and let it grow…

Be still and know that I am God.                                                                  – Henri Nouwen

Develop A Spiritual Practice

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I get a lot of feed back from people in regards to their seeming inability to be able to carve out quiet time for themselves. Taking that another step further, I had the opportunity last week to present a holistic health message to nurses and managers in the skilled nursing facility setting, and self-care is a big concern. We can all struggle with making space or creating margin in our lives, but it is imperative for over all physical and emotional health. Even beyond that, we are spiritual beings who need to be connected to the source of our strength and to know what to pursue and what to relinquish. The development of a spiritual practice helps us to navigate those questions so we can live fully in our humanity.

I have been a long time fan of Henri Nouwen. Henri, who is now deceased, has been a beloved author, priest, and world famous spiritual counselor and guide, who’s writings continue to inspire and re align his readers in profound ways.

I am re- reading his book Spiritual Direction and I was struck by this;

Developing ears to hear God takes time. We all have strong resistances to listening. First of all, we find it very hard to create empty spaces in our lives and to give up our occupations and preoccupations, even for a while. We suffer from a fear of the empty space. We are so concerned with being useful, effective, and in control that a useless ineffective, and uncontrollable moment scares us and drives us right back to the security of having something valuable to do.

I know that for myself, when I am taking my daily morning time to be alone and meditate, I can feel as though I am “wasting” time and my mind will begin to fill with chatter. Thoughts of my to do list, the kids activities, the bathroom that needs cleaned….whatever, will start to infiltrate my mind until I push them back and give myself permission and encouragement to be still. The truth is, I cannot go very many days with out long periods of alone time to start my day.

The morning spiritual practice is so integrated into my life, it is as if I am cutting off my right arm or not drinking water when I defer it at all. The more you are intentional about it, the more deeply it embeds into who you are. The Bible says that Jesus retreated often  and the New Testament talks about “praying continuously”. For me this looks like at least an hour in the morning of reading the Bible, in my head or out loud, and writing my prayers out. I have a designated space in my bedroom where I do this. When I am exceptionally pressured, I set my alarm and do not allow my self to get pulled away into a different direction. I often times write one scripture or a short theme out on a post it note and refer to it through out the day. Any time I start to get anxious about any situation, I pause and read it and it puts me back into The Vine (John 15:5), the source of strength. As you are intentional about creating this time for yourself, others will begin to understand, respect and give you your space- but that will only happen after you show consistency in guarding it and making it a priority.

Do we want to see the truth in our lives? Maybe we don’t….maybe it is easier if we don’t. Henri went on to say this in the same chapter; Resistance in the form of preoccupation and distraction often prevents us from seeing the truth of our lives, hearing God’s voice and living a spiritual life. To listen with obedience to the voice of God requires building up a resistance to all the other voices that compete for our attention.

I know for myself, the spiritual practice continues to be a persistent intentional routine, but it has also become a deep place of peace that no other thing or person on earth can replicate. I have had times where I knew I was running, so to speak, from hearing the voice of truth in my life. It leaves one empty and shallow. If we are going to tap into who we really were created to be and tap into the things we were expressly created to do in this short time called life, we are going to have to spend time with The Creator.

I encourage you to create empty spaces in your life. Decide to swim against the water of culture and abide in the place you were designed to be. This is not time wasted, it is value added. Do not be afraid of the quietness, be intentional and begin your spiritual journey<3

 

* Honest Aromas offers  Christian Life Coaching! If you would like more information on this idea, visit  juliaallman.com

Daily Affirmations

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My Life Coach suggested that I write down my top ten affirmations to combat the negative internal dialog that takes place from time to time in my mind.

These are ten  affirmations that I have absolutely clung to in the last three years. They have shifted my thinking and propelled my life forward and I thought I would share them with you:)

  1. God is truth and He is invoking a blessing over my life and releasing me from my past.
  2. Christ is my life, He is my all and all. He and I are joined together in one Spirit. He lives in me now, not I, He is the fullness, the power, the strength and all I need and that is a fact now.
  3.  I am God’s Beloved, He made me in eternity
  4. I am loved, accepted, forgiven and pleasing to God, therefore I can love accept, forgive and be pleasing to my self and others.
  5. God is removing cherished sin from my heart and making me free.
  6. I trust in God and I will let God rescue me. I delight in Him and He is delivering me.
  7. God has plans to prosper and not harm me, to give me a future and a hope.
  8. God is building me and I will be re built. 
  9. In returning and rest I am being saved, in quietness and confidence is my strength.
  10. God’s statutes have been my songs in the house of my pilgrimage. 

 

You have probably noticed that they all find their root in scriptures. The Bible says that:

12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.  Hebrews 4:12

I believe there is something  very deep that goes on in my mind and in a spiritual realm that we cannot see when we use scripture as a weapon for our daily battles.

I am right here walking this road of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today.

 

 

 

Think On These Things…

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It is SO easy for all of us to look at what is wrong in any situation…being grumpy and complaining takes little effort. It is so easy to complain about the weather, the government, or another human being.

