Free Verse Friday – FOCUS

Focus.

Fixing my eyes.
Keeping them gazing on what I am looking at.
Keeping my heart hopeful towards what I am looking for.
Your Word reminds me You have hope and a future in store for me.
God? I can’t see it right now. Honest.
I know in my head You have these plans for me, ones with purpose and passion.
But in this space I currently live in? This being prepared without knowing where I will be launched?
I don’t yet get how all these pieces from my past and present are going to come together in a beautiful way in the future.
You have reminded me this week that my part is to keep my eyes fixed on Yours, my head full of Your promises, and that my emotions cannot override my faith without my permission.

My heart will follow where the rest of me is focusing, if I keep You first and foremost.

Realign my vision so I choose You first every day, every evening and every moment in between.
Help me to wrestle down the blues which can arrive with this waiting.
Remind me I am not alone when I feel like a fish without water, and struggle to take the next step forward.
Hold me close when how I am feeling leaks out upon Your loving shoulder.
Fuel me with Your strength as I follow You, wherever the road ahead will take me.
Focus, fixed, faith, following, future.
I leave the past behind, and move forward with You, confident that with You as my constant companion, I can now face whatever comes my way.
#hopefortheharddays
focus Mar 22

when we need to fix our eyes upon one compelling FOCUS

“I don’t depend on my own strength to accomplish this; however I do have one compelling FOCUS: I forget all of the past as I fasten my heart to the future instead. I run straight for the divine invitation of reaching the heavenly goal and gaining the victory-prize through the anointing of Jesus.” Philippians 3:13-14 TPT

“We look away from the natural realm and we fasten our gaze onto Jesus who birthed faith within us and who leads us forward into faith’s perfection. His example is this: Because His heart was FOCUSED on the joy of knowing that you would be His, He endured the agony of the cross and conquered its humiliation, and now sits exalted at the right hand of the throne of God!” Hebrews 12:2 TPT

“We view our slight, short-lived troubles in the light of eternity. We see our difficulties as the substance that produces for us an eternal, weighty glory far beyond all comparison, because we don’t FOCUS our attention on what is seen but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but the unseen realm is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 TPT

Focusing on the future instead of the failures and frustrations of the past. Verses like these help boost my faith, focus my heart and strengthen my vision when I need #hopefortheharddays

focus 1 March 19

“Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust.” Proverbs 4:25-27 MSG

The past 48 hours have been more than a bit of a whirlwind for my emotions. No parent likes to see their kids hurting, no matter the reason. My heart is also hurting for friends who have lost loved ones, have very sick family members, and those feeling the strain of not quite enough finances.

I may not have had much time to jot my thoughts down in my journal, but God has been quietly but powerfully impacting and realigning my focus in these chaotic days.

A friend I grew up with in church years ago taught me a lesson which I have never forgotten about the Word, and prayer. One day, he opened his bible,and began praying back the words of the passage back to God as a prayer, and inserting himself in where appropriate to make it heartfelt yet honest. His focus while in the Word was the Living Word. Connecting relationally, worshiping earnestly, in the moment yet inviting God beyond time into the right now. (Thanks David!)

There are two classics I will share with you today, in the hopes that if you too are feeling in over your head and weary in the storm about you? Sit at His feet, worship Him, and pray His Word back to Him.

Worship:

“Come Thou Fount” by Bob Fitts, circa 1996. https://youtu.be/qo4JjCprFnE

Word:

Psalm 91, in any version. Read it out loud with this twist: either put your name in where it refers to “you,” or say “I” or “me”, whichever feels more natural. Make it your genuine prayer by continuing to pray to Him after the last verse, in gratitude, or by asking Him to make the truths of these verses come alive in your life.

We steer where we stare, friend. Keep your eyes fixed on His. He will not only get you through, He will be beside you as you go.

#hopefortheharddays

focus Mar 20

when God redirects your focus, 6 ways to be prepared

Last night, I ended up at the emergency department with my eldest, due to a freak kitchen accident. Grinding sea salt. (And yes, you read that right!)

The pop sound we heard led to several minutes of “what should we do” conversation between everyone else in the house.

I heard Him say, “Go to emerge.”

And with a sigh, I obeyed. (And I am clearly depending on God to get me up at 5:30am this morning to catch my bus to get to work on time!)

We learned a few important lessons that I feel prompted to share.

