Missing Pieces or Room for Blessings?

alphabet-missing-q-meme“I’m missing Q” stumbled out of my mouth before I realized no one was around to listen. I positioned the rediscovered Kindergarten photograph next to my son’s eight grade school picture.  The rediscovered Kindergarten photo displayed a round face, wide blue eyes, and a crooked smile. The recent eight-grade photograph, of the same child, displayed a confident and mischievous I-know-it-all thirteen-year-old smile. Staring at the two photographs, I pondered at the handiwork of our Creator.

During my son’s Kindergarten year, the dental hygienist noted that our son was missing the tooth labeled as “Q.” He was greatly disturbed to be missing something that everyone else had. It bothered him so much that each time our son saw his school picture from that year he would point to the photograph or his mouth and state, “I’m missing Q.”

I tried to convince him missing “Q” did not matter. I explained it was only a baby tooth and he would eventually loose it anyway. I tried to convince him that the missing tooth would actually provide more space for the future adult teeth. With each explanation, my strong-willed five-year-old peered at me with a look that said, “Mom, you can’t fool me.”

Over dinner one evening, my husband explained that he also had teeth that never grew in. Andrew’s attitude instantly improved when he realized he was just like daddy.

Eight years later, the phrase “I’m missing Q” automatically stumbled out of my mouth when I saw this old photograph. Talking to the image of my five-year-old son, I said, “See you were so worried about this and you didn’t even need it.” Immediately a thought, perhaps the voice of God, downloaded into my brain. These words penetrated my heart, “April, what about you? What are you so worried about missing, that you don’t even need?”

My knees suddenly buckled. Pressing my palms against the refrigerator, I steadied myself. “Oh Lord,” I exclaimed. “Please forgive me!”whats-missing-meme

We spend too much energy fretting over missing pieces. We are afraid these lacking details will cause us to appear different and prevent us from fitting in or worse, prevent us from fulfilling our purpose.  But, what if we changed our perspective? Instead of complaining about the missing aspect of our life, what if we praised God for the extra space it provided. What if what’s missing allows God the space to plant a future blessing?

What if what's missing allows God the space to plant a future blessing? Click To Tweet

Today, I ask you the same question that penetrated my heart.  Dear friend, what are you so worried about missing? Perhaps it is God’s way of making room for a future blessing. 

Last week, I explored the notion of having growing room in our faith in a blog titled, Soccer, Shoes and Faith: Growing Room. If you want to dive deeper into the idea of God making space and growing room for faith, I encourage you to also read this post.

GIVEAWAY WINNERbook-cover

Congratulations to Dana S. for winning a free copy of 66 Ways God Loves You by Jennifer Rothschild! Dana, I will be in touch soon.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of Thomas Nelson, author, and Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

Staring in the Eyes of a Zebra: Encouragement in Desert Wandering

Confessions of zebraEyes of a zebra penetrated my desert heart and helped me find strength in God.

In the 1940’s Dr. Theodore Woodward coined the term “zebra” for any rare medical condition. I first shared about this in the article, Confession of a Zebra. Last week, I sat across another zebra and for the first time, I knew someone truly understood me.

Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis affects one per 100,000 people.[1]  It is isolating and lonely to possess a disease so rare that no one around me understands the paralysis, the pain, the impaired cognitive functioning, and sudden muscle weakness.

When I discovered a Texas zebra was attending a meeting in my area, we scheduled an afternoon together before her return flight home.  Over the past year, we have texted and spoken via phone, but I savored this rare moment to spend face time with her.

As she spoke, I couldn’t help but compare and contrast our lives.  She, a Texas zebra, whose diagnosis of Hypokalemic Periodic Paralysis, was confirmed at the young age of six. There was no need for extensive genetic testing, since her father and her sister already possessed this rare neuromuscular disease.  Texas zebra is around my age and our daughters are the same age too. Unfortunately, her daughter (and nephew) was diagnosed this summer.DNA

On the other hand, I was clinically diagnosed at age forty, based on my extensive journaling of symptoms and the adverse effect of certain foods, exercise, stress, etc. Unlike, Texas zebra, I am waiting on the results of genetic testing.

