Redeemed Dates

Redeem: To recover ownership of. To turn in and receive something in exchange. To fulfill. To set free; rescue or ransom. To save from a state of sinfulness and its consequences. To make up for. To restore the honor, worth, or reputation of.  Variations/redeemed,redeeming,redeems.

Redeemed, what an awesome word huh?  I have come to just love that word. Maybe I associate it with my favorite book “Redeeming Love”, by Francine Rivers; I am not sure why I love the word.  God has also given me a new favorite word, Restored.  I am thrilled to see Restore is listed in the definition of Redeemed.

I am a word person.  I love quotes, I love scripture, I love great books, and I love rhymes and silly songs.   I think so many people have such great things to say.  I had an awesome walk this morning with a dear friend and the words she shared have just resonated with me all day.  She promises to blog soon about our conversation. 

I would not have considered myself a writer.  Although, my twin Sister Melissa would beg to differ I think.  I was a reader and a writer as a child.  I would write poetry, stories, letters, and songs.  She did not always enjoy my musical songwriting abilities and to this day that has become a subject of great laughs. 

Fast forward all these years and God has stirred up that love I had as a child in writing words and sharing stories.  I also credit Wendy Walters, an amazing writer and speaker that I saw earlier this year at my ordination that stirred something in me.  I am not a great writer, by far.  Thank You God for spell check and edit buttons.  My twin sister was the spelling bee champion.  It was not one of my strong suites and only time I won, she threw the competition.  I did not win until after I was busted for what the teacher thought was cheating, but was actually a lucky 8 ball I had behind my back that my sister said would bring me good luck.  Oh that is another one of those stories we can laugh for hours over. 

I am not a terrible speller, but I do occasionally make the horrible mistake of your for you’re and I rely on spell check much more as I am getting up in years.  I find it very funny and a little sad for those people that post their distaste for that spelling mistake on Facebook.  Sometimes Siri spells it that way to our defense, and sometimes I just type too fast and really don’t care if it is spelled correct or not, most know what I was trying to convey and if that is a friendship deal breaker then I give me the ole Gift of Goodbye friend, Life is too short and precious to get hung up on ‘ & E’s.

I know I drive people crazy and myself most days because I am a run on sentence kind of girl and sometimes I can go around the bush too long and I can get lost in a circle trying to remember what I was trying to say in the first place.  See I just did it right there, and got side tracked!

None the less, all that to say, I love the word Redeemed.

Recently God has been speaking to me and blessing me with “Redeemed Dates”.  I had a situation just a few weeks ago where a date that had brought me so much pain and sadness for the last 22 years was instantly transformed into a date of excitement, happiness, and anticipation of great things.  As I reflected and was shocked about the date significance, the tears, now happy tears welled up in my eyes, I started saying Thank You over and over to God for such an awesome redemption of dates and emotions for me. 

 A few days later, I read a friend’s Facebook post where a date was redeemed for her too.  Her mother had died and she always mourned the date and was affected sadly by it, but now, several years later, God gave her an amazing and beautiful granddaughter born on that date that now that date was redeemed and she will have happy memories on that date from now on. 

I saw another friend today put a post on the sadness over the loss of her son 28 years ago and was on the same date that she recently also lost a friend to cancer.  She has tied that date with those terrible losses. My heart broke for her and I began praying for her.  I remember I did that too when my brother died and then two years later when my dad died.  I hated those dates.  I would try to forget them, but subconsciously the dates would just creep up and make me miserable and sad.  I heard Dr. Phil once say that we need to not celebrate dates of death.  Our loved ones had so much more to them then the date of their deaths.  I decided then not to put so much stock into the end date and celebrate each day and the memories of those I love.   God and His word have helped me tremendously.   And just for extra blessing on a really tough date, He recently redeemed that date for me so I know it can get better.

I love this beautiful promise; Forget what happened in the past, and do not dwell on events from long ago. I am going to do something new. It is already happening. Don’t you recognize it? I will clear a way in the desert. I will make rivers on dry land. ~ Isaiah 43:18-19.

Oh this is one of my faves!  This is one of those verses I add to my prayers.  God is the way maker, when I need a way in the desert or a river in dry lands I call on Him.  You can too. 

And this promise; Therefore be very careful how you live and act. Let it not be as unwise men, but as wise. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. ~Ephesians 5:15-16.

We all know the days can be evil, and God is the redeemer of time, and dates!  Spend your days doing something that brings you and others joy.  Don’t live and act unwise.  Unwise is being held in bondage to depression over a date.  Remember to count the blessings, not the troubles.

