Posts Tagged With: Christ

I am ___________.

God replied to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM…. ~ Exodus 3:14

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 292

Miles walked: 777

Miles remaining: 223

Days remaining: 74

I am __________. That’s a good fill-in-the-blank question, right? There is such an emphasis on labeling in our lives. Everyone labels every thing. We label ourselves, our friends, family, enemies, strangers, etc. We label the things we have no business labeling – people.

In a word, what am I? I could give you about 50 words maybe, but in one word… I am-.-.-.-.-.-determined. I guess that would be best since it can cover everything. I know, it’s kind of a cheater word. If I would choose to be “nice, funny, friendly, caring, awesome, happy, giving, compassionate, faithful, sometimes lazy, trustworthy, punctual, sincere, yada yada…” then I would be limiting myself. Since I am determined, then I am determined to be all of those things to the best of my ability. I won’t let one word label me, because I am so much more than that.

When I was a kid, I remember my dad encouraging me to be honest and strong. He showed me how to be those things. They are definitely at the top of my list if someone would ask me to describe him. My mom encouraged me often to be nice and polite to others. Those labels start to describe her as well. I think that I encourage my daughter a LOT. I hope I’m encouraging her in the same things that my parents encouraged me but I feel like I’m encouraging her to be so much more. She is truly amazing and I see so many opportunities for her, so I don’t want to limit what she can do or where she can go by giving her a label.

We’ve talked about Taelor’s friends before and you know I’ll talk about them again, 😉  because we have teenagers come in and out of our house and they have no self-confidence. They don’t think they can do simple things, so they sure don’t think they can change the world or any of the things that I encourage Taelor to shoot for. They’ve been labeled. I’ve heard some of the labels that their parents and friends have given them. My blood is boiling just thinking about it… Dumb, stupid, lazy, fat, ugly, worthless, a mistake, a waste of space.

Yeah. It almost leaves me speechless… almost.

Once you’ve been labeled, you carry it with you. You might carry it for days, years, or maybe forever. You either keep believing it or you have to outgrow the label. You have to prove that you’re not that thing that you have been believing for so long. So, years after being a label, you might be an adult that is still trying to overcome it. I have one that I’m trying to overcome. It’s not even a bad one but it’s one that I can hide behind and blame things on. I am shy. I am. I have been my entire life. I dread talking to new people. I really dread going to big public things. I don’t enjoy it at all. I can keep limiting myself and hiding behind the label or I can kick it.

I don’t want to be shy anymore.

I don’t want to use that excuse anymore. I don’t want that word to define me. I’m lucky that one of my worst labels is “shy” and not something more. But I’ve used it long enough and it’s time to break the label. I’m turning a new chapter in my life and there isn’t room for shy. I don’t want to be an adult that’s hiding behind something that I’ve been labeled since I was a kid. I really was shy. Very, very shy. But, I don’t have to be. I’m going to start with baby steps but I want to kick the label.

What’s your label? Fill in the blank… I am _________. Are you carrying around a label that you’ve been given or have lived with all of your life? Are you ready to kick it? Have you labeled someone else? Do you need to take back some labels that you’ve given to someone else so they can move on to something more?

Seeing kids that are growing up with so many labels, I want to be very careful with what I might unintentionally label my daughter. I don’t like to talk when I’m upset because I don’t want to say something that I don’t mean. Of course, I am human and I have said some things when we have had our mother/daughter disagreements. Things that should never have been said. I hope that I’ve remembered to apologize for all of those things because I would hate to be the reason that my daughter thinks she can’t do something, or can’t be something.

Taelor is absolutely 100% amazing.. she shows me this more and more every day! I am so privileged to be her mom and to get to see what she is capable of and where she’s going. I can’t think of anything that she couldn’t do. Some things may be better life choices than others but she has the potential to change the world – one person at a time. A couple years ago, she told me that she was going to do just that.

If I had to give her any labels, I would make her determined too. That’s what I would want her to be, so she can be determined to be the best that she can be at everything!

The verse up top, Exodus 3:14 – Wikipedia says that it literally translates as “I Will Be What I Will Be”.

I like that. I will be what I will be.

I think I might pick a new label.. I will be a limitless possibility! What will you encourage others to be… what will you be?

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Top of the World!

I’m on the top of the world lookin’ down on creation

And the only explanation I can find

Is the love that I’ve found ever since you’ve been around

Your love’s put me at the top of the world.