Texas zebra grew up with the rare condition and has assimilated well into adulthood; I was diagnosed as an adult.

I feel like Dorothy, who woke up in Oz, desperately clicking my red heels together to go back home to my previous life.

 

The morning after our meeting, I read these words “Jonathan went to David [in the desert] and helped him find strength in God” (1 Samuel 23:16). David was a man on the run, hiding out from the insane King Saul. Jonathan, Saul’s son and David’s best friend, came to him in the desert to provide encouragement and strength in God.

This Texas zebra was the Jonathan to my David. She met me in my desert place and provided my weary heart with encouragement and strength in God. We are relational people, not created to live in isolation. This was on Paul’s mind when he wrote, “that you and I be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith” (Romans 1:12).

God doesn’t call us to fix other peoples problems, but to walk with them. Click To Tweet

children-542104_1920 teddy bears friends PixabaySo often, we want to fix other people’s problems and if their problem is too big, we feel overwhelmed by their need. God doesn’t call us to fix other peoples problems, but to walk with them. Notice, Jonathan did not remove David from the desert; rather he spent time with him there and provided strength in God.

Are you in a desert place? God sees you and He cares for you. Seek refuge in Him and find comfort in the words penned by David (perhaps when he was in the desert), “You are my hiding place; you will protect me from trouble and surround me with songs of deliverance” (Psalm 32:7).

Have you been through the desert? I challenge you to reach out to someone in a desert place. Be their Jonathan and provide encouragement and strength in the Lord during this dry and weary season.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.  *Images courtesy of Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

[1] http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1171678-overview#a6

Rest and Praise: Underutilized Weapons of Faith

trace-gods-hand-trust-gods-heart-quote-spurgeon-pixabayRestlessness is an Enemy tactic. Restlessness loots our heart of peace and leaves a destruction of doubt in its wake. If left unattended, a restless heart will corrode. The faith-filled heart, once anchored to trust, will begin to rust as our hearts silently question our Lord’s ability and Sovereignty.

The shift from faith to doubt is subtle. I recently caught myself following the breadcrumb path that lead to restlessness. Unbeknownst to me I’d shifted postures from waiting on God to the I’ll do it myself posture.  This shift towards self-sufficiency was slow and subtle.

We cannot always trace God’s hand, but we can always trust God’s heart. Spurgeon. @RedChairMoments Click To Tweet

Recognizing the subtle shift away from God’s Sovereignty toward my self-sufficiency, I prayed and asked for forgiveness. I realized restlessness as an Enemy tactic to keep my mind anxious and stressed instead of filled with peace and rest.

While praying, I compiled a list of weapons of warfare: Prayer, Love, Meditation, Praise, and Rest. By understanding the areas I am most vulnerable, this enables me to understand which of these weapons I need to utilize in times of unrest.Weapons of Faith

Weapons of Praise and Rest Verses:

“Cease striving, and know I am God” (Psalm 46:10, NASB)

“Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” (Isaiah 54:10, NIV)

“Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.” (Mark 6:31, NIV)

“Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6, NIV)

When circumstances appear grim, remember to grab a weapon of faith and praise and rest in God’s Sovereignty.

What area of your life do you need to “cease striving” and rest with God?

~April Dawn White

*Images courtesy of Pixabay *Scripture is via Bible Gateway.com

P.S. This post was originally posted on Inspire a Fire.com, an inspirational website that features my writing the second Monday each month. Please check it out for additional encouragement.

Personal Declarations and Self-Encouragement

alarm-clock-pixabayDoes your morning routine include encouraging yourself? We each have a morning routine and today I will share with you a glimpse into mine. Before my feet hit the floor, I recite this personal declaration and prayer:

 

Lord, I love you.

Lord, I trust you.

Lord, I trust your plan.

Lord, I trust your provision.

Lord, I trust your unfailing Sovereign timing.

Amen.

 

When my heart is  heavy with discouragement I encourage myself by reciting these truths aloud:

Lord, you are a good, good Father.

Lord, I am loved by you.

You are faithful and able to complete to good work you started in me.

