June 23, 2015


I could be richer...but I could be poorer. I could be thinner...but I could be heavier. I could be more attractive...but I could be less attractive. I could be more successful...but I could be less successful.

The list goes on and on. But do you notice the one thing all of those statements have in common? For every envious "I could", it has been followed up with recognizing a blessing of "I could"--showing that perception is half of our battle. If we perceive negatively then we become unhappy with our circumstances and we feel "less than".

"Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way." (James 1:2 MSG)

However, if we perceive positively we become thankful and joyful. It is up to us to change our perspective. God is good all the time, and all the time God is good. It is not He that ever changes, it is us in our sinful flesh that choose to view our circumstances and situations in a way that can make them much bigger or more stressful than they truly are.

"And because of God's gracious gift to me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you should. Instead, be modest in your thinking, and judge yourself according to the amount of faith that God has given you." (Romans 12:3 GNT)

God sees the good in us, even though we don't deserve it and are sinful and inherently bad. How much more does God deserve for us to see the good in all He does for us, to praise Him in every circumstance, and to remember our blessings--from the biggest, to the tiny and mundane? Because in reality, nothing that has God's hand upon it is tiny or mundane!

June 14, 2015

Feeling Insignificant In The Workplace (And Beyond)

We all should know that our ultimate worth and significance comes from who we are in God. However, as humans we constantly seek to feel acceptance, recognition, and significance from those we surround ourselves with. Lately I have been feeling very insignificant, invisible, and kind of like the peon of the company I work for. You see, my situation is kind of difficult to begin with. I am the only person in this company that lives outside the home office's country, and not only that, I live in a time zone with 3 hour difference. This means I never see anybody, I rarely ever talk to anybody, and I'm not included in much of anything.

As I mentioned before, we are not to seek credit, reward, or importance from anything or anyone in this world. But as flawed humans, it's our nature. We may know deep down that we are loved and accepted fully by God, that we are perfect and beautiful and rewarded by Him. But here on this earth our hearts and our minds seek the same thing from our peers, our family, our friends. Lately I have very much been struggling with my work situation, getting burnt out I suppose you could say. Feeling like I don't matter, I'm invisible, the last link in the chain, and that I have no real importance in the company whatsoever. It took someone very dear to me to say, "Debbie, you don't give yourself enough credit. Although it's not credit or recognition you should be seeking from them, you don't need it. But I understand it feels good to know that you matter and that yoy are an important part of something. They will never find anyone who will work as hard as you do, as many hours as you do, consistently working 7 days a week with rarely ever taking a day off for months at a time. Constantly covering other people's shift...anytime they ask, you always give them a yes. Adding other projects outside of your work hours on top of your 50 - 60 hours a week. Having to work way over the regular amount of hours that most people do just to be able to make it and never asking for a higher wage...and all just because you love what you're doing. Treating every single customer, no matter how nasty they are to you, with kindness, professionalism, and understanding. You are the go-to-girl. You're the one that's always there, you're the one that can always be counted on, and you're the one that makes sure that everything runs in the evenings, weekends, and all of those times that everybody else is out having their free time and living their life. You are never late, never absent, and never unappreciative. You need to think about that. They might not say it, show it, and you may not feel it. But you are irreplaceable, you are hugely significant, and it would be an extreme loss if they woke up one day and you were not there".

I thought about that and still didn't believe it. I am a dime a dozen, they would just go on the internet and find somebody else. But then after my friend's sweet words, God Himself convicted me. "He's right My Child. They would be hard-pressed to find someone else as dedicated and available as you constantly make yourself for them. I understand you don't feel like you are part of anything. You see them constantly giving recognition and posting about all of the people in the office, rewarding others, acknowledging others. You see the get-togethers they have and the closeness as a company that they embody. It makes you feel left out, it makes you lonely, it makes you feel like you're just a little person on the end of the computer in another country that they hold no value to. But you know, your friend is right. There are not many like you who would sacrifice having your own life, having your own time, to be sure they are covered every second that they need to be. Your consistency of not ever taking time off, month after month. What is one day a month? That is about the extent you take off. What is that to one person to be able to recharge, refuel, and just breathe?"