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 271

Miles walked: 710

Miles remaining: 290

Days remaining: 95

It feels good at the top. When everything seems to be going well. Things are good, easy, and enjoyable.. Life is moving by at a fast pace and there’s not much that you can even think to complain about. Not that I need something to complain about but are things going too good?

That’s how things have been feeling for a while. For probably the last month or so, things are good. I’m walking, working, living, and it’s just flashing by so fast that there’s not much time to think about anything. But there is something. I just don’t know what it is. I started noticing it in my LifeGroup when we would take prayer requests or talk about what’s going on in our lives over the last week. I didn’t have anything. Things are just “good”.

Don’t get the wrong idea.. I’m not that “doom and gloom” person who is always looking for the other shoe to drop. I don’t expect something bad to happen because things aren’t suppose to be this good. I’m a glass half full, everything will turn out good in the end kind of person. Things just seem a little off lately.

This week, it’s been hard to stay focused on my walk. No.. the focus has been getting hard for 2-3 weeks but this week it was down right impossible to focus. The walk. Jesus. Relationship. Communication. I can’t even tell you what most of my focus has been on. I even came up with a new “focusing tool”. When I feel distracted (which has been almost the entire hour that I’m walking) I think to myself, “every breath, every step, all day, every day”. That has been my request to Jesus to try to stay focused on Him and to continually seek Him.

Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. ~ Matthew 6:33 NLT

I got a text yesterday. It was an invitation to an impromptu girls night out to a neighborhood concert and fireworks show. I immediately accepted. This is actually unusual for me. I don’t accept on the spot without details and it’s even more unusual for me to accept from an unknown number that texted me. (Cell phone issues and lost numbers and all that.) So, after accepting this invitation and asking who was texting me, I find out that it’s girls night out with Kristen and Tasha.. my 1000 mile sistas!

There is nothing that I needed more than a night with my girls – My Godly Gal Pals, My Cupcake Companions, My 1000 mile girls.

We met and went for dinner. That alone is a blog post in itself, but it was awesome and so nourishing for the heart and soul. We talked about stuff and we talked about nothing and we talked about oxen.. There is no better time, than time spent with the other two legs of our tripod. The strength I get from our relationship is like that of the cord of three strands. The completeness that we each bring to the other.. is like the magic in Vicki’s Tres Leches Cake at The Purple Burro. You just have to experience it to know what I’m talking about.

After dinner, the trek to the neighborhood concert was another blog post in itself but once we got there and settled in, it was pure enjoyment. The music was fantastic. The atmosphere of the neighborhood was envious. So, why was I still feeling somewhat distracted? I was having a great time, with my favorite people, and spending my night “flying by the seat of my pants”, right?

Then it hit me.. like one of the BOOMS from the fireworks show. Everyone always says, “The devil gets you when you’re down”. That’s when we’re usually most vulnerable. Well, I don’t have too many downs so could he be trying to distract me while I’m up? In actuality, wouldn’t that be the better time for him to “distract” us? Things are good, so who would notice Satan creeping in to do what he does best. Distract us from what’s important – The walk. Jesus. Relationship. Communication. If he can’t bring us down – then his next best trick would be to blur our focus.

Yes, my focus has been blurred. My concentration has been attacked. I have been struggling to keep my mind where I want it on my walks. I’ve been struggling with focused thoughts to blog about. I’ve even been struggling to read my devotions every day. But “things” are still going good. There has been nothing that would make me think that I’m being attacked.. nothing except my inability to focus on what is most important. My relationship with God.

You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.” ~ Genesis 4:7 NLT

Did it take a completely unfocused night of fun with my girls to bring me back in focus? Yes :).  I may have figured it out sooner or later but most likely later.. I probably would have started getting into a funk of a mood and wouldn’t know what was causing it or how to fix it until it just ran its course. That’s what usually happens. Looking back, that’s exactly what happens from time to time.

So, I will sing with my girls at 10:46pm to the “Top of the World”, while we’re looking to run into a McDonald’s for a $.27 cup of ice water. I will creep through parking lots with them to satisfy our curiosity, and I will most definitely cherish my unplanned escapades of seat of my pants flying silliness. Sometimes that’s what it takes to refocus on what matters most.

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Faith + Obedience =

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 257

Miles walked: 660

Miles remaining: 340

Days remaining: 109

For me, I’d have to say that Faith + Obedience = Blessings. Some days that’s all that gets me through my walk.. faith and obedience. Today was one of those days. My body hurts all over and it was a chore just to put one foot in front of the other. Jesus was right beside me, every step of the extra long 4.45 miles today. Even when it hurts, it’s all worth it in the end.

