Count Your Blessings| Recounts Are OK

Count Your Blessings Recounts are OKI adore birthdays and celebrating, yet this year dread threatened to detach my joy.  I am naturally an optimistic person. Birthdays are reasons to refill one’s glass and toast to life, love, and God’s amazing grace. So why was I feeling glum about this birthday? I don’t know.

Taking a cue from the sign in my kitchen I decided to count my blessings.

Research proves gratitude is a powerful influence on mental health.  I decided to list forty-three things for which I am grateful.  At first, the list lurched and stopped, like someone learning to drive a manual transmission. Then, the blessings flowed faster than I could write.

 

Gratitude is a powerful influence on mental health. Click To Tweet

Count Your Blessings

Here is my list:

Taste and see the Lord is god

Today I woke
Able to walk today
Being able to smile
Faith anchored in Christ
God’s amazing grace
God’s provision
God’s chronic presence in my chronic illness

Quiet mornings and #CoffeeWithJesus
Chris, my beloved and rock
Rachel, the compassionate “noticer”
Andrew’s strong-willed analytical mind
I’ve never missed a soccer or softball game in three years.
My family
True friends

JOY

Living in the Blue Ridge Mountains
Our one-level home
Finding Joy
Laugher
Coffee
Daisies
Fiddle Tunes & Irish music

Travel memories to Ireland, Hawaii, Canada, Eh!
The sound of wooden roller coasters
The crunch of walking on leaves
Beachcombing
Waterfalls
Strolling on cobblestone paths
Tiramisu

80’s music and Flip Flops

Encouraging words
Chocolate
Journals
Books
Colored Pens

Sewing
Stained glass
Hammock naps
Handmade anything
Hydrangeas
Chris’ garden
Grandma’s quilts
Mama’s pickles

Join me in counting our blessings. Recounts are okay.

~April White

Copyright 2018 April Dawn White| Images by author & Pixabay

Identity Theft: Repossess Our Identity With Truth

I was recently the victim of identify theft.  No, not through an online transaction or a lost checkbook. The unlikely location for identity theft was the high school guidance counselor’s office.

My son, a rising tenth grader, and I visited the high school guidance counselor. While he discussed course schedules, I filled out the necessary paperwork:

  • Parent Name
  • Address (Check box if same as the student)
  • Phone number
  • Occupation

Occupation. This word haunts me. For over fifteen years, I wore a lab coat to work and displayed my Doctor of Pharmacy degree in a prominent place in our home. Today, the lab coat hangs in the back of the closet. My diploma is stacked in the corner of the basement collecting dust and cobwebs—much like my mind during severe moments of brain fog.

Occupation: _________________. The word and preceding blank mocked me. It demanded an answer.

I left it blank.

What was I supposed to write?

  • Pharmacist with rare illness unable to work.
  • Medically retired
  • Full-time patient
  • Professional paper filler-outer
  • CEO of the family
  • First lady of the White House (My last name <wink wink>)
  • Chauffer
  • Home management expert
  • Writer

The identity thief slipped in without notice. Perhaps he hid behind the motivational posters decorating the office. Or was it the letters that used to follow my name?  That thief stole my identity.

I was proud of myself for not crying. Instead, I moved onto the remaining pages and noted emergency contact information. I returned to the occupation question and continued to contemplate what to write in the blank. However, I was distracted when my son and the counselor discussed his foreign language options.

Pausing, I lifted the pen toward them and said, “You’ve had two years of Spanish. Didn’t you say you wanted to learn German?”

My son was excited to learn a new language. He thought since he had two years of Spanish, he would be stuck taking Spanish III. I too have a new language to learn. I must learn to listen to the truth of who GOD says I am.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10, NIV)

Identity Theft: Repossess with the Truth

Listening for the voice of God is like learning a foreign language. I must listen, read, and practice reciting the words aloud. I need to be so familiar with His words that they are automatic and roll off my tongue with the correct inflection and accent.

