Was it Just a Dress? by Beth Farley

 

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As I was cleaning out my bedroom closet, there it hung; the dress! As I stood there with my  thoughts, I asked myself, “Was it just a dress?”

We first made eye contact in the store. On the clearance rack, there it hung. It’s beautiful silk draped around the wider curves I was blessed with. The beaded pearls hung from the neckline so there was no need for any accessories. I fell in love immediately. The best part was it was marked down several times from $129.99 to $12.99!Looking at myself from all angles in the full length mirror, I chose it. It was mine. Bought …

After it was worn for one very special purpose, there it sat, in the back of the closet for two years. Was it just a dress?

Two years later, I am face to face with a whirlwind of memories. I lifted the dress off of the bar, peeled it off the hanger and held it to my face. I smelled the faint scent of perfume that was worn that day. I allowed my fingertips to slowly caress the pearls that hung around the collar and I began to sob. Allowing the emotions to flow from the depths of my soul, I gently folded it in tissue paper and placed it into the DONATE pile.

Once my dress was sadly tossed into the huge metal donation-bin and I heard it hit the bottom, I slowly turned around, walked back to my car and hung my head. All at once, much fear, anger, anxiety and sadness gripped my body. The DRESS was gone.

This chapter of my life was gone!!!

I reached for my spare Bible that I keep under my driver’s seat and opened up to Psalm 34:13-14

Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from deceitful speech.
Turn away from evil and do
what is good;
seek peace and pursue it. (HCSB)

For all of the anger that sits deep inside of me, I will not retaliate. I will not speak evil nor be deceitful. I will begin to learn how to use this experience to grow closer to God and make peace with the past.

Dear God:
Today I open my heart and make myself available to experience and express the fullness of your presence. I choose to begin to heal and renew my strength. Be with me as I go about and explore my new life. Amen.

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Standing at the Corner…by Beth Farley

 

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Standing at the corner of the long gravel driveway, two children were bundled up waiting for the school bus. Waiting! Waiting! Waiting! No bus! It turned out that I had made a mistake in daylight-savings-time. It was the following week.

As the kids scuffed up the driveway, heads hanging down, I knew I would have to make this a funny situation rather than a bad mistake.

This young mom had to not only apologize for the time mess-up to two very sleepy kids, but now she had to figure out how to keep them awake for the following 45 minutes until the bus would actually arrive.

With no television or computer in the house, I chose to do what I do best. I broke out the home-made hot chocolate and read to them from the Bible. Forty minutes later, they were warm, charged and climbing the school bus steps.

We all have unexpected interruptions; some are huge and some are small, like day-light-saving time mistake. Regardless the size of the interruption, we need wisdom on how to handle the situation. What can we do when your schedule get’s botched up?

We can seek God’s advise. Proverbs 1:1-7 gives us instruction on how to seek wisdom. Turning to the Word of God is important in how we cope with our interruptions.
Proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:
for gaining wisdom and instruction; for understanding words of insight;
for receiving instruction in prudent behavior,
doing what is right and just and fair;
for giving prudence to those who are simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young-
let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance-
for understanding proverbs and parables,
the sayings and riddles of the wise.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and instruction. (NIV)

We can also cast all of our anxiety on Him…To cast is to fling from one object onto another. If you are flinging onto God your every care and worry and anxiety, those things that divide your focus and distract your thoughts will be handled by God who will continue to love and guide you no matter what.
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you at the proper time, casting all your anxiety on him, because hectares for you.
1 Peter 5:6-7

Are you dealing with an interruption today? Has your day gotten botched up? Come and join the discussion at:living by grace

Brainwashing!

 

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There are days where I just throw my hands up in the air, look up at God and say, “Lord, you said you would promise me strength when I need it. You have commanded me not to be fearful and to always walk with the armor on.”

Does this sound like brainwashing?

I guess in some ways it does. We want to be brainwashed by the almighty words of the Bible and led by the Holy Spirit in all that we do. We want to walk in the fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22-26

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness,
Self-Control!
Against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, we must also follow the Spirit. We must not become conceited, provoking one another envying one another. HCSB

Doesn’t that sound like a good brainwashing? I want to walk in love. I want to walk in joy, peace and self-control. I want to be immersed in God’s perfect will for my life.

What can we do though if we are being brainwashed by others? Bad brainwashing is when we allow someone to take control of our thinking to do what we know might be the wrong thing to say or do. I think it might be safe to say that we’ve all been on the giving and receiving end of bad brainwashing.