Faith.

I don’t even need to say more, do I? I have faith. TONS of faith.. For some reason, Faith has always been an easy one for me. No matter what the situation, I know that it’s going to turn out the way it is meant to turn out. So whether it’s good, bad, hard, easy, or whatever, I know that if I remain obedient to God, then it’s all going to work out. We know how the story ends, right? God wins. The End. I suppose that’s what makes it easy for me to have faith.

Obedience…

Well, that’s another story.. I’ve been praying for some help in being more obedient to God. It seems that obedience has always been a problem for me. When I was a kid, I remember being in Sunday school and hearing, “children, obey your parents”. Obey? It meant that someone was supreme over me. I was to be submissive. I suppose that I still have issues with this one. I’ll be 100% honest here… When I got married, I decided that we would do some nontraditional vows and make them a little more “up to date”. It was all because of that one word. Obey.

“If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. You will experience all these blessings if you obey the LORD your God: Your towns and your fields will be blessed. Your children and your crops will be blessed. The offspring of your herds and flocks will be blessed. Your fruit baskets and breadboards will be blessed. Wherever you go and whatever you do, you will be blessed. ~ Deuteronomy 28:1-6

That sounds like a good enough reason to be obedient, but being obedient has obviously given everyone some grief since the beginning of time. Eve? Yep, she was the first to disobey. I hate to say it but it always makes me feel a little bit better about my inequities when I remember that they date back to creation. Just knowing that I’m not the only one to struggle with obedience to God, helps put it in perspective for me. I’m not saying that it’s ok because of that, but at least I know I’m not alone in the boat.

One of the things that God’s been working on in me is getting to know my neighbors. I know, I’m weird. I’ve blogged about it before and here we are again, but I feel that God has been pushing me to get out of my comfort zone and meet them, get to know them, and help them if they need it. 

Saturday, I was walking around my neighborhood and I came upon a couple that I’ve seen walking together before. They’re older than my parents and they are adorable. They walk, holding hands, nice and slow around a couple of the same blocks that I walk. As I was coming up on them at a much faster pace than they were walking, I tried to decide if I should cross the street so I don’t startle them (or appear to be a creeper). That isn’t very practical in the area where I was going to pass and I knew they already saw me coming so I didn’t want to appear entirely unsociable.. so I just swing out a couple more feet to pass them and shuffled my feet a little more than usual so they hear me. (I’m such a dork sometimes) As I was passing, the husband heard my shuffling and nods at me. I say, “good morning”, they respond and we visit for about 1/2 block as they were almost back to their house. I wish them a good day and continue on my walk. 

I keep making my loops and wind up on their street again after another mile or so. I wave as I go by and loop the next street but it keeps coming back to me that I didn’t tell them my name or ask theirs. So, on the next loop, I go on up in their driveway where the wife is sitting in the shade and enjoying the early morning air. I introduced myself and she of course invites me to sit and offers me a drink. We talked and got to know each other over the next 1/2 hour. We visited about our neighbors, kids, family, yards, flowers, storm cellars, health problems, and who knows what else, and it felt like we were old friends. 

But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely. ~ Galatians 5:22-23 MSG

I’m so glad that I followed the prodding in my mind to “go meet your neighbors”. You may think it’s a crazy way to be obedient to God but I’m a pretty private person. I used to be so shy that I didn’t even talk to people who I’m related to, so for me to go talk to some complete strangers that live a street over from me, that is way out of my comfort zone. I feel like I’m one step closer to my Mayberry.

Oh, and wouldn’t you know that my neighbor, my new friend… her name is Faith.

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I did it again..

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 250

Miles walked: 635

Miles remaining: 365

Days remaining: 116

I hate how when you say you’re not going to do something and that completely sets you up to do the thing that you’re “not going to do”. Yeah… so, of course I did it.

I made something “a thing”.

Something has been going on in my life that is taking up a lot of my time and energy. It has the potential to have me self-employed in less than a year, which is very exciting to me. There is a lot of talk, learning, thinking, planning, and living going into this “thing”. The thing is, I said that I wasn’t going to make it “a thing” that became part of some other things that I do. Crazy, huh?

I didn’t want it to invade some personal parts of my life. This walk with Jesus that has been a huge part of my life for the last 8 months was supposed to be off limits to this new thing. I didn’t want to make my walk less of a priority and let the new thing get out of hand. So, I’ve been doing a lot of praying that I keep it in check and for some serious guidance. It’s safe to say that my walk is AWESOME! It’s even come back around to where I want it to be. I feel God walking this walk with me and encouraging me to keep going and finish this walk so we can see what comes next. Of course He knows, but He hasn’t shared it with me yet!