1. Be prepared to wait.

2. Be prepared to be around sicker people than you are (which also can lead to point #1.)

3. Be prepared with appropriate clothing. I did have an extra shirt on which saved my daughter’s high school band sweater from being cut to make room for the cast (we are still not too sure til Friday exactly what is going on, refer again to point #1.) However, I was in my evening sweat/jammies, and forgot to wear my undies. Much to my daughter’s embarrassment. (I assure you, I did NOT let anyone else know that, but several people must have thought us weirdos for our random giggling as we waited. But now everyone who reads this will know.... 😂)

4. Be prepared to have unusual conversations with other people. We met a nice gal who was bucked off & kicked by her horse, saw a man with a walking cast and a rare Italian name, a few vomiters, and a nurse with a similar sense of humour.

5. Be prepared for the unexpected. Like hurting yourself grinding fresh sea salt. (We are still laughing hysterically even now at the looks on the doctor & nurse’s faces when we shared how this occured. My #gingersnap set a new standard for kitchen injuries!)

6. Be prepared to meet God in the messy, hysterical situation. I had a clear sense He was with us as we walked in to the ER, again. Each time, I learn something new about His care for us as I lean into Him when I focus on doing what He asks me to do!

PS. Photo shared with permission. What you can’t see is the wide smile as we giggled about our umpteenth ER photo. (it’s tradition!)

#hopefortheharddays

Where are you staring?

“We steer where we stare.” – Lysa TerKeurst⠀


It isn’t very often a few words can grab hold of me so powerfully, so when they do? I pay attention.⠀

This week, I am going to take a closer look at #focus, and how it impacts our future. I hope you’ll join me!⠀

#hopefortheharddays

Seeking joy in the middle of the storms

This week, I have shared three ways I make my faith a priority, especially in the stormy seasons or hardest of days.

  • Seeking Him in worship
  • Seeking Him in the Word
  • Seeking Him in prayer

And today, let me share the fourth way, which may come as a shock to some of you.

Seeking Him for joy.

When I discovered the Word makes promises such as “The joy of the Lord is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10), and saw how Jesus was able to minister so much yet remain confident in who He was and what He was called to do despite opposition, I realized there must be value in joy.

And one of the outer expressions of joy is laughter.

Laughter is health boosting to our bodies, and minds. Helping us to face harder days with a joy that can only come by seeking God, and taking a positive stance.

The act of laughing:

  • Reduces stress
  • Lowers blood pressure
  • Burns calories
  • Eleviates pain
  • Lowers blood sugar
  • Improves immune function
  • Helps you sleep better
  • Improves blood flow
(Read the full ‘8 Health Benefits to Laughter’ article referred to here: https://dailyhealthpost.com/8-health-benefits-of-laughter/)

Basically? Almost every benefit you can get from a jog or run, laughter can release within you!

So I choose daily to read the comics (Calvin & Hobbes are still a fave!) or funny book (Carla Laureano is a good fun dialogue writer), watch a (clean) comedy dvd or YouTube video (Tim Hawkins & the Skit Guys are family faves) or a movie which makes me laugh (Taxi and Ant-Man are good ones for me!).

Laugh every day, it’s like inner jogging!

But more than that, I ask Holy Spirit within me to help me to lean on His joy to be my strength when I feel especially weak.

Try adding laughter and seeking joy to your situation, friend, with His help. He may surprise you with how He uplifts and equips you as you invite Him to move in this way!

#hopefortheharddays #seekjoy

Seek Him in prayer

As I have shared over the past month, I have been battling for my health on three fronts lately. One hindering my breathing, one impacting me deep within, and one affecting my right hand (and yes, that is the hand I predominantly write with.)

The bad sinus congestion left me with a cold air induced asthma, which is almost gone due to the arrival of spring.

The internal one has been successfully corrected due to a required replacement.

But I have been struggling the most this past week with the burn on my hand, which has not healed as well as expected despite following usual protocols.

I have been bringing all of these to God in prayer, often multiple times a day, and can honestly say He has guided me towards health as I followed His lead. Not as swiftly as I would like, but healing me nevertheless.

My hand has been the most painful, as I cannot do most things without it. And I never realized how much I took that ability for granted until this burn hit. I have been pressing in all the more as I seek His help to battle this discomfort, pain and frustration.

Today, I felt prompted to go get my hand checked out (2 weeks post burn). And last night, it apparently turned towards infection for which I am now taking medication.

I am thankful that God pours out not only His help and healing, but His strength to keep me going during life’s inevitable battles.

Friend, He is ready to do the same for you too!

“Seek the LORD and His strength; seek His presence continually!” 1 Chronicles 16:11 ESV

#hopefortheharddays #praypraypray