"You dedicate more time to work than even to sleeping, than to your children, than to your home and your errands, than to even having a life and being able to do things. If you for one second think that you are not valuable, you are not noticed, or you are not appreciated..my heart aches for yours that you feel that way. But you need to remember one thing. I see all, I know all, I value you. I know your heart, I know your dedication, and I know that you carry on your shoulders what most women in this world could not. Full time single motherhood, working almost double hours every week, taking care of a home and all that goes with it on your own, being the sole provider with absolutely no help physically or financially from anyone in your life. And yet you do this with a smile on your face and love for your children. You are home every single day. You are with them when they wake up and when they go to sleep. If you need to go somewhere, you take them with you. You're not out running the streets, doing drugs, prostituting, partying with friends, or so many things that a single mother of 8 long years would fall prey to just to be able to get away, to breathe, to feel like she actually has a life. Instead you are being a mother, you are being a caretaker to your home, you are being a responsible employee, and you sacrifice everything for yourself so that you can give to others. If they don't see the worth in that at your workplace or in you as a person, and even if you don't see the worth in that for yourself...know that I see it, and that is all that matters."

Psalm 139:1 MSG --"God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand. I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking. You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight. You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence. I look behind me and you’re there, then up ahead and you’re there, too— your reassuring presence, coming and going. This is too much, too wonderful— I can’t take it all in!"

"Because in the end I am the one that rewards, I am the one that guides your path, and I am the one that knows the beautiful future I hold for you. Stay strong, use Me for your light, your strength, and your worth. I know that you are unique and special. Don't fall prey to the negative thoughts, the condemnation, or the ways of this world. You matter, you encourage, you inspire. Don't take your eyes off of Me, because whatever you're searching for you will never find unless you're searching Me, seeking Me, and holding Me close to your heart."

In that long conversation with God, I better understood what my friend was saying to me. I'm just going to be honest, we don't need validation from this world or from the people in it, but we sure seek it, want it, and it makes us feel good. I love my job, more than I've loved any job that I've ever had. Although I'm self-employed, I consider myself an employee. Because my world practically revolves around serving that company. I don't want to lose that joy, I don't want to lose the love for my job, I don't want to wake up everyday feeling like it's another day where I'm some robot behind a computer that nobody is ever notices. I may not ever talk to anybody, and if I do it's work-related and very short. I may not be involved in anything that the others are, I may not have the closeness and the Sundae Mondays and the Pizza Fridays, or whatever it is they have.

My one year anniversary is coming up in August, and honestly, I don't expect it to be remembered or noticed either. But what God has shown me is that all that matters is that I will remember it, I will recognize it, and I will celebrate it. Knowing that during this past year I have given more dedication and more hours and more love to a job than I ever have in my 40 years on this earth. And I know God is proud of me, my children are proud of me, and darn it, I should be proud of me! So let us not seek that acceptance, not seek to be noticed, or even rewarded occasionally for our efforts. Because if we seek that from this world, we will constantly be disappointed. Our hearts will consistently feel hurt, we will want to just give up and walk away, and we will never be satisfied. Our rewards come from heaven and our identity as God's child. We need to remember the blessings of Christ, that he gives us this ability to work hard, that he recognizes every step we take, every sacrifice we make, and every moment that we give of ourselves and don't get back. That's what matters. We ARE being noticed, our eyes are just looking in the wrong place for it.

Acts 20:35 GNB -- "I have shown you in all things that by working hard in this way we must help the weak, remembering the words that the Lord Jesus himself said, ‘There is more happiness in giving than in receiving."

