Calm Center

Hurricane warning!  Strong winds!  Rising waters!  Sound familiar?  It is the sound of life, especially life in the fast lane.  Bills to pay, bosses to please, children to raise, friends that need us, and the inevitable sicknesses and eventual deaths.  What fun!

Maybe it can be.  Maybe if we stay anchored to our hope, the storms of life will swirl

around us and never get into our boats.

Maybe there’s a place of rest where nothing can touch us, not even sickness and death.

Maybe with our eyes fixed on Christ and our ears attuned to his voice, we will be rock steady even in the midst of the storm.

Much discipline is required.  We must quiet our souls, calm our minds, and rest our spirits.

We must know the word, be practiced in prayer, and be in community with our fellow travelers.

We must work when it’s time to work, rest when it’s time to rest, and pray when it’s time to pray.  We must talk a little and listen a lot.  

We must laugh a little and love a lot.  We must trust our lives to the one who cares and who is able to see us through.  We start by trusting him with our souls, then with our families, our friends, our finances, and even our faith.  

He must sustain even our faith!  

We trust him with our past, our present, and our future.  We surrender back to him the earth and keep our minds and our affections fixed on our heavenly destination where Our Lord, Our Father, and our loved ones wait for us.

What a day of celebration it will be!

As a preacher/comedian, Ken Davis, so aptly put it, “Let us live with nothing to prove, nothing to hide, and nothing to lose.”  Let us thrive, not just survive.  Let us live to give.”

  “May the love of The Father, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with us all” – 2 Corinthians 13:14.

~ Brad Heilhecker

His Word Never Fails 

Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed— and they have no comforter; power was on the side of their oppressors— and they have no comforter.~ Ecclesiastes 4:1 NIV

For we all struggle. We all venture the hills and valleys, the periods of dark places, the unforseen places, ones that draw up every emotion – good and bad.

Don’t we all understand those places? Many are experiencing those today. 

If you find yourself dealing with difficult circumstances, unanswered prayers, death, sickness, or brokenness, my heart just goes out to you. 

More so, God’s heart goes out to you. He knows and understands and he wants you to know….. HE IS HERE. 

He is in this difficult time, he understands the areas that you find hard to face because they are unknown. And he is working all things out for his good, his word never fails.

For no word from God will ever fail.~Luke 1:37 NIV

May the Lord instill his peace and comfort into your heart, mind and soul. May he bestow the very blessing of his word onto and into your circumstances. God’s will has always been to accomplish the intended plan for your life. So grasp onto his hand. Walk and talk with him, during this season.

~ Baring His Beauty,

    Tiffany Thomas 

Trials 


WORTHY THOUGHT:  The symbol of our reward come in our victories or in our trials and struggles? 

This is an exciting time of the year to watch the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.

Each athlete has to go through the Olympic Trials in order to win a place to compete in the Olympics. The top three that compete at the Olympics wins a gold medal , silver medal, and bronze medal. 

I came across an article about the medals designed by Baron Pierre de Coubertin, who designed the iconic Olympic Ring logo that is still used today. 

He explained the motivation behind the Olympic symbol as quoted “The important thing in life is not the triumph but the struggle. The essential thing is not to have conquered but to have fought.” 

Baron Pierre de Coubertin quote reminds me in scriptures that we are to rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5 ESV 

Trial and Sufferings work for us not against us and develops Godly characteristic’s in us. How rich we are in Christ, we live and are rewarded as kings and queens. 

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds. -James 1:2

God gives us wisdom. We need wisdom in our trials so we don’t waste our struggles and sufferings and miss the spiritual growth that should result. 

When we trust God. Trials work for us not against us. We need to be sure our hearts and minds are wholly yielding in Him. If we are not yielding to God but divided in our hearts and minds, trials can tear us apart. 

God gives us strength through trials and temptations. His Word produces spiritual fruit, and cleans our souls. 

We can trust in God for He is faithful and we can use His strength to see us through.

 “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 

 
The symbol of our victory we wear is in our hearts. Jesus Christ who suffered, died and has risen. Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ. 

You are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in this world. 1 John 4:4

                    ~Angela Lipe-Pattengill 

Your Treasured Pool 

  
God, Almighty!  

Father of heaven and earth!  

Hear my cry!  

Allow me to walk on these raging waves!  

Help me to keep my eyes upon You!  

Lest I begin to sink!  

Blind me from the storm that threatens to consume me!  

Keep hold of my right hand, and lift me to rise above that which desires to kill me!  

No tear have I ever shed that You do not hold! Take these tears of today and add to Your treasured pool!  

Dry my eyes with the tissue of Your love!

