In The Shadow of COVID-19

I’ve learned a few things during “Shelter-in-place” and wanted to share them with anyone who cares to read them.

So….

…Here goes ~

Time is valuable; a precious commodity, don’t waste it.

People matter; make time.

Everyone needs Jesus more than ever today.

The Gospel is the conversation we need to have with all people as much as possible, wherever we go.

Learning to listen with our mouth closed and ears open; without judgement is important.

Being all there is powerful! So, put down the remote, put away your phone, look up, out & around you.

Love more.

Smile more (even behind the mask).

Laugh more.

Live with an open hand and open heart.

Be generous with kindness.

Enjoy the company and conversation of those whom you love the most.

Lingering around a table after a meal with your people is time well spent. It can be a very loving thing to do. It might even be an act of worship. After all, Jesus spent a lot of time lingering around a table after a meal with friends.

Personal & corporate worship are both “essential”.

Here’s to 2021!

In the shadow of The Almighty
Renee



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Why My Blog Is Titled Shadow Living?

From as far back as my memory will allow me to go;  I always felt like I was living “in someone else’s shadow.”  I wouldn’t understood the why behind it until years later.  But, it is connected to my childhood.  Growing up feeling invisible, unheard and dismissed had a tremendous effect on me.  Looking back, after years of God peeling back the layers and revealing facts vs. lies I realize it was no one’s fault.  Events, choices are made in life that leave ripple effects on a child’s heart.  BUT GOD!  He has a way of redeeming, restoring, resurrecting who He made us to be!  When we choose to let go of a life lived “in the shadow” of others and begin to live in the shadow of The Almighty!

Living in someone else’s shadow you tend to lose your own.  Or in my case have a really hard time finding it.  Remember how Peter Pan was always looking for his shadow?  He came into the nursery looking for it, thinking he had left it on one of those nights when Wendy would read to him. Wendy finds it and sews it onto his feet so he wouldn’t lose it again.  That’s what it feels like to not really know who you are.  To not have your own shadow or what we call identity.  You feel like something has been lost so you keep looking to find it.  I was looking for my “shadow” (my identity) but instead of sewing it on so I would not lose it again, for me; it was easier to just blend in and live in someone else’s shadow.

I grew up  in an environment where physical appearance or beauty was of utmost importance.  Now, beauty is not a bad thing.  But when that is the object of conversation or compliments were given only to the beautiful ones,  it can be a hard environment to grow up in.  Especially, if you don’t feel like one of the beautiful ones.  I was the little girl with gray teeth and freckles across my nose and a pixie haircut!  I was the quiet, shy kid who never looked people in the eye when they talked to me.  So living in the shadow of another was easy.  I was accustomed to it.  It had become my safe place.

In that type of atmosphere, it is easy to blend into the wallpaper, because there was always someone all too eager to take center stage! There were quite a few in my sphere of life who were willing to have all eyes & ears on them.  As a matter of fact, if they weren’t the center of attention believe you me, they would make sure they were seen and heard!  It was nauseating and exhausting.   I was definitely not one of those!  I just tried to stay out of the way.  So at an early age I learned to live in the shadows.   After many years of searching, seeking and self medicating something inside of me  woke up!

Through My Abba’s help in his word, prayer, pain & counseling I have been set free to step out of a life lived in another person’s  “shadow” and am learning how to live abundantly in the Shadow of The Almighty!

I am sincerely hoping there are others out there in blogosphere world who can relate to my experience.  My heart is to share my story of restoration, redemption & renewal so others can find their true identity & freedom in knowing who they are and why they were created.  Purpose brings peace & power.  I have found that shadow living can be a wonderful way of life but the key is choosing to live in the right shadow.   Hoping to hear from a few of you soon.

Choosing to live in the shadow of the Almighty,
Renee
Psalm 91:1-2 Shadow Living

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Can’t We Make Room For a Few More?

I am struggling today!  Just keeping it real and being absolutely transparent.

