Closet Cleaning

As I looked at the pile of clothes on the chest of drawers and the bag of new clothes I just got for my birthday in my room; neither which could fit into my closet, I realized I needed to clean out my closet. Confession time: I love clothes. I love buying clothes, but hate shopping for clothes, or making room for them in my closet. In our old house, I had my closet and the closet in the spare bedroom (plus 2 chest of drawers) to keep my clothes so downsizing was never really necessary. However, now that we are in a new home, the closet space is limited and unless I wanted to continue looking at the piles of clothes in my room, I needed to do some serious purging.

So, yesterday, I decided to tackle my closet and make room for the new clothes I had purchased and the excess clothes that had been in a pile for weeks. With trepidation, I went through the closet. I found myself making excuses for not getting rid of something. Some no longer fitted, but were too cute to get rid of and others which I hadn’t thought cute enough to wear, but someday might be cute enough. I also remembered the last time I cleaned out my closet. I left a suitcase full of clothes in Guatemala, and later was disappointed when I went looking for something I had given away. The reasons were pretty convincing, but ultimately, I had to do it. I needed to make room for the new items and the clothes that I actually do wear. Another reason for purging was because a lot of the clothes were from when I was younger and now that I am much closer to 40 than I want to admit, I need to dress more appropriate to my age.

This event directly coincided with a new devotion I began yesterday (after the purging); Me, Myself & Lies by Jennifer Rothschild. In the study, Jennifer refers to our “thought closet” and the need to clean it out in order to make room for the things God has for us. Yesterday, the theme was “Who I am and what I struggle with are not the same thing.” An amazing eye opening thought in itself, but it continued today by jotting down the thoughts in my own “closet”, the thoughts in the “human closet”, and the thoughts in “God’s closet”.

I was asked to list the main thoughts  use when beating myself up, examine the human thoughts described in Scripture, and finally meditate on God’s thoughts towards me, also mentioned in Scripture (and listed below). I realized that in order for room to be made for God’s thoughts, my thoughts and the thoughts we all normally have as humans needed to come out. Now, not all need to come out, but those which don’t fit me anymore or those that were given to me by other people that just don’t flatter me. As much as I believed those thoughts to still “fit”, in reality, I needed to begin to dress as the woman of God that I am and becoming.

Like I said, I am just on day 2 of this study, so I still have lot more purging to do. I’m pretty sure cleaning out my clothes closet will be much easier than cleaning and maintaining my thought closet. But it is a task I will certainly need to commit and rely on my Savior to guide me through for He promises that if I “commit to Him in whatever I do, my plans will succeed” (Proverbs 16:3).

Human Thought Closet

Psalm 10:4 – In his pride the wicked man does not seek him;
    in all his thoughts there is no room for God.

Psalm 56:5 – All day long they twist my words;
    all their schemes are for my ruin.

Isaiah 59:7 – Their feet rush into sin;
    they are swift to shed innocent blood.
They pursue evil schemes;
    acts of violence mark their ways.

Isaiah 65:2 – All day long I have held out my hands
    to an obstinate people,
who walk in ways not good,
    pursuing their own imaginations—

Romans 1:21 – For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.

God’s Thought Closet

Psalm 40:5 – Many, Lord my God,
    are the wonders you have done,
    the things you planned for us.
None can compare with you;
    were I to speak and tell of your deeds,
    they would be too many to declare.

Psalm 92:5 – Lord, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep.

Psalm 139:17 – How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How great is the sum of them!

Isaiah 55:9 – “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Jeremiah 29:11 – For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.

 

 

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Static

In early June, Jake and I went to Boston to see my family for a much-needed vacation. In later June/early July, I went to Guatemala on a mission trip. In between those two significant events, Jake and I moved from Thomasville, AL to Jackson, AL (depending on where you are, it can be a distance of 30 to 40 miles). I kept my job at Pineview Baptist and Jake will continue going to Thomasville High when school starts up again, so not much has changed besides a longer commute. I used to be able to roll out of bed 20 minutes before I needed to be at work and still make it on time. Now, I drive longer than it takes me to get ready.

The only problem with the commute is the sporadic radio station signal. I listen to K-Love Christian Radio and although there are two dial stations in the area, the signal is pretty bad which often causes more static than music.  Trying to recognize a song in midst of the static can get quite frustrating especially if it is a good song. When I can recognize the song, the static doesn’t bother me as much. However, when I can’t recognize what song is playing that is when the static became more annoying and distracting. At one point the static was so loud, I turned the radio off. That is when I heard Him.

