The Seasons of Life

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I thought the first time prepared me. When it happened again a few years later I was caught off-guard. It is happening again in a few short months, actually, I kid myself, it has been happening for more than a few months and I find myself completely unprepared.

Empty nesting. A season filled with innumerable changes, grief and hopefulness. It is important to allow ourselves to grieve through this process. I am still a mom but my role as mom has changed. My days are no longer dictated by drop-off and pick-up, three yearly two-week breaks and a seven week summer vacation. My days are filled with what I have been anticipating and looking forward to the past twelve months. Time. I have nothing BUT time. I have thought about, dreamed about and chomped at the bit for this exact moment. To have days filled with learning more about this gift of writing, spending endless hours traipsing through God’s word and actually writing, but this empty nest thing keeps getting in the way.

I have been expressing to others that I have been in a holding pattern for the last year and I was wrong. Today God revealed to me one of my favorite verses and one of God’s promises – James 5:17. I’m not in a holding pattern, I’m in between the rains. My responsibility is to be patient and God promises to bring the autumn and spring rains.

In between the rains is where new seeds of truth are planted in rich, deep and dense soil waiting and preparing for the new growth that is about to spring forth.

Empty nesting, like so many seasons in life, is a process. As we stay tethered to Jesus by reading and studying His word and through prayer and fellowship with those who have gone before us, we will learn to trust the process.

Shalom!

©2018TereseJMBelme

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Just be Held

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photo courtesy Pintrest.

I was scheduled to speak at a moms event at church, when I received a call from my child’s school counselor. As I stepped outside to take the call, she told me she was calling mom to mom; friend to friend. My child wasn’t in any danger nor was she in trouble, rather this was an informative call.

There was a storm brewing in our lives.

When I walked back into the event, “Just be Held” by Casting Crowns was playing. I DID NOT want to listen to this song. I sat in defiance with my arms and legs crossed, bouncing my leg up and down, up and down in anger and pain. I was upset with my friend, who was the ministry leader of the event, for choosing this song, but she was simply being obedient. I praise God now that she did choose this song, but for a very long time I couldn’t listen whenever this song was playing. 

With tears in my eyes, I was crying out to God, “Why are you allowing this?” The ‘this’ of that moment was nothing like the ‘this’ that was yet to come. The moment propelled our family into three years of a challenging struggle, that without our faith, could have destroyed us. It was a time of sifting, deliverance, and healing and the enemy took advantage, at every opportunity, to cause us to doubt Who God says he is.

I delivered my presentation and life went on. A few years later, I was cleaning up the files on my computer, and I came to my presentation. I was about to toss it in the garbage, when I very clearly heard the Holy Spirit speak to my heart, “Don’t do that.” I moved the cursor away from the garbage icon and dragged the document back to its original spot on my desktop.

This  morning as I sat and peacefully listened to “Just be Held,” I reflected back to the maelstrom of those years and the Holy Spirit showed me pictures of all the pieces He connected together. How He birthed His will in my life through those tumultuous years. How the presentation I almost threw away became my first ever published piece. 

Storms will rage around us but you have a choice. Just be held.

So when you’re on your knees and answers seem so far away
You’re not alone, stop holding on and just be held
Your world’s not falling apart, it’s falling into place
I’m on the throne, stop holding on and just be held
Just be held, just be held. Casting Crowns.

Shalom!

©2018TereseJMBelme

He Saves our Children

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I love the book of Isaiah, it is one of my favorites! Over the past several weeks this verse has been skipping along in my mind and every time it makes a cognizant appearance, I thank God for this promise.

Last night, our son was delivering for Postmates and there were several glitches in the system. He finally decided to simply go home, well before midnight. Our youngest lovebug was suppose to work until 1:00am but called and said she was on her way home, also well before midnight. Our oldest lovebug had celebrated the New Year several hours earlier and was already safe and sound.