You know we all need a tribe. We all want to belong. We all desire a place at the table. We all need a circle of friends.

Can I just spill my guts here?  At the risk of being criticized or judged here I go!

One of the most likely places today where feeling like we belong is in church.  I know I am  not the only one who feels this way.  I just know it!  Churches can be lonely places.  Churches can be HARD!   Not Jesus, no NOT Jesus; but church.  At least most churches in the “Bible Belt.”   Which is just so backwards from anything in the Bible.

Me and my husband feel like we just don’t fit anywhere.  In our 28 years of walking with Jesus there has only been ONE time in which we felt like we truly belonged.  Where we experienced that sweet koinonia fellowship that we read so much about in the New Testament.  This is NOT a slam against any one church.  It’s not even a slam; it’s just a real observation from up close and personal experience.  We attend a great church in our community.  Great Gospel preaching, teaching, sharing, going, mission driven church.  They are Gospel centered and proclaim Jesus Christ in all they do.  Friendly and warm is your first impression for sure!  It’s just that like every other church we have been involved in; once you get past the front door and try to “connect” well….that’s when it gets hard.  But, this is NOT just at our church.  It is across the board in the churches we have served and worshipped in.

Church should be the last place where you feel of lonely or disconnected.   We talked the other night about how years ago at our first church “home” where we attended and were actively serving Jesus for 16 years.  After church we would go to lunch almost every week at this one particular place.  We would sit at a table with our little family all by ourselves and right next to us would be two families who were great friends; never once did they offer to pull up an extra table and invite us to eat with them.  We went to the same church.  Our kids were in the same classes, yet no room at the table for our family, no room in the circle.  They were friendly enough but no invitation to join them.  This went on for years; not sure why we didn’t ask to join?  We probably thought it would be rude to invite ourselves.

This was a place we were very committed and served faithfully at for 16 years.  Although, we were satisfied in service we never truly felt like we belonged.  We knew some great people and had a few close relationships but for the most part; just felt isolated.  As the years went by and we moved to a new church when our youngest kids were in elementary school   Same thing happened.  We were new!  Wednesday nights we would show up for the meal and sit all by ourselves.  No one would ever sit with us.  We would even ask but they would go and sit with their same little circle of friends.  It was just lonely.  This happened so often we quit going to the “fellowship” meal.  There was no fellowship for us except with one another.  It was quite awkward and it hurt.  My husband hated it.   I would think to myself…”why doesn’t anyone invite us to their home, or ask us to sit with them; knowing we are new and probably don’t know many people?

In all of our years in different churches we have witnessed this “friendly & warm up front” atmosphere but once you get in the door and start trying to connect; it’s like the door shuts…to say, “sorry no room in the inn” or there is not enough room at the table or maybe their circles just won’t stretch that big to include a few more?  I don’t know what it is.  I used to think we had a sign on our foreheads that read….we are weird stay away! But No.  It’s not like that.   We desire friendship.  We enjoy  meeting new people and spending time with people other than our family.

I have a feelng we are not the only ones who have experienced this loneliness inside the walls of our “friendly and warm” churches.  Especially those churches that are old well established.  They have something with one another we can’t possibly bring to the table…longevity of relationship.   For the most part the core families have been coming there for years.  Their children have grown up together.  They have served at home and abroad together over a number of years.  We don’t have that in common.

I also, understand human nature, we like those who are most like us.  It’s hard to get to know new people.  We stick to what is familiar.  My feelings are in no way a slam to our church.   We have the perspective from our side of things.   Our own deacon doesn’t know who we are when he sees us; he looks right past us.  LOL.  I kid you not!  He can’t help it.  Probably too many people under his care.  Faces and names become a blur at that point.  Not blaming him; just an honest truth.  We have been at our church now going on two years and have not once been invited to anyone’s home or even out to lunch.   I think that is a sad thing?  I see it as a real problem in every church we have been in.

