Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Big Gulp Decisions

I made a big decision the other day.  Bigger than I could have imagined even as early as a year ago.

I'm going to write a book.  Actually, I'm in the process of writing a book and have started the process of getting it published.

Gulp.

Double gulp.

Who do I think I am doing this?  There are billions of words standing on bookshelves and holding a place online?  Why do I think my words are any better to the billions of sentences already formed?

Why?  I'll tell you why.  Because God says to do it.

Not directly, not a direct quote.  A sign didn't fall from the sky saying, "write a book Ronda."  No,  I quit waiting and wishing for that kind of communication from Him a long time ago.  We think that would solve our indecision and make things simpler if he communicated with us that way, but I think if we were honest with ourselves we'd find some reason to deny the sign came from him.

"That couldn't be God, why would he want me to write a book?"

"That couldn't be from God, He knows I don't like people to know my business, if he used a big sign in the sky everyone else would see it and then I'd be embarrassed if I didn't do it.  He knows me better than that."

"That big sign from the sky was for someone else with my name, the winds must have carried it to my yard.  See that Rhonda has an H in it, I don't have an H in my name, it has to be a different Ronda."  (I just laughed out loud writing that, like God wouldn't know how to spell my name!)

See what I mean.  We think that if we just had a BIG sign with a BIG arrow pointing us in the right direction, then....then we would find following God's will so much easier.

But we have to be honest.  We wouldn't.  We'd still want to dig our heels in or go the opposite direction or take the backroads.

That's why I love His word so.  It's filled with stories of people who did the same thing.  They did the opposite of what God was telling them to do (with His own voice they could hear by the way) and we get to read the rest of their stories.  We get to know how it all worked out for them.  Sometimes God rescued them from their stupidity and sometimes he let them fall when they didn't go the way He was pointing.

He judged them on their hearts.  Did they want to be obedient to Him or did they want to just give the  impression they were obedient?

If you read the stories in the Bible as a story and lay aside the chronic need to analyze them to death so they can be put it in categories of doctrine or theology, you'd be surprised at how God teaches you what He wants you to know about Him.

But that takes faith to do that.  Faith He alone can give you.

Faith that picks up that Bible of yours sitting on your shelf or collecting dust on your nightstand and just starts reading with no agenda accept to read it as you would any other book that you have on your bookshelves or your tablet with no agenda and no fear that it's ok you don't understand everything you read.

If you read the Word of God to prove a point so you can point out to someone of another doctrinal understanding why you are right and they are wrong, then you'll miss the stories.  You'll miss seeing God's heart and his favor on the ragtag bunch of people whose stories are being told and have been read for thousands of years.

You may find you have a lot in common with a boy who grew up to be Elijah.  You may find that you have as many weaknesses as the strongest man to live who was called Samson.  You may find that you and Tamar, raped by her brother, have a lot in common.  I don't know who God has reserved just for you to feel connected to.  Only God knows that but how will you ever find out if you don't start seeing God as your Father, your biggest fan, and your constant companion if you don't see how he tells us, "this is how I work in human lives.  This is how I connect to wandering souls."

I never found the exact words in THE Word that said, "Ronda, do this and don't do that for specific areas of my life."  But what I have found, each time I opened it up were words from a heavenly Father who was teaching me he has my back.  He wants the BEST for me, not measly seconds or thirds.

All that is said to say this:

I'm going to write a book of short stories and I'm shooting for it to be available to purchase sometime during the month of April.  I am tying it into the A to Z Blogging Challenge so there will be a link then as to how you can purchase it if you so desire.

He didn't directly say, "Ronda, write a book."  But he  has always used His word to confirm where I believe He's leading me.  He's put a vision in my mind and heart of stories I think you'd like to read and could relate to.

Do I think my words are better than the billions already standing in line and filling bookstore shelves and taking up space in online servers?  No.

Do I think my words have monetary value?  That will have to be determined.  I hope I make a little spending money, but it's not the main goal.  The writing and stepping out and trusting God who is leading is its own reward.  He makes life so much fun!

What  I've come to know and understand about God is he is a junkman.  He uses what we think is junk and makes it into treasure.  That's who and what these stories will be about.  The junk that makes up our lives but he sees as treasure.  His word is treasure to me and I hope the words he gives me in this book lead you to find treasure in His word.  The words swirling in  my mind meet with my heart and somehow find their way onto a keyboard and onto a screen.   They were birthed in a life that was once just junk but he saw as treasure when he pulled me from the pit.

I don't have a title yet but I hope to have one soon.  The book will be available as an ebook and in softcover.