And this promise; I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” ~ Isaiah 44:22

Return to Him, He is the Only one that can redeem you and sweep offenses and sins away too!

And finally this promise; The LORD will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O LORD, endureth forever: forsake not the works thy own hands. ~Psalm 138:8

God wants to perfect and restore and redeem not only our lives and what concerneth us but our dates too.  Life is too short and precious to hold onto the sadness of our past or celebrate the dates of our losses. 

I challenge you, whatever date is haunting you, Vow right now that you will do something different this year on that date.  Decide to make new memories to fill those dates.  I pray God will bring you many redeemed dates and restored lives!  XXOO Peace & Blessings, Michelle Bollom

Who are you looking to?

I woke this morning singing the song “I look to You” by Whitney Houston.  I have loved this song for a while and it has been stuck on repeat during many difficult times of my life over the years.   The first time I heard this was after my dad’s death.  I know that during that time that it was only when I looked to Him could I continue on.  I did not know this song or know Jesus as I know Him now when I suffered the devastating loss of my brother Toby in 2006.  It was after my brother’s sudden death that I knew that I could not do things on my own.  It seemed that I jumped in with both feet seeking God.  I had done religion most of my life, but when I heard about Jesus and that it was a relationship and started learning about the Holy Spirit and reading God’s Promises in His word, well, it blew the door wide open for me.  I have never looked back. 

Sometimes life gets rough and we would like Jesus with skin on to walk those storms with us.  I love the part of the song when she says, “I am about to lose my breath”  Have you ever felt like the wind has been just kicked right out of you?  Maybe it is a devastating diagnosis or news from a doctor, or cancer has given you a limited time left on this earth.  I have walked through that one with a loved one, and recently have another loved one walking through this right now too.  Maybe it’s a spouse that just said they didn’t love you anymore and filed for divorce?  I know a few people walking through that blow right now.  An affair, a job loss, the death of a loved one?  Yes,  the list can go on and on.

 I have walked through many losses in my life and the ones that I did not look to Him were the most difficult to get through.  I say I grieved without Hope on my brothers death, but just two years later I grieved with Hope on my Dad’s death.  The two types of grieving make a world of difference.  Not that they are less painful, but looking to Him brings a peace and comfort I did not know before in the midst of the storm. 

This morning as this song was stuck in my head again, I thought, hmmm strange, I had not heard it in awhile and why do I awake humming and singing it?  Then I felt the Lord impress upon me that not just during the devastating blows Michelle, I need you to look to Me on the everyday little blows too.  I have to confess, sometimes I am not always looking to Him on the smaller things of life. Those moments when we are just bored, over tired, overwhelmed, insecure, lonely, sad, angry, our feelings have been hurt, our kids aren’t listening, our spouses are on our last main nerve.  When we are distracted or stressed or just don’t feel well.  

I am guilty of looking towards opinions or advise of others before Him, I am guilty of looking for something new to fill a void. I am guilty of finding comfort in Cheetos or a big honking piece of cake.  I am a recovering emotional/compulsive eater, shopping addict, approval addiction/people pleaser.  Note and emphasis on the “ing”  Yes I still struggle with looking just straight on to Him for all the little blows that life deals me.  We sometimes like to vent to our family or friends, but we need to remember to always vent vertically!  Send it all to Him, look straight to Him.  Don’t let anything distract us or let us lose our focus.  Keep it straight on and fully looking to Him!  

I am reminded of this wonderful Promise.

The LORD the Keeper of Israel.

A Song of Ascents.

1I will lift up my eyes to the mountains;
         From where shall my help come?

2My help comes from the LORD,
         Who made heaven and earth.

3He will not allow your foot to slip;
         He who keeps you will not slumber.

4Behold, He who keeps Israel
         Will neither slumber nor sleep.

5The LORD is your keeper;
         The LORD is your shade on your right hand.

6The sun will not smite you by day,
         Nor the moon by night.

7The LORD will protect you from all evil;
         He will keep your soul.

8The LORD will guard your going out and your coming in
         From this time forth and forever.

What an awesome Promise this is! 

 

Release all those big and small blows to Him.  Keep looking only to Him.  He’s got you covered!  

 

 Enjoy this amazing song!   XXOO, Peace, Michelle Bollom

 http://youtu.be/5Pze_mdbOK8

 

 

 

 

What’s in Your Tank? Are You Filled To Satisfaction?

