Thursday, May 9, 2013

Stressed-Less Living ~ Matters of the Heart

 
Peace is not a matter of life or circumstances; it's a matter of the heart.   ~Tracie Miles


Have you noticed the pattern of our lives?  Each life tells it's own story.  I sat in a circle with some wonderful Jesus girls this week and we took each other down the paths that were our lives.  As you can imagine we all had one thing in common.  Not a single story was without circumstances that affected us emotionally ~ that affected our hearts. 

This week in our Stressed-Less bible study we met Hannah.  Hannah was the barren wife of Elkanah, but she was not his only wife. Elkanah was also married to Peninnah who had multiple children.  The family lives in the book of 1st Samuel which carries us through the trials and tribulations Hannah faced.  She was barren, Peninnah was not. The marriage alone was difficult, although acceptable in biblical times ~ can you imagine sharing your husband?  To make things even more difficult, Peninnah taunted Hannah constantly.  This was not a marriage 'made in heaven'  or was it?

I grew up in a great neighborhood with girlfriends to play with.  I have some awesome memories of amateur concerts in my basement singing along side of Captain and Tennille, Barbara Streisand, Elton John, The Beetles  (it was the 70's what can I say!).  Beside our house was a long open grassy field that hosted many of the neighborhood football games, and hanging on the power lines were chestnuts connected by twine that had been thrown up around the lines.  We played kick the can after dark, our one street light being 'home' base.  The Bills stadium was close enough that we could ride bikes to it and did.  I remember watching OJ Simpson (in better days) during open practice times through a chain link fence. Even today I feel all warm inside as I remember those times.

Unfortunately,  the pattern of our lives is that each life comes with circumstances ~ mine was no exception.  My family was a bit on the dysfunctional side - well, maybe a lot on the dysfunctional side.  We had daily circumstances that eventually led to divorce after 19 years, my father struggled with alcohol, and I lost my mother in a car accident at 12 years old.  I was moved 750 miles away to another state, and my 'big' brother stayed behind to continue his life in the only place we had ever known.  That separation was devastating.  I didn't realize how much until I became an adult and knew I had missed out on a relationship with my brother. Not to mention, I would never bond with my niece and nephews.  It was yet another tragic loss.  With the move I  met with a culture I didn't know, and started with yet another set of life's circumstances ~ a pattern ~ just in another time and another place.

I now know we serve a powerful and mighty God. A God that can change any and every circumstance that arises if he chooses to.  How many of us went through life (and maybe still do) crying out to God to take away the circumstances, to change them, or just MAKE THEM STOP? I used to.  If I'm honest I still do at times.  Tracie teaches us in this chapter that God is not interested in changing circumstances, He is interested in changing US through those circumstances. WOW. 

As a result of our circumstances, we have stories to tell. We have testimonies of redemption. REDEMPTION!  The turmoil of our past or  the circumstances of our future do not have to not set the bar for how we live our lives today.  Our heavenly father is begging us to come to Him for all things. His heart breaks when we are blind to His grace and mercy.  A grace and mercy that can forever set us free from the bondage caused by circumstances. When we open our hearts to Him and reach out to Him for all things we will come to know peace and joy.  We will have the ability to face circumstances in a whole new light.  A powerful and never-ending light. The light of our Heavenly Father.   He is a Father looking to change our hearts, not our circumstances.

~ Dear God, today I reach out to all that are suffering today as a result of circumstances.  I pray Father that their hearts be softened and that they reach for your light in the midst of whatever they may be facing.  We know you are the answer Father.  The ultimate and only solution to every situation. We thank you Father for being our Rock. We thank you for the opportunity for everlasting life in a place we can only imagine, with You.  Thank you for each person here that has a story to tell, a story you planned.  Thank you for Tracie, for sharing her heart with us and opening our eyes to ways through you we can battle the stress that we face every day while living on this earth. We love you Father. We worship you. It is in your Holy and Most precious name we pray.  Amen

If you don't know our Heavenly Father as your light, reach out today. Right now. Ask Him to come into your heart, to change your heart. Ask Him to forgive your sins. and let today be the day of a new beginning.  A beginning with a Father that is always there, always with us and regardless of our circumstances can fill us with peace and joy. FREE - there is no price to pay.  He already paid this price for us when he died on that heavy dreadful cross, yet a cross that signifies promises of everlasting life with Him in a place we can only imagine.  

