"I recently read this inspiring phrase: To dream of the person you used to be is to waste the person you are. Acceptance is not resignation or giving up hope. It is embracing change with clear recognition of moving forward.....Looking backward prevented me from seeing the possibilities that lay ahead......He [God] has chosen to redirect my life. I need to understand and accept that, because when He's in control exciting things will happen."
[Excerpt from my book Worthy In His Eyes: Part Four: PROACTIVE FAITH...Chapter Two: ACCEPTANCE] © Kathleen M. Pritchard
LOOKING....FORWARD :-) ---
Recently, God did some adjusting in my life....again. He unquestionably closed a certain door. At first, I was discouraged.....I had invested the past 2 years in a project which wasn't producing the results I had hoped it would. I kept sticking my foot out to stop that door from closing because I was super pleased with what I had learned and accomplished through it. Yet, it wasn't productive, and self-gratification doesn't "drive me." I believe my purpose in life is to live for Christ.....and to serve others.
I set aside an hour to chat with the Lord about it. I had questions and I needed some answers. You know, it's super awesome to have a personal relationship with the Lord....despite all that is going on in the world, He still reassures us that He is with us--all the time. He's never too busy. Knowing that makes me trust Him all the more.
I took a couple of devotional books, my Bible and my book [Worthy In His Eyes] into my quiet space. Upon opening them, almost every single one I read talked about God closing some doors, and opening others! This was no coincidence---this was God-ordained. This is how I know God speaks to my heart! It's something which cannot be described to someone else--they have to experience Him in this way themselves to fully understand.
My post for this week was going to be based on the chapter of Acceptance. That too, was God's timing I believe. Reviewing the chapter I smiled and also felt so encouraged. Not by my own words, but at the way God continues to be proactive in my life. The chapters I wrote were written with personal reflection and honesty, but they were always blanketed by my total dependence on God's guidance. My continual prayer as I wrote was that others would discover His faithfulness as well. Yet, it's so awesome how He continues to still speak to me through it just as He did in the early years of my disability.
My "newly" acquired brain injury is now an integral part of my life's journey. It is continually teaching me the significance of acceptance. There will be times when an idea or plan won't pan out. That doesn't mean it was "wasted time" or that I "failed." This is what God pointed out to me again the other day. I am not His puppet, and He wants me to explore every viable opportunity. He wants me to have dreams and He wants me to "test" them out. Some are within His plan for my life, and others are not within His plan. This is when He will close a door, or He will open a new door. My responsibility is to recognize and accept His guidance.
Trying to keep a door open, or continuing to look backward to what I don't want to give up prevents me from seeing the possibilities that lay ahead. When something isn't working out, I need to have the courage to close that door with Him and reach out to open a new door.
All through life there will be challenges, yet I now see how those challenges strengthen me....if I am willing to let them.
I will continue to fall short of fulfilling the many plans I have, but what is so awesome is that God brings new plans into the picture--plans I didn't even think of---better plans to ensure the work gets done that He intends for me to do.
My discouragement didn't last for long the other day. God answered my questions very clearly. The project I worked so hard on was one of the best brain gyms I could have tackled and the skills I learned have grown me enormously. It was also the first step on an awesome new journey of discovery for Kip and I.
Acceptance says no to the whispers of Satan as he tries to turn my heart away from Christ to focus on myself, my weaknesses and the limitations of my disability. He will tirelessly try to make me feel like a failure. But God promises that His gifts and promises are good and perfect [James 1: 16-17]
Circumstances will change, people will change, life will change. But God, our Almighty Heavenly Father, will never change. Continual acceptance of who I am--in Him--gives my life consistency and a healthy sense of self-worth.
So, when God closes one door in your life, don't stick your foot out to try to keep it open!!! If He's closing it, He has much bigger plans for you. Dare to dream--God wants you to. But include Him in your plans and dreams. And if something doesn't work out, accept that it didn't even if you don't understand why. But don't stop there---remember, you have learned valuable lessons through the process and they will make you stronger, wiser and more prepared for whatever lies ahead.
Every day we have options....choices. Some things will work out, others will not. Each experience determines what we empty from our "life skills backpack" because they are not usable and their weight is holding us back. Each experience will then add the valuable tools we've learned to use well, and these will better prepare us for the exciting journey ahead.
Acceptance is not resignation or giving up hope. It is embracing change with clear recognition of moving forward. Dare to take that first step today!! And have your backpack with you!!!
"In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps." [Proverbs 16: 9 NIV]
"I believe God gives each one of us a spirit of courage. He also gives us strength to climb whatever [figurative] mountains appear before us in our lives. He considers our personal and individual limitations, and provides absolutely everything we need to overcome obstacles. He is more than capable to help us each day. And if tomorrow brings a more difficult challenge, then our Lord's provision will be more abundant."