Good brainwashing is submitting your own brain to God’s Word so that the Lord might cleanse our thoughts and heart. How do we do that? We do that by being in the Word of God, praying and fasting.GE DIGITAL CAMERA

God will speak to each one of individually on any matter we are struggling with. If we go to someone for advise, make sure that they are qualified to give you good solid, Biblical advise.

Galatians 6:14
But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross and I to the World. HCSB

The Cyber Tongue by Beth Farley

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Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me…
UNLESS…
They are all over Social Media.

     I’ve seen so many posts on Facebook where people are taking a break due to upsetting or retaliating posts. I have personally experienced this sort of cyber tongue attack more than once and unfortunately from the same group of people.

Before I began writing, if I felt I was being attacked, I would just sign off of social media for a bit, cool down before returning. Now that I’ve built my own social platform I refuse to miss out on all of the good stuff on Facebook, including family pictures.

When you know someone or perhaps a group of people who are attacking you on social media, what do you do? I just simply delete them and block their negative cyber tongues from my life.

God’s Word tells us in James 3:2 We all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says he is a mature man who is able to control his whole body. Skip down to verse 5: So too, though the tongue is a small part of the body, it boasts great things. It pollutes the whole body, sets the course of life on fire and is set on fire by hell. (HCSB)
Our tongues have such power in them. We can encourage or discourage. We have a choice and most often we make the mistake of falling into saying the wrong words.

(v8) No man can tame the tongue.

     I’d like to say that I didn’t have my own set of comments regarding my Facebook catastrophe, because I did. However, I wrote out my anger and pain in my own private journal. No other eyes saw it! They remained between me and God.
Please do yourself and others a favor, keep your harsh, hurtful, and hateful comments off of social media. If you are unable to address the situation personally, then go write it out somewhere else.sealed envelope

Toxic…Beth Farley

 

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Toxic Words Destroy

I have recently been attacked via Facebook by some people I have loved for years. Their words were incredibly hurtful and toxic. They almost caused me to completely shut down from Face book; but I decided to just delete them/block them so that I could further my work for God with the gift He has given me.

What do we do when toxic words linger? And how can we put them behind us?

Until we decide that our path in life matters, that it is ultimately our responsibility to live by our cherished principles, established by God, then we will have insufficient motivation to put criticism in its place.

If our goal is to do all that God has called us to do and commit to saying nothing will deflect us from that path.

If we commit to that, then why do we allow friends or a loved one remarks elicit negative activity? I believe we all need a sense of what matters in life?

Is it the cars we own or the houses we live in that matter? We need a solid sense of what matters in life. Insofar as the meanings in our lives are built on sand, we are vulnerable to the wounding by what people say and do.

Matthew 7:26 says:But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. (NIV)
Listening to what God’s Word says vs listening to the bitter words of others Christian or non-christian is vital to our lives.

If you are approaching a situation and believe your attitude is not in control, then whose control is it in? It is always in God’s if and only if you give it to Him. I have dealt with such hurtful and hateful attitudes for years and I would say most times before responding, I learned how to pray for protection over my words. When in that compromising situation I have prayed that the Holy Spirit would give me the words. I said most times; not all times

I have gone round and round with the same family members. Besides praying before entering into a conversation, what else can I do?

I ask God to show me where to start. I recently made the decision NOT to allow the toxic words to bring me down any longer. I have asked God to show me a specific time and place for the rejuvenation process to begin; that is what we all need to do when we feel broken down; pray for rejuvenation.

I have taken almost two solid weeks to breathe and reaffirm what I believe. I know taking time to breathe and evaluate is hard when we are dealing with so much, especially for young moms with children under their feet all day. If you don’t have time to do this; to slow down; please take joy in knowing that you do not have to be isolated to breathe. God’s sweet Spirit will prompt you when to take a deep breath.

If you have some decisions to make towards some toxic family members or a toxic friend or even toxic co-workers, please spend some time in solitude. Our decisions are often best made in that quiet time with Him. Be conscious to humble yourself before the Lord and seek His plans and purpose. I could cry right now because it is the MOST initiate time you can have with Him. I’ve experienced it first hand, over and over again.

Breath, what a powerful word; the process of inhaling the good and releasing the bad is very cleansing. Just take several deep breaths, each five-seconds on the inhale and five on the exhale. These breaths will calm you down, put your focus where it needs to be; and tap into the gauge of God.

Oh Lord, it’s so hard to separate our feelings from facts when we are being attacked. Help us all to breathe and call upon You.

I don’t normally read from the Message but Romans 8:27 MSG is beautiful!

(The Spirit) knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

Women, meditate on the word pregnant…If you’ve ever experienced being pregnant, we know how hard it is to know what’s going on in that little tummy of ours, or in my case, BIG tummy; but God knows. Wow!!! What a great God!

