WILL A CHANGE DO YOU GOOD?

As I always tell people, I’m a transparent person. This isn’t always appreciated by people, however, and it’s taken me a long time to realize it’s better to share how I feel and what I’m struggling with rather than stuffing them deep down and pretending I’m fine when I’m not. Now that I’m honest and open, people have come to me, thanking me and sharing with me that they are struggling as well but they don’t feel like they can address what they’re going through with the people in their lives.

SO! Be forewarned, this will be a transparent post.

I was doing dishes the other night…yes, I know how to do dishes, I hide them in the oven just like my mom taught me when I was 5 and my grandparents were coming by and she didn’t have enough time to wash them. :o)

ANYWAY…(ADD rears its ugly head)…I was thinking about the changes that have occurred in our lives over the past year and a half. Changes that we didn’t want. Changes we would have BEGGED to be removed from us.  Sadly, these were changes that we had to face.

We lost Jeff’s dad to cancer. David was a wonderful man; kind, thoughtful, always there when you called for him…even if it was at 3 am, in the winter, and you had a flat tire and you didn’t want to call your husband to get the kids out of bed…David was ALWAYS here for us. Without fail.  I can’t think of a single time he said no to anything I asked of him.

So we had that change. Then our daughter decided she didn’t want to be in our home anymore. She didn’t want our rules. She wanted to do as she pleased and she didn’t want any consequences to her actions. So she left. Not in the best of ways. Some of you may know the devastation an event like this causes a parent.

I don’t do well with change. ANY type of change.  I NEVER have. Why?  I think it started when my grandparents sold their home to my mom and dad and moved to Florida. I was devastated and I don’t think I ever got over that completely. I loved my Papaw something fierce and he felt the same about me. My mom said I had him wrapped around my pinky. I did, but I only used that power to have him push me on my tricycle when I didn’t feel like pedaling. TRUE STORY!  Well…there may have been another time…I did ask him to get me grapes when I was sick once. I wouldn’t eat when I’d get sick and it always upset him. He’d actually cry because he wanted me to eat so bad. It had something to do with I didn’t eat enough as a baby or something like that. So he’d beg me to eat and he’d name things that were in the fridge or he’d tell me to just name something that sounded good and he’d go get it if they didn’t have it. I tested it once and only once, and he did it. He went and got me grapes. I ate them. I hadn’t connected the dots but I was telling that story to Whit and she said, “OH!!! THAT’S why you do that!” I stared at her blankly. She said, ” Mama, when we’re sick and we won’t eat, you do the same thing to us. If we don’t have it, you go out and get it. Your Papaw taught you that!” The funny thing? Although they moved to Florida, he made sure to never miss a big event in my life. When I made it to summer state finals in swimming, he and Mamaw came so they could come to the event at the Nat. He picked me up for practice, every morning, for 2 weeks and then sat in the bleachers for 2 hours and watched me swim. After every practice, I told him he didn’t need to stay but he’d give the same answer every time, “Mandi, I love to watch you.” And watch me he did.  He never brought a newspaper, never left the bleachers, he just watched me. Every time I stopped for the next set, I’d look up and his eyes were on me. When I got the scholarship to Germany, he made sure he and Mamaw were there to see me off. He slipped me a $50 and said, “Don’t tell Mamaw Sweetpea.” and then Mamaw slipped me a $50 and said, “Don’t tell Papaw.” He and Mamaw even drove to Orlando when they found out I was going to be there with a friend of mine visiting Walt Disney World to surprise me and just so we could spend a few hours together. They waited at the hotel but they decided to head back before it got too dark but they slipped a note under the door to our hotel room.

He passed away when I was a month away from turning 20. It felt like my soul was being ripped in two. I’ve described him as my umbrella in the storm and I can’t talk or write about him without crying. (don’t worry, they’re tears of happy memories and just wishing I could have had more time) He was a gentle soul who loved his family and he only raised his voice to me once. Why? A boy, who was a lot older than me, was talking to me and Papaw hollered at me to get my butt up to the house. Then I was told I wasn’t supposed to talk to boys.  If he had his way, I’d never talk to boys, EVER!! :o)  He and my husband are so very similar. Both are very patient, very rarely raise their voices, and love deeply.