[Excerpt from my book Worthy In His Eyes: Part Four: PROACTIVE FAITH...Chapter One: STEPS OF FAITH] © Kathleen M. Pritchard
LOOKING BACK: In this chapter I compare my faith-walk with God [with a newly acquired disability] to the physical process of climbing a mountain from forest valley floor to the summit. I grew up close to the Rocky Mountains and am familiar with what it takes to reach the mountain top.
You must make the commitment to take those first steps forward. You cannot ever comprehend the resplendent view from the summit by remaining in the valleys and forests below. It is absolutely impossible. Once committed, the journey will eventually become more challenging than you anticipated.....there will be times when you will want to quit and go back to the easier pathways on level ground......there will be difficult obstacles and times of slipping backward. The forest will thicken and you won't see very far in front of you. The climb will seem so much higher than you anticipated from the valley floor. Your strength and determination will be challenged by doubt and weariness. Is the view from the summit really worth this gruelling climb? Yet you choose to press on with faith and hope for what lies ahead.
Finally, you reach the summit!! The magnificence is breathtaking and you become entranced by the grandeur of all that surrounds you. The white-capped mountain peaks seem to kiss the sky....emerald streams flow effortlessly from glaciers, creating sweet mountain music which fills your senses and renews your soul. Suddenly those former obstacles take on a different form and you realize each one is instrumental in the design and creation of the magnificent view. It is almost surreal it's so beautiful! You feel alive!!
I am learning to recognize the significance of Proactive Faith. God is my Life-Guide and I hunger to live the life He created me to live...for His Purpose. I don't want to waste any of it because I have chosen to let my disability impair me even more. I don't want to wonder what the outcome might have been like if I had kept going. I want life.....abundant life!
Personal accomplishments and victories are crucial to maintaining a healthy self-esteem. That requires work on my part.....for as long as I live. But I also place unwavering trust in my Heavenly Guide who will empower me to conquer obstacles, show me to an alternate route or carry me over the obstacles which are too big for me to handle alone. Only through Him can I claim solid victory.
God will never take us to a place where He is not in complete control. Never. He promises to remain faithful in directing our uncertain steps, but He also requires something from us. Proactive Faith. Taking that very first step..committing to going all the way even though we can't see beyond the obstacles in front of us.....believing with all our hearts that God will reveal blessings beyond our highest hopes because we chose to trust Him.
God wants us to experience much, much more than simple existence. Surrendering the next second, the next moment, the next hour, the next day, the next year and all of our future to Him does not put us in a vulnerable place.....instead it empowers us to receive all that He has to give.
Steps taken in faith, regardless of the inability to see the outcome, encourage us to place our trust in the promise of what lies ahead. Each victory attained produces growth, and growth produces a positively change life.
Regardless of circumstance or impediment, God has promised each one of us abundant life....can we promise Him we'll do all we can to embrace it? The choice is ours to make. The steps are ours to take.
"The LORD is faithful to all his promises, and loving toward all he has made. The LORD upholds all those who fall and lifts up all who are bowed down." Psalm 145: 17, 18 NIV
"LONELINESS whispered quietly in my heart at times, especially once I had to accept that I could no longer work at the shop, nor participate in certain social activities. The flurry of interaction which had been present on a daily basis diminished rapidly. Being in the hub of activity was no longer possible and I missed it a great deal, particularly in the first three years following the accident." ~©Kathleen M. Pritchard
[Excerpt from my book Worthy In His Eyes: Part Three: Valley of Emotional Turmoil...Chapter Five: OVERCOMING LONELINESS]
LOOKING BACK: One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that TIME is a great friend. It opens doors for reflection and ways to learn to cope and adapt. It also is also a growing platform for courage, patience and trust in God that He has a far greater plan for our life than what we can see "in the moment."
It is also a season when "brothers and sisters" who are committed to "being there" when they are needed the most, jump into our storm of life as if it were their own. No questions, no judgments, no conditions. Only simple, wonderful and unconditional love that says, "I'm here for you, no matter what life brings your way." Unconditional love will never wander.
During the past 14 years, our interaction with others has gradually evolved. We have had to experiment beginning with one on one visits, attending weddings but not wedding receptions, attending church but arriving just prior to the message and a whole host of other adaptations. Each stepping stone is tentatively tried out for stability. If it feels precarious, we wait until it settles into a firmer foundation of probability.
There is a growing fullness taking place in our lives as we learn what works and what is too much. Sometimes, I misjudge and pay the price for an unwise choice. Sometimes I choose to attend something which is way out of my comfort zone because of my love for someone else but I only do this if Kip is present. He can "read me" well and we are able to slip away when I become overwhelmed. And sometimes, I may retreat to someone's bedroom or family room to "recharge" my brain with some peace and quiet enabling Kip to remain and enjoy the festivities. That's often a priority for me--doing everything I can so he doesn't have to miss out. He never complains or minds when we have to shorten a stay etc. but for my part, I want to do all I can to let him enjoy gatherings in a "normal way." Don't be afraid to mention your needs quietly to a host---we have discovered that very few mind me doing this. In fact, they are extremely supportive of our honesty, and glad we are comfortable sharing this with them instead of not attending at all.