 You matter, you are valuable. If you are reading this today and you are feeling much as I do, about your work, your family, maybe your marital relationship...do something to refresh and renew yourself. Look inside yourself and remind yourself, write it down if you have to, of all the reasons you are valuable. What do you give to others day in and day out (whether recognized or not) that you know you are sacrificing daily, you are giving your all, and you make a difference? I take one look at my beautiful children, and I'm reminded of my importance in this world. Remind yourself of those things, remind yourself of who you are in Christ, and keep pushing forward. We're only given today, because that's all we can handle. And with the Lord's strength and guidance we can feel loved, accepted, important, valued, and strengthened to get through this day and to wake up and face the next.

June 11, 2015

Falling Prey to Busyness

As I am halfway through a 75-hour double shift work week, I have been strongly reminded several times the importance of balance and pace. It is easy for me to log on at 6 a.m. and work straight through the days until 6 p.m.--often forgetting meals, other chores needing to be done, and even using the restroom! If we're too busy to remember using the restroom, you know we've got problems!

So as I wake every morning I am strongly convicted by the Lord to remember to put Him first. If we don't put Him first, the rest of our day will sadly become scrambled, hectic, and frustrating. Only through His strength can we handle extra work hours, single parenthood, chores, errands, bills, the constant demands of life on a daily basis. We have Bible study this night, group on this night, kids activities on this night, school assignments on this night--and that's in between just trying to keep the house clean and work your regular job! It's enough to make anybody exhausted and want to run away.

The way we handle these things (and even find joy in them) is by coming to the Lord. Even if you have to do it 20 times a day and take just 5 seconds to say, "Lord, I need patience and understanding right now". I have had to repeat that morning, noon, and night these past several days and will continue to. What I have found is if I do not start my day with the Lord, if I do not come to Him continuously throughout the day with each trial that comes upon me, and I do not end my evening with Him...my days, weeks, and months are a lot harder to get through. I start my day and devotional time, giving the first 15 minutes of my day to just Him and I. This puts my mind in a calm place and my heart in a peaceful place so that even if I am attacked from the very first moment that I begin work, I will approach it in a beneficial and positive way, whereas I probably wouldn't have if I did so on my own strength.

Psalm 28:7 ESV: “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts."

I come to him in petition throughout the day whenever something is starting to fester and I can feel it boiling up and starting to make me angry, hurt, stressed. I just close my eyes and ask God to please calm me, give me patience, energy, and determination to follow through with this day and be the best I can every minute. And then at night after the chores are done, the work day is over, the house is cleaned, the kids are in bed...that is "me" time. That is my last hour of the night alone with the Lord. Electronics are all off, all of the lights are off in the house except the one lone bed light on my nightstand, the house is silent. I spend an hour with my sole attention on Jesus--whether it be doing Bible study, reading a fiction or non-fiction Christian novel, or just sitting with my eyes closed in silence and listening for His guidance and giving time to feel His comforting and loving hand upon my shoulder. This makes all the difference in how I not only handle the day when I wake up in the morning, but how I will handle the next day as well.

Ecclesiastes 3:9 MSG: "But in the end, does it really make a difference what anyone does? I’ve had a good look at what God has given us to do—busywork, mostly. True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift."

So let us remember that we are NOT meant to carry these burdens within our own power. The Lord's yoke is easy, his burdens are light. Our yokes are hard, and our burdens are heavy. We have to make so many different decisions, have so many different emotions, and have 24 entire hours in a day where things can go wrong or we can approach things with a negative attitude. Only through continually coming to our Father and through His strength, His guidance and His love, can we withstand the daily trials that we face.

Matthew 11:28-30 NIV: "Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

The decisions we need to make, the deeds we decide to do, the words we decide to use. Let them all honor and glorify Him and let us make sure we are living our calling and God's purpose every moment. That can only be achieved by coming to Him. He will be our strength, He will be our motivation, and He will be our sustenance. You can do this, God equipped and designed you for this long before he even created the world!