Then, in 2006, my mom and dad sold the home my grandparents built and I was devastated. It was the only stable home environment I’d had for my entire life. It was like watching a piece of me being taken away…being amputated.  I always thought that, well, I may not have him physically, but I can always walk into my childhood home, close my eyes, and see him, see the laughter I had with him and I wasn’t going to be able to do that anymore. Strangers were going to be living in a home that I’d loved for 31 years.

So, to me, CHANGE CAN BE AWFUL!!!

As I was doing those dishes, I started thinking about that and I thought, WHY does it HAVE to be awful??

So, I felt God nudging me to look at change from a different perspective.  Maybe, when we don’t like change, we don’t like it because we focus on the NEGATIVE impact it has on us instead of realizing the POSITIVE impact it has on others.

My Wonderful Father-in-Law, David, went home to Jesus and the cancer isn’t hurting him any longer. POSITIVE: He’s healed!  I KNOW that FAR outweighs the negative impact it’s had on me. I’ll never stop missing him, but I KNOW where he is and I KNOW I’ll see him again soon.

My Papaw and Mamaw moved to Florida so they could retire and not feel the cold in their joints anymore. (now that I have arthritis issues, I get it!)  He also wanted a place to enjoy his retirement. He got to play golf every day if he wanted. He even made a hole in one and called me to tell me about it.  I understood only ONE thing about golf which was; when you use Papaw’s golf clubs, tees, and golf balls, you have to pick up ALL the golf balls and put EVERYTHING back where you found it. So when he told me that, I said, “Papaw isn’t that the point? You’re SUPPOSED to get a hole in one EVERY time!” He just laughed and laughed at that one. He explained that wasn’t the case and that they were calling him, “Earl the Pearl” at the clubhouse. POSITIVE: They ENJOYED their retirement! They loved the weather, the amenities of the community they moved to and they were happy! I missed him like crazy but he made sure to be here for all the big things in my life.

When Papaw passed away from cancer, the POSITIVE was that he was no longer hurting. I don’t know about his faith but I have to believe that a man like he was, he HAD to have had the Spirit of The Lord in him. I truly believe I’ll see him again.

My mom and dad selling the home. I HATED it! I cried for weeks. I went and helped them get it ready to sell but then I’d go home and cry. But when I was doing my dishes I thought the POSITIVE was that my mom probably felt like she finally had her “own” home.  I can understand that and I am so happy that my mom has that. She deserves that. She’s an amazing woman who’s done amazing things and she’s never asked for much for herself.  This is a POSITIVE!

I’m still trying to figure out the positive with the other situation in our lives but I know, when it’s the Lord’s timing, it will be revealed. Until then, I’m going to try and remember to look at change from the aspect of what POSITIVE effect will it have on someone else’s life even though it may appear to have a negative effect on mine.

However, the biggest changes in any Christian’s walk with Jesus are when God removes things in our lives, in our hearts, that don’t reflect who He is. He must remove this junk because, in order for HIM to INCREASE, we must decrease. In fact, God’s Word tells us this.

John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.

We must change.  For me, it always comes back to one thing; I need to have a progressive spirit.  A spirit that desires God. A spirit that desires Jesus to shine through me. A spirit that seeks the things of God and not the things of the world.

Do you feel that way? Do you think about change? If not, let me encourage you to think about it. Pray about it. Desire it.  Then, when others see the difference in you, share WHY you’re different and, most importantly, WHO changed y0u. Share WHO removed your negatives and replaced them with positives. Share WHO helped you change your viewpoint.

Just be ready. When you allow God in, REALLY let Him in to work inside you, the changes won’t be easy. They’ll probably even hurt. You might lose loved ones because of your faith but please, stay the course. Following in Jesus’ path should be our focus. There’s an old hymn that I love and the chorus says,

Turn your eyes upon Jesus, Look full in His wonderful face,                                                       Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

 

CHANGE YOUR VIEWPOINT!!!!!!!

