Posts Tagged With: Religion and Spirituality

lessons learned..

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 355

Miles walked: 999

Miles remaining: 1

Days remaining: 11

Would you believe that I’ve still been wondering if I’m going to finish my 1000? I’ve tried to keep on track and caught up when I got behind but until it’s done, it’s just not done. The last few days have even caught me being cautious that I don’t twist something or pull something that I haven’t already pulled because you just never know. Someone even said, “you’re as good as done”… No, no, no.. Not until I hit 1000 miles will this commitment be met.

Sometimes we do that though. We think we’re done and so we kinda quit. We quit trying. We think we’re “good” so we quit putting in the effort. That’s one of the lessons that I’ve learned on this journey. You’re never done, so don’t quit. Don’t give up on anything that God has directed you to just because it wasn’t as easy as you thought it would be. Don’t decide that you don’t want to put in the work, so surely it’s not what God had in mind for you. Keep at it… at least until God changes your direction.

I’ve learned LOTS of things about me in the last 999 miles. I’m kind of a nut, but I think I already knew that before we started walking. I’m a “prove you wrong” kind of person. Say I won’t and you can bet that I will! I’ve said that I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of gal.. but I’m really not. I’m a planner. No matter how hard I try not to be, I am.

I’ve learned that neighbors are more than just people that live on your street. Some of my neighbors (my new friends) have watched me walk this walk. I have several that sit out in the mornings and wave as I go by every day. They were there at first when I was walking in the really really cold – we’re talking 2-3 pair of pants cold…  They have seen me  walking in the rain, walking in some crazy heat, walking in the dark, walking with friends, and always walking with Jesus. They wave, they cheer me on, they have even visited with me and offered me a drink. They are people that I would have never met if I didn’t start this walk.

I’ve learned that when I think I can’t go any further, I can. A little more strength is just a prayer away.

I’ve learned that no matter how much you think you can’t live with missing some TV show that claims to be “reality TV”… you can. You won’t even remember that show that you thought you had to watch, but you will remember the walk that brought you to your knees because God was working so delicately on healing your heart.

I’ve learned that another mile might mean another blister on my heel but it will also most likely mean peace about whatever is on my mind.

I’ve learned that no matter how late it is at night, and no matter how early that alarm is going to go off to get up and walk in the morning, it’s totally worth being a little tired to lay in bed and catch up on life with my daughter if that’s what she wants to do. There is nothing more priceless than her wanting to tell me what’s going on in her life. Those are the times that we share inside jokes that no one else would get but us and we think we’re hilarious when we’re really just two peas in a pod. Those are the memories that I will cherish and smile about when I think of her.

I’ve learned that Thursday is the smelliest day to walk… trash day.

I’ve learned that people will doubt until the very end. I suppose it’s in our nature, or maybe it’s come to be in our nature because so many things aren’t a sure thing. I grew up with a dad that taught me that a man’s word is something you can count on. If he said he would do something, it was as good as done. I like that quality and will always try to live up to it.

I’ve learned that I can literally spend hours thanking God. Hours. The people that He has brought into my life are amazing. The things that He brings me through and the strength that he gives me to handle life is such a blessing. The obstacles that He places when I’m not quite ready for what I have planned for me,  but then He removes when I am finally ready for what He has planned is nothing short of perfect.

I’ve learned that I’m not the person that I thought I was. I had a list of things that I let define me.. I’m a woman, I’m divorced, I’m a 40-year old single mom, a tired out of shape couch potato, an office working, over-weight, shy, homebody with a bad leg that won’t let me walk for long without hurting, so why put myself through that pain for nothing, I’m an unfinished project with no hope of getting done. I could go on, except I’m not those things anymore. I let myself be those things when it was a convenient cover to shield myself from anything outside of my comfort zone. I have held myself back more than any other person could and it’s taken more than a few miles with God to break that shell.

I’ve learned that without that shell of excuses holding me down, I am strong, independent of others but dependent on God, fearless of failure, determined to succeed, courageous to conquer any obstacle that stands in the way of where He leads me, and I am His.

I’ve learned that I’m not alone, ever.

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Night and Day

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 299!

