Distraction of Dentists

Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:11

It has been over 50 years since that unfortunate airborne experience, but I still remember it as if it were yesterday. We lived in a house next door to a church and our driveway was connected to the parking lot. Being recently repaved, it was the perfect place to ride bikes. I had an old cruiser handed down to me by my sister, but my younger brother had a shiny new English racer with handbrakes. He had worked for months to save enough money to purchase this new bike and was extremely protective. I was thrilled when he decided to let me ride it.

I climbed onto the bike and was enthralled with how smooth and fast it travelled on the new asphalt. I was doing figure eights, riding one end to the other with the wind in my hair. As I looped around the parking lot, I was completely unaware of my older brother, who had just arrived in the family car to practice for his driver’s test. When I looked up, he was backing up and heading straight for me.

In my twelve year old mind, I thought he was teasing me with a harmless game of chicken and would stop before hitting me. Little did I realize, he never saw me. It was like a slow-motion film as I watched the front wheel of the bike crash into the back bumper. I was still laughing thinking it was all a joke when my body was thrown uncontrollably over the handlebars into the trunk of the car. I can’t imagine the horror in my older brother’s mind when it happened.

The instant we collided, he slammed on the brakes and jumped out of the car. I was still lying on the trunk, while the mangled bike lay on the ground behind the bumper. The next thing I remember, was sitting outside the house with my shocked parents assessing my injuries. My knees were scraped and bruised but it was my front teeth or lack there of, that caused the greatest concern. I had two fangs hanging out, which ultimately required many hours in a dentist chair having root canals, crowns, pegs, and a host of other procedures.

I know that for many, the dentist is the last place people want to spend time. However I needed help and the dentist was my only answer. I had to wait for two days, because it was Saturday night and there was not an emergency dentist available on Sundays. So I experienced excruciating pain as the roots of the teeth were exposed and very sensitive to any temperature change. When I finally got to the dentist, he was only able to put temporary caps on until he assessed the damages with molds and x-rays. Eventually through many visits, the dentist was able restore my smile, but underneath the repairs, the damage to my original teeth was permanent.

So it is with other challenges in our lives. God desires us to take each situation to Him for restoration. He cannot change the actual events, but is able to strengthen, heal, and renew our spirits. How many times do we hold onto things and wait before seeking the Lord? Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! 2 Corinthians 5:11

Over the years I have spent hours with numerous dentists, but my favorite is actually my brother, not the one who was driving the car, but the one, who eventually forgave me for ruining his brand new English racer.   What situation can Christ make new for you today?

Dear Lord, Thank you for restoring all things that I bring to you. Help me to realize there is nothing in my life that you cannot handle. Amen.

 

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Distraction of Moving-Distraction Devotion

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9

Rick and I just returned from a trip to MD. It still feels like home, but I didn’t feel homesick, if that makes sense. Connecting with dear friends and family was the highlight of each day. We had lived there for 38 years and raised our family creating a multitude of  treasured memories. Preparing to move to Colorado two years ago was a bittersweet process, yet I know God has been with us guiding each step. Here is a poem describing revelations that helped me let go, grieve, and prepared me for this new season.

 

Melodies of the Home

Empty rooms and echoing halls once filled with

the music of laughter, voices and footsteps.

Walls that were decorated with faces of loved ones’ smiles,

are now bare, with only the memories soaked inside.

Oh if these walls had voices, the ballads they would sing

If the floors were instruments, the rhythm of life would be a symphony.

First the bouncing beat of babies and toddlers

Full of giggles and teary-eyed cries

Boo boos being kissed and bedtime stories retold.

Next the chaotic cacophony of school books and

choruses full of chatter, chiding and cheers,

Interspersed with descants of backyard picnics,

Refrigerator Picassos, piles of laundry, and insatiable appetites.

As the family grows into the teen years, the symphony reaches a climax of

             the dichotomous joys and challenges that accompany emerging independence,

Ending with a mournful melody interspersed with harmonies of joyful expectation!

This home embraces the many memories and movements carved into the

walls and floors from each season of life.

But just like seasons, houses change, families grow up and move on.

This house now silent; cleaned spotless, swept clear of generational legacies,

Becomes an empty score for the composition of a new family chorus.

God bless this home, the tunes that dwell within and the harmonies of a new song.

