We are given gifts according to our abilities.

 

I was listening to a talk in which the speaker was talking about the parable of the talents. If you aren’t familiar with the story here’s a partial summary:

The Lord of an estate gives three different people who worked for him responsibility for one, two and five talents to steward, (take care of,) while he is away. They were given different amounts according to their abilities. The moral of the story is God is pleased when we steward our gifts well and develop them to the fullest of their potential.

Many of you know that I have a son who is a special needs adult. The best way to describe his intellectual disability is a 5-8 year old mind in a fully functional man’s body. The older he gets the more frustrated he is getting and the more he is acting that out, and the more challenging parenting him has become.

Please don’t misunderstand, he is a great kid and I love him like crazy. This is just the reality of our situation right now.

The thing that hit me between the eyes is this: He is a gift that my Lord has given to me to take care of and Jesus makes the point in this parable that I was given the gift of Evan Scott according to my abilities.

Really? God are you sure because, often and especially lately, I feel very overwhelmed and inept to handle all the decisions and daily issues that come with this gift. Many days Lord I don’t feel able to take care of this gift properly. I felt more confident in my ability when he was younger although I have certainly never felt fully competent.

Even if I feel I don't have the ability, Jesus says I do.

 

God is not a liar so apparently I do have them. So then my mind becomes loud with questions and sounds like this:

What abilities are those exactly?

How do I find those inside of myself?

How do I not constantly feel anxious and overwhelmed with the responsibility that comes with this gift you have given me?

How do I look at even the challenging moments as part of the gift and not resent God for allowing Evan to have to deal with this?

How do I not resent God for giving me and Phoebe the ‘gift’ of dealing with all that goes with being a special needs mom and special needs sister?

I’m starting with the paradigm shift that if God says I have the ability then I do. We walk by faith and not by sight, right? I can’t see it so this seems like a good jumping off point.

I’m also trying to develop my awareness that the Holy Spirit is always present and one of the functions of the Holy Spirit is to lead us into all truth. I feel very alone on this journey so this is a process for sure.

Along with this awareness I’m trying to build the habit of having a constant dialogue with Him and asking Him for help more often. Asking for help is not my strong suit. I have found a lot of help, asked for or not, comes wrapped in strings. He is our helper.

David advises us in the Psalms to forget not His benefits. This is a benefit  I had forgot sometimes.  I am finding His help to be wrapped in only love, which is refreshing.

James encourages us to ask for wisdom if we are lacking and says the Lord will give it to us liberally and without judgement. I’m asking for it much more often these days and He is faithful; I just have to calm down and listen.

As far as the resentment goes, the Lord is making me much more aware of when resentment toward Him and others pops up. It has been a bit shocking and very uncomfortable how often I am having resentful feelings. The only thing I know to do is be honest with Jesus, and ask Him to help me. I then, on purpose, try to think on something in the “think on these things” list.

I also try to remember that I have given God and many others plenty of reasons to resent me and I appreciate the grace I have been given and want to give the same grace away.

Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. ~Philippians 4:8 ESV

I think the key is hope which is waiting in trust. I remind myself that if I just wait and trust that God has best in mind for all of us, including Evan, everything is going to be okay.

I have access to everything I need.

 

I’m still in THE MIDDLE of accepting I have the ability to do this or God would not have given me this gift….after nearly 21 years. I’m a slow learner.

I’m still in THE MIDDLE of figuring out how to use all of the resources Jesus’ sacrifice gave me access to.

I still make lots of mistakes but His strength is made perfect in my weakness, and for that I say to the Lord, the giver of gifts, thank you.

 

Thank you for visiting The Land of Angela today. I hope your were encouraged and my experiences help you somehow to navigate your own MIDDLE more easily. I believe we can use our real faith for real life. I’d love to hear your thoughts so pop over to my Facebook page  and leave a comment, or leave one below. Also if you think this could be an encouragement to your friends, I would be honored if you share on your social media pages.

Angela

 

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 20 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor. He loves school and church and his friends and is not fond of summer break.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 17 year old senior in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter. She’s sings in a band called Coopertheband when she’s not at school or in church.

Angela works from home as a freelance writer and blogger. She is also available to speak at your next event.

 

 

 


read more

Introducing…..

 

I’m very excited to welcome Shoshanna Harris to The Land of Angela today. She is an accomplished woman, a great mom, an insightful and entertaining  writer and a friend. This is brave and I appreciate her honesty because I too experience “the Cloud.” With it, the inclination to hide and isolate myself and even shame tries to sneak in. Be sure to also take a moment and visit her new blog http://frazzleddazzledfragilisticfemale.com

God Loves Me “Inside Out.”

This….is a God thing. And an emotional thing.
About two weeks ago, I took my kids to the movies. It was a kid movie. And…it was perhaps….the most profound movie I have ever seen in my life.
“Inside Out.”