Miles walked: 805

Miles remaining: 195

Days remaining: 67

Day 299!!! Am I the only one stressing at the “Day’s remaining”? Ok, sort of stressing. Sort of in shock that it’s almost only 2 months until our 1 year anniversary of starting this walk with Jesus. Sort of amazed at where we are from where we were when we started this journey. Sort of relieved that I might let my aching feet rest for a few weeks after finishing the initial commitment of this walk and before starting the next 1000. Sort of in awe that when you walk with Jesus, side by side every day, you can do anything. Sort of sad to know that the daily countdown will come to an end soon. But most of all, I’m sort of pumped to know that if I can do 1000 miles with Him and change as much as I have, then I have the rest of my life to keep seeking Him above all else and of course to keep walking with Him!

… Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes. Nehemiah 4:14

Confession.. I have a sister and I don’t know her. That’s right, I don’t know my sister.

She’s like a stranger. We grew up together, sort of. We were never close. She’s about 4 1/2 years older than I am and it was just enough of an age difference that we were never interested in the same things at the same time, so we never did any thing together to form that sisterly bond. The older we got, the further apart we grew.

It doesn’t help anything that we are complete opposites. Black and white, sweet and sour, night and day – I’ll let you try to figure out who was which ;).  She was an indoor person and I was always outside. She was more of a girly girl and I was a tom boy. She liked to cook and well, I didn’t. She was the older sister and I was the annoying little one. Some things haven’t changed.

I’ve spent several miles praying for her since we started this walk. Some of those miles were praying for me too. Praying that I might know what to do to bridge the gap if it’s God’s will. The gap isn’t just between my sister and myself, there is also a gap between my sister and my parents. I know this causes them pain and that’s why I’ve been praying about it. If there’s anything that I can do for them and our relationship as a family, then I need to do it.

We had a message at church this week that got all over me, again. It was about family.. and more specifically, fighting for your family. The thought never occurred to me about my sister. Fight for my sister? We were never even close enough growing up that I would have thought to fight for her. Plus, she’s the oldest so wouldn’t it be more appropriate that she fight for me? anyway….

I think I was a pretty mild child growing up. My sister, on the other hand, was a little harder to handle. She did a lot of rebelling and a lot of things that she shouldn’t have. My parents raised us both the same. They were strict, they were fair, and they loved us. We went to church every Sunday morning, Sunday night, Wednesday night, and probably a few times in between if there was something going on or if anything needed to be done at church. So, how is it that two siblings could be so different? Since I only have one child, I’m glad I don’t have to worry about that. That’s actually the reason that I only have one child.

I haven’t seen her in awhile. I honestly don’t even know how long. 5 years, maybe? She’s married. My parents and I wasn’t invited to the wedding. Her husband practices an alternative religion and now she does too. I call it that because it’s not Christian and I don’t know much about it. Being raised in a Christian home, it goes against everything that we were raised to believe.

So, I’m in a place that I’ve never been in. It always felt like we were on opposite sides of the fence or something. We never got along and we never enjoyed being sisters but I’ve seen other sisters and have sometimes wished that I had a relationship like that. I’ve seen sisters that hang out together, vacation together, even work together and they enjoy being around each other. I’ve thought that it might be nice to have a sister.. and then I realized that I do have a sister. We’re just a long way from that kind of relationship. I don’t even know if a relationship like that could be possible for us. And that takes me back to the praying about it on my walks. I figure if anyone can mend a relationship and a family, then it’s in God’s hands.

I did get a facebook message from her a few weeks ago.. It said, “how are you doing?”. I answered her, “i’m doing great! how are y’all doing?”.  I haven’t heard back.. but it’s the most that we’ve said to each other in years so we’re making progress!

Prayer is the best place to start in this fight for my family, no matter who it is. My estranged sister, my ex-husband, and always for my daughter who is growing up so fast.

I’ve got thousands of miles ahead of me and that adds up to a lot of prayers. Who knows, maybe we’ll have another 1 line facebook message conversation again soon. 🙂

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20 seconds

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 285

Miles walked: 761

Miles remaining: 239

Days remaining: 81

20 seconds. Courage. Bravery…  If you go to LifeChurch or watch online, you know what I’m talking about. 20 seconds of courage. 20 seconds of insane bravery to do something that could change your life forever. What would my 20 seconds be? 

To be honest, I’m not ready for my 20 seconds yet. 

