Monday, April 16, 2012

Silence can be golden!

I am a creature of habit. Most of us are. I like to have noise going around me. My standard routine when I get into the office in the morning is to turn on music, and when I get home at night, turn on the TV. I don't always pay attention to it, I just like something going on in the background! In fact my son laughs at me because I will turn on the TV and start reading a magazine. He will come in and start to turn the channel and I will say "don't turn that, Im watching that!" :) Really mom?? :) hahaha But I have learned that there are reasons that we like the noise so much and even more reasons to learn to love the silence!!
When there are stressful events happening in my life, I like the noise because it drowns out all the commotion going on in my head! Sometimes I just don't want to have to deal with something or think about my problems and my circumstances. But the problem is the noise will eventually die down. Whether its when you lay down to go do sleep at night, or when you are sitting alone somewhere..there will come a time when you can not drown out the thoughts that lay waiting to be dealt with. Pretending that they are not there does not cause them to disappear! There will always be reminders of what you are going through...thanks to social media...mostly by logging on to Facebook now a days!
So today we got a rare day off and of course, I had the TV on. I started with the Today show which I love. I picked up around the house and eventually took a shower :) Then I came back in and sat down and started checking facebook, etc. all the while the TV was still going! Eventually Hoda and Kathie Lee came on..and I started laughing! Does anyone purposely watch that? And I decided to take a minute and just turn the TV off and sit and reflect for a moment before I started to run my errands for the day. A day off for me somehow has magically turned in to a golden opportunity for me to take my son something special for lunch to school :)
After a few moments of the silence, I began to hear the cry of my own heart. It is a hurt heart, a broken heart, but a healing heart. I still sit in this moment of silence and can't believe that I am in the position that I am today. But facts are facts. And trying to escape them will not make them less a reality. The Bible talks about how a man has his plans but that God looks at the heart. What does He see when He looks at my heart? Does he see the fractures and the bruises? I am not even in a place to make a plan right now. I am in survivor mode. But I am surviving!! Each day..I get stronger. Can I be honest enough with myself to allow myself the freedom to grieve what I have lost? Do I have the strength and the courage to pick up the pieces of my brokeness and to give them to God to allow Him to recreate me? Yes I do!! This is what I have learned in the silence. God knows anyway. He is patient with us. He allows us the time to process and figure out when and how we are going to admit where we are. And when we do, the Father side of Him kicks in. He is fiercely protective of what is His! He longs to heal the hurts and to help us to regain our ability to take the next step. He is patient, He is kind. He is not self serving, he doesn't rejoice in our pain, He doesn't brag about His strength...in short He is Love! He is all that we need. There are no quick fixes!! Quick usually equates to temporary. When we take the time and allow God to do what He needs, we find ourself permanently set upon a new path, a new direction! He will fill us with new dreams, new vision and new confidence that allows us to move past who we were and what we lost, to who He sees us to be and what great things He has waiting for us!
So I have gained a respect for the silence. I am thankful for that time when it is just me, my thoughts and God. He is the best listener ever! :) I look forward to hearing more of what He has planned for me!! Could it just be after American Idol is over?? Just kidding....silly!! I have DVR for that! :) hahaha Couldn't leave my friends on a down note!! Believing not only for a good week for you all but for a God week! In this thing called life with you!
Your Friend - April

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

You can spell the world Die in Diet!!!