Come join us today at Living by Grace; a Facebook community as we discuss toxic words…How we cope and I would love to hear about what you think about a God that knows our pregnant condition.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Living-by-Grace/208718449189065

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The Lose Boards of my Life … by Beth Farley

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I was walking over the bridge which leads to my community pool when I started to feel one of the wooden planks let loose. I stopped immediately enamored with a fearful heart. Looking down at my feet realizing it wasn’t the board at all; it was a huge nut of some sort that threw me off.

In that very brief moment of gripping fear of falling through the board into the murky creek, my voice cracked out, “Oh God!”

What does “Oh God” mean to you? Oh God means a desperate prayer.

Have you ever experienced a loss for prayer-words when all you could say was Oh God? Have you ever felt backed into a corner in fear being faced with some past mistake?

There was an Old Testament man named Jacob; known as the Schemer, who cheated his own brother then his father-in-law. Eventually years of living fearful of his own life, Jacob finally faced his brother. He prayed before that knee trembling confrontation. (Gen. 32:9-12)

What can we do when we are walking in fear and desperately approaching God in prayer for help?

Sometimes when I’m feeling torn and battered and I’m at a loss for words, I just thank Him. I thank Him for the opportunity of every breath I’m able to take.

I sometimes just praise Him; telling Him how worthy He is of more praises than I give.

Remember his promises, some days I wake with a cloud around my heart and it dulls everything except the weight I carry inside. But today…I rose to the light of God’s grace that never vanishes and you can too.

Jacob walked before the loose boards of his life and was blunt saying, “save me, I pray from the hand of my brother, Esau.” (v11)

Not all of our loose boards in life are a direct result of our scheming or manipulating others; we just may be experiencing being drawn into another’s negative choice.
When we don’t know which turn to take, remember you can walk over your lose board with the confidence of knowing it will all work out.securedownload

Exodus 14:13-14 HCSB
But Moses said to the people, “Don’t be afraid. Stand firm and see the LORD’S salvation He will provide for you today; for the Egyptians you see today, you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you must be quiet.

A Bottle of Messy Hair Dye

 

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Day 4 Survival

My daughters friend came over and summoned my daughter to dye her hair. Her friend has always had long beautiful blonde hair but wanted to add some white highlights. My backyard was instantly transformed into a styling salon and away they began.
My daughter does Not have her license to do hair but she has changed her hair at least 100 shades of blonde, black, red and yes gray over the last eight years that she’s got lots of experience with the in-home-hair kits.
After hours of pulling, stripping, rinsing and conditioning, the hair turned out beautiful. It was now long, luscious and favored the white that she wanted.
When you make a major change in your hair, you should always give it 48 hours before reacting. When she left she appeared happy. It looked beautiful with her tan and blue eyes.
Not even 12 hours later, her friend went to a professional and asked her to fix the white. It was too white for her. She was freaking out. The beautician took out her tools and began to fix the hair.
When she returned to visit us that night, her hair was almost brown. It had some blonde left in it but for the most part it was brown and almost looked wet.
She was hysterical. She kept flipping her hair. She kept looking in the mirror and almost crying over the darkness. She hated it again.

As she was inspecting her hair in the mirror dangling around her shoulders, all I could think about was my own mess dangling around my body. I saw my messy mistakes and sins.
Our messes can be our message.

While I’m embarrassed by my blunders, I’m also glad to have firsthand experienced how capable of survival I am.
I don’t know what messes are threatening to crash down on your already emotional self; but there are always lessons to learn through the mess.
Whatever your circumstances, the galvanizing truth of God’s Word is that nothing can change the ending of the super natural story we’ve been written into.
NOTHING can separate us from the love of God. I don’t know about you but when I feel like a hot mess, that is the most comforting thing to think about. No matter what is going on in our little corner of life’s coliseum, Jesus is right there with you.
Turn your mess into another lesson learned. God’s love frees us from our messes so that we can live with thankfulness and peace.

Psalm 77:11-12 NIV… I will remember the deeds of the LORD, yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago; I will meditate on all your words and consider all your mighty deeds.

The Best Way to Deal & Heal is to Write by Sight…By Beth Farley

 

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Day 3 Survival

After a long day of running to and fro, I finally rewarded myself with an hour at the pool. I always find comfort being by water, dangling my legs or plunging right in. I’ve been known to do a back dive a time or two and may just do it again this summer. Being by the pool or near any water, brings back joyful childhood memories.

As I spread my fluffy towel down, I took out my new Karen Kingsbury book with full intentions of letting go of some painful emotions that my body was yearning to release. Despite all of my own efforts all of the critical wounds were trying to re-surface.