We have jumped in and signed up to serve in different ways and capacities because we love Jesus and others.  It’s also a great way to get to know other people.  We have enjoyed the serving part but as far as making any new friends not happened.  I ask my husband all the time., “are we weirdo’s?”., “Do we stink?, Actually asked him that last night.  People we attended another church with (actually served with and were in same small group for 3 years) needed two seats we motioned them to sit next to us.  They did and then saw people they knew better and moved up, saying, “no offense” (2nd time they have done this btw…).  We just looked at one another and said, “we had our showers today.”   I know in my heart they did not mean to offend us or even think anything about it.  It was just a bit more salt in a wound.

I feel like there are many people sitting in the pews of our churches that are extremely lonely inside the walls of our churches.  I know we are not wierdos.  I firmly believe it is a problem.  Jesus was the most hospitable person that ever walked this earth.  Those of us who love Him and love others need to follow in His foot steps.  We need to make room in our circles for a few more.  We need to open up our homes and hearts to new people in our church and invite them in, getting to know them.  We need to include others. We need to give them a seat at the table and actually strike up a conversation with the newbies.

We have watched and seen this in our two youngest children’s lives as well.  They have both walked away from “Church”.  They didn’t fit there.  No one reached out to them with genuine love; sure they have heard the Gospel over and over.  People have “taught” the Word of God and made sure they were teaching sound doctrine and accurate theology.  But, how about actually loving in deed not only in word?  They rarely felt the love and acceptance of Jesus in our Bible Belt Churches.  They like us aren’t platform people.  They are not performers but would rather do behind the scenes things.  That is a totally different topic.  If your kids aren’t “church” kids or from the “star” families in many churches, they get a raw deal inside the walls of our churches.  And God forbid, one of your kids goes through a season of rebellion or sin they get cast aside like an old shoe.  Forgotten or labeled the “bad” kid or “black sheep”.  Instead of reaching out in Christ’s love; they get black balled.  Doesn’t sound much like Jesus does it?

I have prayed over the years and asked the Lord to search my heart and remove bitterness, hurt, anger and an unforgiving attitude in me towards “the church”  But the truth of the matter is; it’s NOT me.  It’s not something we have dreamed up because we have nothing better to do.  We are not divisive people.  We want unity.  We love Jesus Christ.  We love others.  We love the word of God.  We enjoy serving in anyway He leads us to.  We want a family.  We want to be part of a tribe.  We also want others to experience this inside the walls of our churches.

So, the Holy Spirit has been speaking to our hearts…You be the initiate conversations with other new people. You be the inviters. Open up the door of your home and heart to welcome people in. You open up your circle. You be the includers (yes a made up word). You make room for a few more. You reach out.

Jesus took notice and saw things others people overlooked. He noticed the lonely. He spoke to the outcast. He loved the unlovely. He healed the leper. He made room at the table for a few more. His heart and hands are wide open. He makes a place for me at His table.

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Hope & Healing For Our Hurts, Hang-ups & Habits!

Years ago I went through Celebrate Recovery and through that I learned about patterns of behavior, what CR named “hurts, habits & hang-ups” we revert back to emotionally, mentally & physically.

Not all chains ⛓ are alcohol or drug related.

Celebrate Recovery isn’t just for those addicted to alcohol or drugs.

I truly believe every person needs the redemption of Jesus Christ because of our SIN nature.

But it doesn’t stop there; the recovery part of the transformation process which the Bible refers to as sanctification; the setting apart to holiness…

It is a lifelong process!

For those of us who were raised in very broken homes, dysfunctional & drama filled environments; those of us living in the shadow of narcissism at its finest; are in need of help, hope & healing!

Jesus Christ is our hope!

But He uses other safe people, places & grace filled, biblical counselors and His wonderful word to heal our hurts.

He give us tools and new patterns of behavior. But remember It is a process!

•Be patient with yourself

•Be patient with your loved ones struggling with addictions & chains.