Loneliness doesn't overshadow my days anymore. God has been teaching me so much and I have become an eager student. Reaching out to others [that's in another chapter!], pacing myself, challenging myself [in a healthy way] are all pro-active ways to snuff loneliness out. But solid, trustworthy and dependable relationships are life's greatest treasures. They remind me that our bond is concrete and priceless. Nothing can sever what we share. Just like my relationship with my Lord.
I cannot finish before emphasizing the truth and importance of Christ's words in John 16:32, "Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." [John 16:32 NIV] All I need to do is whisper His name and I feel His Presence with me, through the Holy Spirit, eliminating any loneliness. And those He brings into my life are valuable jewels which sparkle and shine, dispelling any shadow of isolation.
So hang in there, particularly if you are experiencing a newly acquired disability which has isolated you from many of the things you love to do. Be honest with those around you, those you love and cherish. Keep trusting God to lead you and them to a fullness of life together again, even if it has to be through alternate or different means. Continue to be as pro-active as you can be--don't give "excuses" but share valid limitations.
Your world may shrink because of newly acquired limitations but there are those who will gladly walk the journey alongside of you, just as they always have. And, new friendships will develop. These are the jewels in your treasure-chest of life. They love you for YOU. Embrace them. Cherish them.
"There are "friends" who destroy each other; but a real friend sticks closer than a brother." Proverbs 18:24 NLT
Blessings on your journey......
"DOUBT diverts feelings of certainty, trust, belief and confidence from the peaceful waters of a focused faith into a dark whirlpool of turmoil and confusion. Darkness begins to hover over us, making our focus dim, foggy, harder to see. Even when we have surrendered, accepted, and decided resolutely to move forward, the slightest seed of doubt can churn the still waters."
~©Kathleen M. Pritchard
[Excerpt from my book Worthy In His Eyes: Part Three: Valley of Emotional Turmoil...Chapter Four: CONQUERING DOUBT]
[This is one of my favourite chapters---it is also one of the most challenging to apply daily. But that's what excites me---now. I have seen what God can do when doubt comes slinking around and I surrender it up to Him. It's exciting to watch doubts and fears dissipate and I've realized through His constant faithfulness that they will never have a hold on me again! Just had to share that!]
LOOKING BACK: Learning how to conquer doubt will be a lifelong lesson, but during the past 14.5 yrs. I have learned so much about the huge contrast between personal doubt and trusting God completely.
Doubt slyly slips in the very moment we begin to question our abilities &/or worth. Comparing ourselves to who we used to be, or to others robs our inner peace and confidence. Yet those doubts are completely based on our human perception. They evolve solely within the human mind and they can only exist if we feed them.
God on the other hand, is not interested in comparisons to others, nor is He interested in our weaknesses or limitations. HE has no doubts about what we are capable of. He focuses on our ABILITIES not our disabilities. And we short-change Him when we choose to move away from His Light and Truth to nurture false lies.
Doubt cannot linger if it is not fed. We must be pro-active. To remain trapped in the mud of false lies and doubt, asking the same questions over and over without actively pursuing and accepting answers, will swallow us up. We will sink into an emotional place of unhealthy bitterness and lack of self-worth.
It would be awesome to never experience doubt again, but life will always make us choose between doubt and faith-based hope and optimism. The difference for those who claim Jesus as Saviour, is that we have Someone much greater dwelling inside of us to guide us through that decision to a healthy place of self-acceptance.
Each time we surrender our feelings of doubt or incompetence to the Lord, He quietly blankets our soul with His incredible peace. He enables us to close that door of unhealthy evaluation and confirms our worthiness in His eyes.
Take the first step toward eliminating doubts as they try to sneak in and sink you into the mud.....identify and write down what it is you are experiencing then write down what triggered it. Open your Bible [or keep an online Bible app open and ready]--I call this, "Putting on your armour." :-) Let God speak to your heart---let Him replace your feelings of doubt with the truth of your worth in His eyes. Thank Him for the things you ARE able to do---focus on your "can do's". Then draw a line through your written account of the doubt and what triggered it. You have just closed the door of darkness and entered through the door of faith. You are allowing God to fill you with His truth. You are allowing Him to show Him who you still are!! Rejoice and move on with confidence. [This will take time to learn and practice, but renewed confidence in yourself and embracing God's purpose for you will win this tug of war hands down.]
Conquering doubt is a process. But it is a process which will lead to a much, much healthier and happier lifestyle....and a healthier, happier YOU!
"If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do." [James 1: 5-8 NLT]
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