God loves you!  No matter who you are or what you've done or are still trapped in, nothing changes the love He has for you.  Believe it.  Just believe.

Peace,
Ronda




Thursday, January 22, 2015

Adoption God's Way

I'm excited about the word adoption today.  I am preparing for the A to Z Blogging challenge that will be in April and the word adoption is just getting me excited.

Adoption - the act or process of adopting a child
                  the act or process of beginning to use something new or different
                  the act or process of giving official acceptance or approval to something.

huiothesia - adoption, as a son into the divine family

I know people who have been adopted and I know people who have adopted.  Some are both.  The stories of parents who wait and wait and wait to adopt are truly inspirational and I'm always awed by the love they have for a child they have not produced themselves from their own bodies.  I'm equally impressed with the children who are adopted when they say of their adoptive parents, "they're my mom and dad."

But you know what?!!  We're all adopted...by God Himself when we use the faith He's given to believe Him.  We're adopted.  We're his kids.  We are sealed.  Nothing can ever break God's view of us as His kids.  When Christ died on the cross and suffered the death we should have suffered, He bought us, he redeemed us, he got the adoption process finalized.

People pay thousands and thousands of dollars and travel thousands of miles for one child with hearts full of love to pour out on these children.  God paid a heavy price too and traveled from heaven to earth not to adopt just one child, but every child who ever existed.

The love an adoptive family has for a child is nothing compared to the love God has for us, his adopted children.  Forever and ever an adopted child is brought into a new family, legally and for always.  God has done the same for us.

We are His.  All legal paperwork has been done, all expenses paid.  You and I are now His.  Nothing can break that contract.

Swim in that today.  Kick your feet, splash that around you.  You are loved more than you could ever know or understand.

Peace,
Ronda

Ephesians 1:5

Monday, January 19, 2015

Making Peace With Who We're Not

When I was a girl I wanted to be on a soap opera.  I wanted to live in the make believe town of Oakdale or Springfield and hobnob with Lisa Hughes and John Dixon or Phillip and Alan Spaulding.  I thought that would be fun to go to work everyday and wear cute clothes and have my hair and makeup done.

I honed my, ahem, "acting skills" in a couple high school plays and musicals but alas, stardom, or at least acting on Guiding Light or As the World Turns was not meant to be.

I also for a long time thought my ideal weight was 105 lbs and that if I were just that weight I would be a happier, more at peace person.

I've even caught myself thinking that if I could just be less A.D.D. and more even keeled other opportunities may be lurking that I would be good at.  What those would be, I don't know, but surely my deficits, my weight and my lack of acting skills were partially at fault for being who I'm not and having to settle for what I am.

There are certain things about us that will never be able to be changed.  Our ethnicity for one.  Our body type.  Our personality quirks.  Those are the things that make us unique and special and set us apart as an individual.  When we add into the mix our life's struggles or accomplishments or defeats, our unchanging virtues can be used against us rather than be used as a stepping stone to rise above the hard stuff and be made stronger.

I can never be a black person.  I can never be Hispanic.  I can never be Indian or Asian either.  I can only forever be a white person.  It was not my choice or plan to be made the color I am.  That doesn't mean because I am white that I am better or worse than anyone who isn't.  I can't change the color of my skin anymore than Martin Luther King Jr. could have changed the color of his.

I can't change how my brain works or how my brain has interpreted my life experiences anymore than you can change how your brain works and how your brain has interpreted your life experiences.  I can't change where I was born or the family whom I was born into and neither can anyone else make those changes.

Sooner or later we have to accept the fact that we are who we are, and what makes us who we are is built on the foundation of the very things we cannot change.  But just because we are made a certain way in certain circumstances does not mean we have to stay bound to them.  Where we start is not the place we have to stay.

The only thing I can change, with the Creator's help, is my acceptance of who I am, of who He designed me to be.

We have to find peace with who God made us to be - color, quirks and all.

I've lived the majority of my life wishing I was something I'm not - skinnier, smarter, less scatter brained - but wishing hasn't given me any of those results.  Instead wishing has given me anxiety and hopelessness and fear and bitterness.  And I've wasted a lot of time looking at the things I can't change as a negative instead of the blessing they really are.

It's time we look at ourselves and our neighbors the same way.  We are who we are because God designed us that way.  Celebrate the things that can't be changed and build on that beautiful foundation.  Whatever can or needs to be changed, He'll change in His time.  It's time to stop pointing out why you think you need to be different than what you were designed to be and just BE you.

Here's hoping you find peace with who you're not so that you can finally be the Be you were created to be all along.  That's where I'm headed, come on along.