 

WHAT’S OUR FOUNDATION? MORE IMPORTANTLY, WHO’S OUR FOUNDATION?

It’s been a rough month here in the Sievertson household.  First, all the trouble we’ve been having with our oldest daughter and then losing my husband’s father, an amazing man, David.  We weren’t prepared for either of these events.  Who could be prepared for such events as these?  There is no handbook for these life events…or is there?  Yes, yes there is.  It’s called The Word of God.  You can simply call it the Bible if you want the shorter version. :0)

I was sitting upstairs, trying my best to go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight; instead of 6 or 7 in the morning like I’ve been doing lately (Turns out, that when I’m stressed, I don’t sleep much.) and I had some major thoughts come to me.  SO, I rushed right downstairs to capture them on here before I lost them. Which, let’s face it, is pretty likely to happen.

As I was sitting at my vanity, doing my nightly skin regimen, I was thinking about everything that’s happened in our lives in the past month. I thought about my foundation. About my strength. I thought about my ministry. About Hadassah. I haven’t been on here in awhile. Why? Because of the problems we’ve been having with our daughter. I didn’t feel “worthy” or qualified to lead other women when, apparently, I couldn’t even get through to my own child. Then, this past month, everything went nutso and I REALLY found out where I stand.  I EXPERIENCED IT!!! 

Remember when God told Abraham he had to sacrifice Isaac? Isaac, the seed that fulfilled the promise of making Abraham the father of many nations? God didn’t do this to see if Abraham would be obedient; not at all!  This was purely for Abraham. This showed Abraham his faith. It showed him that his faith, his trust, his love, was completely in The Lord. He didn’t know how, but he knew that even if he took the life of his son, that God would and could bring Isaac back because God doesn’t break His promises.  ABRAHAM EXPERIENCED HIS FAITH!!  He learned, that even if he didn’t completely understand what was going on, he was relying on God. He was relying on God no matter what. He had complete trust, complete belief, complete love, complete FAITH in God his Father. God made him a promise and Abraham knew…he KNEW God would keep his word.  AND GOD DID!!!

SO!  Where do I stand? I stand with HIM! I stand with the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. I stand with the great I Am. You see, at this point in my life, I’ve lived a Christian life for about 18 years. I’ve had faith. I’ve taught Bible studies, been a high school youth group leader, led in home Bible study groups, started this ministry, and done some guest speaking (which I’m praying I start doing more of because I know this is what God wants me to be doing). I’ve done all of that with faith.

This past month though?  I’ve experienced, TRULY EXPERIENCED, my faith. I’m no longer going to be timid about my beliefs. THERE!!!  I said it!!

Right about now, I’m sure some of you are saying, “HUH?? I’ve read her posts on Facebook and on here; she isn’t timid about her faith.”

Well, the truth is…I think I have been. You see, I’ve spent my life walking a pretty fine line; trying to not offend non-believers, yet at the same time, being as vocal about who I am as I feel I’m allowed to be.  Well…no more. I’m me! I’m so tired of trying to please everyone. I only want to please ONE and He doesn’t reside here on Earth. His name is Father God. The Creator of ALL. I want to please Him, to walk as HIS Son, Jesus did while He was on this earth. I want to live as he lived. To be Jesus to all who meet me. To be vocal about my faith. To not back down just because someone doesn’t agree with me. This is going to be HORRIBLY tough for me because I can’t stand it if people are unhappy with me…but in reality, they aren’t upset with me…they’re upset with the One who sent me.

I have one thought that goes through my head often and I’ve repeated it to my girls often as well…If Jesus isn’t who He claimed to be, why is He so hated? Why?

Muhammad isn’t as hated. Buddha isn’t. The 33 million gods in Hinduism aren’t as hated. Only Jesus. The only ethnic group that’s ever been, repeatedly, tried to be expunged from the face of the earth is the Jewish Nation. If this was the only data I had to go on, it would speak volumes to me.

So, as I was thinking about all of this, I thought about Esther…as I typically do…and I thought about WHY it’s my favorite book of the Bible. It’s because, before she became Queen Esther, she was Hadassah.  She was faithful and obedient before she became Queen and she was the same afterwards.

