be the light…

Just a note of encouragement to my faithful Blog followers;  The world often looks dark when we focus onto the dark,  yet when we recognize that we, as Children of Jesus, reflect the light of the Father, we don’t have to fear the dark, because we can BE the Light in the darkness.  

Jesus spoke to the people once more and said, “I am the light of the world. If you follow me, you won’t have to walk in darkness, because you will have the light that leads to life.”  John 8:12 NLT

Walk through the day with your head held high, projecting the Light and the Love of the Father to those He places in your path today my friends. See you soon…

Blessings, Janet  ❤️

Dancing with Jesus…

As I sit at my computer and type in these words below from my prayer journal, written and prayed almost 3 years ago, I marvel at the intricate details God places in our lives.  I will never cease to be amazed at how these simple prayers have not only been heard by him, but how we see his answers unfolding before our eyes.  

At the time of this writing, we felt like an onion, being peeled away one layer at a time, each time exposing the next vulnerable layer.  We felt so raw and so depleted, there were days it was difficult to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and trust that He had a plan for us. 

Fast forward to today;  Our lives are being redeemed.  We are not only serving Jesus is full time ministry, which we have been praying for, for so many years, we are serving together.  God has picked us up and moved us to a remote community 10 hours North of where we began this journey. 

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beautifully broken…

Do you ever look in a mirror, and wonder how you became the person looking back at you?  I’m sure that the image you see in the mirror comes with many happy & wonderful memories that wove beauty into your soul.  But how about the not so wonderful… the hurtful… the broken ones that left you scarred on the inside.

Oh I’m sure many of you are like me, very adept at hiding those scars… hoping and praying that in time they will dissolve into the deep recesses of our minds, then we could do life solely out of the beautiful side.  This had been my dream for much of my life.  Push away… forget… ignore… Sadly, like a shaken pop bottle, eventually the ugly would come bursting out at such velocity that there was no stopping the mess it would leave in its wake.

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The power of prayer…

What do you think of when he hear the word prayer?  What images are conjured up within your mind?  Do you see yourself lighting a candle reciting comforting words with a safe yet generic message? Or, maybe to you, prayer is state of mind verses an actual action. 

I don’t know what you think of when you hear the word prayer, but I can tell you what I hear and more importantly what I believe to be true…

Picture yourself as a little child reaching up to tell your Father or other trusted adult an important secret.  You are filled with anticipation as you know that these words are going to be heard and your heart will be encouraged to share this special moment, simply because this person loves you so much. 

That is the image I see when I think of praying to my Father in heaven.  We are His children, He loves us completely and wants to share the deepest secrets of our heart.  He wants us to trust Him with our vulnerabilities as well be willing to share even when we can’t possibly understand. 

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lord, be my bridge…

It’s so fascinating to me, what God is doing and has been doing in our lives.  When I wrote this journal entry it was the end of April 2018, we were living in the midst of a very difficult time.  Every thing we knew was crashing down around us.

We sold our home and moved ourselves and my Mother-in-law,  back into the condo we had moved her out of, a year earlier with the plan of renovating and selling it.  Never had it crossed our minds that the three of us would be the ones actually living there.  This was a difficult time for each of us in different ways;  for Mikes Mom, it came with memories of time passed, reopening a door thought closed.  For Mike, it represented failure, he was moving into what had been his Mom & Dads home during his Dad’s last years.  For me, I did everything I could to try to make it feel like a new home… which sadly never really worked.

In the midst of all of this change, God was determined to help us keep perspective.  It would have been so easy to fall into the trap of the pity party, yet He chose to use this time to teach us to live in “Faith not Fear”.

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(TT) FOR THE LOVE OF MONEY…

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, I hope you don’t see this intro and assume you have already read this post as many of my following friends started after these initial posts.  Besides that, I find in our economically difficult times right now that these words continue to speak to me.  Always remember that our God is bigger than anything life can throw at us (even Covid 19 life).  He will use our struggles past & present if you allow him… read on friend 😊

How did I not see?

Have you ever had one of those days when you are just doing your thing, then WHAM something you read or see hits you square in the face?  This was one of those days for me as I settled in to read this well known (and if I’m honest here… not always well loved) passage of scripture.

I’ve read and heard sermons preached on this scripture many times over the years, but it never pertained to me… after all I didn’t have excess money… I certainly wasn’t rich.