Ok if you were blessed with naturally abnormal genes and you have never had to diet or try to lose weight in your life, then this next comparison may not mean as much to you. For the rest of us lowly, normal people who have battled the bulge off and on in life, you will totally get my point. Lately I have been trying to diet and exercise more. For a multitude of reasons. But the main reasons are that I want to be a healthy person and I want to live to enjoy my kid, my grandkids someday and just to aggravate people for as long as I can! :) hahaha
When I decided to start doing this, I knew that I would need some help. Hey if I could do it on my own, then I would have already! So I signed up to myfitnesspal.com and decided to track my food and my exercise. And the next thing I did was pick a few friends to have as my accountability partners. I need people that would push me, or give me that look right before I dug into my Oreo Peanut Butter Pie! :) You know the look? The "are you really going to eat that" look? I get transported back to the old SNL skit with Chris Farley, Adam Sandler and David Spade when they are dressed as the mall girls and Chris Farley is talking about going on a diet. He asks for David Spade's fries and David says "aren't you on a diet?" Chris Farley replies in his deepest voice..."Lay off me! I'm starving!!" Then he says "diet starts Monday!" :) hahahaha...been there done that! But anyway back to my point.
I knew that I needed some extra incentives to help me in this journey! I came to the realization that I did not gain this extra weight overnight and I will not lose it overnight! There was no "quick fix" to help me. It was going to take determination and self discipline! And a plan. I don't do good without a plan! :) I realized also that I needed to take a new approach to losing weight. It doesn't work for me to say "no sugar this week" or "no fried foods". What is it about us humans? I know that if I say no sugar..that is what I will crave all week! I decided just to stay under a certain amount of calories a day and to incorporate healthy things in to my diet. To make a permanent LIFE change, not a temporary diet fix!
This got me to thinking about my spiritual life as well. The Bible talks about us dying daily to our flesh. It's like God knew that we would have struggles and usually the same ones over and over again! :) That's why when you read Romans you see the chapter that talks about why do I continually do the things that I wish I wouldn't! Hey my life story when it comes to eating! :) Here is the similarities I have found: when you are dieting you have to stop eating things that will add to your problem! when you are renewing your spiritual diet you have to stop doing things that pull you back into the same old rut that you have been in! I'm not going to keep a cinnamon roll on my desk and stare at it constantly giving myself a pep talk about how strong I am!! No eventually, I will eat that cinnamon roll! When you have a struggle, it is foolish to think that you need to "exercise your faith" by continually putting yourself around what you have struggled with to test how strong you are! Eventually you will fall back into your old habits! When I am on a "diet" it messes with my mind set. When I focus on what I can't eat, or have to deny myself of, I want to die! French Fries never smell or taste so good as when you shouldn't be eating them! :) hahaha The same is true with our spirit man. If we keep our focus on what we shouldn't do, or what we have laid down at the foot of the cross, our mind will begin to justify what it really wasn't that bad in the first place. I mean come on, is it really hurting me or anyone else? And the longer we dwell in that place, the more likely we are to pick those things back up. Sometimes you just have to push away from the table!! And sometimes you just have to crucify those old habits once and for all and walk away. If you are like me, it's hard for me to do anything in moderation!! :) I'm an all or nothing gal! I am a super size it person! :) hahahaha But I have learned that moderation is the key. If I learn to balance my diet, a small fry will not kill me!! The same is so true in my spiritual life! I have learned to find the balance. I want to grow, to know God more. It is my sincere desire to read His Word and develop my prayer life. BUT I refuse to live in self condemnation if that doesn't happen every single day for three hours a day! :) God knows my heart, He knows my life. It's ok to have a piece of candy now and again, or to appreciate the hard work that someone has gone to and enjoy a sliver of that cake! ;) It's when you allow the desire for the food to overtake you, that you have a problem. It's the same in your spirit life! It's ok to miss a prayer or have a moment where you just don't feel like reading! :) But it's when you give in to the feelings and let them dominate your spiritual growth, that you will experience a problem! Find your balance. Have the courage to hook up with people who will hold you accountable! We have all been there before so we can help each other through this!! :) My prayer for you is that in dying to your flesh daily, you will experience new life like never before!! By learning the balance in your life, you will find freedom like you have never had! I'm ready for this are you? Love you my friends! Now I have to go so I can order my large diet coke! :) hahahaha Until next time....