You have chosen me and will not reject me.

You call me by name.

You are jealous for me.

I am yours Lord, now do as you promised.

Amen.

God does not have grandchildren. Some things you need to learn for yourself. Click To Tweet

Going Deeper

My personal declarations and self-encouragement truths are directly from Scripture. I encourage you today to dig a little deeper and read these passages:

Proverbs 3:5-6Do as you Promised Verse

Psalm 143:8

Genesis 22 (emphasis on verses 13-14)

Jeremiah 29:11

Lamentations 3:25-26

Philippians 1:6

Isaiah 41:9-10

Isaiah 43:1

Exodus 34:14

1 Chronicles 17:23

Years ago, I was thrilled to watch my favorite woman of God, Priscilla Shirer speak at Thomas Road Baptist Church. From the third row, I clearly recall her saying, “God does not have grandchildren, only children. Some things you need to learn for yourself.”

TRUST with bench 2016I challenge you seek God’s Word for yourself and create your own personal declarations. We all have bad days which is why it’s crucial to encourage one another daily. But, sometimes we need to encourage our self in the Lord.

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.

*Images courtesy of author and Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

8 Steps Toward Healthy Christian Living

Medicine and Pharmacy

As a pharmacist, I dispense medication, education, and recommendations. As a Christian and writer, my mission is to encourage others by dispensing spiritual medicine for a healthy soul.

Today I am sharing with you my sermon notes from Pastor Karl Hofheinz’s message delivered September 25, 2016. (I will link the message once uploaded).  “Open wide your mouth” (Psalm 81:10) here comes a dose of spiritual medication for a healthy soul.

Healthy Christian living reaches for the Word of God daily. Click To Tweet

Healthy Christian living reaches for the Word of God daily. Spending time in God’s Word improves our vertical relationships with God and our horizontal relationships with others. Paul’s book of Colossians opens with eight timeless steps for healthy Christian living. These crucial steps are:

  1. Knowledge of God’s Will. Colossians 1:9

Six Areas to Possess the Will of God:

  • Abiding in God’s Word (Bible). (John 15, Joshua 1:8, Psalm 119:11, Psalm 105)
  • Obedience to God’s written voice (Bible). God doesn’t reveal the finished plan at once, He asks for the next small step of obedience.
  • Being one with God. (John 17) Know the heart and mind of God so that His glory radiates off us.
  • Have no unconfessed sin in your life. (Psalm 51). When we want to hear God’s voice, get rid of sin.
  • Healthy Christian LivingBe careful of who is speaking. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Who’s idea was it anyway, mine or God’s? Did I pray about this decision or am I moving forward with my own agenda asking God to bless my idea? Is this assignment God’s will for my life? I need to be careful of the right heart motive. Am I secretly trying to impress others?
  • Possess a “Not I, but Christ” attitude. (Galatians 2:20) Just as I punch the snooze button each day, I also need to punch the “220 button” resetting my attitude toward Christ’s desires.
  1. Walk Worthy of Jesus. Colossians 1:10. We are ambassadors of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20). As his personal representatives here on earth, we need to represent Christ well.
  1. Fully Please God. Colossians 1:10. Our desired target is to please God in our actions, love for others, and relationship with Him.
  1. Bearing Fruit in Every Good Work. Colossians 1:10. John chapter fifteen is the fruit chapter. A healthy Christian Life possess fruit, more fruit, and much fruit, which comes only by abiding, dwelling, saturating, ourselves with God in prayer and reading His Word.
  1. Increase in the Knowledge of God. Colossians 1:10. Be in the Word of God daily. Reading devotionals and listening to podcasts are great supplements, but we need to read it for ourselves and not be spoon fed from someone else. God wants us to “Taste and see the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8) for ourselves. “Put on your new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge.” (Colossians 3:10). “Do not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind” (Romans 12:2).

