An Uncertain Life; A Certain God

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Recently it has been on the news about how there was a shooting at a congressional baseball practice. Thankfully there were no fatalities, but in just a moment lives changed. A place that was considered safe was no longer safe; the future that seemed certain in a moment became uncertain. I have family that could have been there and in the moments between seeing the news and being able to contact them, I was worried.

This incident got me to thinking.  You never know what the day will bring.  One moment we are planning the future and what it will hold, the next it is drastically changed. Throughout the bible we are told that we don’t know what tomorrow will hold.  James 4:14, Proverbs 27:1 and Ecclesiastes 7:14 are just a few of the places that we see that we are not in control of our future. I think that Tim Tebow said it well when he said, “I don’t know what my future holds, but I know who holds my future.”

This whole perspective can be scary: that everything can change in the blink of an eye.  But there are two ways that we can respond.  We can live in fear or we can live in freedom.  Why these two drastic positions? When we look at our uncertain lives, we could be paralyzed by the fact that we don’t have control of our lives.  For me, there is a pendulum effect; at times it is so freeing to know that I cannot mess up God’s plan and at other times I really wish that I could control my life.

How we live our life is a choice!   We can choose to live it in fear or freedom.  Choose to be scared about what every minute holds, or trust that every minute and our whole life is being guided by the One who made the world.  When you think about our finite life, what do we have to worry about?  God placed the sun in the sky, He knows the past, the present and the future.  There is nothing that surprises Him.  He has known us before we were born and He knows the number of hairs on our head.  When we have a God that knows all the details of the world, how can we worry that what we are doing is going to throw Him for a loop.

In this uncertain life, I have certainty.  Certainty that God loves me, that I can trust in Him for everything.  Certainty that He has a plan and that while I don’t see it, it is something amazing.  Certainty that my life is in His control and that He is my protector.  Psalm 23:4 talks about how we should live our lives, “even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.” Also, the whole of Psalm 91 describes how protected we are by our God.

We should live every day of this uncertain life in the certainty of Christ.

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Not One of My Favorite Things

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If you ask almost any of my friends, they will tell you, I LOVE my sleep. In college, I think I could have majored in napping. Ok, maybe not quite, but I took quiet a few naps.  All this to say, it is something important when I choose to give up my sleep. However, giving up my sleep will never be one of my favorite things. I really don’t understand the people who hop out of bed, happy, smiling and talkative.

So why all this talk about sleep?

Because recently I have chosen to take on a task that will require me giving up sleep. A few years ago I started running.  I would run a few races every now and again, I would run when I wanted to and I would run because I knew it was good for me. This year I took the challenge up a little, I decided I wanted to run a race every month.  That meant one Saturday a month I wouldn’t be able to catch some extra zzz’s. I know, you are thinking that I am just rambling, but I do have a point.

This month I have taken what I would call the ultimate challenge (for me).  I have decided that in November I will run a 1/2 marathon. That is 13.1 miles, more than 4 times the length of my normal race. What was I thinking? Well, there is more to this than just that I like to run, because really, it is not one of my favorite things. I am running the Savannah Rock & Roll 1/2 marathon to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

I could give you facts and figures as to why I am running to support them or why the support is necessary, but instead, I want to tell you a personal story.  This story is about a 4 year old girl who was diagnosed with Leukemia. She went through countless hospital visits and treatments. There were countless prayers said on her behalf by friends and family.  Things did not always look good and there was a period of time where she had no hair.  However, by the grace of God, the wisdom of doctors, and years of treatment, she went into remission. This is the story of my cousin. I was a young girl when she was going through the fight for her life, but I still vividly remember it.

I am running the 1/2 marathon in Tatum’s honor.  There are thousands of stories like this one and thousands of stories with not such a happy ending.  If you have a story that you would like to share, I would be honored to run for others too.

This is going to be a long journey for me.  Many days I will be giving up my much loved sleep to train for this run.  In the months leading up to the race, I am raising money to support LLS. If you would like to donate or follow my story more closely than what I will share here, you can visit my training website. http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/rnrsav17/HMeadows

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How Much Do You Care?

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Over the past few weeks there has been a phrase that has been repeated multiple times.  It is not a new one, but the true impact of it has been really coming to life. I was first told this in high school by a debate coach, “People don’t care how much you know, until the know how much you care.”

I work in corporate America and one of the most common ways that corporate America is described is a “dog eat dog” world. The phrase “it’s not personal, it’s business” is all too common. Many people feel that you have to do whatever you can, whenever you can to get ahead.  Unfortunately, this is just a downward spiral. The more you are willing to do anything, the more other’s will do just the same or more.  But what if we start showing how much we care about others?

What if we stopped for a minute to see the person in our coworker?  I think that we could radically change the business environment. I mean we spend the majority of our life with our coworkers,

I am blessed to work in a company where we do actually care about each other.  When I sprained my ankle last month, I was constantly being asked how I was doing and how I was taking care of my ankle. It didn’t take anyone long, but for me it meant so much.  They cared about how I was doing as a person, not just if my work was going to get done, or if they could use this to get ahead of me.

This whole concept plays into every part of our life. Instead of worrying about our image, or what people think of us, we should be thinking about how we are impacting others.  All over my Facebook feed I see people sharing video’s about the little acts of kindness, but sharing a video is not enough.  We actually need to be the kindness in our world.

How you ask?

