September 11th ~ I will not forget

September 11th is a memorial day for our country. It is also a memorial day for me personally.

Last year on September 11th my mom passed from this life to heaven. My brother, sisters and I sang to her as she took her last breath.

This year on September 11th at 1:14 am I am writing this with my laptop propped up on a couch pillow and a precious new life in my arms ~ my brand new granddaughter. Just days ago she took her first breath.

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Gramma T and Ezra burning the midnight oil

After my mom’s accident, in one of my darkest moments, God gave me a promise. I found it in Psalms 27:13-14 after begging God to give me something to hold on to. He did.  The verse says that if I wait on Him, I WILL see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. And I have. Many times over.

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Today, His promise is fulfilled once again. And I am reminded of the circle of life.

Instead of feeling the sting of death on this memorial day, I feel my mom’s presence as I embrace this new, beautiful season of life. A season she embraced when my son Shaun made her a grandmother for the first time. I feel her smiling face as I snuggle his daughter in my arms. I rest knowing that we are both enjoying the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, each on a different side of eternity.

I pray for all the people who suffered loss on this day that they too would experience God’s goodness in some small or big way as a reminder that his promises are true.

We will never forget September 11th collectively or individually.  We must also never forget His goodness even if we are not feeling it in a given moment. We must hold onto the promise that this life is temporary and that He came to redeem all that is broken.

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His promises are true.  We need only to believe.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens

A little heart to heart

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures;
He leads me beside quiet waters.
He restores my soul. Psalm 23: 1-3

Can we have a little heart to heart?

It has been a crazy six weeks for me.  Within that time I lost my mom and then headed straight into FTGI’s biggest event of the year, our Awaken Conference.  Both events had their own brand of stress.  Losing my mom was an emotional roller coaster. I was happy for her, sad for me and lots of other emotions in between. The conference (which was amazing by the way) was an emotional and spiritual high – a good kind of stress, the kind I love and crave, but stress nonetheless.

And now…

I am in need of rest. In need of renewed strength…body, soul and spirit.

So I’m waving the white flag and retreating for a little bit. I just wanted to let you know where I went. I’ll be taking a short break from blogging and other things in order to recharge. You understand, right?

We all get weary.  We all lose strength at times. Thankfully we have promises to hold onto and therefore we have HOPE.  You may be weary too, for your own reasons.  Take heart and know that renewed strength is promised but sometimes you need to slow down long enough to grasp it.  Allow Him to lead you by the quiet waters and restore your soul.  That is where I will be.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.  Isaiah 40: 28-30

I’ll be back soon…

Lots of Love,

Tracey 

Running On Empty

When I was a teenager I would drive my father crazy when I would call him to tell him that my car “broke down” when in fact I had run out of gas. When he would discover that I had been driving on empty he would lecture me about the dangers to the engine when you run it that low. I would love to tell you that I have grown into a more responsible adult, but even as I type this my gas gauge is on empty. (Don’t tell my husband- this drives him crazy now!)

There is an obvious parallel here to my emotional “tank.”  There are activities that fill me up with energy and passion and others that drain me. I can tell when my tolerance is low, my patience is thin and my energy is waning that I am running on empty. If I don’t realize it and do something about it breakdown (or meltdown) is inevitable. And that ain’t pretty!

 I have only just recently started to pay attention to this and here are some interesting things I’ve discovered.

  • Just because something drains me emotionally it doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t do it or that it’s not good for me. Some of the most emotionally taxing things I do are the most rewarding. However, if I know that going into them, then I can plan something emotionally filling around it in order to avoid running on empty. For example, if I engage in an Extreme Makeover with FTGI in the morning, where we serve women in a shelter, I need to be careful about what else I take on that day. From experience I know that I will be in a better place emotionally the next day if I pair that activity with a quiet evening connecting with my husband or maybe going to a movie both of which are emotional fillers for me.
  • Just because something is physically exhausting it doesn’t mean that it is emotionally draining. For example, some people (not me) find running emotionally filling. For me, I am emotionally charged after a FTGI Girls Night Out even though I’m usually physically exhausted.
  • When I am emotionally balanced I can endure more physically. I guess that’s a no-brainer but I have had to learn the hard way that if I am not striking emotional balance in my life I feel myself dragging physically.
  • If I am running low and don’t have time to fill up ~ a little bit will go a long way and will prevent running out completely. I remember times when I was low on cash and would only be able to put $5 in my tank but it would at least get me to my next stop.  Sometimes just a few hours of solitude, time to read a little, pray a little and take a few deep breaths does wonders for my state of mind and keeps me going until I can really fill up.

Take a minute to think about the things that drain you and the things that fill you up and make sure that you are finding a balance between the two this week.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ Romans 15:13

Come away with me…

When Danny and I started dating (for the 3rd time)I knew that there was something different about him.  He had been so consistent in his pursuit of me that I knew I couldn’t just take our relationship lightly as I had with some of the other guys I had dated in between. And that scared me a little. So in order to avoid being alone with him and having to have any serious conversations I would always invite friends along whenever he asked me to go out.  He would come to pick me up and I would have a bunch of people with me and would say something like…”you don’t mind if they come along do you???”  He did, but he never said so.

Then one day he invited me to go lunch to a cute little town called Port Jefferson – on his motorcyle.

He was on to me! And he had taken measures to make sure he could get me alone. It was a defining date for us.  It was a time when we got away from the masses of people that I always surrounded myself with and it was just us – alone. At last he had my full attention. (I think he also enjoyed the fact that I had to wrap my arms around him and hold on tight as we rode- I know I did!)

I can go days, sometimes weeks, when the craziness of life pulls me away from time alone with God – time when He has my full attention.  The passage in Mark 6 describes a time when Jesus and the disciples were surrounded by so many people all the time that they couldn’t even carve out time to eat – I have had days like that haven’t you?

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”  So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.

We need that time of rest alone with Jesus, when we can talk to him or maybe more importantly just listen.  I think sometimes He longs to take us away to a place where we can be alone just like Danny did when he wanted my full attention. (some things never change…Danny still needs to take me away on his motorcyle sometimes!)

I want to encourage you to take Him up on that invitation.  Get away from all the distractions – even the good stuff and find some time to just be alone with the one who loves you so much and wants that time with you.  You will find rest, even if it’s just some mental rest, and you will feel refreshed and ready to take on all that is waiting for you when you get back.

Wishing you rest today….