The identity thief lurks in the shadows of our lives, but we can take back what he has stolen from us. Just as my son learned Spanish and can recite words and phrases by rote, we can repeat the truth of who we are in Christ.

In Christ we are:

  • A child of God
  • Accepted
  • Blessed
  • An Overcomer
  • Chosen
  • Forgiven
  • Seated in Heavenly places with God
  • Delivered from sin and darkness
  • A valiant warrior
  • Loved
  • Given grace upon grace
  • Son and Daughters of the King

Listening for the voice of God is like learning a foreign language. Click To Tweet

While the Enemy temporally stole my identity, I took it back by reminding myself of who I am in Christ. Deborah Haddix wrote an article, Who I am? My Identity in Christ, with an A to Z reminder of who we are in Christ. I encourage you to click the above link. Read her list and speak it to yourself.

Take back your identity.

Here are a few of my favorite some musical motivations. Enjoy!

~April Dawn White

© 2018 All Rights Reserved.

Images courtesy of Darwin Laganzon|Pixabay.com

Rest is the Treatment

Despite my daughters resting position, white enamel drums chattered as I checked her temperature, 103.1°F. My fingers gently swept the hair away from her crimson face as I whispered, “Honey, brush your teeth. We’re going to the doctor,”

Guttural moans escaped her petite frame.

I am thankful the pediatrician’s office offer walk-in sick appointments.  Less than an hour later, we answered the obligatory questions from the nurse and physician.

“Based on your symptoms, I am going to test you for Strep and Mono,” the pediatrician offered gently.

Both tests returned negative. My daughter has a mystery virus.

Rest is the TreatmentThe doctor instructed us to “treat the symptoms with fluids, fever medications, and most importantly, rest.”

REST is the Treatment. 

Rest is a short word which when used wields incredible power.

Why is rest always last on my list?

I am no longer talking about my daughter being sick. I mean living in a state of rest.

Why do I try to fix small things on my own, like scheduling conflicts or car repairs, while leaving the big-ticket issues for God? God doesn’t say to bring him only the big problems in life, but instead, Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NLT).

Rest shouldn’t be our last resort. Click To Tweet

Rest is first on God’s list.  When God gave Moses the Ten Commandants, rest was implied in the first two commandments.  “You must not have any other god but me. You must not make for yourself an idol of any kind or an image of anything in the heavens or on the earth or in the sea.” (Exodus 20:3-4, NLT).

I am weary of managing small problems on my own rather than resting everyday concerns with God. I am guilty of creating an idol of self-reliance. By categorizing what I think I can handle versus what I should hand over to God, my personal, I-can-handle-this-To-Do-list has become my god.

Over time, my stubborn, strong-willed, nature created an invisible idol called the god of self-reliance. Instead of the rest and peace, God Almighty offers, my false self-reliance god left me feeling weary and drained.

The path to restful living contains stepping-stones of surrender and a stone of contentment with where I am with what I have for right now.

Friend, are you like me?

Ask yourself if you are weary of managing life on your own instead of resting everyday concerns with God.  Like me, have you unknowingly formed an idol of self-reliance? If so, pray with me.

Dear Lord, help me to live out your plan for peace and rest in my life. I release all my concerns big and small into your Sovereign capable hands. Tear down any idol(s)I unknowingly formed. Teach me to rest in You day-by-day. Jesus, I thank you for your saving and sustaining grace. In your name, I pray. Amen.

I leave you with the same prescription for treatment as my daughter–rest.

If you liked this post check out these related articles: Take a Nap, Winter: A Season to Rest, and Rest and Praise: The Underutilized Weapons of Faith, 

~April Dawn White

©2018 Red Chair Moments

Courageous Women of the Bible: Book Review

In her newest book, Courageous Women of the Bible: Leaving Behind Fear & Insecurity for a Life of Confidence and Freedom, author LaTan Roland Murphy unfolds a fresh insight of courage.

