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Fearless by Max Lucado September 8, 2009

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Book Review, Faith, Feelings, God.
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Living fearless. What an idea, one not really thought of on a daily basis. The more we practice living fearless the easier it becomes. Finding the many faces and facets of fear and finding the way to overcome them. To replace them with truth. Finding the way to live fearless in the verses found in God’s Word.

‘Fearless’ by Max Lucado is a book that addresses many types of fear. I love the titles of the chapters, it seems that the titles really bring into focus the message of the chapter itself. The key words in the title open the door to better understand and relate the fear that we feel to something tangible.

Each chapter is laced with scripture to counteract the fears talked about. Also he has stories that so many of us can relate too. Watch for the jokes too! Who would have thought that you could joke in a book about fear? Actually the book isn’t about fear, it is about overcoming fear. We are given the tools to fight and win the battle.

The discussion guide in the back that may be used in small group settings or for individual study. Each lesson has three parts: Examining Fear, Exposing Fear, Battling Fear. It asks some really good questions, helps us to pinpoint the fear and gives scripture to battle the fear.

I really like this book and highly recommend it. Who of us hasn’t struggled with fear at some point? This is an easy read and one to keep in the library.

I think healing is taking place November 12, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Faith, Family, Feelings, God, Grief, Love.
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7 comments

I think healing has really begun taking place in our family. It is such a slow process. Now that our girls are living back at home temporarily we are able to really love on each other and support each other.
When our 29 year old son Steven was killed in a car accident in August 2007 Katie was 12 hours away attending college. Amanda was living at home, she moved out in December of 2007 to be on her own.
Katie really had no one to talk to, or get hugs from, or understand what she was going through. Amanda was grieving silently as well. We would talk occasionally, mostly just hugs and crying. Avoidance seemed to be the best way to deal with it. Not talking about him, because to talk meant to cry. To cry hard. We all were hanging on by a thread
Last evening we were all just being together, playing Wii and having fun, laughing. And today, sitting around visiting, comfortable. And laughing, oh it is sooo good to laugh again, freely. As a family together, I just really felt today that we are starting to heal. The girls went up to see our daughter-in-law and grandchildren for a few days last week. They had a nice visit, and she (dil) opened up with them a bit. She needs so much prayer, I don’t get to see her or the grand-kids nearly as often as I would like.

And today, I think maybe I can write to the recipient of Steven’s heart. We received a letter from him a few months ago, from the Donor Center. I have held on to it, hoping one day to be able to communicate. I don’t know what I will write yet or even if the communication will stop at this one letter. Do I know yet if I could actually meet him? If I could hug him? Lay my head on his chest? Feel Steven’s heart beating, hear it? No. If it is to be, it will be the Lord’s doing.
I know that there are others who were given a second chance, we know a bit about them, their first names, ages, states and family situations. I think in all Steven was able to help 4 people.

I believe with all my heart, my Savior and Lord Jesus has kept us together. He has walked with us every step of the journey. Giving us strength when we had none, helping us to get through one day at a time, one hour at a time. The many changes that have taken place in this last year, many so hard to bear. There have been good things too, and for those blessings I am eternally grateful.

Thank you Lord for your many blessings. Father, for so much that I am not even aware of. So many ways You have protected us and loved us.

2 Corinthians 1:2-4 (NIV)
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

I AM lesson 7 August 22, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Faith, Feelings, God, I AM...so you don't have to be, Love, Prayer, Testimony, Thoughts.
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1. How would you answer the question, “Who am I?” I am precious in the sight of God. He created me – just as I am. He knew what, when, how, all that I am or hope to be – He knows. Cracked, broken, redeemed, loved, growing. Seeking after God with my whole heart. Seeking to reach the world – such as He has gives me – with the Good News, which is Christ Jesus.