We are in a patch of static, Jen. You haven’t spent nearly as much time with Me as you once did and our relationship is being affected. During our time together, your strength is renewed. Knowing a few, even several Scripture verses, isn’t enough. To minimize the static and ensure a clear connection, you need to be in constant prayer and studying of My Word.

Of course, He was right. My quiet times are the antenna that allow for a clear connection with my Savior, and not having quality quiet times was causing lots of static which translated in physical and emotional exhaustion. Instead of addressing the connection issue, I was trying to listen to His song around the static. Although I heard Him loud and clear, I have yet to get back to where I need to be  in my quiet times. But I praise God that He continues to send me messages through the static.

Changing My Heart

“Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He’s trying to change your heart”

Ever hear words that cut so deep into your heart, it takes your breath away? That is how I felt when I read this quote today. I have heard it before, but where I am in my life at this moment, they are the exact words I needed to hear so I could stop playing the victim…

As far back as I could remember, I have never had enough to pay my bills. At times it was because I would manage the money given to me incorrectly and selfishly. When I made an offering to the church, it was not my first fruits and I did not give it with a cheerful heart. It was such a burden for me to give to the church because they had plenty of it and I “needed” it more than they did.

It was not until a few months ago that I confessed to a friend of mine how tired I am of the constant financial struggle I am in. I let her know that I was just tired of being poor. Her question to me was “is it a sin issue?” I immediately responded “of course, it is.”

Money has always been my nemesis. I never have enough of it. I live beyond my means. I struggle with being a good steward with the provision God has given me. The parable of the talents in Matthew 25 teaches how we need to be good steward even with the little we may have. This was (and unfortunately still is) a major sin issue in my life.

Since that conversation just a few months ago, I have been pretty consistent with my tithing. It s the first fruit of my labor and although still difficult to part with that percentage since I could definitely use it, I choose to be obedient and trust God to bless me for it.

As Jake and I prepare to move to another city not to far from here, I am feeling the constrictions of my financial status becoming quite overwhelming. It is like this chapter can’t close soon enough. This week, especially, has been extremely difficult for me to bear. I find myself in a sinking pit of despair and depression; not seeing light through the drowning mud. Prayer, Scripture, worship, nothing seems to help. I know that there is a greater purpose for this, but I do not want any part of it. I know God has provided in the past, but could He just provide just once and for all and let me be? Then through the darkness, through the mud, I see those words: “Sometimes God doesn’t change your situation because He’s trying to change your heart.” 

Once again I am reminded that although I have done good for a short while, it doesn’t mean I will always be good. I am reminded that my strength and my faith are not as strong as I believe them to be. I do not trust Him enough to provide when I need it. I do not trust Him to keep me from the darkest pits. I simply do not trust His love for me. And yet His love for me has never changed.

He continues to see the woman He created me to be. He sees the woman I will one day be. He sees the desire of my heart to follow Him wholeheartedly. He sees nothing else. He is not discouraged by the long, hard road because the destination is far too amazing to be overshadowed by the cares of today. He is using this situation, this struggle, this season of my life to change my heart. His love for me is far too grand for Him to allow me to remain as I am.

I am not all better. I am still angry, frustrated and tired of this financial state I am still in, but I am recognizing that I will remain here until my heart has indeed changed. And by my attitude and short temper, I have a long way to go.

Endurance for the Long Journey

The promises You have laid before me, Father, have required much of me. When I first accepted this journey, I was eager and excited. As of late, the length of the journey has left me exhausted and resistant to continue.  All I see before me is an endless sea with no land in sight. Yet, I look back and You remind me how far we have traveled and it stirs my heart to continue. Your words, your love, give me comfort. I may be exhausted, unmotivated, and often plain lazy, but search my heart and know that my desire is to follow You until the ends of the earth.

In the midst of this journey, I will rest on the promises of Your Words to me:

 When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord
    he brought me into a spacious place. ~ Psalm 118:5

Keep falsehood and lies far from me;
    give me neither poverty nor riches,
    but give me only my daily bread.
 Otherwise, I may have too much and disown you
    and say, ‘Who is the Lord?’
Or I may become poor and steal,
    and so dishonor the name of my God. ~ Proverbs 30:8-9

I know your deeds,
     your love and faith,
     your service and perseverance,
     and that you are now doing more than you did at first. ~ Revelation 2:19

For the revelation awaits an appointed time;
    it speaks of the end
    and will not prove false.
Though it linger, wait for it;
    it will certainly come
    and will not delay. ~ Habakkuk 2:3

Forget the former things;
    do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
    Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
    and streams in the wasteland. ~ Isaiah 43:18-19

Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while
     was that you might have him back forever~ Philemon 1:15

 

Guatemala Bound x 2!

