When you need to pause for a moment

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


I’m excited to be sharing the words of one of my past colleagues here today. Dana is not a person who wastes words. So when her guest submission showed up in my inbox I stopped and paid attention. And what I read was beautiful. I hope this post helps you to find your own Selah moment. 

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"Well" - a wholesome, complete, healthy word. 

But also, one that brings me to pause. Why? Well, because it can also be used as an interjection, an added word of emotion - one that could suggest a moment of exclamation or perhaps quiet emphasis. 

The Psalms hold a similar word. It is "Selah". 

As the Amplified version rightly puts it: [pause, and calmly think of that] (for example, in Psalm 3:4). It encourages the singer of the Psalm to take a moment and consider what they've just sung. 

In my view, life has its "Selah" moments too. 

I find myself in a "Selah" moment. I'm in a rare window of time where I can close my eyes, breathe deeply and say, "Well..." 

There aren't many of these moments in life, but more often when they do come, they are moments that redefine us. 

As "well" is an interjection of speech, a "well" moment is a junction in our life path. 

At this juncture in my life, I'm at home most of the day with my only weeks old baby boy. Each day is structured around this little bundle's needs. While it's been far from a holiday, it has definitely been a change of tone from the routine I've been accustomed to. It has caused me to stop and consider. It has altered my course. 

We all need these "Selah" moments. 

If life doesn't bring one to you, perhaps it's time that you create one - cause yourself to stop. 

Stop and think. 
Think about what you've read in the chapter of your life just written. 
Think about the ways God has guided your path. 
Think about the mistakes you've owned up to. 
Think about the world you've experienced. 
Think about your high notes.
Think about your impact on others. 
Think about their impact on you. 
Most of all, think with gratefulness on the One who created all of the good gifts that you have received; the One who brings you to this "Selah" moment; the One who gives you something worth thinking about.

I believe that when the "Selah" moment is done, you'll have a better understanding, a clearer conscience and a cleaner view. You'll find it easier to approach the next chapter in your life with energy and, well, wholeness. 

That's what I want. 

I want my "well" moment to count; to counter my fears; to encounter my fresh start. [Tweet this]

Okay, let's stop there. Now, will you pause, and calmly think on that?

***** 

About Dana Tsafandakis
I am a quiet creative, happy wife, new mom and convicted Believer. I've worked in the TV industry for the past 8 years. My favourite place is home and I enjoy a good read, a cup of strong Ceylon tea and a bite of dark chocolate.

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One surprising thing I realised when I read the Easter story again

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


I love that the story of Jesus being led to the cross and being raised from death is full of humanity.

It’s full of people who one moment were saying “You are Lord” and the next denying they ever even knew the one who was about to be crucified.

There’s the hothead, Peter, so angry at God for allowing this to happen that he slices someone’s ear off. And then later Peter denies he even knew the one he was willing just hours earlier to fight for.

There’s the coward who is so afraid of being caught with Jesus that he runs away naked leaving his cloak in some surprised soldiers hands.

And there are the women who find Jesus in the garden. The thing I always forget about them is that they weren’t going to his tomb to see if he had risen they were going with salts and herbs to prepare his body. They weren’t women of great faith when they walked to the tomb they were women with broken hearts.

I love that it’s full of people like Thomas who deny that Jesus is alive until they see him for themselves.

What I love most of all is that Jesus loves all these frail, doubting people, loves all these people just like me, and you.

I'd forgotten this. The Easter story felt so familiar to me that I forgot that the people surrounding it weren't saints, I forgot that Jesus died for normal people like me. 

If you have ever bought into the lie that you have to be perfect for Jesus to love you, or that you cant have questions or doubts, or even be afraid for people to know that you’re a Christian than this story of a man who shoulders the wood that will kill him should end those.
Easter is about grace.
It’s about the fact that Jesus willing to die for us.
To die for people that would deny him, question him, doubt him, be angry at him, try to bury him, run from him.
That’s some crazy kind of love.

There will be those who don’t like this message, those who say, “But you have to do something to be saved, you have to live right.”
I don’t believe that is the message of the cross. I believe the message of the cross is all are welcome and Jesus has done it all.
His sacrifice, his act, his grace. 
His bigness wrapped around our smallness.
His goodness overcoming all our darkness.
His arms carrying the weight of our mistakes so that we could unwrap the life he has for us.
His love touching all the places we thought were unlovable.

That is what love does. 
Love offers itself in place of the one it loves.

When Jesus hung on a cross to give us life, life and more life he knew exactly the type of people who is laying it all on the line for.
He knew because they were his friends, his companions, the ones with whom he chose to spend his last hours before his capture and the first after rising from the dead.