Yet today was different, today I sensed Holy Spirit pointing out something new to me;  this wasn’t just about money and it wasn’t just for the rich… it was more about the desires of my heart.  What were my hearts desires, was it possible to get really honest with myself?

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the hands of god…

As I sat down today and read my journal entry, I couldn’t help but smile… this journal entry & prayer was written 2 years ago on the day before my birthday.  I don’t remember what I was feeling on the exact day, but I remember the time frame quite well.  

We were financially ruined, we had spent all of our energy “stealing from Peter to pay Paul”, no matter how hard or long we worked we simply could not catch up never mind get ahead.  By this time, cracks were growing in our relationships with our kids who depended upon our business and sadly, much of the brunt of that fell upon me.  Therefore, birthday celebrations were not likely to be what they had been in the past. 

I’m sure we scraped the money together to go out for dinner, Mike has always been fantastic that way, always choosing to honour me in spite of the reality of our life.  I can guarantee it was fantastic… because it always was.  But I remember a deep sadness in my soul as well, a grief over the loss of relationships… the loss of family times together to celebrate our milestones.  

In my heart, I remember hoping I would hear something… anything, but the phone remained silent and the Happy Birthday text I was looking for never came.  It stung deeply, and I wondered how could things shift so quickly… what went so horribly wrong?

Jump forward to 2020 and where we find ourselves today.  Life has definitely changed.  We no longer are running our own business, we decided we were done running on the hamster wheel that never reached its destination, so we jumped off choosing to trust Gods plan rather than our own. 

Today we find ourselves 10 hours North of where we were previously living, serving God together on NGO wages and feeling a sense of freedom that we had forgotten even existed.  We have given up striving for ourselves and have made a conscious choice to serve others in Jesus name.  

I would love to tell you that the rift I previously shared has healed, but sadly it has not.  I cannot say if it ever will, unless it is Gods Will.  What I have come to understand is that, God is so much bigger that All of our fears, hurts &. brokenness.  I can honestly say, that I have done everything humanly possible to reconcile, but at this time it appears it is not meant to be. 

I have had to learn to surrender this whole situation to the Father.  I have to be honest, I’ve been pretty good at learning to submit my plans, my business and even my home to the Lord… but a family member… this took on a new level of difficulty.  

Somehow as Parents, Step-parents & In-laws, we believe that this bubble called “family” is ours.  It is ours to nurture and ours to fix when problems arise. The problem is, more often than not, we are not the ones to be the fixer, why?…. because sadly, we are part of the problem.

God had to teach me that there were somethings that I simply could not do, and that included within my own family… would I trust him with what I held closest to me?  This took me through a journey filled with pride (not the good kind) rather the kind where I was thinking I was the one with the power, to a place of surrender… where I came to the realization and the truth that I had to let go and let God get to work. 

Sadly, at this point in our lives, none of our children, step-children & in-law children are living their lives for Jesus.  Honestly that breaks my heart, especially as I watch the world around us appear to be crumbling.  Yet Mike and I choose to faithfully lift them up to the throne of God each and every day.  We continue to surrender them to the one who can do anything… and more importantly Trust that He will!

 

Journal Entry:  #35

Jesus looked at them and said, “There are some things that people cannot do, but God can do anything.”  Mark 10:27 CEV

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your Word.  There is so much promise and hope within your Word Lord.  Right now my life feels pretty out of control, but your Word reminds me that “You can do anything”… You are ALWAYS in control.  

Today, I am feeling the helplessness of our children who are lost, they are both blind and deaf to you Father.  Yet, you gently remind me… You can do anything!  Including softening their hearts and opening their eyes to the truth. 

Right now, our future looks bleak, but rather than despair, Your Word gives me hope, because You God… can do anything!  Thank you Father, that we are not alone, thank you that you can take this mess we’ve made of our lives and use it for Your glory.  Help us to grow in the midst of this journey Father. 

Thank you for your day by day… moment by moment, guidance and strength you have given us.  Thank you that You have a purpose IN this and that … You can do anything! To God be the Glory. 

In Jesus name ❤️ Amen

My Final Thoughts & Encouragement:

Dear Friend, I don’t know where you are at in this moment of time. I don’t know that challenges that you are facing, nor the darkness that you have been through. But I know the ONE who is bigger than ALL of those challenges.