Sorry, sue me.. I’m just not ready. I am working on it, but I’m not quite there. Yet. 

If you don’t go to LifeChurch or watch online, then you don’t have a clue what I’m rambling on about. But, the super cool thing is that you can probably still catch this weeks service online. Click it, see what time the next experience starts and don’t miss it! It will help this make much more sense if you watch it. 

So, the reason I’m not ready for my 20 seconds of courage is because I’m still doing the work

…“Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Don’t be afraid or discouraged, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you or forsake you… ~ 1 Chronicles 28:20

I’ve been working on some of those Chazown spokes that I talked about awhile back. Specifically, the health stuff. This walk has been a huge help in that area. I was in terrible shape. My main form of physical activity was mowing my yard and a lot of times, it kicked my butt. I know what you’re thinking, so what did I do for physical activity when the yard didn’t need mowed? Not much!

When we started this walk, every mile was a struggle. The miles have gotten much easier. I remember huffing and puffing to finish a mile in the beginning and thinking that I might even have to call my daughter to come pick me up because I wasn’t sure I would make it home. I didn’t know how I would do it.. but mile after mile, it just got easier. Maybe because I kept doing the work.  😉 

Yes, I’m making progress on my health goals. I’ve started being much more diligent with my nutrition. I’m taking extra time off the couch and adding more on my nutrition and fitness routine. I’m getting there.. but I’m not getting there from the couch, or the computer. I’m putting in the work. I want to change and it’s my time. I know that if I want to encourage others with their health, nutrition, and fitness, then I need to be an example and do it myself.

Many times, we want to change something but we’re not willing to do the work. Yeah, that’s me to a T. I’ve been wanting to get fit for ummmm, well, probably 15+ years now, because my daughter is 15 and I know that I never got back into good shape after having her. I just wasn’t ready to do the work, and obviously it doesn’t happen all by itself. 

If I’m not willing to “do the work”, nothing will change. I won’t build stronger relationships. I won’t move ahead at work. I won’t get out of the debt storm that so many of us are in. And my Health? Obviously, I won’t make changes in your health unless I do something about it. Yep, it was time for me to do the work. It’s not easy and no one said it was going to be, but it will be worth it. Some days it’s hard, and it has been very painful but it will all be worth it in the end. 

 Dear friends, do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed. ~ 1 Peter 4:12-13

I’m amazed every day when I see things happen to people who are doing the work. Changing their lives. Making good choices. Taking control of their future and making it better, with God. Yes, with God. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – If God’s not in it, then it’s already failed. The best part is, whatever you need to change is ridiculously easier with His help. There is no way that I could be at over 750 miles if I wasn’t doing it with God.  Seriously.

The message this week at church was literally all over me from start to finish. (I hope you clicked above and watched it if you didn’t see it already!) It was encouraging, inspiring, and dead on for this place that I’m at in my life. Change.. lots of change, and some of it is slightly scary change. I’m good with “the same”, and I’m content with simple things, so this change that’s coming about is ruffling my feathers like crazy. 

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. ~ Isaiah 43:18-19

The first time I let this verse stir something in me was about 2 years ago. It hit me again on Sunday. New things are ready to happen. God is behind it and leading me to it. He’s been behind it the entire time, just waiting for me to get up off the couch and make the decision to do the work. 

I’m still walking. Still doing the work. This walk is preparing me for so much more. I never would have dreamed of the things that are coming about. But, until this walk is over – the first 1000, that is – I’m just not ready for those 20 seconds of insanity.. I mean bravery!

And for the record… I am NOT buying a Zoo!

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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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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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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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I have a dream…

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 194

Miles Walked: 475

Miles Remaining: 525

Days Remaining: 172

I’ve been in some kind of a funk this past week. Walking in a haze, just going through the motions. I HATE feeling like this so I’ve been spending a lot of time asking God to help me through it, reading His word, and just trying to figure out what’s up with the funk. I keep coming back to the fact that this thing that I’m going through, this thing that everyone is going through, is only temporary. God has much better plans for us than this funk. 

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ~ Jeremiah 29:11

I have a plan.. or a dream, maybe. Whenever I think of my dream, I hear the Martin Luther King, Jr. voice in my head. “I have a dream…” My dream may not have the impact that his had, it may not change the world, and I may not get my own national holiday, but it’s still my dream.