Jesus chose to give us life. All of us.
Doubters?
Questioners?
Liars?
Those who give up?
Thieves?
Mourners?
People who no one notices?
Those with small faith? 
Those who deny Jesus?
All welcome. All welcomed by the man who died on the cross and rose three days later so we could live with him forever.

This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. John 3:16 (MSG)


A prayer for those who want to move forward but don’t know how

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


We find ourselves circling round to the same issues again and again. 

We want to move forward but we don’t know how. 

We don’t feel like we have options.

Deep down we long to move forward, we long to take tentative steps towards the hands you are holding out to us. 

We want to do the right thing even when it’s the hard thing. 

Remind us that even if the worst possible scenario occurs you’ll be our hope, remind us that even when we walk through the valley of death you will be with us, remind us that nothing can separate us from your love for us. 

Teach us how to not be afraid. 

Teach us how to hear your voice. 

Teach us, Father, how to trust you. 

Give us the courage to move forward we pray.

When you're in too deep and you don't know why

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


Learning to be well isn’t easy. And it’s not something that can be done alone. It’s why I’ve been loving the voices of some of you that have been brave to share your journeys to well here. I’ve been amazed how many have gone back to the idea of a water well. It was something that never crossed my mind when I started this journey but something has so many metaphors for this road we are on.

Here is Tshepiso’s story:

When I came across the "well" challenge on ilovedevotionals.com, I wanted to write a perfect piece. 

Then I realised that the beauty of my story lies in how imperfectly perfect it is, so I dug deep. 

The dictionary.com definition of a well is: "a deep hole or shaft sunk into the Earth to tap into a substance”.

In my own words, a well is a hole deep in the ground in a belief that something will be found at its deepest end.

In 2012, at eighteen, I left home for university feeling like I was about to change the world. Three weeks in, I had a break down because I couldn't register for my dream degree and had to settle for second best. Something I had never had to do, ever. 

The next two years were the most trying times of my life. I suffered from depression, constant and relentless panic attacks. I was always crying in the bathroom, on my living room floor, or trying not to cry as I left my house for campus

To add to that my academic performance dropped which left me more depressed and sick so I was constantly either on medication or in hospital. And crying. Always crying. 

Through all of that, I still tried: to find another degree, to reapply for accounting, to graduate and then come back and do accounting. But none of it felt right. 

In a conversation with my mother on one of my (many) worst days, she asked me a question: 
"Baby, what is God trying to take out of you with all this? Listen to Him. God wouldn't be digging so deep within you, if He wasn't trying to take something out of you, so He Himself can place something better." 
God was digging a well in me. But I kept trying to find a way around it. 

In Genesis 16, when Hagar was running away from a challenging situation, she didn't see God. 
God was in that moment, watching her and knowing exactly what she had to offer the world. 
If only she could stop running and let Him take over. 

Like Hagar, I also ran away from what I needed. 
And it is when I stopped and said, "Not my will, Father” that I realised that He was there all along.

He is the God who sees us. Even in messy situations, He sees us. God is El Roi. (tweet this)

God will give us something that will glorify Him from all the challenges. For Hagar, it was Ishmael. For me, in this moment it is the knowledge that none His promises ever fail (Joshua 23:14). 

God has blessed me with a hardworking, persevering spirit with the potential to have achieved my accounting degree in record time. But looking back, my plans never had anything to do with serving God. 

In Ezekiel 36:26 God says “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart” (NLT). I see now that God was trying to change me for the better.

I had to dig deep within myself to jump over every hurdle. It felt like God dug deep within me to call me to a place where I was living for Him, and Him alone.

Today, I AM well because I realise that the “well” that God was digging inside me is serving its purpose. 

It has brought me closer to Jesus, to a place where I know that nothing happens if not by God's mercy, grace and love. And the Holy Spirit is my constant companion. 

Even with all the bumps, bruises and scars, it is well.

I have a story to share about God's restoration power and for that I am glad. 

Some mornings I still wake up crying but I know that I am still well. The journey has been long and trying. But I can proudly say that I am better for all that has happened because my well is a place where Jesus will always find me ready to serve and do the Father's will. 

I thank God for digging deep into me, for digging a well in my soul.


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About Tshepiso Moloi
Im a daughter of the highest God whos blessed to be in final year at University. Im (re)learning how to write and speak well again so I can find my voice again. And Im simply grateful for God bringing me to a point in my life where I never imagined Id be healed and a walking testimony.
Find me at:
@Simply_Tshepiso

If you’d like to share your “well” story find out how to here. Also, if you haven’t read the other stories on “well” click here to read them.

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5 ways to face hard well

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments


Hard. It happens to all of us. Later I hope for most. But it comes. Hard comes in the form of miscarriages, cancer, babies with challenges they’ll face for life, loss of loved ones, accidents, lack of finance, relationships that come unglued.