                                                                              By Peg Arnold 2017

Distraction of Daily Devotions

Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” Lamentations 3:22-24

Since Easter I have had the opportunity to travel with both friends and family. I just returned from the WinSome Women conference at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan. This island is like stepping back in time. When getting off the boat you are met with a horse drawn carriage to take you to your destination. Bicycles are the only other mode of transportation. As I stood on the porch of the hotel, I was surrounded with expansive views of Lake Huron, lighthouses, and the Mackinac bridge. It was beautiful and I felt close to God surrounded by His creation.

The conference with its theme of Precious Promises was also inspiring through the messages of the speakers and the fellowship of the women. I find I reconnect with the Lord through these experiences and His revelations can include both encouraging messages and difficult ones too. Once again God convicted me about the importance of daily devotions. Yes convicted. He revealed to me that if I was praying daily without carving out specific time for reading scripture and devotions, it was like driving a car and never refueling.

Daily devotions provide that time of refueling. It is when I am able to connect in a deeper way with our Lord Jesus, through His word, study, reflection, and yes, prayer. When I fix my eyes on Him each morning, He is able to fill me with His wisdom, His strength, and His peace. During this time of stillness before Him, He may comfort me or convict me to address those areas that are challenging. Whatever happens, these moments help me to grow in my relationship with Christ and equip me to be more effective in my service to Him.

So why do I return from experiences like this and quickly allow the daily events and distractions to fritter away my time? How do I make these devotions a priority in my routine? The following quote is one that truly convicted me. “Excessive planning can cause stress and perpetuates an undue focus on the importance of self. This in itself is a form of idolatry and hinders our relationship with Christ.” If I continue to make excuses about my distractions, letting the planned and unplanned events of the day control me, it can be a form of sin and idolatry. Ouch!

Remember one of the Ten Commandments was “You shall have no other gods before me.” The gods of our lives today are not golden calves, but come in the form of schedules, technology, media, materialism, exhaustion, challenges, worries, prestige, goals, dreams, fitness, and even the god of wasted time. These “gods” can clutter our mind causing us more stress and perpetuate the focus on our own importance. This hinders our relationship with God and is a form of idolatry. When we allow ourselves to focus on earthly stresses, without taking them to God, we are no better than the early believers that made graven images. There is to be nothing, absolutely nothing that is set higher than your relationship with God.

Taking all our cares and worries to our Lord Jesus who loves us and died for us on the cross, is a privilege. To honor that privilege, daily devotions are one of the most important things we can do to honor Christ. By spending those moments with Him, He can help us to focus on what’s important, organize our time, and give us strength and wisdom to handle whatever distractions or challenges that may invade our thoughts and our schedule. It is when we lose focus of Him that we become vulnerable to the demands of those around us. Lamentations 3:22-24 says “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” You don’t have to travel to a remote place to connect with Christ, He is waiting for you right where you are now. Take time and start refueling with Him.

Dear Loving Lord, Forgive me when I make excuses and leave You out. I never thought that my surrender to the distractions in my day was creating an idol that removed my focus from You. Help me to seek and refuel with Your mercies every morning. I want to find my strength in You and intentionally live each moment for Your Purpose. Amen

Distraction of Doubt

 Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”Matthew 14:31

Have you ever been in a situation where you are asked to step out of your comfort zone? During those times, do you feel that you have not been equipped with the abilities or the confidence to complete the tasks that you face? Think about a time that you were asked to take on a new job, make a presentation, start a new business, watch a friend’s child, plan an event, move, teach a class, or some other responsibility.

Did you face it with confidence? Were you excited to “step out of the boat?” Or did you second guess yourself and ask the questions;

Why me?

What do I have to offer?

Who wants to listen to me?

Why would they trust me?

Why didn’t they ask her because she would do it so much better.

Or worse yet, “If they really knew me, they would never have asked me to do this! “

Self-doubt, it is a voice that can control, haunt, limit and/or paralyze you from accomplishing things that God has equipped you to do. The world holds up a measure of perfection making us doubt ourselves as parents, friends, workers, teachers, and more.

Doubt: defined as the state of being unsure of something, is an internal message that can rob us of the confidence to accomplish a goal. It is a thorn that slivers into our spirits and festers into a wound that if untreated could leave a scar for life.

