Still Stuck in a Parking Lot

Surely, I won’t be here long…this is what I would ponder…as I asked myself why on earth was I still stuck in a parking lot.

I am at the end of an odd season. Everything within me wanted to give up and turn back and give in and look down. However, this was new territory for me since my mantra for some time had been just the opposite. I pondered a little bit on how many friends would stick around if I was no longer the go to friendly let me pray for you person who encouraged when life was bleak or dark. It only crossed my mind but let’s me honest now…how many friends have you chosen NOT to hang out with or be friends with WHEN they are not their usual fun self? This may not be you but it is some of you. God wants us to rejoice when others rejoice…but He also wants us to weep when others weep – not condemn, not try to change, not try to hurry them along so they can get with the happy program. But how about you take just a moment out of your day to be their sunshine, lighten their load, give them a word of encouragement, be their spiritual mom, friend or confidant. Are you able or willing to make room for others when they are not who you want them to be in YOUR season of life? Don’t be condemned and don’t be upset. God says it’s okay to go there – after all – honesty is a fabulous place to sit when still stuck in a parking lot.

Encouraging Myself

Thankfully, I’m about to the end of a season where I have been weeping any given moment of the day. Sadness would take me over and I would just cry and cry and then cry some more….and then I would be fine again – until the next wave of sad rolled my way. It was as if I had turned into a Hallmark commercial because I teared up at the strangest moments! I could have thought I was losing my mind but that was not the case. The LORD is my light and my stronghold whether I’m in the dark or in the light. HE still lives in me and through me and does not leave when I’m not on the top of my game. I think that is the challenge with all of us when living out life with one another. It’s easy to be around someone who is a happy camper but a whole new story when their day has turned dark and they need a friend to light a candle for them because they have no strength to even find the matches. Still it’s a beautiful season for me personally because of my relationship with the Lord…its so sweet and so timely and so good. I’ve been sitting in my prayer room listening to some specific lyrics from Merchant Band when they sing, “You are so good – You never leave, like I think You should. You are so kind ….You still give me life. I’ll let You make me, I’ll let You break me, I’ll let You fix me until we’re One.” It’s on repeat until I switch over to another song by Jason Upton when he sings, “Come up here, come up here My beloved” and he sings about John on the Isle of Patmos and his encounter with God. Powerful. In case you don’t know, John was banished to an island because of him being a follower of the Christ. He had to encourage himself in The Lord for many years because in a much stronger way than me, he was definitely stuck in a parking lot.

Enemy of Our Souls

You might ask if I’m feeling sorry for myself – no that’s not it. You might ask if I’m hurting or in pain – no, not as far as I know – but it could be part of it. Frankly, I have a sneaky suspicion that some of the emotions and ideas stem back to earlier in the year. Also, I feel I made some sort of emotional covenant with an ungodly source and this is truly the enemy to my soul right now….granted…yes…God is living and breathing in me and loving me….but some of this emotional duress is due to something other than God drawing me.  Yesterday, I dealt a bit with the enemy of my soul and felt a strong breaking through into my true self. I will tell you that whatever season of life you are in –  if you don’t deal with your emotions, ideas, feelings – they WILL eventually deal with you. So all of that is pretty much why I’m still stuck in a parking lot.

Superwoman Cape

I’ve experienced some loss –  our sister moved to heaven in January of this year. Prior to that we had some friends who decided they were no longer our friends. My sister’s husband also, suddenly passed. We had strong changes as well as several deaths in our church family. In addition, we have had sicknesses in our immediate community. I’ve been taking in one thing at a time like a good soldier 🙂 with rare discussions with myself on how I am handling these shifts and transitions. I laid down my superwoman cape many years ago or so I thought…apparently, I had a spare cape in my closet that I slipped on….and have just been going going going…. Though I’m a spirit being, my human being part of me needs ministry and loving and stopping and considering this thing called life. So, that’s kind of what I sense The Lord doing in me in this particular season. Though it feels very odd and out of sorts to be stuck in a parking lot, I’m cognizant that I have a good Father Who cares for me and is drawing me into His lap. We are reasoning together in this season – Him doing the talking and me doing the weeping – I mean listening. HE is building me back up and encouraging me and strengthening me. Admittedly, I’m thankful HIS love for me is so deep and wide. Though you may not be stuck in a parking lot, I want to encourage you to take deep breaths, look around, breathe again and give yourself a great big HUG from God. HE is never too busy to love on us whether we are on the road or still stuck in a parking lot.

BE BRAVE

Therefore, it may be time for you to prepare yourself to be BRAVE and #bravetobraver. Get ready to GIRD yourself up with BOLDNESS and realize you CANNOT live in a parking lot. So, have some RESPECT for yourself and get the plan of ACTION you are going to take when it is time to take it. Know it will prove to be a VICTORIOUS move over your past and very ENCOURAGING! God loves you and HE is for you and HE knows who we are and where we are and HE is not in a hurry to be in a hurry. So, I declare over you and me a release from false obligations, false responsibilities and false relationships so that you and I can BE STILL AND KNOW how good HE is and how for us HE really is….