 Envelop me with Your mercy!  

Your grace!  

Your peace!  

Never have You forsaken me, and never shall You!   

Thank You, Lord!  

I receive and stand on Your everlasting promise to turn all things for good!  

Surely, this moment, too, shall pass and be yet another testament to just exactly WHO YOU ARE!  

All shall see!  

All shall bend the knee!  

Amen.

❤️~ Stephanie Gable 

Radiant Diamonds 

  
Diamonds have so many facets to them. 
The spectrum of those facets and colors can be endless.

That is exactly how God’s love is for us, like radiant diamonds.

 I just love that visual.  

Today I started my day seeing only the black coal all around me and not the possibility of the diamonds. I awoke anxious, irritable, grouchy, sad, among a ton of other emotions.  

I soon felt like God spoke to my heart:


You want to start this day your way or Yahweh’s? 

I needed a reset! 

So I stopped, prayed, praised and read His promises. 
 Soon that dark thick layer of soot was gone and I could once again see His amazing love and feel His perfect peace shining brightly all through and around me.  

I no longer had angst over my husband’s drawers left in the floor. I was thankful I had a husband to leave drawers for me to pick up. I no longer despised the washer for overflowing water and praised God that I have a very petite daughter to climb on top to get in that small area to wipe it up.   
As I was praising and worshipping I could feel my Joy rising again. My hallelujah’s began to multiply. Why? 

Because 

I have surrendered to Your design……

Not my way but Yahweh’s!
~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Multiplied – Need To Breathe 

Lyrics

Your love is like radiant diamonds

Bursting inside us we cannot contain

Your love will surely come find us

Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
Your love is like radiant diamonds

Bursting inside us we cannot contain

Your love will surely come find us

Like blazing wild fires singing Your name
God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
(Multiplied)

(Oh multiplied)
God of mercy sweet love of mine

I have surrendered to Your design

May this offering stretch across the skies

And these Halleluiahs be multiplied
These Halleluiahs be multiplied
(Your love is like radiant diamonds)

(Bursting inside us we cannot contain)

(Your love will surely come find us)

Like blazing wild fires singing Your name 

The Weight Of The World 

  
You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy, that I might sing praises to you and not be silent. O LORD my God, I will give you thanks forever! ~Psalm 30:11-12

Life never fails in it’s ability to create unending cycles of events and experiences. It still amazes me in it’s elegant beauty, but also in it’s crushing tragedies.

Today, I find myself experiencing the richness of life, having just swam in warm tropical waters while on vacation. However, my thoughts were also confronted with another season of life which will leave me brokenhearted and in pain.

Recently, I have received news of a loved one. News…I’d rather hide and deny of it’s coming. When you love someone it is very hard not to think they are invincible. Life can impose implacable timing.

I have discovered that life never seems to leave anyone out. No matter what the person’s background, social platform, ethnicity, economic lifestyle, or talent is, life delivers it’s extremes to everyone. It does not pick or choose who will experience the various elements it offers.

The very moment I find myself comfortable in a season, content with life, a storm is stirring behind the scenes, undetectable. It is preparing a season that will leave me sifting through the destruction and devastation that will be left. As is life, it does not stop. There will be new creation and the next season of growth and restoration.

Even still, it is my flesh that can not comprehend the emptiness my heart endures when it comes to the loss of those I have loved deeply….The whisper within, tells me I’m not supposed to. I have experienced enough loss of loved ones to understand that we all have a lifespan numbered by our Father. So, how is it that my flesh will, again, battle what it already knows?

When life consists of a fallen sense of purpose, it is impossible to understand, at times. Somehow, what is at hand, is followed through with intentional determination, whether I want it to, or I don’t.

I am starting to openly understand that life is a place I exist, with an inability to control its direction, and where my expectations, simply will never be met. Yet, I find myself with two choices. I can get caught up and be imprisoned by the things that are simply out of my control, or I can experience all that it has to give. 

My hope is to choose to live this beautiful life with purpose.

     ~Baring His Beauty,

        Tiffany Thomas 

Everything’s Alright 

  

How long have I been in this storm?

So overwhelmed by the ocean’s shapeless form

Water’s getting harder to tread

With these waves crashing over my head
If I could just see you

Everything would be all right

If I’d see you

This darkness would turn to light
And I will walk on water

And you will catch me if I fall

And I will get lost into your eyes

I know everything will be alright

I know everything is alright
I know you didn’t bring me out here to drown

So why am I ten feet under and upside down

Barely surviving has become my purpose

Because I’m so used to living underneath the surface
If I could just see you

Everything would be all right

If I’d see you

This darkness would turn to light
And I will walk on water

And you will catch me if I fall

And I will get lost into your eyes

And I know everything will be alright
And I will walk on water

And you will catch me if I fall

And I will get lost into your eyes

Lyrics to Storm-by Lifehouse 
Do you feel 10 feet under and upside down?  