            Doubt may come from voice in our past telling us we would never measure up. Doubt may come from the comparisons of society that tell us we are too impatient, too disorganized, too young, too old, too heavy, too thin, too lazy to shy, too outgoing, too injured, too   ______ . You fill in the blank.

If we listen to these voices of doubt over the voice of God, we allow ourselves to be filled with a constant questioning of our abilities. These voices distract us from the gifts and talents God has equipped us with and limit our own potential. Would we ever allow a child in our care to question his or her worth and abilities in the same way? Then why do we allow ourselves to fall into the trap of unworthiness and doubt?

            I have to be honest with you that I experience times of doubt. Like Peter, when I am put into a situation of “stepping out of the boat,” I am not sure if I have confidence or feel equipped to accomplish the task that is before me. My friends and family will tell me that I have the abilities, but, for instance, when preparing to speak, sing, perform or even write this blog, I am very vulnerable to those voices inside that say:

  • Who do you think you are?
  • What makes you think you have something worthwhile to share?
  • Why would others want to listen to you?

My stomach can become tied up in knots, my legs become shaky and sometimes I become so nervous, my insides feel like mush. Just as Peter doubted the ability to walk on water with Christ, right there in front of him, I am doubting my God given abilities. Yet, what happened with Peter? When he kept his eyes on Christ, he would stay on the top of the water. But when he looked away from Christ and doubted, he would begin sinking. I need to remember every day that doubt is not from God and doubt will limit what God can do through me. It is only by girding myself daily with the reassurance of God’s word, and keeping my eyes on Him that I have the confidence to accomplish the tasks I am required to do.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.

Do you believe that Christ has created you with gifts and equipped you with the abilities to do His will in whatever environment He has placed you? Do you feel God calling you into a new direction? Guard your mind and spirit from the voices of the world that want to distract you with doubt and fill you with lies of unworthiness. You are worthy, step out of the boat, keep your eyes on him, listen to His voice and take His hand, Jesus will not let you sink!

 

Lord, Forgive me when I spend my time doubting the gifts and abilities you have entrusted to me. Help me to see myself as you do and ignore the doubts the world screams into my ear. I want to hear your voice, focus on your eyes and step out of my boat. Amen

 

Distraction of Denver

I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth
,” Psalm 121: 1, 2.

On my first trip out west, I was mesmerized by the ever changing landscape. The Rocky Mountains slowly rose as white ghosts of snow-capped summits into view and took my breath away. For the first time, I was witnessing the sights that must have inspired the lyrics, “purple mountain majesty” and “the mountains declare the glory of God.”

As I arrived to the city of Denver, the sights quickly consumed my view: the new baseball stadium, quaint café squares adorned with statues and fountains, remodeled antique store fronts contrasted with shiny modern architecture. These new highlights diverted my focus from the beautiful landscapes in the distance. I loved the sights of the city, but they completely distracted me from the splendor of the mountains on the western horizon.

Then it struck me. How much is this like my daily life? I often spend devotional time in the morning when I lift my eyes vertically to the Lord and am refreshed with His power and glory. But when I leave my devotional time and jump into my day, I become consumed with the horizontal demands and sights close at hand.

God is like those mountains that surround the western side of Denver. He is always there watching and waiting to offer strength and refreshment. When we look vertically to Him, we are aware of His presence, but many times our thoughts and view are consumed with our horizontal daily demands.

We are called daily to lift our eyes, vertically, to the hills. This is where our help comes from.

I lift up my eyes to the hills— from where will my help come?
 My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth
,” Psalm 121: 1, 2.

It is only then that He endows us with strength and empowers us to reach out horizontally to others.

Dear Lord, How Majestic is your name in all the earth. As I seek to serve you daily, help me to focus on the glory of your vertical insights that will strengthen and guide me in my horizontal demands. Amen

Note to my readers I want to share an exciting opportunity I have to publish some of these devotions in a book called Devotions for the Distracted Heart. I will keep you posted on the details when the book comes available, hopefully by June 2019. This has consumed much of my time, so I wanted you to be the first to know about this.

Also if you are interested in meeting in person, Check out this link for some of the places I will be speaking or conferences I will be attending. Let me know to look for you there!  https://wonderofwomen.org/events

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Love Verses Album 2

Here are the rest of the February Love verses. I pray these are an encouragement to you. You may share these freely. The images are taken from Word Swag Free images.

I look forward to sharing some exciting news with you next month. Its a project I have been working on this month also.