The Lord has Blessed me…well, let me say He ALWAYS blesses me, but this has been a special shower of blessings.

As you all are well aware, a large piece of my heart is in Guatemala and I have literally ached because I have not been able to go since last March. Well, the Lord has heard my cry and is allowing me to go TWICE this year!! Isn’t He awesome???

The first trip will be from June 25-July 5. I just got word of this trip this week! I will be going with the local leaders as their translator. The team, which will arrive a few days later, will be doing a mini-VBS and mini-medical clinic.

The second trip which I had signed up for will be from October 21-28. This will be an Encouragement and Evangelism trip. The cost of this trip will be approximately $1,500. If you feel led to do so, I would be extremely grateful for your financial support towards the October trip. We all know that whenever we are on the path the Lord has for us, the enemy attacks, but we serve a MUCH GREATER God, so in addition to your financial support, I covet your prayers during the next few months!

Donations can be made out to Thomasville Baptist Church and can be either be mailed to me or directly to the church. If you send it to the church, please include a note that specifies it is for Jennifer Sanabria’s trip to Guatemala, October 21-28, 2014.

Jennifer Sanabria
656 Old Hwy 5 N
Thomasville, AL 36784

or

Thomasville Baptist Church
210 Wilson Ave.
Thomasville, AL 36784

P.S. If you are wondering where Jake will be during my trips, he will stay here in Thomasville with some friends. He is very active in the theater team (both in school and community) and he is also part of the sound/technical team at church, so he will be well occupied! 🙂

Worm, Take Heart

Do not be afraid, O worm, Jacob…I will make you into a threshing sledge,
new and sharp, with many teeth.
(Isaiah 41:14-15)

Could any two things be in greater contrast than a worm and a threshing tool with sharp teeth? A worm is delicate and is easily bruised by a stone or crushed beneath a passing wheel. Yet a threshing tool with sharp teeth can cut through rock and not be broken, leaving its mark upon the rock. and almighty God can convert one into the other. He can take and individual or a nation, who has all the weakness of a worm, and through the energizing work of His own Spirit, endow that person or nation with strength enough to make a profound mark upon the history of their time.

Therefore a “worm” may take heart. almighty God can make us stronger thank our circumstances and can turn each situation to our goo. in God’s strength we can make them all pay tribute to our soul. we can take the darkest disappointment, break it open, and discover a precious jewel of grace inside. when God gives us as an iron plowshare cuts through the hardest soil. As He said in the above verse, “I will make you…” Will He not do it? John Henry Jowett

Christ is building His kingdom with the broken things of earth. People desire only the strong, successful, victorious, and unbroken things in life to build their kingdom, but God is the God of the unsuccessful — the God of those who have failed. Heaven is being filled with earth’s broken lives, and there is no “bruised reed” (Isa. 42:3) that Christ cannot take and restore to glorious place of blessing and beauty. He can take a life crushed by pain and sorrow and make it a harp whose music will be a total praise. He can lift earth’s saddest failure up to heaven’s glory. J.R. Miller

“Follow Me, and I will make you…”
Make you speak My words with power,
Make you vessels of My mercy,
Make you helpful every hour.

“Follow Me, and I will make you…”
Make you what cannot be —
Make you loving, trustful, godly,
Make you even just like Me.

L.S.P.

– Streams in the Desert

Shelter from the Storm

The storm raged. The rain poured. The thunder roared. The lightning filled the sky. Nevertheless, she had no trouble falling asleep; it was late and she needed rest. Not long after, the room seemed warm. She thought to adjust the thermostat or turn on the fan, but not even a warm spell could fully disturb her slumber. Despite the warm temperature, her body was comfortable and at peace. She removed the top comforter, rolled over, and nuzzled into her soft bed.

When she awoke the next morning, only a remnant of the prior night’s storm remained. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, a new day had begun. As she looked around her room, she noticed the clock was blinking 4:37; evidence that the storm was indeed bad enough to cause the electricity to go out and return while she slept. She immediately thought of the warm spell which had attempted to disrupt her rest. “That must’ve been why I was so warm”, she thought. She then heard a soft whisper, Though the raging storm scare and even cause you discomfort, rest in Me. I will hide you in my arms and the storms of this world will not disturb your slumber. She was taken aback by such words of comfort and security.

Once again her Heavenly Father had used a storm to bring her a message of assurance, joy, and above all peace. He reminded her how “He made the storm be still” (Psalm 107:29) and, if she would seek Him as her refuge, would be her ever shelter from the storm.