Sometimes do you just wish you could have Jesus with skin on or in the very least catch a small glimpse of Him and see how He is working all things out?

Don’t let barely surviving become your purpose.   Stop living just under the surface. He didn’t bring you this far to drown. 


It will ALL be alright. 

Everything’s Alright 

           ~XXOO Michelle Bollom

Watch this weeks SongSunday by Lifehouse here:

Looking Ahead 

  
Today the contractors are completely done and my 40 days in the wilderness are finally OVER! 

My journey actually started way before these last 40 days. 

I don’t even remember clearly the last 7 months and 10 days very well. I have continued to glimmer even faintly at times through it all and not really shined as I should. I am not even worried about that because God loves me and forgives me even when I don’t shine as brightly as I should. 
Many that follow the blog know a general idea of some that has been going on from the other blogs I have written- it has been just lots and lots of stress from many house issues, health issues, and family issues. 
 I can see so many blessings that were weaved throughout all the trials now.  

It is Amazing how time puts things into a much clearer perspective.

 I ain’t gonna lie folks- some days were rough! 


Brutal in fact- I whined and cursed and had a few pity parties but I still clung to God and His Promises.

I won’t rehearse all the lists of unfortunate events. In the grand scheme, they probably are so minor to the trials some of you are facing. Each person has their own stuff and degree to which they can take on and withstand the various trials and spiritual attacks on their lives. We shouldn’t compare our blessings or trials with anyone. 

I got some criticism for posting my frustrations on Facebook back in May when I was close to my breaking point. But the encouragement quickly outweighed the critics. I am only human, and am still imperfect.  
Many were encouraged by the verse I shared….

That clinches it—help’s coming,

    an answer’s on the way,

    everything’s going to work out.~ Psalm 20:6 MSG

I clung to this Promise and some days when I could not figure out how in the world things would work out- they did, they have, and they continue to do so.  

So in celebration of the dawning of this new day and chapter and ending of a very trying season, I am looking ahead. I am choosing to list my many blessings instead of rehearse the burdens. 
Actually, I quickly listed 40- keeping with the 40 Days it took for things to be Restored!  

Much much more has been restored than just my home.

  Here is my quick list of 40 Blessings:

1.MIL is home and doing well and getting healthy and strong again.
2. Termite damage fixed

3. Leak fixed

4. Walls repaired

5. New floors

6. Ability and provision to do additional home upgrades and remodels

7. Special friends that take me to the ER, keep me laughing while waiting with me. Clear catscans.

8. Ability to get away for 3 days to the Hill Country and enjoy nature and God’s Artwork. 

9. Contractors starting the week school ended 

10. Cooking friends that brought food when kitchen was out of order for 3 weeks.

11. Non complaining kiddos

12. Awesome Hubby

13. Praying friends and pastors that covered us in prayers, sent cards, texts or came for visits. 

14. Special friends that listened to me whine and kicked my butt in shape pointing me back to the Truth and checked on me daily and kept encouraging me. 

15. Family willing to eat microwave dinners and soup while kitchen out of commission.

16. Contractors that I have known almost 20 years gave me really awesome prices to upgrade many other items.

17. A painter that is awesome and cheap. 

18. A driving teen that can drive me home with limited vision after having a detached vitreous last week. Although he hit a curb and almost got us T-Boned, God protected us. 

19. Ability to have insurance and see a great specialist for my eyes. 

20. IV steroids to help me move pain free while on our trip to Hill Country.

21. Laughter

22. Music

23. Our Church and the sermons online when we couldn’t make it there in person.

24. The Gift of Goodbye for a toxic relationship.

25. Healing and Forgiveness for new relationships and repaired relationships. 

26. Divine Connections

27. Sozo

28. Inner healing work

29. Husband traveling for work allowed him to rest and was a nice break from his normal 16/17 hour days.

30. Peace

31. Mercy

32. Health

33. Running water

34. AC fixed twice this month without having to get a new unit.

35. Rain for the garden

36. Flowers

37. Divine Appointments

38. Water lines fixed for fridge

39. Ministry partners

40. Blogging friends 
There are so many more things big and small I am truly grateful for.   I practice a daily gratitude journal and have done so for years.  It helps! 

Thanksgiving is Good-But Thanks-Living is Better! 
I am excited and hopefully anticipating a bright new season! I look forward to the rest of our summer and having some rest and family time. I look forward to finally not setting alarms. I am so happy to be looking ahead! 
God is Good All The Time-

All The Time God Is Good! 
Keep counting the blessings and not the burdens! 