Hard, it can look different for each of us but it comes to all of us. 

My hard came eight months after I stood under an umbrella and faced the man I loved with rain falling like confetti. Our hard came in the words of a doctor telling us my husband, Xylon, had advanced Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a cancer of the immune system.
Our hard came in the form of poison being pumped through Xylon’s body, isolation wards where bone marrow was killed and stem cells reintroduced, radiation on a hard metal bed.
Our hard came as I trekked from visiting my brother in high care on one hospital floor and then walking up to visit my husband in oncology. Hard is like that. It rarely comes in neat packages that we can handle. It comes like a letterbomb and explodes all over our neat little lives.
Xylon has been cancer free for almost two years now but I still recall the feeling of hard well: the heaviness, the hopelessness, the struggle just to show up for others, for work, for life.
Right at the end of Xylon’s treatment I found a verse in Lamentations 3:28-29 while reading The Message Bible that I wished I’d found at the beginning of that hard journey.

When it feels like everyone is living larger than you are

5:30 am Wendy van Eyck 0 Comments

This year I'm on a "well" journey. I'm figuring out what well means while learning to love well, read well, and run well. I realised early on that I didn't want to take this journey alone so invited you to come with me and share your stories of "well". The good, the bad, and the ugly. If you missed the first few of these stories by Kimberly and Ashley I encourage you to read those too. 
Today I'm sharing a post from Maria. Maria and her family entered our lives about five years ago when her family moved to Hogsback, my parents home town and joined their church. Here she shares what she's learning about living well while living "small". 

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His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:21

Writing a guest blog is not easy. You are writing to an audience you don’t know and the temptation is to write to impress. 

To forget that the purpose of doing something well, is to do it so that God gets the glory and not I. To keep in mind that it is not in the “doing” but in the heart and the faith with which it is done.

During the first weeks and months of this year, I thought often and hard on what it meant to live each day to the fullest. To “number my days aright before the Lord”, to live well.

There is well, better and best. Which did I want to aim for?

It had me searching my bible for something meaningful, something to make my own, a phrase, a verse, a word. My search only brought me to another question: “How then shall we live?” (Ezekiel 33:10).

Well”, seemed a good answer, but I needed to define for myself what this actually meant.

I spend my days with an almost five and a six year old. We learn, we play, I clean, I cook, they explore, they eat... Then we sleep, a new day dawns and the same routine plays itself out. Obviously painted with many different colours, but the outline of the picture remains the same.

Not much scope for grand purposes and ideals, one would think.

Mercifully, I am learning to see differently, although not quite well yet.

Slowly a hole has appeared in the chrysalis and the butterfly has been given a glimpse outside the protective covering, the sheltered state of her existence so far.

I am learning that if my day-to-day life is threaded with one single purpose, all the striving and yearning to do well, takes a second place:
The wish to know Jesus WELL.

What I am learning is that:
  • - Jesus is my well-spring of living water. As with the Samaritan woman, who had drunk from too many wells, tried to please too many people and remained empty, I am learning that only Jesus can identify those deep longings and fill my thirsty soul. 
  • - Jesus knows me well. Loves me better than I can ever imagine and wants what is best for me.
  • - Jesus personally invites me to have a relationship with Him. It will be a well-spring of living water for me and all those whom I come into contact with.
  • - Jesus can only be received by grace through faith and not of myself. As a gift, not a result of good works or doing well.
  • - Jesus is the only one who can direct me well. He holds the map of my life and is the One I need to follow to receive His wellness and live in His will.
  • - Jesus has overcome the world. From the mundane to the mountains that I face, I face with Him. And overcome with Him.
My worth is in Jesus. He wills me to live well, but He does not frown when I spend a day just watching my children play in the forest and welcome my husband home to a messy house.

He measures “well” by the state of my heart. The more it is filled with him, the “better” it will become. My best is given in humility, in recognising that even in and from my seemingly small world, He can set great plans in motion.

If you have ever felt that your life is “small”, that everyone is living better than you, think again. Jesus’ counterbalance on the scale is love. If we fill ourselves with this love, we will never be found wanting. For if Jesus has made you well you are and will be well indeed. 

 *****

About Maria
I live in the mountain village of Hogsback, South Africa, with my beautiful husband and our two precious boys. My days are filled with nurturing my family and caring for the land we live on. I endeavour to live in a way that honours God and acknowledges Jesus as my Saviour. I am a full time mother and my spare time is spent writing, creating, teaching and playing!
Find me at:


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Thanks for visiting! 

 
Make sure to look out for the link to download my ebook, Life, Life and More Life, in your verification email.