Are you also a follower of Jesus, with family members that just don’t understand… or worse, think you are crazy. Maybe you haven’t discovered the truth about Jesus in your own life yet, and are finding this all somewhat confusing (if so please check out my ‘Do you know Jesus page’).

Wherever you are on this giant hamster wheel of life, I urge you to jump off… quick striving for self… start living for Christ. The hamster wheel has no destination, it simply goes round and round and round. Always striving but never truly achieving. It’s kind of like a treadmill, it serves a purpose but rarely brings true joy.

There is no problems in life too big for Jesus to handle. There is nothing you have done that cannot be forgiven, and there is nothing that has been done to you that He cannot bring healing and peace into the situation. Trust me, in each of these I speak from experience and have discovered who He truly is… the Son of God.

Two years ago, when I first wrote this journal entry, I could not see a future through the clouds of pain. “Faith Not Fear” was my daily mantra as I struggled to put one foot in front of the other. As I sit here writing today, I can look back and see the journey through a “post-perspective”, a rear view look in the mirror.

It is in this place that I am able to see where the Hands of God were holding me, where they were directly my paths in ways I might not have chosen for myself, to bring me to where I am today, filled with a peace that only comes through knowing the one who held my hand.

So, what do you need to surrender today? Is it your unbelieving kids… your parents that don’t understand… your career path… the list can go on and on.

I encourage you to quit carrying the burdens on your own, that sack filled with all the weight or your worries and fears over these people or things, that you continually lift up and carry through each and every day. . Put that sack down, drop it at the foot of the cross and give it wholly over to God. Do this out of Trusting dependance and remember… “there are some things that people can’t do… but God can do anything”… Praise Jesus.

Blessings ❤️ Janet. Journey4Jesus

Do you know Jesus ? He’s waiting for you… ( click the link to learn more) 

Photo by Simon Migaj on Pexels.com

{ If this benefited you in any way, I’d love to hear from you and I would be thrilled if you would share or invite more people to be encouraged. }

what do we do when Good is evil & evil is good?

As I sit and write this blog entry today, my heart is breaking for the mayhem that is becoming our world.  First Covid 19 brings fear and insecurity across the globe as nobody understands what’s truly happening or how to control it, coupled with the constant updates and news reports with differing thoughts and narratives on the subject.  This has left many people confused and stressed out and living in fear.

Next comes reports of police shootings, the # Black Lives Matter slogan takes over everything news & social media… it appears to take on a life of its own.  We empathize and want to be part of a movement that corrects injustice… this is a good thing.  But what happens when this apparent good thing, has a very ugly side?  

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the Three-legged stool…

What does it mean to be joyful?  Is it like living in a utopian existence where you always have a plastic smile on your face? Or maybe always pretending that everything is perfect, while knowing internally that it is not.  Never letting people know the reality of your life for fear of them seeing the reality of your weakness.  

The truth is, those actions actually hinder joy.  It has taken me many years to understand that joy is a choice we have to make for ourselves.  We actually do have the ability to experience joy even in the darkest of times.  Have you ever been to a funeral of a loved one? One minute tears of grief staining your face, while another moment laughter brought on by special memories, that takes us by surprise.  We can choose to stay in the grief, but we can also choose to draw upon the memories that will stir joy even in the midst of loss..  

For me, one of the ways I have learned to be joyful and thankful, is by surrounding myself with special friends.  For years I prayed that God would bring Christian women friends into my life.  It didn’t happen overnight… for years I felt like I was walking the journey alone, but in reality God was working on me… teaching me and training me to be the type of Christian friend to others that I was praying for myself. 

Ours began on a Mission Trip to Costa Rica, here I met two amazing women who both lived in the same city as me, and shared in the same passions I did.  Over time, the friendships grew into a type of Sisterhood.  We jokingly started referring to ourselves as a “three legged stool”, as we were so much support for each other as we held each other up while we carried difficult loads in our separate journeys of life.  

We all recognized that what we had was a gift from God, He had been patiently working things together so that we would end up together on that mission trip.  We also recognized how we could hold each other up, as we prayed together, laughed together and even cried together.  He taught us that Joy was possible even in the midst of the hard times, because He gave us support in the form of each other. 