And if you are going through your own wilderness experience and ready for your 40 days or 40 years to be over, cling to God and His Promises. 

It’s ok- God loves you even when you whine

Just remember to glimmer till you can shine! 
             ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

Enjoy The Ride 

  
The bumps in the road can sometimes feel too much. Our shocks may be starting to wear out and the ride seems to be getting rougher than normal. They may even be in desperate need of repair before we bottom out.  

 

The Master Traveler; God, knows the bumps before we do. If we allow Him to navigate and steer- He can avoid the bumps or protect us as we travel on those hard worn or stormy paths.   

 

Sit back, relax and enjoy the ride! 
This beautiful journey called life will always have unexpected twists and turns. Learn to get excited about the bumps like when you were a kid. Even when you can’t see the road, He knows just the right path to take. The bumps that shake and toss things around may actually be needed for things to be resettled and put back in God’s order. 

                                  ~XXOO Michelle Bollom 

 

He makes me whole again,steering me off worn, hard paths to roads where truth and righteousness echo His name.                                      ~ Psalm 23:3 The VOICE

A Reason To Sing

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When the pieces seem too shattered
To gather off the floor
And all that seems to matter
Is that I can’t feel You anymore
Is that I don’t feel You anymore

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that You’re still holding
The whole world in Your hands
I need a reason to sing

When I’m overcome by fear
And I hate everything I know
If this waiting lasts forever
I’m afraid I might let go
I’m afraid I might let go
I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that you’re still holding
The whole world in your hands
I need a reason to sing

Will there be a victory?
Will You sing it over me now?
Your peace is the melody
Will You sing it over me now?

I need a reason to sing
I need a reason to sing
I need to know that You’re still holding
The whole world in Your hands
That is a reason to sing
~Reason To Sing By All Sons and Daughters

When the pieces seem too shattered to gather off the floor, and all that seems to matter is that I can’t feel You anymore…
Last week, I was in a period of grief. No, no one died. I became grieved because I felt cut off from God’s oversight and protection. I was upset and mad because I followed God through something He asked of me and then all of a sudden-He wasn’t there anymore.
There! I said it. For those super-religious types out there who are wondering: No, lightning didn’t just zap me. God didn’t smush me like a bug either. Sorry, guys- He’s not even mad at me.

If this waiting lasts forever I’m afraid I might let go…
I feel like I need to explain.
I have been through a struggling four month season. Think about being asked to tread water for four months and you would get the picture of the level of emotional involvement and exhaustion it feels like I have been under. The message I received during this time was that God was using this series of events to set things right. “OK – Got it, God! While this is very uncomfortable and tiring, that setting things right part sounds really good.” So I waited, and prayed, and died to self…A LOT! And then when I was finished with that, I waited and prayed and died to self…A LOT more. And so on. Do you realize that the whole “dying to self” thing takes quiiiiite a bit of energy for the sometimes controlling perfectionist types, like me?
Well, trust me, it does.
It’s the kind of energy expenditure that tends to leave one physically bankrupt. But it was all good, right? I had my faith in God and that was what would get me through. Those were the words everyone expected to come out of my mouth, and actually did for a while. I believed them and I meant them. Until.
Until the season showed no sign of coming to an end. Until the wearing, pressing events, kept on coming, kept on wearing and kept on pressing. And then I started hearing the proverbial crickets where God’s voice used to be.

When I’m overcome by fear…
Do you know how crazy-scary this kind of thing is to admit, out loud? That, as a Christian, as a child of God, I don’t have it all together…that I can’t feel God near me in this season sometimes…that I can’t feel His tangible protection…that I honestly feel that sometimes that “one more thing”, might be what finally does me in…?

Before you succumb to the voices of the whoever it is in your life (maybe even yourself) telling you that feeling this is wrong and that you need to feel guilty and repent of all this nonsense – bear with me for a moment and hear this part. You are not alone. There are at least four of us: you, me and the writers of this song. Wait-make that five of us…listen to what David has to say to God in Psalm 22:
My God, my God, why have You forsaken me? Why are You so far from helping me, and from the words of my groaning? O my God, I cry in the daytime, but You answer not; and by night I am not silent or find no rest.
Wait! Make that six…Jesus also repeated a portion of these words from the cross.

I think that God must know what a gift He was giving when He made Jesus human, like us. He did it so we would have a great example of what our right response to life, to Him, should be. If there was an instance that, even Jesus who was part of the Trinity, felt cut off from His Father, then that makes me stop and think that it just might be acceptable for us to walk through and explore this same emotion. It’s a lot like that whole directive to be angry but not to sin thing (Ephesians 4:26). Easy to say, harder to pull off, right?