Criticism from loved ones can be so toxic and frankly rob you of your joy.

Tossing and turning on my chair, intensions on not allowing myself to feel the hurt; I knew what I had to do. I reached into my pool bag, grabbed my journal and pen and began to write by sight.

Looking around the fairly quiet pool I saw smiling faces. I saw the clear blue water with magnificent blue tiles glimmering in the sunshing. I saw the emerald green leaves swaying in the light warm breeze and right away I was reminded of my beautiful world around me.

I could hear children laughing, music playing and lips chatting. There is joy in this place. God has given me this little domain to remind me of His provisions.

I’m learning pain by pain and tension by tension that after all of my own strategies fail, I’m finally brought to the realization that there is peace in Him; peace in His beauty that surrounds me.

He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes gras grow on the hills.
Psalm 147:8 NIV

Center yourself and meditate on the actual truth of God’s perfect peace. Deal and heal by the beautiful world given to you.

Do you ever get lost in the beautiful world around you? If so, how do you get lost and what help could you give to others?

Come and join the discussion at living by grace…a Facebook community.

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Lessons Learned from Sharing a Bowl of Cereal with Your Dog! by Beth Farley

 

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Day 2

Survival

It was one of those days where I stayed pretty diligent with my diet; or should I say, my new healthy choices. I looked up at the wall clock and it was almost 11:00 p.m. and my stomach started making that ugly growling noise. It kinda sounded like a plunger in a toilet; it was gurgling and swishing.

Do I – Don’t I? I asked myself that simple question over and over again until finally I gave in and said, “I do!” I pulled out the “healthy” cereal and skim milk and sat down to savor the flavor. As I was dipping the spoon in for the third time, I looked over and saw my pal, Peek. Peek is my Peek-a-Poo dog. She was giving me those soft eyes, the kind that I know without a doubt would love to get her little tongue into my now half eaten bowl of yum-yum cereal.

The sad, droopy glare in here eyes enticed me to do something I don’t often do; I shared.

It got me to thinking about the facial expressions we portray. We roll our eyes, frown, squint, widen our eyes, stick out our tongues, scrunch our cheeks and frown with sadness.

Then I wondered, does God see our facial expressions? I know He is all knowing, all powerful and all loving. But, does He love us when we are making hurtful faces towards others?

What’s that ole expression, “Actions speak louder than words?” I would have to agree with that. I’ve experienced several years of unloving facial expressions and they have landed us in several confrontational critical conversation. Not good!

At our Bible Study today we talked a little bit about how much a smile can do for someone. Isn’t that the truth! We read so much of people by their looks but if someone smiles at me, I want to smile back no matter what I’m feeling.

What is your face saying today?sadness

Dear God, when I am so angry, please help me to turn up a smile rather than roll my eyes.

The hearing ear and the seeing eye, the Lord has made them both. Proverbs 20:12

If God tells us that the Lord has made both the eyes and the ears, then don’t you think we had better use them for His Purpose?

Survival Mode … Beth Farley

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The violent storm ripped through our city last night. With 65 mph gusts and the windows shaking, I thought for sure I was going to hear the tornado drills sound. What did I do? I went into survival mode. I curled into the fetal position and pulled the comforter over my head.

How does it feel to be in survival mode? Survival mode feels differently for many of us. We all react differently to the storms of our lives. But, I ask what good will OUR survival mode do us if it is temporary?

While I was under the covers, shaking like a leaf, I was thinking about how stupid it was to be under there. I should have gone to the safe zone of our house; under the stairs. If the windows burst over me or even worse, rapid winds caused the roof to blow off, how safe was I under the covers? Why didn’t do the smart thing?

When you’re going through a violent storm in your life, what does your survival mode look like? Is it a few drinks, few pills, few street drugs, few extra ding-dongs, binging or purging? We become powerless and turn to things and even people that we think will help us survive when we should be turning to God.

One of the most debilitating aspects of fear is its ability to sap our strength, drain our energy and causes us to think irrationally.

Life’s hardships often makes us feel like someone’s turned up the heat and we wonder if we’ll ever survive. At times we may be asking for divine assistance and wonder if we’re being heard because we don’t readily get an answer we identify. Our Heavenly Father listens to us unconditionally.

When you need a solid survival plan, God will guide you. There is a purpose for your storm and in what God is doing, whether we see it or not. What is happening may be very powerful like a fierce storm, but He’ll cause it to work together for your good.

Dear Lord, I thank you for all of the great things in my life. For the not-so-great? I thank you as well because although I cannot understand why you did not intervene on my behalf in the midst of this trauma, I believe you God have a purpose.

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