The other thing that I didn’t want to affect is my Lifegroup. I didn’t want the new thing to become a topic or  to take away from the specialness of our group. Putting these words on paper actually make me feel a bit silly that I was so worried about “making a thing out of this thing”.

Now that I’m seeing and re-reading my words, I’m relieved. Those were the only two areas that I was somewhat panicked that my new endeavor would or could change. I have no idea how. I don’t even know what I was thinking but that’s been my worry for the last couple of weeks. This is a look back and laugh moment and also a thank the Lord moment.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:21

So… I treasure my walk with Jesus and the fellowship of my Lifegroup more than “this thing” that is happening in my life. That’s reassuring. It puts my mind at ease because I’ve been worrying about this getting bigger and taking over some of the most precious areas of my life.

And this worrying thing, which is something that I have almost completely given up over the last several months, has been all for nothing of course. Worry won’t help a thing. I know this.

We said in the beginning that we would be blogging about whatever we are going through at this point in our life. Well, this is it. Fretting and worrying about a possible business venture taking over and manipulating it’s way into the special places of my heart and life. Sometimes I think I should be medicated for being such a nut! (kidding)

Anywho, sorry to withhold the details of this new venture. You’ll be filled in when it becomes more concrete.. because, like I just said. I’ll be blogging about what’s going on in my life. I will say that I feel God’s hand in it. I feel His presence in the calming of my silly worries and guiding me to take the steps that I normally wouldn’t even consider taking on my own. It’s out of my comfort zone. WAY out.

So, that feeling of me standing out on the ledge, blindfold on, getting ready to take the step that might change the rest of my life… God’s with me on this. He’s in it… Body & Soul!

 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33

I think I’ll just let Him handle it…

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Blessed Beyond…

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 243

Miles walked: 613

Miles remaining: 387

Days remaining: 123

Do you ever just want to “high-five” everyone that you see? Maybe they look like life is giving them a beating right now and they could use that little smack of what you’ve got.. or maybe they’re just glowing with an energy that looks contagious and you wanna get some of that! That’s me lately.. mostly the, “I want to share what I’ve got” part.  If you live in Westbury North and see the lady walking every morning at 6-7ish.. the one that waves at you every day when you’re leaving for work – Yeah, that’s me. And that wave is your high-five!

Things are good.

Things are good and I’m giving thanks and praise for all of it to God. Am I doing something different than I’ve been doing for things to be going the way they are? I’m giving more and more to God, and I’m listening more and more to God. I’m trying to put myself where He wants me and follow where He wants me to go… and let me tell ya, it’s pretty awesome. He has the most amazing ideas… just sayin’

When we first started this walk and decided that we would be blogging our journey, I was extremely anxious to say the least. The walking part – over the top excited, yet completely clueless as to what would unfold along the miles. The blogging part – well… blogging isn’t exactly “my thing”, so it made me a little nervous. It’s not nearly as bad as my mind was trying to make it but sometimes I just feel like a big blank new post page with nothing. I look around, thinking about what’s going on in my life this week and sometimes there’s nothing jumping out at me.. nothing except for countless blessings.

I’m so blessed with the friends and family that surround me and support me. I don’t know how I got so lucky… but I do try to surround them and support them right back. I love being with them and just having them in my life. They are the kind of people that every time I think of them, I smile. I thank God for bringing me to them, them to me, and giving me exactly who I need in my life.

I’m Blessed to have won the “friend lottery”.

I have one of those special friends that has been in my life since my first day of 1st grade. Ramona. We don’t live close enough to get to spend much time together but any time we see each other or even don’t see each other, I know that she’s there if I need her (and I’m pretty sure she feels the same). 30 minutes together and we can be caught up on kids, friends, family, life and all the missed years. We were fortunate to get to take a family vacation together over Christmas last year and it was a week that I’ll never forget.

I’m Blessed beyond years for having a life-long friend that means the world to me.

Last month, Ramona texted me to let me know that her momma passed away. Momma Locke was very sick for a very long time. She was in pain and has suffered more than most people ever will. I was able to visit with her several months ago after she had been in the hospital and the doctors had once again said that she wouldn’t last much longer, but she just kept proving them wrong. She was such a strong and very stubborn little lady and she knew that she was ready to go when it was God’s time. During our visit, she kept telling me (us) to live. Live now while we can. Don’t wait. Don’t say you’ll do things. Do them now. Live.