I started working in the medical field about 20 years ago and was blessed to walk into a job that I feel I was meant to do. I’ve worked just about every position in a medical office, receptionist being my least favorite, and I enjoy almost every position. Currently, I’m an office manager and certified professional coder for a general surgeon. I love my job. I love getting to help people through whatever illness or injury they’re going through. Since I have always enjoyed doing what I do, I have never considered trying anything else.

A couple years ago, I went to an event at church called the Chazown Experience. Chazown is the Hebrew word  meaning “dream, revelation or vision”.  Proverbs 29:18 – where there is no vision, the people perish. Chazown is about finding your vision. We definitely don’t want to be perishing so finding and achieving my dream sounds pretty good to me!

The Chazown Experience walks you through things about yourself and your life, events that you’ve been through, people involved in your life, what your strengths are, and it zeroes in on what you are called to do with your life. It was very revealing and a wonderful growth experience. Towards the end, when people were coming up with things that they might be called to pursue, I heard a voice in my head that simply said, “You should be helping these kids”. I’ve blogged about some of the kids that my daughter brings into our lives and some of them definitely need some help. I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do… I didn’t know what kids I should be helping or how I should be helping them.

Confession time… I don’t especially like kids. <GASP> I know that’s pretty harsh. It’s not that I don’t like them, but I was never one of those girly girls that wanted to play with babies. I wasn’t a professional baby sitter growing up, I don’t even know that I was “ready” (if there even is such a thing) to have a kid when I had my daughter. Of course, she is the best thing that’s happened to me, but I’m not one of those super maternal type of people. I’ve just never been comfortable around kids (that aren’t mine) for long periods of time. So when I felt the push to “help them”, it was quite a shock.

After the Chazown Experience, I began evaluating and working on things in my life that would need to be addressed before my dream could take shape. The 5 areas of focus are:

  1. My relationship with God
  2. My relationship with people
  3. My financial life
  4. My physical life
  5. My work life
  • I dove in head first to my relationship with God. I started reading and applying His word to my daily life. Church became a much more important part of my life. I have found a relationship with Jesus that I desperately needed. Daily devotion with Him and of course my walk with Him has become like air to me.
  • I joined a LifeGroup.. this wasn’t easy for me because I’m pretty much a hermit. I like my alone time and get stressed in social situations. Obviously, my relationship with people needs a LOT of work! Several special people have come into my life and I know they will be there for years to come.
  • I went through the Dave Ramsey, Financial Peace University program. I got my bills under control and have the tools to apply to my spending. This is a daily battle for me because I do like to spend… I don’t spend a lot on myself but I love to shop for my daughter and our house.
  • The LifeGroup that I joined was started as a weight loss support group. I was able to start focusing more on my physical life and make some healthy changes. It’s a work in progress but there has been a lot of progress.
  • My work life has always been good to me. Like I said before, I love my job. I’ve worked for several different doctors in several specialties over the years and have finally been blessed with a doctor that is a pleasure to work with.
So, what’s my dream? I did get a little sidetracked up there… well, I’m envisioning some sort of retreat, or camp, for kids mostly where they can come and learn who they are, who they want to be and gain some life skills. Maybe a place where foster kids can come for a couple weeks in the summer time. Maybe a Christian summer camp like I went to when I was a kid! Something for kids to come and learn and grow and know that they are special and loved.
As a retreat, I see it for anyone who needs to “get away” and get back to living life with God. A place where people can seek God and renew their relationship with Him. My daughter is seeing a “hunting retreat” during the fall/winter months. I’m sure we can fit that in to our plan. I would also love to have families come together to “find their family” again. There may be a weight loss boot camp time, and a creative getaway for others, and it’s definitely going to be the perfect place for anyone who is interested in starting their 1000 miles with Jesus!
 
There it is… I told you my dream, now you can tell me yours! The shape of my dream has changed and evolved but it’s still there. I’m still working on my 5 areas of focus and I have a long way to go before my dream might happen, but I’m not in a hurry. It will happen in God’s time.