My issue was deep seeded, unresolved, underlying anger that over time would inevitably rear its ugly head, in every area of my life and did much damage to many relationships.

I now know the anger that was under the surface but would eventually erupt was because of deep emotional wounds – hurt.

With Gods help and honest work on my part. I was so sick & tired of the woman I saw in the mirror; that I was ready to go through the pain of some honest self evaluation, confession & repentance to experience the change!

“Hurt people hurt others.”

If you know people who are damaged emotionally & mentally pray for them to see the truth about themselves, to get to a place in their lives where they can face their demons, past, etc. because when they stop denying and are ready to get real with themselves, God & a safe person – healing will begin.

Getting to the root of whatever your addictions & chains are numbing is the key to being set free.

I was being controlled and trying to control others through anger and didn’t even see it. I was in “denial” but when I was ready to receive truth and get real, stop denying, stop lying to myself ….

God revealed through someone close to me. I didn’t try to defend myself, or argue back; I heard and broke in a very good way. God began healing the open wounds in my heart. He is Jehovah-Rapha’ The God who heals!

More to follow…still on the road to wholeness!

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Faith & Obedience

Our King is coming! Will we be ready? Will our lamps be filled with oil and lit? Are we watching? Are we eager for His appearing? Are we walking in the call and doing the work He called us to do?

Read through the book of Hebrews this morning and realized Jesus used the word continue, abide, dwell, stay, be steadfast, immovable, unshakable for a reason!

If my confession of faith (belief) in Christ is not connected to obedience to His word, will & way it’s not genuine faith!

Belief & faith are always followed by obedience. Faith & Feet moving in cadence with God’s Word & The Holy Spirit.

Reading Hebrews this morning has been
like a spiritual physical (check up or tune up) for my heart & mind today.

If I love Jesus Christ…I will obey His Word. I have adjustments to make TODAY! How about you?

We are living in a time of “falling away”, “drifting away”, down right turning away from the Truth of God’s Word, Will & Way. Let’s make sure our faith is genuine. Let’s be sure our feet are moving in the same direction as our faith.

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Giving It All Over … Again

This morning I laid every one of our grown children, their spouses, our beautiful grandchildren on the altar in prayer giving them over to God.

Sometimes I forget that they don’t belong to me! They have a Heavenly Father who takes such great care of them. He knows how to speak into their lives so much better than I do.

We have raised our children the best way we knew how at the time, with what we knew then, what we had then & we truly did the best we knew to do; as imperfectly & broken as it was.

So today, the sweet Lord reminded me to “let go again”, to give them over to Him. Knowing He is the perfect Father who will never leave them. He is so much better at this than we could ever be.

He is so incredibly good! He is ABLE!

He sees the whole picture from start to finish! He will be faithful to accomplish in their lives what concerns Him!

Letting go!

Giving over!

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The madness!

We look to our government leaders.
We look to our law makers.
Some demand for more gun control.
Others yell for more mental health agencies.

God help us!

We blame the gaming industry.

We blame the movie & music industries.

But…

Do we ever look within as a nation?
Do we look in the mirror?
Do we check our hearts?
Do we care?
Do I care?

Church do we care?

Do we look up in repentance & brokenness over our sin as a nation?

God help us!

Such tragedy!

So heartbreaking!

Where are those souls now?

Broken families, those living in motherless & Fatherless homes.

Friendless, broken, unloved, unheard, unseen kids.

Children left to themselves.

The forgotten ones.

The abandoned.

The emotionally, mentally & physically abused.

The neglected ones.

The down right evil of it all.

God help us!

These tragedies are the horrible symptoms of a nation gone mad!

Of a people saying, “no thanks God we will do it our way.
Get out of our schools, finances, relationships & homes!
Get out of our places of idol worship. Thanks anyway. We got this!

When the family unit is destroyed. When we turn away from our maker. When we go after the things that bring us pleasure at the expense of our marriages, our children’s best interest and turn away from God… This is the result.