2. Have you ever been in a situation where you felt inadequate because of your lack of a ‘tagline’? Yes, way more often than I even like to admit. Thinking that titles matter. A whole lot. Thinking that if I don’t have a title, will people listen, will they hear? I’m learning that it isn’t the title, it is Christ speaking through whomever He chooses. It is not my responsibility to ‘make them listen’, only to speak. He will reap the harvest. Titles can actually ‘pigeon-hole’ people I think sometimes. So really, isn’t it better to not have a title so I’m not distracted by it? Hmmm…

3. Do you have skills or position that you believe God could use mightily if only He would? I believe so. But who’s to say He isn’t and I’m just unaware. I must be walking in the Spirit always so that aware or unaware I bring honor to Christ. A daily choice I must make. Phil. 1:20-22a For I live in eager expectation and hope that I will never do anything that causes me shame, but that I will always be bold for Christ, as I have been in the past, and that my life will always honor Christ, whether I live or I die. For to me, living is for Christ, and dying is even better. Yet if I live, that means fruitful service for Christ. NLT

4. Have you ever lost a position or station in life you believe could have ‘helped God out’ with something He has asked you to do? If you haven’t lost out, do you perhaps feel you have to gain this in order to be useful to the Kingdom? Sort of. I know what an answer. Yes. But now I don’t know. The crux of the question ‘helped God out’ implies He needs helping, and I know that not to be true. That makes it about me. God is more than able! I know God is working in me, moving me. For what? I don’t know. Maybe for something I would have missed had I still been tied to this other commitment. Making sure that I really am free to move where He moves me, when He moves me. Really releasing my grasp on things earthly. Good kingdom work but was it taking the place of the Spirit? Was it holding me back from His good purpose? I think so.

5. How are you with your dialogue vs. doubt conversations with God? Which does God hear most from you? Dialogue. Regardless of the circumstances surrounding me, I do not doubt God or His will and purposes. Do I question? Yes, and that is good I think. If I didn’t question how would I get the answer?

6. Do you believe God’s Wonders become more wonderful if they originate in the ordinary? Any scripture references come to mind? If something is more than ordinary we seem to expect more and would not count it to God I think. Acts 4:13 When they saw the courage of Peter & John and realized they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus. NIV The NLT translation uses the word ‘boldness’ instead of ‘courage’. Isn’t this what we want, people to know that it is Jesus and not us? The ordinary allows that to happen, allows them to be drawn to Him.

(more…)

I AM lesson 6 August 21, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Faith, Feelings, God, I AM...so you don't have to be, Love, Prayer, Testimony, Thoughts.
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1. How current is your God? Is he up to date on all your issues or do you have old hurts you still hold behind your back? This lesson has been sitting so long, waiting. And now I can say “He is current-up to date-this very moment.”

2. Has the enemy ever told you there are situations that are ‘old news’ that are better left stuffed down? Or perhaps because they were so long ago they can’t possibly be affecting you now? Yes. The great lie of the enemy. The truth is they are very central to how we live now, unconsciously. Which takes some serious time with the Lord and deep soul-searching to see. Then understand. And finally to release them to the Lord and ask for healing. To learn to stop and think before acting or maybe I should say before reacting in the old way.

3. In the matter of established authority, does God truly reign in your life? Where are you when He calls your name? Yes, I believe He does. Where am I? The “right” answer would be (in my mind) to say on my knees. But really, am I going to spend all day long on my knees? No, so enough of that! I am living in this moment He has given me, open to hear Him speak to me at all times of the day or night.  Awake or asleep, it matters not to Him, just that I am open.

4. Do you ever feel God has forgotten you in your ‘west side of the wilderness’? I could say yes for sure. I think it’s a natural feeling, one that His Spirit overcomes when we stop to seek Him. Because I know (in my head) that He is always with me, He hasn’t forgotten me. Feelings – it is not good to be ruled by our feelings! What I really think is that I just couldn’t hear or see Him because circumstances (feelings) overcame me and I wasn’t trusting Him. Mostly because I was holding on to things from the past – which colored everything else.

