Feeling Restless

Chatting with a good friend recently I said I was in a quandary and expressed my desire to do more.  “Do more of what” I was asked…my reply was “I’m not really sure”.  I just know that deep down I am on fire for the Lord and need a way to let it out.  Recently the tragic events that took place in a family I am close to have stirred things up in me.  You see they have experienced the greatest loss anyone could, the death of their beloved daughter.  I cannot imagine anything more painful than losing a child, yet they have shown all of us what unwavering FAITH in God truly looks like in a way that is indescribable.

Along this journey that we all took with them I had the unexpected boldness and opportunity to share my faith with a few people.  People who do not attend church, people who may or may not believe in God or just people of very little faith.  You see God used the circumstances of this family to give all of us a way to make a difference.  When you have the least likely person you know ask you to tell them about miracles or another to say “I prayed for your friend’s daughter today”; you know that God is working through me to touch these previously untouched lives. What an amazing feeling, to give God the glory and share with others about HIS love for us.

My friend suggested that I start by praying to God for direction, for that truly has to come from Him.  Without Godly direction my efforts will be in vain and pointless.  Already in this process I have begun to have small ideas pop into my head and some things that were unclear to me are becoming obvious.  Doubts are beginning to fade and the quandary is becoming less complex.  God doesn’t want me in a quandary, HE wants me to listen for HIS guidance and when HE speaks for me to be obedient.  Even baby steps of obedience are steps in the right direction.  HE never gives us more then we can handle and HE does not waste any time when it’s time to move.

Philippians 1:6 says “Be confident that HE who began a great work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus”

HE has a plan and a purpose for each of us.  We are not here by chance or accident.  We are not just going through the motions of what seems like our mundane lives.  HE already knows what each day will hold for us from beginning to the end.  Nothing is a surprise to HIM, not one day of our lives.  So yes I am restless…I believe HE has made me restless because HE wants me to do more for HIM and the time is NOW.

I have turned to Jeremiah 29:11-13 to calm my restlessness as I begin my new journey.  “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord.  “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.   When you call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.  You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

God Bless,

Heidi

Advertisements

Muddy Water

Sometimes you just have to do something you don’t feel like doing and the results can be life changing.  This is exactly what happened to me this past Saturday at our “Prayer in the Park” event.  The previous week had been an extremely difficult one for me on many levels so a leisurely Saturday in PJ’s until late morning with cups of hot coffee was what I had in mind but God had another plan for me.  The closer I got to Saturday the more I knew that God wanted me at that park and not home in my PJ’s.

So BRIGHT and EARLY I was up and at the park by 7 am…cold coffee in hand.  I began my prayer time by thanking God for the beautiful day as I stared across the lovely pond and admired how the morning sun reflected so beautifully.  The sounds of nature were all around me, I watched quietly the ducks having their morning baths and the mother goose with her goslings searching the shore for breakfast.

I was actually glad at this point to be there and not at home, but still wondered what I was supposed to do for two hours…that seemed like a long time.  As I prayed and wrote down some thoughts on paper I began to feel a connection with God and nothing else around me mattered anymore.  I asked God to show me why He wanted me there so badly that day and He did just that.  He clearly told me to get up out of my chair and go walk in the water.  What? I thought,  are you kidding me, everyone will think I am nuts but I did wear my rain boots today and it wasn’t even raining yet.  That was strange in itself don’t you think? Obediently I did as He asked and I soon had a feeling of peace and calmness come over me like I had not felt in a long time.  It was as if the stress of my life at that moment was lifted away.

I recalled the scriptures in John 4 where Jesus symbolically explains how He is the Living Water and those who drink of His water will thirst no more. I recalled my own Baptism in the river…that amazing day of my life and I thanked God for my many blessings.

Yet as I walked and walked in the water I found myself staring down at what was now muddy water.  Not the clear water that was washing upon the shore before I started walking around.  God began to reveal to me that our life is like water, muddy water.  As you walk along the shore and scuff your feet the water becomes muddy and dirty just as our lives become when we face difficulties or allow our sinful nature to erupt.  But if we STOP and be still the water clears up just as God tells us in Psalm 46:10 “Be still and know that I am God”.

WOW! My revelation for the day beautifully illustrated in the pond.  As I continued to walk the clearness of the water ceased again just as our life becomes cloudy when we cease to seek Him in the midst of our pain and struggles.  So now I get it…the BE STILL part was the key!