I’m Blessed beyond this life that I’m living and even excited for the eternal life that Jesus gave me.

When I got the message from my friend, we were on our way to Bricktown for the Walk a Mile in My Shoes event to support foster kids awareness. This event was something that Taelor wanted to do as soon as she heard about it. I’ve mentioned my passion of being the best parent that I can be to my daughter. I tell Taelor quite often that she is my most important job. So, when we helped with a foster kids project before Christmas, it gave her an awareness that not only did some of these 8000+ kids in Oklahoma not have toys or essential winter clothes, but they didn’t have a parent that thinks they are their most important job. It helped her to see that even if her momma doesn’t buy her the $100 jeans that “everyone” at school is wearing or her cell phone doesn’t measure up to the newest and best out there, she is very lucky to have a momma. One that loves her so much to stay “all up in her business” even when she doesn’t want me to be there!

I’m Blessed beyond measure because I have so much more than I deserve when others have so little.

If you’ve followed our blog for any time at all, you know that I mention parenting a lot. Taelor is always on my mind and always in my prayers. She’s the first and last person I see every day. She’s my ChickieBoo, my dotter (daughter), my friend, my delight, my button pusher, my inspiration, and my legacy. I could go on about her for days and sometimes do, because there aren’t enough words to express my love for her. I’m sure it’s just a parent thing. Seeing her grow into one of the most amazing people that I’ve ever known is such a blessing. This weekend we were baptized together and I can’t even put into words what that means to me…

I’m Blessed beyond words… I can’t believe what God is doing in her life and that I get to witness it every day.

There was a time when I didn’t have many people in my life and that wasn’t so long ago. Then, I put myself out there. That’s all I did. Put myself out there and things started happening. I always say, “it would be pretty great to win the lottery… but I guess I should start buying a ticket if I ever expect to win”. It’s the same with everything you want in life. Put yourself out there, buy “the ticket” to what you want and where you want to be. Follow God’s lead and you will find yourself being blessed. So blessed that you lose count when you try to name them all.

So, I’m going to keep living. I’m going to Live Now and put myself out there a little more every day. I’m going to dream about the best tomorrow that I can imagine and I’m going to go for it. Yesterday may have been good, or maybe it wasn’t so good but it’s over. It’s time to be blessed beyond my yesterday and be so thankful for my today. Oh, and if you’re not liking your today so much… then change it! You do have the power to do that and with God in your corner, you’re one step closer to the today you want. 

*High-five*

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The Rest of the Story

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 231

Miles Walked: 583

Miles Remaining: 417

Days Remaining: 133

When I was a kid, my dad used to listen to the Paul Harvey radio show. I wasn’t especially fond of it and my favorite part was when he said, “And that’s the rest of the story.. I’m Paul Harvey. Good Day.” It was my favorite part because that meant it was over. Paul Harvey just wasn’t my thing.

I was reminded of those words a couple weeks ago when a patient came into our office and I was told that he wanted to talk to me. I’ll admit that I was a little irritated because I’m not the medical person in our office so I wasn’t sure why he needed to tell me what was going on instead of our medical assistant. All that aside, I went up and asked what I could do for him. He said he wanted to tell me his story. He’s been sick for awhile and has a long history of multiple medical problems, all of which were part of his story. At one point he paused and I assumed he was finished, so I started to speak and he interrupted me (politely) to tell me that he wanted to tell me the rest of the story.

I won’t lie – it was a very long story. After his polite interruption, I felt my irritation subsiding and my compassion take it’s place. He just wanted to be heard, and he knew that I needed to hear his story to make the best recommendations for him.

I thought of him over the weekend, partly because I gave him my cell # in case he needed anything – and let me tell you that he was not afraid to use it, and partly because I realized that we almost never tell “the rest of the story”. Everything is always abbreviated to save time or we just don’t want to get into the the full story. We even do it when we talk to God.. like He doesn’t already know the full story. But we try and keep out some parts to justify why we do what we do. Sometimes we just need to take the time to get and tell the whole story.

Recently, I asked a friend for her opinion of an idea that had been swimming around my mind. She responded with a, “Why do you feel you need to do that?”. Wait a minute… I just wanted a yes or no. I didn’t want to have to explain myself. I didn’t want to tell the rest of the story! I had reasons.. but it ultimately came down to just being something that I wanted to do. I had been thinking about it and I had prayed about it.. but I didn’t bother waiting around for that prayer to proclaim itself answered. I just wanted to do it.