PS………I’m not living here and you should not either – I’m already planning my escape and writing my next word –  LEAVING THE PARKING LOT……..LOL – how about you?

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If this speaks to you – let me know-let’s encourage one another. Let’s be a pathway of strength for each other through spring, summer, fall or winter – famine or harvest.

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Until next time,
d

LIVE YOUR LIFE!

20080110-NDI10119 FRONTHave you ever walked into a season of life when it feels as if the walls are closing in and the very ground you are walking on is now shaking? You turn to the left and that friend who was once your “bestie” has moved on saying, “Our season of friendship is over.” You turn to the right and that special person whom you have stood with and been through thick and thin with for years is suddenly just not interested in who you are or what you have going on in life. Wow. Breathe in. Breathe out. You look around you and realize countries are fighting, companies are folding and churches are changing direction. That family whom you have been friends with for years is divorcing and one of them is taking the other one for all they’ve got. Who knew they had such contempt for one another? Then it gets even more personal. A family member divorces because the man they were married to decided to leave her for another man – I guess the first clue was that he had more female clothing in his closet than she did in hers. Then, a family member gets sick. Another family member dies. Yet another is wanting to commit suicide AND MAYBE you are thinking of doing that too. You don’t know if you are up or down. It’s as if a day has come when every prop you used to help you stand up has been removed and you are suddenly wobbling around like a chicken that just came out of your shell. When a chick comes out of the shell, the world is new and its trying to figure out how to walk and what its going and where it is and so on. BUT – you are not brand new out of a shell are you?

So, what are you going to do when all hell breaks loose and you feel like you are falling apart?!

BREATHE IN

BREATHE OUT

DO IT AGAIN.
You ARE going to be okay. You will not just survive. You will LIVE.

LIVE.

LEAN into God – let the props go – let the crutches go.

IDENTIFY what it is you truly believe about this God Who says He loves you and Who says HE is your Father…its personal…its intimate….He is not just the Big Guy in the sky – if you have given yourself to Him then HE is now your Father and HE WILL NOT LEAVE YOU. HE is for you – but do you believe it in the midst of the tragedy?

VICTORY is yours IF you will let yourself truly truly trust yourself to His ways and His vision

ENCOURAGE yourself – do not just lay there and die. DO SOMETHING positive and prepare to move forward from where you are to where HE wants to take you.

  • You are going to have to be radically honest in order to LIVE.
  • What are your props? Emotional? Mental? Financial? Spiritual? Is it God or man?
  • Do you believe He loves you? This is a decision – not based on your experiences but based on HIS actions. HE DID die for you and HE DOES live and DOES make intercession for you today to become HIS and to remain HIS.
  • Can you ask HIM what HIS vision is for your life? MUST you continue to cling to your own thoughts or can you let Him give you His thoughts and ideas?
  • You DO have value and you are worth encouraging. You HAVE to decide to get up. I can lift you up and your friends can lift you up but you can just sit right back down again….its okay that we lift one another up and sometimes we won’t make it without the lifting but AFTER you are lifted…..are you willing to choose to live?

Only you can answer the above thoughts and queries.

I see your value. Do you? It is past time to Be BRAVE – Be Bold...decide today is the day to live. Be Respectful toward yourself and see your own personal value and take ACTION in living – you can honor yourself without it becoming a self centered selfish act – you can honor and value your life without running over others to do it. Remember there IS an avenue for VICTORY…..can you find it and then follow it? ENCOURAGE yourself in the LORD. Listen…today IS a new day and it is a day for personal bravery…be brave….until God makes you BRAVER.

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Until soon,

d

Stay In STABILITY

Do you want to stay in stability?

When I was in my early twenties and in college I studied fitness and at that time becoming a fitness trainer or instructor was only then being considered as a viable vocation. I took the classes and loved the information and genuinely appreciated the field and could see myself helping people physically to gain or regain strength and stability in their lives. I could see how it would be an amazing to work in this industry and saw in my mind how twenty years later I could be doing it in a way that was significant. I had a strong conviction to pursue it and see what I could become through this healthy direction. However, life got the best of me and I did not take my exam. I ended up moving away and had tragedy enter into the scenario and becoming healthy through exercise and diet became a vanishing conviction and a far away dream.

Have you ever left behind the very thing you should have retained? My life became very unstable as I searched for myself and fast forward into living life and now its over thirty years later. My body is larger and my stamina is different.

A couple years ago my doctor told me that because of my change in life I needed to exercise regularly so that my bones would remain healthy and strong. Also, I have some medical issues that give me warnings to remind me that I need to eat right, exercise and drink water….things you would think I could do after 50 with no problems. HA!

Old habits die hard – I can tell you that straight up.