God help us!

Anger & pain unleashed in an evil act through the end of a gun.

Innocent lives taken.

Lives & minds of the perpetrators stolen by the wicked one!

The puppet master is the EVIL one! The most broken, damaged, mentally ill & emotionally unstable because of reasons stated above are his puppets!

God help us!

Politicians don’t have the answers.
The Right doesn’t have the answers.
The Left doesn’t have the answers.

God help us! You are the answer!

2 Chronicles 7:14 – when my people humble themselves—the ones who are called by my name—and pray, seek me, and turn away from their evil practices, I myself will listen from heaven, I will pardon their sins, and I will restore their land.

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Jesus-Loving Mommas

To the Jesus-loving Momma’s out there whose hearts are aching & breaking 💔 over the babies we once held in our arms, prayed over & sang songs over. To those mommas who loved their toddlers well, played with, laughed with, taught how to do, well…everything! To those Mommas who prayed for their teenagers, loved them well through those tough years, taught them responsibility, helped to cultivate their gifts & talents.

The ache & hurt we feel for the kids God blessed our homes with…those kids we modeled a life of following after God….even though imperfectly.  

Those precious souls we taught in word & action of God’s truths – prayed for Day & night. Only to watch them walk away from that very truth and dive head long into a culture that is lying to them. Telling them anything goes!

Let’s make a pact!  

To not give up.  Ok? 

God sees our aching hearts Mommas! 

God hears our prayers in the night! 

God loves us! 

God loves them! 

God is ABLE! 

God is good!  

When everything we see, hear and feel tells us they are long gone…

The Holy Spirit whispers to our breaking hearts “don’t quit, don’t give up! Stay in the fight. Their very souls depend on it!” Stay on your knees.

Jesus-loving Momma’s we’ve gotta stay at our post of prayer!  

Don’t you dare give in to doubts, to the lies of the enemy, to the shouts of this world!  

Don’t listen to the faithless whispers & voices that surround you!  

Keep praying.  

Keep believing.  

Keep seeking, asking & knocking!  

Don’t quit!  

Don’t give in!

Don’t give up!  

The battle for their hearts, minds & souls depends on it!  

Prayer: Dear Daddy-God, help us to love well, live a life that points to You. Teach us to pray! Help us not quit, not give up & not lose hope.

Mostly though…Father, help your “Jesus-loving Mommas” to Trust that your love is more than enough!  That your arm is longer, your reach is farther!  Help us to Trust Your plan to rescue & redeem our prodigals from the roads they are on.  

We know You are able!  

We know & believe in Your power!  

Do it again Lord, do it again! 

In the mighty name of Jesus Christ! 

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Exposing Scars…

When we expose our scars through writing there are risks involved.   We risk being misunderstood and misinterpreted.  Revealing our healing story makes us vulnerable to critics, skeptics, and those who just don’t get it.   That’s ok!  There are others who need to hear our story.  Someone out there needs to understand that they are not alone.

So, I write!  Even though no one knows my name. Well, there is One who knows my name!  Even though I don’t have a platform (working on that).   I write!   I heard the call to write my story for His glory!  Deep down I know there are others out there like me, who have stood in the shadow of someone or something else their entire life.  We were never meant to live this life in anyone else’s shadow.  We were created to dwell in the shelter of the Most High and stand in the shadow of the Almighty!

If sharing my story helps one person turn to Jesus Christ.  If exposing my scars leads one person on a journey of healing in the shadow of His Wings; It will be worth it all!  There are many that live in the “shadow” of others who suffer with depression, anxiety, doubt & fear.  It is for those who will get it that I write.

I am trusting My Abba to use my story for His glory!

Psalm 91:1-2

Renee

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God’s Invitation To All… “Come in and know me better man”

via God’s Invitation To All… “Come in and know me better man”

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Great Article!

http://positivewriter.com/my-favorite-quote-which-changed-my-life-and-can-change-yours-too/

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