Once she called me out, I realized that I do this a lot. I come up with ideas that might even be really good ideas but when you get to the “why, what’s the rest of the story?” part of it, did I really submit it to God and wait? Are the reasons for doing it good enough or does it just come down to “because I want to”.

The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence. ~ Proverbs 14:13

I find that when I’m convicted like this, I go back through my mind and pick out the things that might have turned out different if I had waited for God to answer. I’m not saying that I replay things that I regret or beat myself up for the way I did things. It’s sort of my live and learn process. Then I am more empowered to make a better decision next time. I thought of several things that I had done “because I wanted to”. There was way more to the story than the reasons I thought I had at the time, and we’re talking about some life changing things. Of course, since God wrote my story, I know that I’m right where I’m supposed to be in my life, but the choices I made to get here weren’t always for the best reasons. More often that not, I should have looked at the rest of the story before making my decision.

My walks have taken on a new conversation since I’m making an effort to give the full story to God. I’m not just giving him my high points and my favorite reasons for things that I’m discussing with Him.. but I’m trying to lay it all out. I mean, He knows the whole story anyway so I might as well come clean with myself and put it all out there. The good and the bad and even the selfish if that’s what it comes down to. He knows my heart but sometimes I wonder if I do. Laying it all out is letting me see which way my heart likes to lean and it’s not always leaning the way it should.

I’m happy to say that since I got called out on my intentions, I have gotten better at identifying when I’m trying to just do something because I want to do it. It’s helping me to make better decisions and especially take my time when asking for guidance on things that are bigger than me. That’s not to say that I haven’t done some things just because I want to. But wouldn’t you know that when I do those things, the outcome usually isn’t what I had hoped for. Go figure…

 “Submit to God, and you will have peace; then things will go well for you. Listen to his instructions,
and store them in your heart~ Job 22:21-22

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Under Attack!

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 222

Miles walked: 565

Miles remaining: 435

Days remaining: 144

I’ve come to accept that some days, no matter how hard you try or what you do, you are going to be under attack. Whether it’s your job, kids, spouse, ex-spouse, traffic, pets, or even the guy at Taco Bell that no matter how many times you tell him that you want extra sauce – he still doesn’t give you any! There are going to be things attacking your body, mind, spirit, and tacos every day.

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. ~ 1 Peter 5:8

My latest attack involves my walk… shocker! I’ve had numerous attacks on this walk since starting it and they have come in every form. Body, mind, and spirit. The physical attacks seem to have slowed down because I have repeatedly committed myself to this walk and nothing short of losing a leg is going to stop me from walking it. My spirit has taken a hit or two along the miles but the spirit living in me is more than strong enough to handle those battles for me, as long as I remember to let go and let God do His thing. You’re going to love the latest attack.. I guess I would classify it as an attack on my mind, maybe.

Here goes.. I’ve mentioned the route that I walk. It’s the same 4 streets every morning, looping around a few times adding up to almost 3 1/2 miles. I leave at 6am so it’s still a little dark out when I start my walk. My neighborhood has pretty good lighting, but if there are rocks or sticks or other objects along the side of the road, I may not notice it until I’m right on top of it. The newest objects in my path is dog poo. Yes, dog poo. I don’t do dog poo.

<Stop laughing at me!>

Seriously. Last week I noticed something in my path but it was too dark to identify, so I stepped over/around it. Later, on another loop when it was lighter outside, I could tell that it was poo. The next day, more poo on a different street. The next… more. Now there is poo on every street and some have it in more than one place! How ridiculous is this?! Dog poo is one of the few things that turns my stomach and would send me on my way home, cutting my walk short, and probably throwing my favorite walking shoes away because I wouldn’t be able to clean it off of them. That’s one nasty attack! I feel my nose wrinkling up just thinking about it, YUCK!

Did you really think I was going to spend +/- 1000 words talking about dog poo? c’mon… I do consider it an attack but I can’t talk about it for that long. Since you’re walking this walk with me, I felt that I had to share but I have more attacks to tackle, so let’s get past the poo.

Recently, my daughter posted something on Facebook that was politically rude. It was a jab at our country’s leader and while I won’t go into whether I agree or disagree with it, it could be taken as a rude statement. Shortly after she posted it, a friend of ours commented on it by saying, “That’s not a very Christian thing to say”.