5. Have you ever experienced a time of cleansing where God has illuminated and rejuvenated you? If not, do you find you are in need of this now? Yes. This last month I have spent many, many hours alone with God, His Word, journaling, praying, reading. God is faithful, sometimes it requires much action my part. Dedication to God for a time specified by Him. It really is amazing that we know when He really wants to talk the hard talk with us. We know how long we are to be facedown. We know when we have learned what He is saying, we have sought forgiveness, we have forgiven, we have laid it all before Him. And we know when He has released us from this intense time.
This makes my daily time spent with Him alone so sweet, because I am in His will. At least until the next time – and I know there will be – but less and less ‘ickiness’. Does that make sense? My prayer is that as I grow in Him, that these times would be more illuminating for me. That I learn more about Him, that I gain understanding and wisdom so that I more freely, more nautrally am His light in this world.

Laughing at myself? June 20, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Faith, Family, Feelings, Friends, Music, Random, Testimony, Thoughts.
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“When a woman can laugh at herself, she gives freedom to other women to do the same. It takes a confident and secure woman to laugh at herself. A woman who doesn’t live in fear of being “discovered” or “found out” or even “thought less” of—a woman who isn’t trying so hard to hold it all together (or still pretending that she can) –these are the women I love being around.”
~Nicole Johnson

This is a big deal for me. It was hard for a long time, and heaven forbid anyone laugh at me. Because of course that meant I had done something wrong. And I can’t do anything wrong…I mean not that I can’t because I do, but no one else is supposed to see. I can correct it before they find out. It must be done right. Doesn’t that sound awful? I lived like that most of my life, a perfectionist. An in the dark or unaware that was what was going on with me, but none the less a perfectionist.

Bondage…that is what that was. I can laugh at myself now, thank the Lord for that. And it feels good to have that freedom. Nicole is so right in that quote…it gives freedom to the other women, laughing with me and at me, because by golly it must truly be funny. I am not perfect, I can’t hold it all together and life is so much more fun, better when I don’t try for the unattainable. That is how relationships are formed. If I can’t laugh at myself, then how can my “friends” laugh? If I can’t laugh at myself how can I be real and expect to have real relationships? How can I expect to “go deep”? We are all called to “go deep” because we are all one body.

Is not laughter beautiful music? Laughter is good for the soul, and mine went way to long without it.

How about you? Can you laugh at yourself?

I AM lesson 5 May 27, 2008

Posted by Theresa Madden in Bible, Faith, Feelings, God, I AM...so you don't have to be, Love, Prayer, Testimony, Thoughts.
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5 comments

1. Have you ever found yourself ‘in faith’ yet bewildered or demoralized?

Yes. In my experience, I have felt bewildered or demoralized in one area only to find that it was really only where my bewilderment was being manifested. I am close to those people, and have more interaction with them so it just came out there. Giving completely over to God and whatever He chooses, to be completely open and vulnerable exposed the truth.

2. Do you consider yourself content? Would you describe it as Decidedly Content or Dreamily Content?
Can it be both? It started out as Decidedly Content, but the longer it lasts the more it turns into Dreamily Content. Trusting that no matter how long it takes, or even if it doesn’t happen – I’m okay with it. Because I am in His will and that is good enough. He is enough.

3. If you are not content, are there circumstances that keep you from this feeling?
I am content, also I have to be careful to not let circumstances lure me into discontent – it can so easily happen.

4. Have you ever found yourself in a place where you looked back on a period of your Christian walk and believed a great opportunity passed you by?
I must catch myself here because when I think great opportunity I think “great” in the big sense, our human sense anyway. I can think of a few in my humanness – if I would have sung that song better then I would be doing “this”.
But really – the great opportunity, to speak the truth to someone who has not heard it. To share in love, with the Spirit leading – that is the missed great opportunity. And yes, I have missed it.

5. Do you ever believe your faith was stronger in an earlier time in your Christianity and find yourself floundering now?
No. I believe I am growing stronger every day.

6. Can you recognize that this season may be one of great preparation instead of a period of “I Was”?
Yes. That is taking the focus off of me and turning it to Christ. This longing I have, maybe it is just a bit misguided and He is leading me slowly to what He wants. The longing gradually changing…fading to a longing but a longing for “what” I do not know. It is there nonetheless and I so want to do, long to do big things for Him. Whatever, whenever, however He chooses. Nothing is impossible! All things are possible, through Christ.