A sated man loathes honey, But to a famished man any bitter thing is sweet. ~Proverbs 27:7 NASB

 

For I have satiated the weary soul, and I have replenished every sorrowful soul. ~ Jeremiah 31:25 KJV

 

Sated-having one’s appetite completely satisfied
Satiate-to satisfy (an appetite or desire) fully. To satisfy to excess. Filled to satisfaction.
Satiety- the state of being satiated. Replenish- to supply fully. To fill or build up again.
Satisfy- to cause (someone) to be happy or pleased: to provide, do, or have what is required
Indolence-an inclination not to do work or engage in activities; Laziness

 

Recently the Lord has been giving me the word “Satiate” It was one of those crazy downloads He likes to do lately, so I write the word down, then I held onto it for weeks. Then He tries to get my attention with scripture verses I see, books I am reading, or hearing someone say “Satiate”, so I know it is time to UNWRAP the word and verses.

 

The verse in Proverbs, listed above, caught my eye because of the word sated, which I knew right away, was off my “God Word” Satiate. I was confused by why a sated man would loathe honey? So I decided to dig deeper. I found this description of the verse in the Pulpit Commentary. “Self-restraint increases enjoyment; over-indulgence produces satiety, fatigue, and indolence.” Well here I was thinking Satiate was a good thing, but in this commentary it describes over-indulgence produces satiety. So if Satiate is to satisfy, and to satisfy is to cause someone to be happy or pleased, then I knew satiate could be used in a good way or in a bad way. It was all about the balance. Sort of like what kind of gas are you filling up in your tank? They can both fill it, but which is best or most beneficial for you. When stress comes and you turn to the cake (cheap gas) instead of God, (good gas) which is going to give you lasting results? Which choice benefits us and our waistlines in the long haul? And then I noticed satiety was grouped with fatigue and indolence. I knew what fatigue was, but indolence. Well I had to look that up and found it is just a fancy word for lazy.

 

So to over indulge in something can satisfy in excess (satiety), keep us tired (fatigued) or just keep us lazy (indolence); so I knew God was speaking to me. The balance and boundaries are important as well as our choices. As it says “Self-Restraint” increases our enjoyment. In the moment it does not seem enjoyable because we aren’t comfortable denying ourselves anything and face it, we sometimes can be quite rebellious and disobedient when it comes to our choices and setting boundaries or exhibiting self-restraint. The next verse in Jeremiah spoke to me and I knew that God was weaving all this to remind me of my “Sated” journey and to share it with you.

 

As far back as I can remember, as a child, once we ate a meal we would need to have something sweet afterwards. We were all about the dessert! Then after the dessert, I would say “I need a meaty after my sweetie.” It was funny as a child, but when we get to be an adult and our metabolism slows and that vicious cycle of never being “Satiated” really is an addictive cycle of trying to fill ourselves up with something other than what God designed or had in mind, it loses its humor. For years I stuffed my stomach to feel satiated. I over-indulged and was on the wrong side of the satiate scale. I was putting the cheap dirty gas (alcohol, cigarettes, food, shopping, approval, work, achievements, people pleasing, etc.) In to my tank. It was not running very well. When I begin to let God fill and replenish me, things really changed. I was first awakened to this connection to emotional stuffing and my need for God to fill those voids (those bad gas items) about 7 years ago.

 

My dear friend Annie Haydock told me about the book “When Food is your Best Friend & Worst Enemy” by Jan Johnson. That book was life altering for me. We are also ministry partners since 2009 and have a local ministry called Conquering Overeating. We have seen many people come and go each week over the years, and many that continue to keep coming back to work the steps of recovery and find support and fellowship on this journey to fill ourselves with more of God instead of food. I have not reached perfection nor conquered this area. We are continuously conquering until we get to Heaven. Our verse is Romans 8:37. “But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.” Emphasis Through Him. I know now that it is only when we allow God to fill us; instead of food or whatever other bad gas items that we get on the right and good side of Satiate.