Wait.. Do you smell that? That’s the “Did you just attack my daughter’s Christian values for saying something rude?” fire that started burning in this momma’s brain. Ok, she’s 15 – so sue her for being rude, because I promise it won’t be the last time. She’s also human.. yes, call me crazy, but Christians are actually human. I know it may be hard to believe because many people who title themselves as “non-Christians”, have apparently put “Christians” up on this invisible pedestal and are shocked when we do or say something that doesn’t reflect the actions of our Savior. It’s called sinning. As shameful as it is, we all do it.. even Christians.

I’m sorry.. I’ll try and turn my sarcasm down a bit. I apologize, but I get a little riled up when I feel my teenage daughter’s values being attacked… by a friend, and I also hate that invisible pedestal.

I know the bible tells us that we will be persecuted for being Christians. I just didn’t know that a grown man would call out my teenage daughter because she has a different political preference than his. I understand that he’s not a Christian and I don’t push my beliefs on him. I honestly don’t even know what his beliefs are as a Buddhist, but I think they are supposed to be nice! I also know that I need to encourage my daughter more than ever to continue following Christ and never let what another person says affect her relationship with Him.

Ephesians 6:10-17 says,

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you   can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood,  but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that  comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.”

If you’re anything like me, you may not be able to get enough of the word of God. Over the last couple of years, I just can’t get my fill. Coincidentally, over the last couple of years I have also had more people challenge my faith and beliefs than I have over my entire life. Coincidence?

Yeah, I don’t believe in coincidences either. I can’t get enough of it because it’s my weapon against these attacks. God has armed us with everything we need to conquer. We just have to dive in, put it on, and pour it out. He’s got our back and there’s no one else that I’d rather have in my corner.

Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good. ~ Romans 12:21

 

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Momma always said…

Pam’s Journey – Day 215

Miles walked: 546

Miles remaining: 454

Days remaining: 151

I introduced you to my dad a while back.. well, in honor of Mother’s Day, this blog is about my mom – Anna, and some of her words of wisdom that have shaped my life.

To all of you moms out there, wouldn’t you have loved to know how hard it is to be a mom when you were a teenager? Think back to when you were giving your mom fits and treating her like most teenagers do. I would have.. I might have been a little easier to deal with, had I known then what I know now.

Momma always said, “Pretty is, is pretty does…”  (I got this a lot when I was acting up!)

Moms get the rough end of the stick.. They get the job of domestic and child rearing goddess and many still have to hold full-time jobs, and in their spare time they get to be chauffeur, chef, teacher, friend, enemy, knower-of-everything, fixer-of-problems, kisser-of-owwies, I could go on and on…. Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a LOT of super Dad’s out there that are awesome and some of them get these titles too but there’s something different about Moms.. (Dads, don’t be sending me your hate mail!  I just get to tell the story of Mom since that’s what I am.) Dads are generally easier than moms. Dads let the kids do more, go more, and have more freedom without worrying like moms do.

Momma always said, “You don’t need to do everything your friends do.. If they jumped off a bridge, would you do that too?” (she never liked my answer to that!)

My mom is the best mom I could have ever asked for. I assure you that I didn’t tell her this when I was growing up. I know it wasn’t a picnic raising me.. not that I was in lots of trouble, constantly  rebelling, or doing everything that I shouldn’t have been doing. I don’t think I was anywhere near that bad, but I was very very stubborn. I’ve outgrown that trait by now.. Ok ok, I haven’t outgrown it, but I can be stubborn now since I’m the one that has to live with me!

Momma always said, “Your stubborness is going to get you in trouble someday!” (at least she never said “I told you so” when it did get me in trouble!)

Knowing now how hard it is to feel like I’m being a good parent when my daughter does things that she shouldn’t be doing, I imagine this is how my mom felt when I chose to do things that I shouldn’t have done. It hurts. It hurts a lot to see your child do things that you know they will regret one day. Every parent has been there.. and every child that grows up to be a parent will be in the same position some day. We are all rebellious at one time or another. 

I recently finished reading a YouVersion devotion plan called Parenting by Design and it has helped me understand that parents are not responsible for everything that their children do. We can only raise them the best that we know how, teaching them what’s right and what’s wrong. God gave us all free will to make our own decisions and choices. When they get to the teenage years, they start exercising those choices more and more. As a parent, all I can do is try to instill good values and have faith that God will guide her and take care of her.

Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it. ~ Proverbs 22:6

The best thing about being a mom is now that I’m the one doing the raising and the teaching, I hear things come out of my mouth or I do things in such a way that is EXACTLY how my mom did them when I was growing up. It’s official… I’ve turned into my mom (and my dad too). All of those things she would say when warning me of my behavior and trying to encourage me to do the best that I could do, well now they come flying out of my mouth and I sound just like her. I must say that I kinda like it!