I have a son who is autistic. His brain apparently does not have a lot of serotonin or dopamine, because he struggles to look at the bright side of anything. We are attempting to teach him every day to recount the good things of the day, or happy memories he has experienced in the last 24 hours and let me tell you, it is grueling work! We all get very frustrated with him but do you know what? I find I can be the exact same way many times! I have this written in my dining room from Phil. 4:8; I challenge you to insert truth to all of these meditations, especially the situations you are experiencing right now that are clouded by doubt and frustration.
WHATEVER THINGS ARE TRUE-  (Insert yours here) I wrote; I am loved, forgiven, accepted and pleasing to God.
WHAT EVER THINGS ARE NOBLE- Despite our struggles and set backs, my husband and I are attempting to build a holy union called marriage.
WHAT EVER THINGS ARE JUST- Our children are growing up into the gifts and talents that God purposes for their lives and we experience that as a family.
WHAT EVER THINGS ARE PURE- God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit give us access to themselves daily.
WHAT EVER THINGS ARE LOVELY- Children that I wasn’t supposed to have, green grass, hemlocks, flowers on my porch and in my hand.
WHAT EVER THINGS ARE OF GOOD REPORT- I made it through this day loving those around me!
WHAT EVER THINGS ARE VIRTUOUS- Trusting that God has plan and future for me that is good even when my circumstances can make me doubt. I don’t give up!
WHAT EVER IS PRAISEWORTHY- I have life, I have food,  I have water, I have clothing and shelter.
So it says we are to MEDITATE ON THESE THINGS. It takes effort, energy and a changing of our minds- many times from what we see, to faith in what we don’t see. I love the HOPE that is in that!

God has given us the capacity to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. When we look at people who completely frustrate us, we must look at who they really are…who they were created to be, just as we want them to do for us. The renewing power we have been given is a super natural gift, the ability to look at something we see and yet have faith in something that we do not see is not of this world! We have access to this power and we must apprehend it with faith and a grateful heart.

I hope you take a few moments to do this exercise, just writing it out has been transforming to me! I am right here walking this path of wholeness with you and I would love to hear from you today!

One Thing I do….

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This pic was taken at one of my favorite parks in Pennsylvania during a recent Anniversary weekend with my husband. This picture paints a thousand words in my mind. It was a significant weekend for us because we had been separated prior to this trip. When we went there last year, we did not think we would ever return there as a couple and I did not even want to take any pictures to document our time there.

We have been through a lot in the last several years. Many things had taken a toll on our marriage and we both reached points where we really didn’t want to work at it any more.

When you are weak and tired and other seemingly exciting opportunities present themselves to you, it is almost impossible to resist(But it is not impossible). I made a lot of poor decisions during that flat time in my marriage. The ramifications could have been so much worse, but the consequences will never go away. I can only  thank and praise God for His mercy and unfailing love to me.

I cannot help but look at the picture and think of the words of Dan Fogelberg’s song;

Along the Road

Along the road
Your steps may stumble
Your thoughts may start to stray
But through it all a heart held humble
Levels and lights your way.

The Bible calls God’s Word “a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path” that is true and that is how I got back to the road.

Another exceptional truth is, that as long as we are looking back when we are trying to move forward…we will stumble. The apostle Paul, had some thing transforming to say about this.

He was born a Roman and a Hebrew. Both gave him many rights, much authority and power. He lived during the time when the Christian church emerged and by Jewish and civil law, he was educated and zealous in the murders of people following Jesus. He then had a life changing encounter with Christ, and began to defend the faith. He now had great understanding and knowledge concerning both sides of the argument.He also had great understanding of forgiveness and mercy- and most Christians would look at him as a man who “attained” it, who made it, who “got this”.

He said “not that I have already attained”  He continued; “I do not count my self to have apprehended; but one thing I do…..Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching for those things that are ahead.” Phil 3:13

One thing I do.…forget what is behind and reach for those things that are ahead! Easier said than done. It is not easy to forget what you have done, especially when it has caused a great disturbance not just in your life but other’s lives as well.  I think it is human nature that we should wallow in self condemnation until we have reached a sufficient penance..and some religion’s teach this. But this is not the way God deals with us, that is the way people deal with us-or we deal with ourselves.

God is instantaneous in His forgiveness when we ask. God, through Jesus Chris, answers us with “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more” (John 8:11), “Though you sins are as scarlet, They will be white as snow”( Is. 1:18),”If he sins against you seven times in a day and returns to you saying, ‘I repent’, you shall forgive him.” (Luke 17:4), “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:8) God is outlandish and lavish in His Forgiveness toward us as proved through Jesus’ death on the cross!

This amazing forgiveness is what I have personally been experiencing and my husband and I have also been as well. It is not from this world. It is super-natural! Forgiveness is a beautiful, precious gift and Christianity’s pinnacle!

When doubts and thoughts clamor at the door of your mind- deal with it! Have you asked God to forgive you, or do you just keep thinking about it? If you have not asked for forgiveness, do it now. If you have, meditate on the scriptures that I listed above and look up more of them. I do not know any one who does not need to hear this good news! I hope it has challenged and been renewing to you today.

What are your thoughts on forgetting what is behind?  We want to hear from you today!