One of the greatest gifts we received collectively, was the opportunity to come together, this “three legged stool” and God, in a weekly prayer time.  This time we dedicated to God together was like the glue in our lives.  We could be fully open & honest about our struggles and our weaknesses, our fears and our failures, yet miraculously not a single prayer time ended without joy and laughter as well.  God was truly IN it.  

So this time when I read the words I had read so many times before from 1 Thessalonians, seemingly simple words that I had never really understood.  I could finally see them with fresh eyes, thanks to the life lessons God had been teaching me in and through our Three Legged Stool. 

 

Journal Entry:  #34

Always be joyful.  Never stop praying.  Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.Thessalonians 5: 16-18 NLT

Heavenly Father,

Thank you for Your Word.  So often we look at Your Word as complicated, seemingly spoken in parables or riddles.  But other times Your Word is so clear yet so powerfully simple.  “Always be Joyful”, This is not depending on our circumstances, or it would say “be joyful when..” But Always means in ALL things; the good – the bad – and the ugly.

“Never stop praying” doesn’t mean when we feel like it, but constantly talking to you, a never-ending conversation, in All things and about All things.  And finally vs. 18 says, “be thankful in ALL circumstances”.  If we are to be thankful in ALL of our circumstances, it is because You are with us and working IN ALL of our circumstances…even when we can’t see it or feel it.

It’s so easy to be thankful & joyful when everything is going well, but it is so much more powerful to choose to be joyful, thankful and prayerful when we can’t see clearly and don’t have clarity in our life. When the road ahead appears particularly dark and frightening. For this is exactly where You choose to meet us, where You take our hand and lead us onward… Praise You Lord!

Lord Jesus, thank you for being my strength when mine is not sufficient.  Thank you for letting me see glimpses of You in the midst of the darkness.  Thank you for drawing to me when I pray and seek Your face in the midst of the unknown.

Father, today I feel especially thankful for our “Three legged stool”.  Thank you for bringing the two incredible women into my life, each of us being a leg of that stool that creates such stability in each of our lives.  Thank you that You have gifted us each uniquely, yet given us hearts so much the same.  Thank you Father… my heart is full.

In Jesus name ❤️ Amen.

My Final Thoughts & Encouragement:

Maybe you are in that place I was, praying earnestly for godly friends in your life. Maybe you’ve experienced this kind of treasured friendship that honours God and which He in turn, turns back as a gift.  Or, maybe you have had that type of trusted friendship only to see it dwindle and fall away, or worse broken and damaged.  

No matter where you are on this particular part of the journey, I want to encourage you to follow the words captured within these verses.  Make the choice to trust Gods plan and choose to be joyful and thankful.  Spend time with the Father in prayer, often and throughout the day.  Ask Him to show you things you can be thankful for (especially if you are going through a particularly dark time) there are still things I can praise God for.  Sometimes I just need a little help adjusting my sight.  

Ultimately I urge you dear friends to build relationships, yes they take effort, and yes it can leave you open to get hurt, but they are so very worth it.  I Love the verse from Matthew 18:20 “When two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”   What a powerful promise, when we gather together, God joins us… thank you Lord!

I also want to encourage you to remember that there are seasons in life, and just like the seasons in our world, change happens.  As I write this our Three legged stool has changed.  For one of my precious sisters, God had new plans and new directions for her.  Yes, at first the two of us left behind grieved the loss, but in time came to see All the gifts we had received because of it, and that we still very much had our Three legged stool, just this time God was to become the third leg.  

We came to realize that change is not always bad, the enemy would have had us hurt or angry, had he had his way, but thanks to the loving kindness we each experienced during our special prayer times, we learned to trust God in ALL our circumstances…even when they didn’t feel good, and we continue to Love our Sister deeply and support the path she is on as she serves the Lord

I couldn’t have made it through these last couple of years without these dear Sisters in Christ, God used them to be my strength when mine was gone.  He taught us how to really love others in honesty and truth. He taught us the power of praying together.  And He taught us that He will always be IN it with us. And this my friends is His promise to you as well…

Blessings, Janet❤️ Journey4Jesus

Do you know Jesus ? He’s waiting for you… ( click the link to learn more) 

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{ If this benefited you in any way, I’d love to hear from you and I would be thrilled if you would share or invite more people to be encouraged. }

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