I once again stopped walking, listened to the sweet sounds of nature and thought about what a blessing that day had already been and the water quickly cleared again. I then knew exactly why I was at that park early on that Saturday morning.  God had a message for me and He presented it perfectly as always. Thank you God of revealing to me that our muddy lives are like muddy water, it’s only temporary and if I am still and keep my eyes on Him, He will always be with me as it clears.

Love in Christ….Heidi

The Loneliness of the Holidays

I am about to experience my first major Holiday without both my mom or dad.  It seems surreal that even though I am in my fifties that this is the case.  No mom, no dad, no grandparents, no brothers, no sisters, no aunts, no uncles….it’s a very empty feeling.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my husband, my boys and close friends but it’s just an empty feeling when your mom and dad are gone especially being an only child.

Ever since mom passed in 1999, daddy and I continued our holiday traditions on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had to…it was our way of coping with the loneliness we both felt when mom was gone.  So what this year?  I feel kind of lost…should I just start something new or continue with the old?  And some days I feel like doing nothing at all.

No pumpkin showed up on my deck for the fall decorating, no dad on my shopping list, no gifts to buy for him to give the boys, no box of oranges, no eggnog or fruitcake to buy (yes, his favorites), no dad at my table tomorrow, no dad for breakfast on Christmas. It’s just all so sadly different.

I know there are many of you out there in this same situation and to you I say…we MUST be strong and carry on!  Let’s not focus on who is not with us or how we wish things could be, but be thankful and enjoy the ones that still are.  I know my mom and dad would be very angry with me for wanting to give up and call off the holidays.  So I will remember them in the continued holiday traditions that they loved so much.  Yet none of this comes without tears in my eyes every time they cross my mind.

2015 has not been a kind year to my family for many reasons and even as of yesterday we lost another dear family member, yet I am THANKFUL still.  With the bad comes the good of daily blessings we all receive that sometimes we take for granted.  With the bad comes the reality that the tough times are only temporary.  With the bad comes knowing that we have a heavenly Father who loves us more then we can ever fathom. And with the bad I know that I will one day be with them again for eternity.

So with this said I hope that each of you that may be experiencing the holiday loneliness that is upon me will look Up to Him and Forward and not look back.   Each new day is a gift from God; it is up to us how we use it.  I am choosing to use it well and no matter how tough the day seems I will be THANKFUL!!!

In every thing give thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.  1 THESSALONIANS 5:18

 God Bless each of you and Happy Thanksgiving!!

Love in Christ,

Heidi

Feeling Broken Because of How Others Treat You?

When I think about how many times I have been hurt by family, friends, co-workers and sometimes by people I don’t even know it is hard at times to process that pain.  Especially when it comes from those you love or care deeply about, which in my life most often seems to be the case.

Recent experiences have led me to truly contemplate on that and decide to think about WWJD – “What would Jesus do?”   Jesus, God’s Son too was hurt, scoffed, hated, mocked, betrayed, and brutally tortured by all of the above.  Friends, family, his disciples (co-workers) and of course by people who never knew Him.  Yet He never once fought back.  He was perfect, He did no wrong and never once criticized them, hated them or sought revenge.  He turned the other cheek, forgave and loved them even in the midst of His trials and their hate for Him.  Was He hurt and saddened by the way He was treated?  Yes, of course He was for He was human and had emotions just as we do.  Would He have welcomed apologies from those closest to Him for how He was treated?  Yes He would have, yet that never happened until it was too late.

So with that said I have been trying to be more like Jesus and learn to forgive those who cut me down and hurt me deeply.  It is so difficult to not fight back and just keep the unrest going especially when you know you are right and have done no wrong but what does that accomplish?  Nothing!  To be honest it only makes You more miserable, not them.   I think back on what Jesus said on the cross “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.  This is still so true for us today.  Many of those who constantly hurt us and reek havoc in our lives don’t know any better or find joy in making others miserable.  This truly comes from Satan and not from my God.  I pray that these people will one day find Joy and know what it is to live a life in Christ where that sort of behavior is no longer a part of them.

We can not change them, but we can pray that the will of God will one day take over and change them and their situation.  In the meantime we must be a bright light, not yielding to the temptation of revenge or fighting back, which truly comes from Satan.  If you are experiencing unrest in your home, church, workplace or any where in your life caused by others…be the bigger person and remember WWJD!