I met LaTan Roland Murphy at the Asheville Christian Writers Conference in February 2016. As a native Virginian G.R.I.T. S. girl (Girl Raised in the South), I felt an instant connection to this Georgian peach. LaTan inspired me to take bold and courageous steps forward in my personal life and in writing.

Through the stories of eleven heroic women of the Bible, LaTan Roland Murphy illustrates their diverse forms of courage in the soft-spoken and the bold. Woven into each chapter, LaTan Roland Murphy shares her personal struggles and insecurities. Murphy’s ability to balance the weightiness of the loss of her brother with the humor of her fear of snakes exemplifies her transparent overlay of warmth and wit throughout the book.

Courageous Women of the Bible is a book is for real women facing current culturally relevant topics. If you can answer ‘yes’ to any of these questions, then this book is for you.

  • Do I struggle with finding the courage to lead my family or surrender my loved ones to God?
  • Am I fearful of rejection?
  • Do I desire to live generously, but struggle with limited resources?
  • Have I ever struggled with doing the right thing even when my spouse or others do not?
  • Do I question if I have the courage required to have a baby amidst great odds, pressure, and uncertain times?

Courageous Women of the Bible: Leaving Behind Fear & Insecurity for a Life of Confidence and Freedom, is a treasured book to draw closer to Jesus and step out in faith with bold courage LaTan taught me several years ago.

LaTan Roland Murphy is an award-winning author and speaker and has been featured in WHOA women’s magazine and numerous other publications. She is the author of Becoming a Woman of Interior Elegance and co-author of God’s Provision in Tough Times. She is also the founder of The Colors of His Love Women’s Conference. She and her husband, Joe, have three adult children and two delightful grandchildren. They live in Raleigh, North Carolina. She would love for you to stop by and visit her on her website at LatanMurphy.com

Courageously writing, 

~Apri Dawn White

Summer Goals

The campfire curled and crackled sending dancing warm gusts around the teens and leaders encircled around the fire.  This was the final Wednesday night youth gathering before everyone separated for the summer.  A buzz of excitement and anticipation rippled through the crowd as several seniors were preparing to graduate and move on to college. The youth pastor asked, “What summer goals do you have this year?” 

A stray voice behind me hollered, “Help with vacation Bible school. Another teen evoked roars of laughter when he grumbled, “My parents are making me get a job.”

I pondered the youth pastor’s question. Like the students, some of us will have ten weeks with a lighter, less rigid schedule this summer. Ten weeks without the burden of packing school lunches, chauffeuring kids to music lessons, and sporting events.  If we’re not careful, our summer will erode away with nothing to show for it but a sunburn.  Author and motivational speaker Zig Ziglar coined the phrase, “If you aim at nothing you hit it every time.”

Why is having a goal important?

Goals keep an endpoint in mind, allowing us to determine our progress toward the goal. Goals provide direction and purpose and prevent aimless wandering.

How can I apply a summer goal?

Unlike the tedious chore of saving decades for retirement, a summer goal is possible to accomplish in a short season.  What summer goals do you desire?  Do you want to shed those stubborn five pounds? Is there a concert you’d like to see, or a new area in your city you’d like to explore? If so, make it a goal, grab a friend, and go!

Is there a book you desire to read or a new skill you’re eager to learn? Check out your local library. Many area offer classes for adults who want to learn to quilt, sew, or throw pottery.  Maybe your goal is to spray paint the patio furniture or power wash the house. Whatever you’ve wanted to do, but never make the time, do it this summer!

Here are a few of my summer goals:

  • Reconnect with an old friend once a week either by phone or face to face.
  • Drop off the items I’ve stored for months to rescue mission donation center.
  • Finish the three partially read books I’m reading.
  • Drop (for good) five pounds.

What goals do you have in mind? List a few reasonable goals in a place that you will view daily, such as the bathroom mirror or kitchen, and get started.

I’d love to hear from you. What goals do you have this summer?

~April 

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