 

That “Meaty vs Sweetie” and addictive cycle is a Soul Destroying Routine. We keep looking for something to satisfy us when God is always there and calling to us to put down the Cheetos, the new purse, to stop eyeballing the dessert case, learn to say no, and to simply come to Him. To trust Him enough to allow Him alone to satiate us. His word promises us that. Jesus replied, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry again. Whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. ~ John 6:35 NLT I want to hunger for more of God, instead of food or people or things or approvals or whatever compulsion it is that keeps me hopping to and fro looking to be filled or “Satiated” by the bad gas. I want to trust God that the good gas is what I need. I don’t want to hunger after those things anymore. I only want to hunger after God and the things He has for me. Friends, a “Satiated Soul” is never hungry. The only thing that can replenish our weary and sorrowful soul is Jesus. When our souls are so full of God’s presence and His word, we will be so full that we can’t do anything but pour out that goodness and love on others. Let us choose the Good Gas to fill our tanks with! ~ XXOO Michelle Bollom

A Dangerous Trap

 

Fearing people is a dangerous trap, but trusting the LORD means safety. ~ Proverbs 29:25

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. ~2 Timothy 1:7

 

Fear n. noun 1. A feeling of agitation and anxiety caused by the presence or imminence of danger. 2. A state or condition marked by this feeling. Living in fear. 3. A feeling of disquiet or apprehension. a fear of looking foolish. V. verb 1. To be afraid or frightened of. 2. To be uneasy or apprehensive about. Feared the test results. 3. To be in awe of; revere.

WOW! That first verse really gets me. I love the straight forwardness and simplicity of it. What I love even more is how God used that verse to speak to me in some areas where I was caught in that trap of fearing man. I would not consider myself fearful. My family and I used to love the show Fear Factor. We used to laugh and say we could win as long as we did not have to eat the cockroaches. I also had people call me fearless and brave because I rapped in front of almost 30,000 people with Grammy Winner Mandisa. 

(You can view video proof on About Page at my website http://www.restoredministries.org)

I really felt no fear doing that. I am however, a recovering Approval Addict.  I spent a lot of my life performing to gain approval and did not speak up for myself or rock the boat and pretty much operated in a false self; most of my early life.

The characteristics of a False Self person are: limited ability for love/ intimacy, Needs to be in control, lives in illusions, not in reality. Birthed in fear; very insecure, unable to express needs, and prone to addictions and compulsions. Yep, that described me well. It wasn’t until my life was out of control and I finally surrendered to God and allowed God, The Holy Spirit and His word to transform my life did my True Self began to emerge.

True Self, Characteristics are: Great capacity for love/intimacy Does not need to be in control, gives other people freedom, rooted in God’s truth, identity is in God; trusts in God, lives according to personal values/beliefs and is peaceful. I am pretty much all of those True Self characteristics now thanks to God and Recovery; but I still honestly sometimes have a problem trusting God fully, which when you don’t trust God, you essentially are living in Fear. I didn’t feel fearful about situations or life in general, but God specifically wanted to show me some lessons on Fear of Man and that type of Fear, what I thought was a thing of my past; was indeed still keeping me trapped. He used two situations in the last year to bring that lesson home.

The first lesson He taught me on Fear of Man was on tithing. I have prided myself in being a cheerful giver and for almost 10 years I have followed the Biblical rule of at least 10% is given back to God in your tithe each month. I would increase the amount from time to time so I knew I did not just give 10%. Then God started showing me that I was giving out of pride. Really, God? Pride? God we can never give enough back to you… Really? God you would never asks us to adjust our giving, only to keep increasing it, Right? …Wrong!  God was asking me to review my budget and to lower the amount of my giving so that I could save for a better safeguard for my family in case of emergencies or repairs. I really thought that could not be God speaking or asking anyone to ever lessen their amount of giving so I shared this with my close friend, one of my Iron Sharpens Iron girlies that God likes to use us with each other to help us get some big God Lessons. As we talked about it, I got some clarification, and when I took it to the Lord, I got an even bigger clarification. I looked at our monthly budget and found that I was giving 18.5 % each month. I was not putting anything back for my families safeguarding. The bible instructs us to give 10% and I practice that with my children also. Some think it is harsh to make your child give 10% of all pet sitting, Birthday, or Christmas money they earn back to God, but I know in the 4 years my children have done it, that it has made for much better kids, I just wish I would have started earlier in my life and in theirs. They don’t always have to give to our church in the offering, sometimes they choose a charity, or they like to bless strangers. I think God loves all ways we give back to Him and He honors cheerful giving. So I took this knowledge I had uncovered to my husband. I told Him that this was what God was speaking to me about. He thought it should be a simple decision to lower that amount to ensure that we are paying ourselves also so that we can have a safeguard in case of emergencies and to simply obey God. I wish I could say that I did obey my husband and even God right away, but, No, I dragged my feet and wrestled with God over this decision for six more months because I was fearful our church and pastors would look at us differently if we lowered our tithes. God made it unbearable for me until I finally wanted to Obey God more than be trapped by my Fear of Man. God has blessed that decision so much and I am so happy to have God decide what He would have us give and not what I thought I should because of my pride.