I have tried to explain this thing…my thing…about this movie to everyone I come in contact with and yet…I fail to elicit the light-bulb excitements…to those I try to explain this thing to.
Light-bulb blow out.
“Inside Out,” is a movie about a young girl who experiences a traumatic life event. At pre-teen age, her parents move her out of her life, her comfort zone…to start a new life in a new state. A new school. A new everything.

Throughout the movie, we see the young girl’s emotions personified. We get to know Joy, the primary driver of her mind; Sadness, who WANTS to be the primary driver of her mind; Fear, Anger, and Disgust..who all take their turns at the control panel of her mind.

This was a ‘90-minute-AH-HAH-Moment’ for me! I was the one in the movie theater who Laughed Out Loud many times over the course of the show…causing my seven-year-old son to say, “MAMA!!! STOP!! You are too LOUD!”

Obviously…Joy had my remote control. Embarrassment had his.
I couldn’t help but to laugh at the sudden and dramatic swings in this girl’s actions and thoughts as a different emotion took the helm. She would be reminiscing one minute on family memories while Joy was at her control panel…and then sad and withdrawn as Sadness began touching her memory globes.

NOW I KNOW WHAT’S WRONG WITH ME!!!” — said My “Ah HAH” Moment!
While the girl in the movie…was primarily driven by Joy…I began to ponder on just who my own primary driver was.
Sadness got me. And Fear did too. Anger takes his turn at least once a day and then Ambivalence kinda just takes over…making sure I stay UP….no, DOWN. No,…Sideways. No, the other Sideways….An endless ride through Conflict Mountain.

The Cloud

(Photo Credit Dollar Photo Club)

I have this Cloud that follows me. Everywhere. Sometimes he makes me cry. Sometimes he makes me Scared. Sometimes he makes me Guilty. Most times..he renders me Desperate and Anxious.

It seems no matter what day it is or what is going on in my life…he is always there. Waiting to drown me. Suffocate me.
For a period of time…I fought my Cloud..with everything I had in me. Exercise. Bible Study. Holy Water. I think I tried an online Exorcism or two.

People around me said…”You are so pleasant now! Something has changed in you! You are amazing!”

But inside………all I could think about was…crawling into a dark hole and going to sleep for maybe…3 months. Just to take a break and re-start life later.
Darkness. Where everyone around you can see the flickering light. Of hope. But you can’t.
You want to….you try to….but it evades you.

One gets tired of hopelessness. Especially when there seems to be no reason for it. There is no death. No cancer. No physical abuse. No job loss. Nothing horrific that people all around have to deal with daily.

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” – Proverbs 13:12

A year or so ago, I undertook a Bible study written by Angela Thomas, “Brave: Honest Questions Women Ask.”
Isn’t that what all of us women need? A little more honesty with each other? More conversations based in reality…versus the Rose-Colored pictures we like to pretend we have enough pink crayons to color?

But I digress.
The study talked about Paul…and his thorn. I’m not sure I understand…or if anyone understands exactly what Paul’s thorn was….but his statements about it are poignant and relational….and always, always bring tears to my eyes when I read them.

“To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times..I pleaded with the Lord to take it from me. But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me.” 2 Corinthians 12:7-9

Today, I boast to you. To tell you…I have a thorn. It is ugly. And I seem to never have 100% peace because of it. Yeah, I look all tidy on the outside. But I also have debilitating palpitations, chest pain, racing thoughts, and feelings of suffocation that torment me on more occasions than I care to acknowledge. And…….it is okay. My thorn is a part of my story. And your thorn is a part of yours.

Introducing...

(Photo Credit Dollar Photo Club)

I have learned to live with a significant humility now. A degree of discomfort…which is somewhat lessened….with a mixture of Bible study, occasional exercise…and “God-bless-it,” a prescription from my doctor. And it’s okay. God says, “It’s okay.”
God says…”I’m at the control panel again and I love you. The “Inside Out,” you. You belong to me. Now let Us pursue the abundance I have in store for you.”
Amen.

I’m ShoShana. I am kind of an…..Introvert. A Loner. An Expressive, sort of..Creative, Melancholy Princess…if you will…..who also happens to be a workaholic Aries with OCD, a husband and five kids.

read more

It Feels Bad but It’s Really Good

It feels bad but it's really good.

Photo credit Dollar Photo Club

Today has been an emotional day for me. I’ve cried off and on all day long, mostly on.

I’ve cried because of the kindness and care of others. I’ve cried because of the faithfulness of the Lord. I’ve cried because I am in need of these kindnesses. I’ve cried because even on dreary days I’m so thankful to live with peace and beauty all around me. (The lake is very still and quiet and restful today.)