Five Ways to Increase in the Knowledge of God:Healthy Christian Living

  • Study the Word of God (2 Timothy 2:15)
  • Memorize on the Word (Psalm 119:11)
  • Mediate on the Word(Joshua 1:8)
  • Hear the Word (Romans 10:17)
  • Read the Word (Revelation 1:3)
  1. Be Strengthened by All Power According to His Glorious Might. Colossians 1:11. The weapons of our warfare are mighty (2 Corinthians 10:3-5). We have the weapons of God’s Word, Prayer, and Fasting.
  1. Possess Patience and Long-Suffering with Joy. Colossians 1:11. If we think right, we will do right, and act right. “The peace of God which transcends all understandings will guard our hearts and minds” (Philippians 4:7-8).
  1. Be Thankful. Colossians 1:12. God the Father, through Jesus Christ, has qualified believers to share in the eternal inheritance of Heaven.

Taste and see the Lord is godDavid wrote, “Taste and see the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8). Use these sermon notes as a study guide, but more importantly, seek God and read His Word for yourself.

Imagine you and your friend are standing outside a pavilion offering free ice cream. Your friend returns, slurping up the ice cream dripping from a waffle cone. Salivary glands erupt, as you see the sugary goodness. Having never tasted ice cream before you watch and listen as your friend describes the flavor and texture of the ice cream. You too can taste ice cream for yourself. It is free and available to anyone. Christ’s love is free and available to anyone anyone willing to believe.

Will you make movement toward God?

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway.

*Images courtesy of Pixabay.

Storm Survival: Faith Lessons from my Dogs

Faith Lessons from a dog“Where’s Guinness,” my husband asks.

“Hiding I’m sure. He’s scared of storms,” I reply handing him the kid’s lunchboxes. “You know that dog, I’m sure he is hiding under Rachel’s bed.”

Minutes later my husband and kids head out the door to school and work.  I pour a cup of freshly brewed liquid mercy and pad upstairs to my red chair.  Raindrops pelt the windows with fierce intensity. I look out over the lake, but it is too dark to see. In the distance, thunder booms. “The voice of the Lord is over the waters; the God of glory thunders, the Lord thunders over the mighty waters.” (Psalm 29:3) Savoring the hazelnut aroma, I close my eyes and sit in silence before the Lord.

I open my eyes to see a pair of soft brown eyes staring up at me, silently begging to be held. “Oh Kinsey,” I coo in her ear. She curls up close, lets out an exasperated sigh, and drifts to sleep.

I watch her rib cage expand and contract to the rhythm of her breathing. I smile at the thought of our two Jack Russell Terriers with opposite responses to the same storm. Guinness, the stout dog-hence the name, with the brown patch on his eye, hides in isolation and darkness during a storm.  Kinsey, our runt of the litter Jack Russell Terrier, seeks reassurance and refuge next to her master in a storm.

I stood, careful not to disturb Kinsey and padded into the kitchen to refill my mug.  Not wanting to be leave her Master’s side, Kinsey followed. Returning to my red chair, Kinsey sensed her master’s direction, ran ahead of me, and jumped on the cushion. I laughed.

Continuing my quiet time with the Lord (and Kinsey) I pondered these verses:sea storm pier I will not be shaken verse Pixabay

“He guards the lives of his faithful ones” (Psalm 97:10)

“But I will sing of your strength, in the morning I will sing of your love; for you are my fortressmy refuge in times of trouble.”(Psalm 59:16)

Through different surprise storms of life, I have responded in the same manner as Guinness and Kinsey. I hid my face from God and resorted to isolation, when I suffered a miscarriage, and I begged God to hold me up during my battle with post-partum depression.

In my current storm, I have great peace. Waves of uncertainty threaten to crash over me. I am anchored (Hebrews 6:19) to the one who created the sea (Genesis 1:9), and calms the sea with the sound of His voice (Matthew 8:26).

Isolation or refuge in God. How you approach a storm will determine your peace. Click To Tweet

What was the last storm you weathered? How did you respond? When surprised by unexpected storms, we can respond by hiding in isolation and self-sufficiency, or by seeking refuge from our Heavenly Father.  I’ve done both and only one response brings peace.

Seeking refuge in Christ alone,

~April Dawn White

*All Scripture is NIV from Bible Gateway. *Images courtesy of author & Pixabay.

© 2016 April Dawn White, All rights reserved

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