While our son was slightly frustrated that he was trying to earn money and couldn’t, this verse once again made an appearance. This promise that God will save our children, ultimately is speaking about salvation. However, it can also mean, be or live in abundance, placed in freedom or be saved in battle.

I went to sleep last night thanking Him that all my ducklings were home safe on one of the craziest nights of the year. Many times His roadblocks are actually His protection.

Walking in greater faith and eyes wide open.

#pivotalyear2018

Shalom!

©2018TereseJMBelme

Inherent Blessing

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From Eugene Peterson’s broad view of family in Psalm 128. “The illustration is, as we would expect, conditioned by Hebrew culture, in which the standard signs of happiness were a wife who had many children and children who gathered and grew around the table: fruitful vine and olive soots. This illustration is just that, an example that we need not reproduce exactly in order to experience blessing. (We, for instance, don’t try to have as many children as possible-or try to get them to stay home for all their lives!) But the meaning is still with us: Blessing has inherent in it the power to increase.”

Blessing being inherent is the character of God, belonging to His nature. And His power is in each blessing, maintaining the ability to increase the blessing and spill into the live of others, whether we have children or not and whether our children are able to live on their own or not.

You are blessed to be a blessing regardless of your earthly family situation.

#beablessing

Shalom!
©2017TereseJMBelme

The Face of Mental Illness

wildflowers_zydeqDY_.jpgDoes mental illness actually have a face? I suppose many of us, if asked, might sketch something dark, melancholy, even abstract, however, I am beginning to see mental health concerns from a new perspective.

Imagine with me buying one of those big containers of wildflower seeds from your local gardening supply store. In late winter or early spring, after cultivating your garden soil into a deep, dense and rich haven, in which your newly bought seeds will begin to grow and flourish, you wait with great expectation for late spring or early summer when all your flowers begin to bloom and you have a carpeted menagerie of Dahlia’s, Zinna’s, Sunflower’s and more. This is how I am beginning to view mental health awareness.

A collective of beautiful minds that:

  • think deeply.
  • feel on a deeper, rawer level than most not only for themselves but for others and this can be very overwhelming,
  • have HUGE compassionate hearts that bruise, break and agonize easily.

What I have learned and am continuing to learn:

  • outbursts are not about you. They may be directed at you but most likely they are situational in your loved ones life.
  • when your loved one is experiencing a downward spiral help out in any way possible keeping as close to a routine as possible. Maybe that means doing things for your loved one that they would otherwise be able to do for themselves. Something as simple as offering them their medicine, making their meals or doing a load of their laundry.
  • find a support group or start one.
  • lower your expectations. Not of your loved one but for yourself. You may not be able to ‘do’ all the things you want to accomplish and that is okay. Tomorrow is another day.
  • Take care of you so you can take care of your loved one.
  • You are not alone.

Together you can bloom where you are planted.

Shalom!

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Prayers of a Pastor

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There we sat, the room empty, except for one other man. The light was dim and dingy. Off in the corner the television was on and bleating louder than it ought to have been. She sat next to me doubled over in pain with tears streaming down her face wondering what was taking so long. It was 3:30 in the morning. The man brought my attention to the rain that had started again and the howling of the wind.

I sat feeling helpless trying to control the panic beginning to creep in. I closed my eyes and began to pray. I simply said, “Jesus we need you.” The door opened and we were called back. The man came right up next to me and followed us. Just as I was beginning to feel unsettled about this, he said, “I want you to know I was praying for your daughter.” With a relieved smile, I answered, “Thank you.” He said, “As a Pastor that is my job.” I thanked him again and told him there is something special about the prayers of a Pastor.

As we sat in the exam room engulfed by the privacy curtain, listening to the activity of a busy ER, I marveled at HIM. His lavish love poured over us creating a sweet perfume for our souls. Before I ever uttered a word in prayer, God had already answered and placed that Pastor right near us.

If that isn’t love, what is?

Precious One, God is ever close, his love knows no bounds and he is always listening to the sweet tinkling of your voice.

Shalom!

PS she is fine and God is good….ALL the time.