Then I thought about who she was…her qualities…her essence. Here’s what I thought…

She had a strong foundation. She had unshakable faith. Faith in her Lord, faith in her Uncle Mordecai, and faith in her new husband, King Xerxes. She was obedient. Obedient to her Lord, obedient to her Uncle Mordecai, and obedient to her husband, King Xerxes. She had compassion for her people, the Jewish Nation and wept for their imminent demise. She was fearless. She knew she took a great risk by going to the king when he didn’t ask for her. She knew, if he didn’t hold out his scepter, she would be killed and yet she went anyway. She didn’t hide her faith. When Mordecai asked for her help, she told him to ask the Jewish people to fast for her and she did the same with her maids.

I can learn a lot from Esther…Hadassah.  This ministry, when first founded, was to help women be faithful and obedient in all aspects of life, but somewhere deep inside, I think I always thought I was supposed to gear it more towards women who have health issues. Tonight, God showed me that isn’t the case. This ministry, my ministry, GOD’S ministry, is to reach ALL women, no matter what their lives may be like at the moment.  We, as women, need to embrace each other, lift each other up, support each other, and love each other.  Most importantly? We need to share Jesus with each other.  We share Him with the saved to encourage each other when we’re struggling and we share Him with the lost to show them the way to His mercy and forgiveness.

Let’s stop living a timid faith and live a HUGE faith. A faith that shakes the world around us. Who’s with me?

Sin Isn’t Just a Verb

If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it.” (‭Genesis‬ ‭4‬:‭7‬ NKJV)

This is what I’m meditating on right now…..when I’m done gathering my thoughts, I’ll post them. Pray with me that God will give me clarity as I continue to think about it. I’ve been thinking about it for a few days now. 🙂

Sin, Consequences, Forgiveness, Nurturing

Boy! Am I glad God didn’t put a time frame on what He asked me to do! I’m still on chapter 3 of Genesis. There are SO many nuggets of gold waiting to be read, meditated on, and applied in our lives. So many that we don’t need to rush ourselves. 🙂

In my last post we read about Eve’s decision to sin, how it was a choice she made of her own free will.

As we read further in the chapter we learn that Adam and Eve, after they ate the forbidden fruit, were suddenly aware of their nakedness and were ashamed. As we continue, we find that they’ve hidden themselves from The Lord.

Have you ever wondered why God asked Adam and Eve where they were or who told them they were naked? He’s God…..He knows everything so is this contradictory to what we know about Him? Not at all!

What we read here is what we see throughout Scripture. God gives us the opportunity to confess our wrongdoing. HE knows what we’ve done but we need to come to Him with an acknowledgement of our sin. That acknowledgment should be followed by a prayer of repentance.

Now, just because we’ve admitted our sin it doesn’t mean we don’t still have to pay the consequences of our sin. That’s the next step we read about. God’s punishment for their sin.

It certainly wasn’t a pleasant consequence….ESPECIALLY the childbirth one….thanks a lot Eve!! 😦
But they still had to pay the price.

SO!!!!
Here’s where my eyes stopped and got hooked.

Genesis 3:21

“Also for Adam and his wife The Lord God made tunics of skin and clothed them.”

I’ve read this passage countless times but, for some reason, tonight it grabbed at my heart and wouldn’t let go. I actually started crying.

WHY??

Even though His beloved creation, Adam and Eve sinned against Him, He still loved them, still provided for them, still nurtured them. He’d pronounced their punishment and now He was preparing them to leave His garden of Eden.

I cried because this is such lovely example of God’s forgiving nature. I thought of all my sins…(not one by one because that would take a VERY long time)….and I realized how much He’s forgiven me and still nurtures me through His Word.

He could have said, “Nope! Sorry but you chose to disobey Me so I’m washing My hands of you! Good luck!”
I don’t know about you but I am SO thankful He didn’t.

The picture this painted for me, what I related to, was one as a parent. There are times we must discipline our children. Do we LIKE to do that? NO! Do we HAVE to do that? YES!

It’s never easy to discipline your child. You don’t want to be the reason your child is upset; however, we all know discipline is a necessary tool in a parent’s toolbox.