In the small things. Hold the elevator door just a moment longer, give up your seat on the train, ask your coworker or neighbor or friend how they are doing AND really listen. It doesn’t take long and it doesn’t have to cost a dime, just be kind.

We all want to succeed in life, but let’s just start with caring. You never know the lives that you will touch.  “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares” Hebrews 13:2.  It may be one act of kindness a week or a day, but the more we do, the more it becomes a habit.

I would love to hear about your acts of kindness! How are you showing that you care?

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Hello Again!!

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So it was about this time last year that I posted… once… It has been nearly 2 years since I really posted. I have decided that it is time to start again. Well, here goes.

There are many things that I could say as to why I have been absent, but they all seem flat.  Want to hear some anyways? In the past 2 years.  I moved to a new state, I started a new job, and bought a house. All boring right? Right.

To be honest, these all played a part in the reason, but they were not the real reason, it was me.  I didn’t make time! This is a common issue in today’s society. We just don’t make time.  For others, our family, our relationships, but most importantly for God. He is often the #1 thing that gets left out whe He should be the #1 thing in our life.

How often do we make excuses for things when in reality, it is us. We don’t want to, we have better things to do, or we don’t want to be put out of our comfort zone. We tell our friends that we are busy, when really we just got into our PJ’s and were going to watch the latest episode of our favorite tv show (or the one you are binge watching on Netflix). Admit it! We have all done it… And yes, that means me too.

So back to my original thought.  I am going to start writing again.  It won’t be everyday and I cannot promise that it will be crazy deep each time either, but I will post on a regulate basis.  As with this post, I plan to have a post each Friday morning.

The idea with this blog is to share some of my raw, open thoughts with you. Take it or leave it. This is the opinion of one person who is going through everyday life and not always liking what I see.  I will always tell people that I am openly and whole heartedly a lover of Jesus Christ and my opinions will be shaped by that

I thinkthat we can be challenged to do better! Challenged to be more! Challenged to be what God has called us to be. I also think that it starts by Challenging our Complacency with the world around us and the changes that are taking place everyday.

Peace and Blessings.

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Happy Oblivion

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We live in a world of happy oblivion. We don’t know what our neighbors are going through and we would rather it that way. To know would be a burden… A cloud on our otherwise easy life. 

Now before you write me off and before you stop reading, let me explain. Today on my way into the grocery store, I was stopped by a lady asking if I could help her buy some food. She was in a car with her family of 5 including a newborn. My first reaction was to tell her I didn’t have time or money to do so. But the words Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:40 went through my head. “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!” This was followed quickly by the words of Mark 12:31, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  She wasn’t asking for money or anything big, just some kind of food. 

After I returned with some food, I was able to say a prayer for them. I don’t know if it meant anything to them, if they had even ever heard the name of Jesus, or if knew who I was praying to, but then again, maybe it could change their life. 

I was walking away when I realized, we live world of oblivion… Happy oblivion. There are people all around us in need of help or just a kind word. We rather not know, because then we have to make a choice. Ignore or take action! 

Whether you see it or not, I am telling you now, your neighbor is in need. Now it is your choice ignore it, or take action, but no longer is oblivion an option

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Digital Insanity

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Prayers

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The Kindness of Strangers

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 Pop!!! No… DING! It is. 

These were the sounds and my thoughts on the way to work yesterday morning.  Apparently there was something sharp on the road and my tire found it. In a matter of seconds the pressure gauge went from 35 to 1. This was not the way I had wanted to start my morning. 

  After finding a place to pull over, I started the process of changing the tire.  Being in my work clothes did not make the situation easier. Something that was easy in jeans and a t-shirt was made difficult by heels and the fact that I didn’t want to get dirty. 

  When I was about half way through the process God sent me a blessing… A gentleman stopped and helped me.  I did not know him and I doubt that I will ever see him again, but he showed kindness

Events of the day reminded me of two things that I was thankful for:

  • I am thankful for the men in my life making sure I could change a tire. 
  • I am thankful for the kindness of strangers. 
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Headline Goals

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What are your goals in life? How long will they last? Can they disappear? Can they be lost? 

  One of my professors was teaching about decision making and what he said stuck with me. “Is the action you are taking something you would want or at least be ok with being headline news?” Wow!! I am not sure that I would want some of my actions put on the front page. 

  I have also realized that this does not just apply to action, but inaction too. If would I want to world told what I did not do?  What might the headlines say. Haley Failed to Help Another In Need. Haley Too Preoccupied to Be Greatful. These may not be “earth shattering”, but they are not wonderful either. 

  I think everyone seeks validation and notice from others. We want people to see what we are and think we are something wonderful, talented, beautiful, smart… So many things. But what if we focused more on character. To be worth knowing, not well known. Sealing each day to set goals and live a life worthy of the headlines. 

 

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Challenged 

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  Life is not always easy, but that does not mean that it is bad. I am thankful for the challenges, thankful for the people who push me.  It is not during the easy parts of life that we become better people. It is through the struggles and the triumphs that we become more. 

Theodore Roosevelt said, “Far better it is to dare might things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” 

It is when we are challenged that we rise to the occasion. It is when we are challenged we find what we are capable of. It is when we are challenged that we see something new. To never face a challenge is to never push ourselves, to never find our full potential.

Challenges are not just physical things that get in our way. It could be a word from a friend, a word in a book or a line in a song. Challenges are what motivate us to change. To be challenged is to live and to live is to be challenged. 

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