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My Beautiful Mess

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 152

Miles Walked: 382

Miles Remaining: 618

Days Remaining: 214

I have a place where I like to go when I need to get away from everything. Let me rephrase that.. In the spring, summer, and fall, I have a place where I like to go when I need to get away from everything. My backyard. It’s my haven, my sanctuary, my quiet place. I’m not a super gardener but I love to admire the things that I’ve worked hard at getting to grow in my flower beds. I love green grass. I love to sit in my lawn chair, in the sun, eyes closed, and just listen.

On a calm day, I hear the birds and love to imagine their conversations. Whatever it is that they’re talking about, there is a LOT of cackling and laughing going on.. except for the blue jays, it sounds like they’re full of joy. When it’s a little windy out, I close my eyes and the sound of the wind blowing the leaves on my big oak tree actually sounds like waves coming in from the ocean. I LOVE this sound.. if I sit quietly long enough to relax and let go of the tension in my neck and shoulders, I start to feel like I’m sitting on the beach. Listening to the waves. Soaking up some vitamin D. Increasing my risk of skin cancer… I can sit out there for hours.

We have had such a mild winter and it’s really starting to warm up. I find myself getting more and more anxious for my haven (heaven) on earth! I’m going to put down some weed-n-feed this weekend to get rid of the nuisances that are showing themselves around the yard. I picked up some tulips and daffodils to add to my front flower beds and I’m going to add a vertical herb garden to my back fence (possibly an unfinished project just waitin’ to happen!) . I’m really a novice gardener but I love working in the beds, planting and weeding. It’s so gratifying to look at what used to be a flat mess of nothing and see my fractal design shaping and changing every year.

I call it a fractal design because I love how the garden was described in the book, The Shack. It looks like a randomness of plants, shrubs, flowers, and vines but it all works together to make my beautiful mess. Much like the garden in the book, it reminds me of myself and my life.

I have some tough little dianthus and snapdragons that come back bigger and better each year, if I take care of them. I have some prickly rose bushes that tear me up if I don’t watch myself around them. The gladiola are spread throughout the garden because I didn’t think it through how they would get beat up terribly by our Oklahoma wind when I planted them, so I’ve filled in around them with some other things to help support them when the blooms get tall. There are some nice leafy hostas that fill in some of the bare areas and help support those tall gladiola. Then there are my mums that bloom in the spring and the fall, and they get so heavy with blooms that they want to fall apart if I let them get to big for their own good.

So, how am I like my garden? Dianthus – I’m a bright little flower that gets bigger and better, if I take care of myself. Roses – I have been through some prickly times and more often that not, there has been a sweet-smelling reward at the end of those times. Gladiola/Mums – If I let myself get to “big” and have no support, I’ll end up flat on my blossoms.. but with my Jesus and my Godly Gal Pals, I get the support I need to bloom. Hostas – I’m good at filling in and supporting others when needed… I add a little somethin’ somethin’ to those around me. Even the pesky weeds in my gardens have a place in my life. Usually they get yanked up out of the ground but sometimes I have to take the time and dig them out, making sure I get to the root of the problem.

‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: On the day I cleanse you from all your sins, I will resettle your towns, and the ruins will be rebuilt. The desolate land will be cultivated instead of lying desolate in the sight of all who pass through it. They will say, “This land that was laid waste has become like the garden of Eden; the cities that were lying in ruins, desolate and destroyed, are now fortified and inhabited.” ~ Ezekiel 36:33-35

I can’t do this life on my own. None of us can. We need to be nurtured and tended to. We need pruning and weeding.. and we need support from our God and Jesus to carry us through the hard times. Some days we need to sit in the sun, just soaking Him in. We all need some good godly friends to have our back when we are getting blown over by life. I don’t think you can have too many supportive friends… they help you to keep blooming ;).

Cover of "The Shack"

Cover of The Shack

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It’s Contagious!

Pam’s Journey ~ Day: 145

Miles Walked: 365

Miles Remaining: 635

Days Remaining: 221

You may have heard that probably due to our mild winter weather, the yearly flu outbreaks are running a couple months late this year. Usually, the flu peaks in December and starts fizzling out in February. This year, it’s peaking in February. If you have never had the flu, and especially if you have had the flu, you do not want to get it! My daughter has had it twice and I’ve had it once.. It pretty much stops your life for a few days and makes you feel like a feverish, coughing, walking bruise.. everything hurts.

So, just a reminder of flu/cold courtesy… Keep it to yourself :). Seriously though, Please don’t go out spreading your germs on purpose… Even Kristen has been suffering with the flu and has been SICK!