After our child has been disciplined, what do we do? At least I do…..I hold my child, tell them that I love them, and that they need to think things thru a little more next time.

After all of that though….I don’t stop providing for their needs just because they made a mistake. Just like our Father in heaven doesn’t stop providing for us. He’s still there and He gave us a promise and He doesn’t break promises. He says He will never leave us nor forsake us.

I am so very thankful for that promise and so many more we’ll read about together in this path we’re on. Remember, seek to have a progressive spirit. That’s what we should strive for. To be better servants of The Lord than we were the day before.

Hard Choices

The last two days I’ve had the passage in mind I wanted to write about but I haven’t done so. One of my doctors has started me on a new med and it’s made me tired so my body is still getting used to it. So I’ve been falling asleep a lot earlier than I normally do and taking longer naps. My mind is kinda fuzzy. :-/

I believe God has done that for a purpose though. See, the section I’m writing about is in Genesis chapter 3. This chapter in God’s Word tells us about the temptation and fall of man.

It talks of the serpent, which we know is satan, tempting Eve to eat fruit from the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. Eve, as we know, not only ate the fruit from the tree but she also gave it to Adam.

I then intended to go on to the passage about them hiding from God because of their shame at being naked.

There are so many lessons we can take from this passage.

1. Eve encouraged Adam to sin with her and succeeded. So we shouldn’t encourage others to join us in our sins.

2. Eve’s sin didn’t just touch her life, she took her husband with her. Thus our sins never effect just our lives, they effect those around us.

3. Beware of talking animals….especially snakes which are really creepy to begin with. 🙂

Then, the part I was going to focus on was why they hid from God. That when we sin we can find it hard to come before The Lord knowing how dirty we are. How deep our stains run. How we can commit a sin and not repent, then another, and another, so on and so on and soon….we feel like we’re not connected to God. We feel like we can’t get back to Him.

Which is silly because ALL it takes it a prayer of sincere repentance and we’re back where we’re supposed to be; in His Embrace.

I was going to tie that into how that type of behavior can creep into our relationships with those in our lives as well. With our loved ones. One bad behavior, one angry outburst and it can start a wall that, with each day, becomes higher and higher and harder and harder to overcome.

Then today, I thought about this passage in a totally different light.

What Eve was presented with here was simple.

SHE WAS GIVEN A CHOICE!!

A choice between God’s path and satan’s path. A choice between right and wrong. A choice between easy and hard.

A choice to stand up for what is right, what God offered them or a choice to go wrong and take what satan offered them.

She chose unwisely huh??

The thing is this…..haven’t we all?? At one time or another, haven’t we ALL made bad choices? I know I have. Boy have I!!

It would have taken immense courage, I think, for Eve to have stood up to satan and said, “Thanks, but no thanks. I’m sticking with God and whatever He has in store for me.”

Why do I say courage? Because she didn’t know what her future held. She didn’t know where God was going to lead Adam and her. What plans He had in store for their lives.

In my mind I see a picture of a man and a woman standing on the edge of a cliff and they’re about to take a step off, knowing once they take that step there WILL be something there to catch them.

THAT MY FRIENDS IS FAITH!!!!

Instead, Eve chose, as so many have done…..starting with Lucifer himself….
to be like God. She chose to to take something that wasn’t hers to take. Something she was told, explicitly, NOT to take.

So, how do we apply this to our lives?

We look and see….are we choosing God? Even when it’s hard, even when our beliefs aren’t popular, even when we’re ridiculed, made fun of, mocked?

DO WE CHOOSE HIM???

Do we choose to live by His Word and all that’s contained with in it? Do we live our lives with love? Do we try to make amends for our mistakes? Do we choose to be the absolute best we can be because we’re walking in the image of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ??

I’ll be the first to admit…..I struggle. I’m not perfect. Show me a Christian who says otherwise and I’ll show you a person who isn’t a Christian or, at the very least, is lying….which is a sin so hmmmm….. We are ALL flawed, damaged, dented, broken, hurt, and ravaged in some way and we’re ALL, hopefully, doing the best we can to be better people.