So, some months pass and I still am not doing what I know I should be doing although I think of it daily.  DAILY the thought inundates my mind – exercise. Still I make no move other than to walk daily but I only do that for a few weeks before its too cold…now I realize I live in the Houston area so too cold for me is like 60 versus if you live in Pennsylvania or say New York – your too cold could be snowing and below zero. Its all relative, but the real deal is my lack of discipline and my tired body (because of my lack of exercise) chose to refuse the discipline of a daily walk. Truth.

Then, I return to a yearly doctor appointment and face again the man who told me a year ago that I HAVE to exercise or face the results of that decision. He asks me how my exercising is coming and tells me it is time for a bone density test and talks to me about how I can have stability in my latter years. Wow. When I was 20 I never thought I was unstable and certainly never thought about what my life would be like when I was over 50.  The doctor’s words carried weight and though kind and considerate I left feeling pretty intimidated.

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO??

Well if you are like me…you wish you responded to the genuine conviction that came years before the change in life but a doctor giving you warnings and then basically threatening you with consequences is what you finally use as your spring board to “do the right thing.”.

Early in the year, when I started at the gym with a trainer, I noticed it was difficult to execute most the exercises without losing my balance. Also, when I attempted exercises that required stability – I noticed I was wobbly. I paid it no never mind really and figured it was just because I am OLDer and because I was not used to the regular movement.

Let me do a little sidetracking that is part of my main point. My feet underwent surgery in the 80’s and I’ve never really been able to find shoes that fit my feet that do not hurt my feet. However, I DID find some – pictured here – and they fit me like a glove and I LOVED them….they hugged my feet like a very well fitting coat and really were the most comfy shoes I have had in years. However, do you notice how the bottoms are ROUND and not flat? I never noticed the round. I just noticed the comfy.

ROUND & COMFY

Guess WHO noticed the round?? My trainer at the gym noticed the round. As a matter of fact from almost day one he would comment, “You probably need to find some shoes that are not round – this would help you be stable on your feet.” However, do you think I went shoe shopping? NO, I did not and why not do you ask? I did not because I LOVED my snuggy shoes….and did not want to change them EVEN if it meant I could be stable on my feet. Sad what we hold onto isn’t it?  I was unwilling to let go of the very thing that was causing my instability and to make things worse, I clung to my right to keep my comfort zone and would not even consider another kind of shoe that was pain free like my “unstable ones”.

After four months of training in my unstable shoes, I took a two month break to work out on my own at home just to find I was not disciplined enough to exercise by myself. Then, I admitted my need to be at a gym and with all the courage I could muster, I returned to the gym to be trained. The problem was that though I said I wanted to be trained, I ignored the trainer’s instructions. I wanted to do it all my own way in my own shoes. So, this time in returning, I decided I wanted to do it the right way. So, I met with @Jason Hodge with Medical Fitness Pros in Katy, Texas (www.medicalfitnesspros.com) and Dr. Mike with www.postrehab.com and asked them both what to do. The recommendation was a local shoe store in La Centerra called Luke’s Footlocker in Katy (www.lukeslocker.com) and actually get fitted for  tennis shoes that will fit MY feet and hug my ankle. But what did I do???? I went to a sports store in the mall and purchased what I thought were good solid stable shoes and guess what happened? I experienced a problem with my ankle. When I switched from what was COMFORTABLE to what I “thought was stable” instead of what was recommended by someone who is professional and authentic – all I got was aggravation. Deep inside my ankle there is a popping sound from my ankle. It does not hurt but it is strange and distracting. Of course, we took the shoes back and finally followed instructions and worked with Nick and Chris at Luke’s (like I was told) for a couple hours to determine the best course of action for MY feet. These are my stable shoes which incidentally fit well and are PAIN FREE.

Stay in STABILITY – my new shoes

This is the thing though – had I followed instructions and inquired on where to purchase solid stable shoes in the beginning of my working out – would I have experienced the problem I’m having right now with my feet? I don’t know really…but for now it is hindering my walk.

So if you made it through this long and drawn out story you get to hear what I’m learning.

1. There are mistakes I never have to make if I will listen and learn from those who have already walked in my shoes.

2. There is some pain that IS avoidable if again I am willing to humble myself and learn and actually submit myself to someone’s understanding other than my own.

3. I do not have to REMAIN defeated by what has defeated me in the past.

4. I am teachable.

5. I CAN CHANGE.

6. It is NOT too late to be different even if it takes time.

7. Finally, stability is more important than comfort.

Do you hold onto what you know because you think there is no way it can get any better?

Are you willing to remain UNSTABLE for the sake of being comfortable?

Can you change your mind and become different and move beyond your past defeat?

Are you teachable?

I’m a happy camper because I continue to move forward. I’m back at the gym with a trainer who is positioning me with my posture and challenging me to NOT gain weight during ANY season and wants me to succeed.

Do yourself a long term life long favor – discover what it is you cling to that is really not the friend of your future and make some changes and let’s meet a year from now. In the mean time – let’s both STAY IN STABILITY!

Until Soon!

d

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