Obviously I’m not going to dedicate my entire blog to germ courtesies.. I have some other contagious concerns on my mind. Maybe it’s just me, but there are some other things spreading as fast or faster than this flu. Contagious attitudes, moods, and personalities. It’s quite unpleasant and may make you feel as bad as the flu but there are ways to cure this problem. It’s up to the owner of these attitudes to just decide that they want to fix it. If left untreated it can cause sometimes unrepairable damage to your life or those around you.

On more than one occasion, I’ve been told by friends that I tend to be “annoyingly optimistic”. Is that a bad thing? The friends that said this are, more often than not, a little grumpy or they actually like to complain about things regularly. Do they notice my positive outlook because their’s is so negative?

Let me share my devotion for today.

Guarding Your Heart – Proverbs 4:23 says to guard your heart “for it determines the course of your life” (NLT). Think about that. Whatever is in your heart is eventually going to show up in your everyday life. Whatever’s inside will eventually find its way out, where anyone and everyone can see it.

That alone makes it extremely important to monitor the things we allow to shape our hearts. I don’t want something nasty, sinful, and selfish finding its way out and damaging my relationships with others, and I doubt you do either.

A large part of guarding your heart means learning how to control your thoughts, your words, your disposition and your general outlook. What you think usually comes out in what you say. What you say affects how you feel, and that shows up in your overall attitude. 

In the course of everyday life, this is what determines how you handle your circumstances, whether you’ll have peace or fall apart in a stressful situation. It governs how you respond to others, either with compassion and understanding or with judgment and arrogance, especially when you disagree with them!

You can try and keep your inner thoughts from altering your words and attitudes, but I find it’s much easier to have godly thoughts to begin with. Spend time in God’s presence, and let the Holy Spirit fill your heart with His goodness.

Wow! That says pretty much everything that I was thinking of on my walk this morning when the idea for this blog popped into my head.. how funny that it’s also my devotion for today! If you’re a Grumpy Gus, a Debbie Downer, or a Negative Nancy, maybe you should evaluate yourself, your thoughts, and your life. Maybe making some changes in your life can get you out of that puddle of pessimism. If you’re not happy with yourself or your life, why would anyone else be happy with you? 

I’ve known people who enjoy complaining and being in a bad mood, and they are perfectly content to stay in that bad mood. I can’t imagine it. They want to complain about their life or even other people’s lives and they have no problem dragging you into a bad mood with them.  How selfish is that? I refuse.. sometimes politely, sometimes not so politely but I won’t join in. I will guard my heart against it.

But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world. ~ 1 John 4:1

The Spirit who lives in you is greater and can overcome a negative life if you ask and let it! You don’t even have to do it all on your own because that’s what has you in that grumpy mess in the first place. 

I may be genetically optimistic but it’s gotten even worse since starting this walk with Jesus (and that’s not a bad thing)! You may be wondering what reasons I have for being so positive. Why the annoyingly optimistic lifestyle? Am I blessed? Heck Yes!!! We all are! Do I have an easy life? It is what you make it, right? Do I have problems and worries weighing me down? Not when I give them to the one that can handle them!

We’ve probably all heard this verse but one day it just clicked in my head and made a huge difference in my outlook.

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

The battle is already won. I”m a child of God and He has already won the battle. If I believe this, then what is there to worry about? Not a thing. Worrying won’t change a thing. Being negative about everything won’t help it go away… but it might help some of your friends go away because no one enjoys being around a Grumpy Gus. God loves us and wants us to enjoy the life He gives us. You just have to make the most of what you have. Live your life with Joy.. What do you have to lose? 🙂

I will praise the LORD at all times. I will constantly speak his praises. I will boast only in the LORD; let all who are helpless take heart. Come, let us tell of the LORD’s greatness; let us exalt his name together. I prayed to the LORD, and he answered me. He freed me from all my fears. Those who look to him for help will be radiant with joy; no shadow of shame will darken their faces. In my desperation I prayed, and the LORD listened; he saved me from all my troubles. For the angel of the LORD is a guard; he surrounds and defends all who fear him. Taste and see that the LORD is good. Oh, the joys of those who take refuge in him! ~ Psalm 34:1-8

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