When I thought I had no more problems with fear, the Holy Spirit began to speak to my heart and told me that fear was indeed crippling me. The fear of man, the fear of their reactions, fear of opinions, all were hindering me from stepping into God’s full plans for me. God was asking me to take some great big steps for Him. I was so excited, but not everybody was as excited, encouraging, or happy for me. Many did not understand. Some had strong opinions, some began to distance themselves from me, and it started a wave of unfriending when I started posting on social media what I was doing for God. I wasn’t so much bothered over the unfriending’s and unfollows as I was that out of almost 1000 friends, less than 100 had actually supported me by “liking” my new Ministry Page.

(Yes, Liking a page is showing support for someone in the Social Media world & Yes I break the so called experts rules and solicit likes for my page.  How else can it grow and reach people?)

Well, that nasty fear of man, as God’s word says, is a trap! I found myself fearful of posting what I felt God would have me post, or write what I felt He wanted me to write, I was unsure of what I should do, so most days I did nothing. I had committed to God months before that if He wanted me to step out and trust Him, I will do it. I wanted to be totally obedient to Him, no matter what that looked like. So now after I had declared that and stepped out for God, I was bound by this trap of fear of people’s opinions, counting Likes, unfriending’s, unfollowing’s, comments, lack of comments etc…? I was allowing the enemy to plague me with fear. I had stopped being a warrior for God and became a worrier.  I want to be a warrior, not a worrier.  Was I going to embrace each step that God would give me on this journey and not get bound to the vicious trap of comparison and competing? Guessing and second guessing God? I spent many days and nights taking it all to God. This is what I felt God spoke to me about this 2nd Fear of Man lesson.

The world would be much better off if we would collaborate more and compete less.

God’s garden is big enough for us all. We need each other and God designed us to work together. We all have different gifting’s and abilities and strengths that are needed to advance His Kingdom and share Christ with this dark world. Some people just won’t support you, in life or with Likes. Keep Asking, Keep Seeking, And Keep Knocking. Don’t let the voices in your head and the voices of the crowds of naysayers discourage you to not fully step out for God.Don’t let the fear of people’s reactions keep you from taking action. Trust God. Obey God in the small things and everything. Keep going even when you don’t understand.  Your success is not defined by Likes & Followers, It is defined by God. 

 

I so want my hearts cry to the Lord to reflect what the song Oceans by Hillsong United, says.

 

You call me out upon the waters… The great unknown where feet may fail… And there I find You in the mystery …In oceans deep My faith will stand …Your grace abounds in deepest waters… Your sovereign hand Will be my guide ..Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me …You’ve never failed and You won’t start now ,,So I will call upon Your name And keep my eyes above the waves ..When oceans rise My soul will rest in Your embrace …For I am Yours and You are mine …Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders …Let me walk upon the waters …Wherever You would call me… Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander And my faith will be made stronger …In the presence of my Savior

 

I want to trust God, to rest in His embrace, to answer His call out upon the unknown waters. Where His promises to never leave me or fail me are so believable that I will trust without borders. My faith will be made stronger when I stay in the presence of my Savior.

I want to Trust God so much that there is never any room for Fear.

Here are some amazing affirmations that I choose to keep reminding myself of when I start to let the doubts of others discourage me.

It is not the crowd that calls you but God that calls you. And when you get to heaven you’re not going to have to answer for the crowds you’re only going to have to answer for yourself. Don’t get so hung up on the fear of what people will think that you let it paralyze and keep you from your potential and purpose for the Lord. Not everyone will understand why or how God calls you. It is ok. You don’t have to justify what God has called you to for anyone. You only need to worry about an audience of ONE! The Heavenly Father! If He called you, He will carry you through.

I leave you with this great quote.

Fear of the unknown is a dream killer. It causes people to freeze in time and one day they will wake up and realize that their opportunities have been seized by someone who was willing to look fear in the face and take the leap of faith. ~ Adonis Lenzy                                                                                                                                     

  I hope you are inspired to look fear in the face and take that leap of faith. Don’t let Fear be a dream killer anymore; remember you are fearless in Christ. Step out Big! Be Brave! XXOO ~Michelle Bollom

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