The question is….

HOW DO WE BECOME BETTER PEOPLE?

We read God’s Word. We pray. We fellowship with other believers. We strive to have a progressive spirit that is ALWAYS seeking to have more of Him and less of us.

It isn’t easy and we’ll mess up….a lot…
but we repent and we keep moving forward. Remember this verse for strength.

James 4:7

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Keep resisting the evil one, turning to The Holy One and you’ll be on the right path.

MAKE THE RIGHT CHOICE!!

If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, please message me and let me answer any questions you have. Don’t wait. He loves you and is waiting for you. None of us are promised tomorrow. Don’t put it off.

Bone of My Bones

Genesis 2:23 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.”

Every time I read this verse I feel a catch in my heart. Before this verse we read that God has determined that it isn’t good for man to be alone, that he should have a companion, so God brings all animals before Adam so he can name them and to see if he’d find a companion in one of them. However, none of them fit, none of them are “The One”. None of them cry out to his heart….
YES!!! You’re the one!!!

Of course God knows this, He knows what Adam needs, but I wonder if God wanted Adam to know it as well. Does God want Adam to see what doesn’t work, what’s wrong so he’ll recognize what does work, what’s right?

That got me to thinking; Isn’t that how God works sometimes? He allows us to have what’s wrong so we can then appreciate what’s right? Not just appreciate it but recognize it. For example….when God’s people cried out for a king they were warned what would happen; how badly they would be treated, the yoke placed upon them by the “king” they so desperately wanted would be a heavy one. They cried out, saying they didn’t care; they wanted to be like the nations around them. God gave them what they wanted. King Saul. It seemed, at first, to be a good idea but it went downhill quickly.

In God’s grace He removed the heavy burden of a bad king and gave them King David. They were able to recognize what was right because they experienced what was wrong.

So Adam recognized Eve as the flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. He looked at her and said, “There you are!! Where have you been all of my life!!??” (Obviously taking some liberty here.)

He looked at her and he saw the person who would walk life’s road with him. His partner. His friend. His lover. His helpmate. He recognized her and was SO excited to be with her.

So, what’s the application here? Do you recognize the bad so you can appreciate and recognize the good?

If you’re married, do you look at your spouse with that passion, that sense of profound recognition of who they are to you?

Young men and women who aren’t married, God has made someone just for you. Just like He made Eve for Adam. Are you being vigilant, watchful for the “bone of your bone”? Are you excited about the prospect of your future spouse?

Then be in prayer now. Pray for the man or woman He has for you. When it comes to your future spouse, don’t make the mistake of going thru the bad so you can recognize the good. How do you do that? As in ALL things, turn to the God’s Word.

I think of Philippians 4:6-8

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy — meditate on these things.

Keep yourself pure, keep your heart pure for that special one God made just for you. I speak with my girls all the time and advise them, there’s nothing more precious you can give your spouse than a pure heart. One unbroken by previous relationships but a whole one, ready to walk into the future with The One who is the bone of your bone and flesh of your flesh.

From a Woman’s Perspective

I started Hadassah Ministry because I felt God was calling to me to minster to women who were struggling. Whether it might be illness, mental, emotional, or _______________(insert trial here).

The last time I read thru the Bible in a year, I read 5 chapters at a time and I posted my thoughts regarding anything that The Lord placed upon my heart.

This time, I feel He wants me to read thru, strictly as a woman…..how do the verses speak to me as a woman, as well as where do I see Jesus as I read?

I don’t feel like God wants a time limit on this. So, I’ll read until I’m moved to write a post. It may be just a few verses in or a few chapters. If it takes some time….which it will because the Bible is HUGE!! (Seriously….have you read it lately??) Anyway….if it takes some time, no big deal. Let’s not rush God or His Word.

His Word is a beautiful love letter written to ALL of us. Let’s discover it together.

My prayer for each of you reading this and joining me on this journey, is that you’ll be lifted up and that He uses me to encourage you. If I may be so bold, would you pray for me as well? That I’ll have a clear mind to hear Him and His leading?

Let’s have some fun!!!