Love in Christ,

Heidi

92260af15fcdf73a50e10db119e469ae

It’s Out of Your Hands…

That first run down the sidewalk that leads to a skinned knee…but it was out of your hands.  The first bike ride without training wheels that ends in tears because they did not stop quick enough…but it was out of your hands.  The bad day at school when someone was mean to them was out of your hands.   The first broken heart was out of your hands.  The first speeding ticket or accident was also out of your hands.  Yet even worse, the decisions our adult children make are all out of our hands, but hurt just as much.

So much that happens to our children is out of our hands but as parents we love to take that blame and responsibility on ourselves.  Constantly asking how we let that happen, how we missed the signs, could it have been prevented and what did we do wrong.  It’s a natural response but one that is not fair to us as parents.  When our children are growing up bumps, bruises, cuts and scrapes are part of life.  It’s our job to keep them as safe as possible but every little accident cannot be avoided and shouldn’t be.  They have to learn skills, be safe, stand up for themselves, slow down and make good choices.   Teach them, be a good example for them and you have done your job.

The Bible teaches of in Proverbs 22:6  “Train up a child in the way he should go,  And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Sometimes I think that the adult child’s bad decisions hurt parents the most.  You’ve raised them the best you could, making it harder to understand why they did not know better then to make that decision or choice.  Or why did they not come to you if they were in trouble or needed help.  I guess we still hope they will come running to mom or dad when things are wrong, but this is not the case.  They have always known you were there for them…why not come to us?  Much harder to grasp as a parent then when they were much younger.

God only gives us what we can handle as the saying goes is taken from a scripture in   1 Corinthians: 10:13 “God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it.”

I find this scripture and saying more challenging the older I become and more struggles and trials that I face.  Life definitely has got harder not easier for us and I pray that one day soon we will all be relieved of the burdens we bear.  However without putting it in God’s hands our burdens will never be light.  All of these things are out of our hands yet His hands are stretched out wide just asking us to give it to Him.

Psalms 55:22 says to “Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken.”

We cannot fix or change anything but with God all things can change if it is His will.  So I pray that for my family and yours if you have the need that God will intervene and fix what is broken, change what seems unchangeable and take that burden away.  I know life will never be burden free, but I sure would love a lighter load, wouldn’t you?

Love in Christ,

Heidi

brokenness

Just Keep Working

It’s Monday and yes another week of work has begun…can you stand it?  You started a new job and it’s just not what you had hoped it would be…can you stand it?  Your boss is not a pleasant person to be around…can you stand it?   Your co-workers seem to all be friends and you are the outsider…can you stand it?  You are self-employed but deal with some really nasty clients…can you stand it?

YES you can endure these and all things that get you down on the job.  There is no PERFECT job, there is no PERFECT anything except God.  But God asks us to give our best in all that we do which gives glory to Him.  Shine for Him even in the darkest of times!

Colossians 3:23 says:  Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters!

Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. Deut. 31:6

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Phil 4:13

Do not take these trials as personal attacks against you.  Take them as opportunities to grow in your faith, mature in your trust and know that God already knows the out come.  You are in this place for a reason and it is part of a plan, maybe just for a short while or maybe longer…but either way it is the plan that God as given you at this moment and you must follow through.

Pray daily that God will give you what you need to get through.  Pray that God will open new doors if it is His will for you.  But in all things give thanks to Him that you have a job and way to provide for yourself and your family.  Some are not so blessed.

Why I Walk – Heidi Bristow

I was asked to write a blog for the Greater Richmond Alzheimer’s Chapter about my dad. It was published today…wanted to share it with you!

Alzheimer's Association Greater Richmond Chapter

WhyIWalk

My name is Heidi Bristow and I Walk to End Alzheimer’s in Memory of my dad, Ellsworth German, and my grandfather, Christian German.

Unfortunately Alzheimer’s has taken its toll on my family since 1983 about the time that Alzheimer’s awareness began to finally take shape in our country. My Grandfather was diagnosed in late 1983 with this disease along with ALS…yes double trouble. With these two serious diseases working against him his life was cut short in August of 1984. Watching this decline in my grandfather in my late teenage years was very traumatic especially when he was unable to recognize me. Being an only grandchild, he spoiled me rotten and he was truly my hero. Loosing him even before his death hurt deeply and I had hoped to never face that disease again.

Years later in 2009 about 10 years after my mother had passed away from heart disease…

View original post 909 more words