Momma always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything at all.” (So that’s who developed my silent treatment!)

No matter how hard I was on my mom, she was always there. She took care of me, helped me when I needed it, and taught me more than she will ever know. She taught me how to be a mom. I wouldn’t say that I parent anything like my mom did, but I take care of my daughter, I help her when she needs it (and sometimes when she doesn’t), and I know that I’m teaching her more than I will ever know. I consider being a mom my most important job so I’m thankful to have had such an amazing role model!

“But watch out! Be careful never to forget what you yourself have seen. Do not let these memories escape from your mind as long as you live! And be sure to pass them on to your children and grandchildren. ~ Deuteronomy 4:9 NLT

Thank you, Mom.. you did good!  

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What’s Next?

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 208

Miles walked: 523

Miles remaining: 477

Days remaining: 158

Every week at the end of the church service, after we’ve prayed the prayer to ask Christ into our life, they direct anyone who just accepted Christ to grab a “What’s Next” kit on their way out. The kit has a bible, dvd, and information on what to do next as a follower of Christ. I think this is awesome, because the church that I grew up in didn’t do anything like that. They did a “Let’s all welcome Brother ___ or Sister___ to the family of Christ” type of thing and that was sort of it. Soooo… what’s next? I just love that our church gives some guidance as to what comes next and how to keep growing their relationship with Jesus.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. ~ Colossians 2:6 NLT

Lately, I seem to be asking that question on my walk. “God, am I where you want me to be? ok… so, what’s next?” I’ve heard a resounding voice in my head that says, “You’re not there yet… just keep walking”.  That’s no joke. I’m nowhere near there yet but I just can’t help but wonder “what’s next?”. Other people have been asking me “what’s next?” too. They have either been following this walk or some are walking the walk with us and they want to know what happens after the year and the 1000 miles is up. I’ve been thinking about that a lot since time is flying by and it will be here before we know it.

This is a big question so of course I have a big answer 🙂

Since starting my walk with Jesus, whether spiritually or physically (or both), I know that I can’t exactly stop and expect to continue the same level of relationship as when I walk with Him daily. Wait, back up… I’m not saying that I want to stop. Let’s make sure that’s not what I’m implying. I’m just saying that now that I’ve started this walk with Him, there is no stopping. I can’t imagine my day without that deliberate time to spend with Him. Who would I give my troubles to? How would I get through the rest of the teenage years with my daughter without His guidance? Who would comfort my heart when it’s hurting? Who else would listen to my incessant rambling without interrupting and just let me get it all out and still be there waiting for me every day to do it all over again?

Picture this.. you’re sitting (or walking) with Jesus and you decide that maybe you’re not going to give Him that time anymore. How do you tell Him that? Can you imagine the look on His face? Can you even look at Him when you say the words?

Ouch…

The thing is, we all stop walking with Him from time to time. You know when you’re having one of those horrible days, nothing seems to go right, everyone is out to get you and you can’t breathe from all the pressure coming at you from every direction… did you forget to walk with Jesus that day? Did you give Him those troubles that were weighing you down? Or were you trying to do it all on your own like we so often do.

I read this on a friends Facebook last week and it grabbed me in that moment.

Sometimes I feel like God is so close that I can reach out and touch him. Other times he is so far away that I can barely feel his love. The truth is that God is always the same distance from me. I am the one who puts the distance between us.

Most days, when I’m out the door and heading down my driveway, I smile as I say “good morning” to a dear friend. That’s how my walk starts. Every single day that I’ve walked with Him… He has walked with me. He’s there every time. I feel Him there every time I look for Him and He has never let me down. I imagine the joy on His face, knowing that I’m making the choice to walk with Him again today.. and tomorrow.

So, what’s next? For me, I keep walking this walk. We’re just over the half-way mark of our year but once the year is up… I keep walking. When temptation interrupts my walk – like it undoubtedly will do from time to time – I get back out there and start walking again because I know my dear friend will be waiting for me. He is there waiting to comfort me, to cheer me on, and of course to listen to my incessant rambling without interrupting and just letting me get it all out, and still be there waiting for me every day to do it all over again. He’s pretty awesome like that!

As they were walking along, someone said to Jesus, “I will follow you wherever you go.” ~ Luke 9:57

What’s next for you? Do you need to start your walk or renew that relationship? I promise He will be there waiting.

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