Friday, April 6, 2012

An Easter Prayer

This is the prayer of my heart right now at this very moment. My heart is so full and overflowing. So I am going to just type it as it comes out and not go back and edit it or correct the spelling or anything like that. I encourage you to find time to do the same!!

Dear God:
I thank you for the sacrifice that you made for me. You gave your only Son. I have one Son. The thought of losing him for ANY reason is beyond my comprehension! But you went beyond YOUR feelings, your comfort, your love and you GAVE to save a world that was dying and in need!!! Oh God that I would have but a mustard seed size of your compassion and love for humanity! That in one small way my life would reflect that gift that you gave! I can not say THANK YOU enough. But Thank You is not what you want from me. You want a relationship. And I want that more than ever with you. Forgive me God for the neglect that I have shown to the most IMPORTANT relationship in my life. I don't want it to have to be the "Easter Season" for me to feel the depths of love and gratitude that I do for you at this moment!! I believe in you and I am NOT ashamed to show it!! I believe that you are the ONE true God and that you love us all in a way that no one else ever has or ever will. Your Word tells us that you so LOVED the world that you gave. You did not judge, you loved!! God let us find your heart! To love one another, not to judge one another. To see beyond the surface of a person to the core of who they really are! In every moment of my life, from victory to bitter disappointment, you have walked with me and listened to me and provided the guidance that I have needed to know the next step. God I am yours! Wherever, whenever, however!!
And on that point, let me also say that I believe in you too Devil. I know you are real and I HATE you with everything in me. I am sick and tired of sitting back and watching you try to destroy the people that I love. Haven't you figured out by now that I will NEVER believe that you are stronger than my God? That I will ever believe in you or serve you with the fervor and heart that I dedicate to God? Haven't you learned by now that you are messing with the wrong person? You have try to take my joy by watching me lose babies. You have try to steal the love in my heart by destroying my marriage and the man that was my hero and life long love. You have tried to put a roadblock in the road of my son's progress by breaking his family apart! You have lied to my friends that used to serve God and convinced them somehow that God is not real and that even if He was that He doesn't love them. You have convinced people that I once held in high esteem, that it is ok to live and act how you want when you are not in the limelight as long as you "preach" what is right with your life in the public eye. And the biggest kicker of all.......you dare to touch my family. You have tried to divide relationships, cripple them with addiction, devastate them with low self esteem and depression, you have had the audacity to touch my nieces and nephews with sickness and to cause pain to my Grandma and Harless. You have tried to suck the peace out of my family's home with an unholy vacuum. Because you know the name that we carry and the witness that our family's love for one another has carried over the years! WELL HERE ME NOW....people may think I am crazy but I am not afraid of you! You did not bring me into this world, you do not control me. You only have the power that I choose to give you.....And I choose to give you none!! If my God is big enough to send His only Son to die for me that I can have life and MORE ABUNDANTLY I MIGHT ADD!!! (P.S. Get your filthy hands off of my finances!!) He is big enough to give me the courage and the strength that I need to stand up against you!
God I vow publicly today to continue to use my life in whatever capacity that you see fit to spread your gospel to anyone that you bring across my path. I am not wavering in the calling that you have placed upon my life. I know that I have the capability to be anything that I want to be....but I feel PRIVILEGED that you have chosen to use me in your ministry!!
Thank you for bringing me to a place that is bringing healing to me and my son. To a people who have embraced us and have wrapped their arms around us. Thank you for making me take a moment to sit and let you love me!! And thank you most of all for the gift that I have in CJ. He is a man of God and his destiny is clear! He will be greater than his father or I ever were! He will be a mighty man of God who will rise up and take his rightful place in this world!! You choose to let me see the vision of an angel when I was only 5 years old. And you have chosen many times since to show me angels in the guise of my friends, Pastors, family and more! May I get the opportunity to be an angel of your mercy to someone who is in need. You are RISEN! You are not dead! So I will celebrate that this weekend and every weekend to come!! I love you more than mere words can express God!

Your child and servant!
April Phipps