Every year I face an annual ritual of reflecting on how in control I am- as in NOT in control. I shared about that here a few weeks ago. It was helpful to write a little bit about the beginning of that journey called "parenting." And every one could most likely agree that it is an ongoing process in the journey we call "human" to really learn to relinquish control. Maybe because it's a balancing act. We can't be so irresponsible that we stop encouraging our kids to eat their veggies or we stop paying our bills or we stop showering. Yea, we do have useful, necessary control over some things. But how do we know when to "let it go and let God" and when to make it happen?
One of my main sources of guidance these past few weeks is a study by Priscilla Shirer on the Armor of God. Last week I was reading about and learning about taking up the Shield of Faith. The battle tool that is cumbersome, requires training and strength to put to use and is a source of much needed protection in a time of need.
Faith- a word that's so flippantly tossed around or sung about- but just think about being in battle and trying to toss around one of those ancient Roman shields! They were about 20 lbs and large enough for a soldier to crouch behind. Flinging it easily wasn't going to happen. Not to mention you wouldn't have wanted to toss it- you'd need it right up next to your body and firmly in your grip to make it functional. Kind of like Faith in God. Faith means that you are taking action to fortify your movement forward- your are moving in the belief that you're heading in the right direction.
I often falter in having faith to follow a plan placed on my heart. Sometimes I am just plain confused on which plan is my human one and which is God's. And other times I know what God asks and I let fear, doubt or insecurity get in the way. I don't know about you, but those can be some pretty crippling emotions and thoughts. I don't think that it's any coincidence that the concept of mindfulness and meditation crossed my path in the past few months. These are tools that can be used to silence your heart and your mind to prepare a place to hear. And since the dull roar of my emotions and my thoughts can try to drown out my faith, this is a practice I want to work on.
And it is one that is NOT EASY with small children in the house.
Last week I went to hear Ann Kerion speak about Neuroscience and Contemplative Practices- discussing the act of finding God in the mundane, practicing quiet reflection and exploring how we can rewire our brains through contemplative practices. One of the main things that struck me was how I am so bad at remaining in the present. My mind is a wandering mind. I am usually jumping around from task to task. I have even mentioned how I love to multi-task a lot of times on this blog. Being mindful and focused is something I need practice! I think I have known this for some time. This concept of focusing on the present and focusing on the miraculous is something I have always contemplated. I remember reading this quote in A Tree Grows in Brooklyn during high school and wanting to write it everywhere:
It is this awe and appreciation for all that is around me that I seek to hone- to put aside the things that are a distraction. This is a foundation for faith- to be able to focus on God's word and His creation and His calling. When we do that then we can more fully understand His miraculous, mysterious power. His ability to take even the tiniest seed of faith and grow it into something rooted in Him.
When God places something on your heart it can be so easy to doubt that it'll work out or that it will be the right thing or that it's even possible.
Recently my friend, Kristin felt called to take a step of faith and donate her time and energy and go. And she's going all the way to Haiti. While there in April she will be working with a local organization to do what is needed: tutoring, construction, education and other forms of support at orphanages. She is acting in Faith because she knows that God can use this opportunity. I am sure that doesn't mean she hasn't felt anxiety, uncertainty or stress over the logistics. But it does mean that her Shield of faith in God's plan and faithfulness is a better source of protection that any of those arrows of doubt.
It is really exciting to witness other people responding to God's call and having the opportunity to do good works for him. To shine His Light. One theme that God has been placing on my heart is the desire to be more financially responsible. This past year has been one of change and opportunity. I have been working to build a business helping others increase wellness in their lives through life style and using essential oils in their homes. This opportunity has been awesome and fulfilling simply by being able to educate and empower people on ways to grow healthier. I am feeling the tug of God to also use this opportunity to serve Him in my daily life and in finances. Money is one of those things that can make me anxious, fearful and stressed. God doesn't want any of that for me - or anyone else for that matter. He doesn't want us to be anxious about anything. He wants us to use what we have to sew seeds for him.
This month Kristin and I are helping each other follow God's plan. As people get started using essential oils described on the "March Mission" page this month, 100% of my profit will go toward Kristin's trip. It's wonderful to have the flexibility to do this through this business and it's also wonderful to partner together to take a step of faith and serve others. Walking by faith with shields linked is even more powerful progress than doing it alone. And we can rest in the assurance that "the Lord is good; His love endures forever and HIS FAITHFULNESS continues through all generations."
I am an eat, play, work at home Mom- a part time new-mom's support facilitator- full time dreamer of clay- an all the time thinker- a trained art therapist- and a home biz empower-er who never has enough minutes in the day, clay in my hands or ideas in my brain to create all the things!
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