In His Precious Light I Stand,

<3 Kelley











18 comments:

  1. "God is not interested in changing circumstances, He is interested in changing US " This statement nails it on the head. We almost always pray to "give us a new job" or "remove this thorn from my life" but we need to pray "Father, give me the grace to handle this better" or "give me the patience...." He is looking for a heart change and once our hearts change we either don't notice the thorns anymore or He then gives us our hearts desires. God is good!

    Blessings on you
    Mindy
    The Howell Blessings

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    1. Amen Mindy! Sometimes it takes some of us [smile] a little longer than others to get it! but by gosh, I got it now!

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  2. BEAUTIFUL!!!! Love this and your heart, Kelley!

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  3. Well said. I moved away from my family as an adult and missed my neices and nephews growing up. Holidays were the worst especially since my hubby has a job where he works most Holidays. I kept asking God to change the situation and nothing happened. Then I got involved with church and figured since I was alone on holidays anyway, I'd volunteer to feed the less fortunate. Totally changed me life.

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    1. Amen. I never had a relationship with Jesus growing up - knew him, believed in Him but never built that relationship until about 4 or 5 years ago - so I was forever begging him to change circumstances......and never understood why he took my mother away and left me with a struggling father. I know now. Praise God. Now I am in a position to be able to share the true story of Jesus and how He did everything perfectly to set me up for where I am today. He is so good!

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  4. Kelley,

    This is so beautiful! It is when we use that pain of our trials to help others that are going through them that they become our testimonies!

    Melissa S OBS Group Leader

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  5. You are so right Melissa! I hope I get to meet you sometime soon!

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  6. I love this: The turmoil of our past or the circumstances of our future do not have to not set the bar for how we live our lives today. Our heavenly father is begging us to come to Him for all things.

    Thank you for sharing!

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  7. Thank you Loretta! God is Good!

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  8. I love your story Kelley...such a beautiful story of redemption (which is my One Word, by the way!). I am so thankful that God was waiting in the wings for you and you eventually found him! And I am so glad to have you back at OBS! God does amazing things through our circumstances... and, as hard as my circumstances have been, I thank God for them. I wouldn't be who I am, or have the relationship with Him that I do, had it not been for them.

    Kandace (OBS Prayer Team)

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  9. OOOOh Kandace, thank you! You certainly were dealt a huge set of circumstances but you definitely have a story of REDEMPTION! Beautiful redemption. We serve a powerful and sovereign God! I love you!

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  10. Thank you for sharing your heart, Kelley. A beautiful story of God's redeeming love. So glad He has connected us on our journey. Love and hugs to you! :)

    Shelly (OBS Leader)

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    1. Thanks Shelly!!!! I cannot believe how awesome it is to be a part of this group! Each with their own story! Blogs were amazing today! I too am glad He has connected us on this awesome journey!!!! I'm pushing for that retreat in the middle of the USA so everyone can be together!!!! :)

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  11. He is more then enough , his grace is sufficient and I am thanking God for you and the wisdom and light he is placing in your heart to reach out and touch those who need a word of encouragement, and understanding, Humble yourself before the Lord and he will lift you up. You are a peacemaker Kelley and I love you. God is going to do mighty things in you and through you. Praising God for his love endures all things, and teaches us to love one another , forgive and live in the Joy and Peace of the one who created all things. Be blessed and your a blessing.

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    1. Ahh Pam, Thank you. God is so good and I am so blessed with some incredible friends. I love you and am thankful to you for being my greatest supporter, encourager, and friend! HUGS

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  12. Kelley, you really have such a gift for writing. I know the Lord will use your story to help many ladies overcome their struggles. So thankful for our Redeemer!! He makes all things beautiful!! You are beautiful! Love, Sue

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  13. Kelley thank you for this beautiful testimony and reminder that when we get it from our head to our heart the changes are within us through a God who is mighty to save. Bless you.

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