Do you see where we might get tripped up, though? Because of God’s great mercy, it’s acceptable to vent our questions, our wellspring of emotions, our crying out- but we need to make sure that they are being directed toward God. A friend of mine calls it “venting vertically”. It’s fine to walk through a valley that looks a lot like doubt, but we should not pitch a tent and decide to live there. Our eyes need to be scanning the horizon for our Hope and our Sure Help that is coming. As the old saying goes: God is never a minute too early and not a minute too late. Our default needs to be like Jesus. While He was on the cross, after questioning why His Father had forsaken Him, His next (default) breath was one of renewed faith in the absolute care and wisdom of God. He completed His assignment without complaining. The Bible says He submitted His Spirit and trusted even from the cross. Think of the day or so leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross. He prayed so fervently to God not to take His life that He actually produced sweat drops of blood. He was betrayed by someone he purposely chose to be a close friend. Jesus was wrongly accused and tried right there in His own Father’s House. Even though He knew His assignment, I’m sure He was still desperately looking for a sign or a physical representation of God’s presence – something, anything there in the Temple. He was mocked and scorned by the people God had made a covenant with and whom His Father had given Him rule over. They were called His own and they laughed at Him during His valiant quest to save them. As He was being beaten and whipped, I’m sure He had to consciously keep His incredible strength and power under control. He had to make Himself into the sacrificial lamb.

The devil likes nothing more than to trick us into thinking we are the only ones who feel a deep level of struggle, of abandonment-that we actually have been abandoned. He loves to separate us from the Truth and other believers who would gladly remind us of it. He lies and tells us that these feelings make us unworthy of God’s love. He tells us that we are alone and God has forgotten us in our sad, helpless state-that we are just too broken to fix. He wants us weak, misinformed and to stay stuck in this place of doubt. But what he thankfully never sees coming is: sometimes coming out the other side of a struggle is what cements our faith in God.

I need to know that You’re still holding the whole world in Your hands. That is a reason to sing…
No one can forcefully pull you through to the other side of doubt. No one can make you decide to remember your default setting of faith in God. No one can force you to feel so joyful that you burst into song. It’s a matter of settling some things in your own heart. God heard my cries immediately. He sent help immediately. I finally realized that it was my choice to recognize it or not. Ouch! By the end of the week, I realized that during this whole time, He had sent numerous people, songs, scriptures and safeguarded a time so we could sit quietly together. He showed up. Not in a noisy, flashy way, but almost like a mist rising off a lake. Like the Holy Spirit who was already there with me the whole time. My Father was suddenly…there. As I was crying and tried to rehash the whole situation to Him in apology, all He could do was ask me what I was talking about. You see, He has a very bad memory where forgiven sin is concerned. Yours and mine. No matter the sin.

So, back to our fellow-doubter, David. Here are some conclusions he came to after his wrestle with God on the issue of why, abandonment and silence:

• Look at Him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. (It’s ok – God already knows what you are feeling.)

• God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. (Even if no sound is heard, God puts protection around us to protect our desire to talk with Him.)

• Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—how good God is. (Look around you, the evidence of God’s presence is everywhere. It’s irrefutable and overwhelming! He’s really not hiding like you think…)

• Blessed are you who run to him. (God’s desire is that when you are in trouble, He wants your default to be that you run to give it to Him.)

• Worship God if you want the best; worship opens doors to all his goodness. (Thankfulness is guaranteed to usher in His presence. God inhabits the praises of His people.)

• God keeps an eye on his friends, His ears pick up every moan and groan.

• Is anyone crying for help? god is listening, ready to rescue you.

• If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there; if you’re kicked in the gut, He’ll help you catch your breath.

• Disciples so often get into trouble; still, God is there every time.

• He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone; not even a finger gets broken. (Gulp! Not even the finger I was pointing in accusation at Him?! )

• God pays for each slave’s freedom; no one who runs to him loses out.

• The Eternal is the source of my strength and the shield that guards me. When I learn to rest and truly trust Him, He sends His help. This is why my heart is singing! I open my mouth to praise Him, and thankfulness rises as song.*

My reason to sing? You know that cage of doubt and sin? He had opened the door a long time ago. He was just waiting for me to realize I was free to fly out. ~Debbie Bouckley

<a href="http://youtu.be/WsLhN-RtSTE&#8221;>http://youtu.be/WsLhN-RtSTE

*Taken from Psalm 34 (MSG) and Psalm 28:7 (VOICE)

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