Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Always, Never, Ever Gang

As I complete 2011 and enter into 2012, I have to say it has been my best year yet.  My life started to level out in August 2010 but I really hit my stride this year.  It feels good to look back and see the changes and the progress.  God has been so good.

It has been nearly seven years since the Terrible Awful.  I have known the whole time that God was with me but I was completely confused on how to move forward.  My actions, attitude, and my sense of values were extremely skewed.  I spent the first four years seeking, searching, trying, messing up, and trying again.  Day after day I felt like I wasn't making any movement forward and that I would ALWAYS feel like a failure.

Always?  If you really think about it not much is for always.  Never and ever aren't usually true either. 

You ALWAYS forget my birthday.
He NEVER could drive well.
I can't EVER do this right.

See what I mean?  Strike these words from your vocabulary.

The Terrible Awful had me down and out.  I was done.  I had lived my life.  I had my chance.  No one would EVER love me now.  I will NEVER be okay.  It will ALWAYS be like this.

Is this you?  Always, Never, Ever?  Wondering out to get out of it?  Where to start?

Nearly seven years have gone by and it was difficult.  Worse than that.  It seemed never-ending.  It felt like I would just skim by a tough spot and something else would hit me and knock me down.  I fussed and fumed and complained about fairness and life.  Why me, I would ask?  And that's when The Always, Never, Ever Gang would begin their work.  They would say things like:

No one will ever love you now.
You will never be okay.
Life will always be like this.

It is at these times we must run back to God.  Run!

Tell your mountains how big your God is instead of telling God how big your mountains are!  Sorta like having a big brother but even better.  Ever get into an argument on the playground and threaten to get your brother?  Tell The Gang about your God!

Watch every, single day for His touch on your life. Be watching for every thing, big or small, that just seem to go right or work out.  Get a couple of good friends with whom you can share your life, the ups and downs, who will help with accountability in life's journey and celebrate the victories.  Ask them to help you see what you cannot.  Changes that will help you move forward.  Journal this stuff. 

I have been journaling and it is a good reminder when I look back and see how far I have traveled.  A framed sign I have says:  "I may not have gone the way I thought I would but I think I have ended up where I am supposed to be."

I have a Maker.  He knows my heart.  My best days are ahead of me.

Recently I was going through the Starbucks drivethru before church on a Sunday morning.  It was a sunny day, my tunes were playing and I was thinking...."God, here I am alone.  Eating this cardboard diet bar.  But I am happier than I have ever been."  And it was true!

So I pulled up to get my tall, nonfat, no whip, extra hot, peppermint mocha and a very handsome man (not a kid either) smiled at me and said, "good morning, beautiful.  Good music!"

As I rolled out of the drivethru I knew that God brought that person into my life for just that moment.  When I am sitting in the car alone with my bar, God sees me.  He isn't too busy to hear my heart cry and He responded with a friendly face with a sweet compliment just to say:  "I know right where you are!" 

He knows me.  He sees me.  He knows my name.

You can have the same simple assurance that I do.  Search for Him.  Seek His ways.  Just do the next RIGHT thing.  Keep walking toward Him.   

If you aren't sure where to begin, I began so simply.  You can do it too! Start with easy stuff. God can speak to your heart in many ways if you are looking.

First, I started out with a daily devotion calendar in my bathroom so as I got ready each morning, I would read that devotion and plant a seed for the day.  So many times it was so fitting my life circumstances.  When it did, I celebrated it, knowing God was watching over me.  As I shared the devotion and its significance in my life with family and friends, it built my faith too!

Another thing I did was signup for an email devotion so that I receive that daily as well.  I also got an app on my phone that provides a different Psalms or Proverb each day.  I got a yearly book of daily devotions, pocketsize, to keep in my purse for those times of stress or strife.  Play uplifting music only for just one week and let me know how much this changes your attitude.  Say goodbye to The Always, Never, Ever Gang!  

Be on the lookout for things to be thankful for and give Him thanks.

You have a Maker.  He knows your heart.  He sees you.  He knows your name.  He knows right where you are.

Dear God, What a difference You have made in my life.  When I looked for You, You were there!  Let my life show others that it doesn't matter what Terrible Awful they are facing.  There is a Hope.  It is You!  You have a plan for each one of us and it is good.  Help us to look for You in everything we do.  Amen.