Peace,
Ronda

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.  My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

Psalm 139:15-16

Things to think about
1.  What unchangeable things about you would you change if you could?
2.  If those things could be changed, how would your life be better or worse?
3.  In what areas do you need to accept that you are NOT so that you can be who you ARE?

for further reminders go here











Thursday, January 15, 2015

I feel like a writer today

Not since I was a girl, living at home have I had a place for mine, and mine alone, desk stuff.  We've had many desks in our marriage, but always they were used for a combination of his, mine, and ours things.  Always our desks usually were stationed close to an entry way so that not only was it used for office supplies, computers, receipts, bills, etc., it was also used for a catch all space - keys, books, and a hodgepodge of whatever else could land there.

When I was in nursing school and needing a HUGE space to contain all of the books and notecards and other paraphernalia, our dining room table became my desk.  Not a problem, except for when it came time to eat.  Then everything had to be stacked and moved to a corner on the floor.

In the Journey of Leaving Comfortable my "desk" became scattered to several areas of the new house.  I had a great closet in a spare bedroom that had built in shelving for my books, a drawer in the entertainment stand for a few odds and ends, like my laptop.  And still I had the dining room table.  Which was ok.  I just dragged my study materials and such from the back bedroom each time I wanted to study and blog.

At Christmas I got some money from my parents and my mother-in-law that I delegated to buying myself my own desk.  I have been searching online, looking in stores and have not been able to find one that fits the small space available.  But the money stayed tucked in my wallet waiting for its proper use.

Today was the day.

I didn't want anything fancy or big or modern.  I just wanted something that gave me a place of privacy and a place where I didn't have to have desk items scattered throughout the house.  I had to run into town to do some errands and so I checked out a thrift store in town, which turned up nothing.

Then I remembered there is a Habitat for Humanity Resale Shop on the outskirts of town so I drove over there.

Voila!

Sitting on top of another desk was MY desk.  And a little further down, on a shelf higher than my head was an antique sewing machine chair - with a hidden drawer in its seat - that fit perfectly, together costing half of my Christmas money!

So here it is.  In my room, surrounded by the antiques that are special to me.  It is, for now, holding my most used study books, and beside them stand a mason jar filled with the marbles of my father's childhood and a hat my grandmother once wore.

The drawers will be filled soon, but I just had to write it all down first.

I may not be the best writer, but I sure feel like a real one today.

Peace,
Ronda


Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Babbling with a Baby

To my grandson his words and babbling make all the sense in the world.  We listen to him say, "ba, ba, ba, ba" and other jibber jabber a nine month old articulates.  We agree with him and mimic his sounds and he laughs at us as he hears us trying to match his dialect and tone.  Somehow it seems that he is satisfied that we have understood him and we are satisfied that we have entered his world of communication and seen his sweet smile.

He has learned to shake his head no, both in fun and in communicating his dislike for a food or any number of things he doesn't want.

Our vocabulary is big, his is small, yet with his small sounds he is able to communicate with the giants among him and the giants seek to understand what he is trying to tell them.  Sometimes we just don't get what exactly it is he is trying to convey but after a few tries we somehow reach a truce.  A new book is started, a roll on the toy motorcycle appeases, or just simply a distraction of a dog or something on TV catches his eye and we all reach a peace again.

It's really not hard communicating with a baby.  The less words there are the easier it is it seems.  (When does that change?  How come it seems that the more words we learn the less able we are to convey our wants or our thoughts or our needs?  How come more words seem to make communication more complicated?)

The giants are so eager to hear more words come from his mouth, egging him on to say "momma, daddy, Bibby, Grandpa, ball" when the only thing he needs to have his needs conveyed and satisfied are a few sounds.

It makes me think of Jesus hearing our voice and us hearing his.  It's hard to hear his voice in the jumble of the noises and words we are bombarded with on a continuous basis.  Picking out his voice among millions of words and sounds is becoming harder and harder in the age in which we live, but amazing to me is that he is able to hear our voice, our sounds, our babbling among the billions on this planet.

He is able to zone in on our babbling and know exactly what we need and are trying to say, with no guessing games played.  No pointing to a ball, "do you want this?"  Or to a cracker, "do you want that?'

No, he knows our needs before we even ask them.  Before we even know what we think we need to ask him for he already knows what we're trying to say.

The Giant among us, invisible as He is to the eye but not to the heart that seeks Him, hears our cry.  He knows our need and anticipates our every plea.  We are his sweet infant children, babbling with big words trying to impress the Creator of language when all we really need to say is "Help."

His sheep know His voice, but greater still is that He knows our voice.

Peace,
Ronda