I’ve cried because this time of year stirs up some bad memories. I’ve cried because I still cry over those stupid memories. I’ve cried because I don’t know what my future holds and I’ve cried because the Lord has plans for my future.

I’ve cried because I can’t stop crying.

I’m sure every woman reading this can relate and every man reading this is thinking, “Yep. I’ve seen that happen before.” :}

Please don’t feel sorry for me though! It’s a good thing. I stuff things and stuff things until they come out all at once. They need to come out for my physical and mental health, so even though it feels bad, it’s really good.

Aren’t there so many things in our lives that feel bad for the moment, but they are really good?

One of my core values is to be who I am, no matter how other people are behaving or have behaved towards me.

I am not always successful and when, by the grace of God I am successful, it often feels bad!

It sometimes requires a throw-down with myself so that I won’t have one with someone else.

It requires me to put the filter on my mouth with the tiny holes so things I shouldn’t say can’t get through.

It might require doing the right thing even if I know the other person would not do the right thing if our roles were reversed.

When I live according to my core values, even in the middle of a difficult situation or when dealing with a difficult person, it may feel bad, but it’s really good.

 

It feels bad, but it's really good.

Photo Credit Dollar Photo Club

I’ve been going to therapy to work through years of stuffed down issues. My sweetheart asked me if I dread going. The answer is yes. It feels bad, but it’s really good. It is helping but I don’t enjoy the process. It’s hard and I wish I didn’t need to go there. But I do and I am.

Even exercise is hard and can feel bad in the moment, but it’s really good. (Note to self…sigh)

Think about the times when you have made a big life change. Moving, getting married, having a baby, buying a house, going to school. The process rarely ever feels good. In fact, the majority of the time the process is a real pain in the butt. We miss so much good trying to avoid the feel bad part!

I was just thinking of when I was pregnant with my sweet daughter. I puked hundreds of times. It sucked! I even told my doctor she had better be cute! I was miserable. But the result of being willing to go through the process was worth it. I am so in love with her!

Change is necessary and change is good. It is also hard and many times the middle is excruciating.  There are rewards however, in doing the hard things. (My niece says ‘however’ is a teacher word so I’m trying to sound smart now.)

 

  • We learn how to give grace to other people as they go through. The more hard things I deal with the more able I am to have compassion and empathy for others.
  • There is a confidence that comes when we come out on the other side and we are still standing.
  • Our faith grows and we learn how loving and trustworthy the Lord is.
  • We appreciate and don’t take for granted the life we get to live because we did the hard things.
  • We get to enjoy a life well lived.

I’m sure there are more. I’d love to hear yours!

A life lived trying to avoid difficulties is a life without much substance.

*Please don’t hear what I’m not saying. We should be wise and we should not create unnecessary difficulties by making bad decisions. I am saying that there are many times and many situations that are worth the effort. We should always pray and get the wisdom of God.

I want to be a person who is willing to go through some things for the good that is on the other side.  I want to be able to say at the end of the day and the year and even at the end of my life, that I lived well. I want to be able to say that even though it sometimes feels bad, my life is good.

I hope as I share a bit of my struggles in the middle today, you will be encouraged to change your perspective. Don’t be afraid to go through the process, because sometimes even if it feels bad, it’s really good.

 

Thank you for visiting the Land of Angela today. It means a lot to me that you would take the time.

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 16 year old junior in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.

 

 

 

 


read more

Breaking News!

Photo Credit Dollar Photo Club

Photo Credit Dollar Photo Club

Every day and in 100 different ways there are headlines trying to get our attention. The more sensational they are the more likely we are to turn our heads to look and listen. Have you ever noticed that many of them are misleading? Some are downright lies. I wonder how we are supposed to know what in the world to believe.

The only thing louder than what the world is screaming at us is what we are screaming at ourselves. If you could hear what is going on inside my head, it might sound like a press conference with all the reporters yelling questions at the same time:

Ms. Scott! Over here! What are you going to do now? Why did you allow THAT to happen? Why are you so emotional? Surely you saw this coming. Where are the resources going to come from? What makes you think you can do this? Who do you think you are anyway? What kind of mother would lose it like that?

Ms. Scott! We have a source that says you are a mess. Would you like to comment? By all appearances you have really messed up this time. How do you respond to these accusations?

Ms. Scott at your age, don’t you think you are running out of time to get yourself together? Isn’t it true that you are all alone?

You’re not really doing your best are you? Word on the street is you could do better but you’re just don’t have it in you anymore. Many people are disappointed in you. What do have to say? Ms. Scott!

You get the idea.

 

Breaking News!

Photo Credit Dollar Photo Club

 

I have taken a time out from writing. I listened to all the voices in the press room inside and decided because I am struggling, I had no business trying to help anyone else.

Sometimes the best thing we can do is not believe our own press.

DON’T BELIEVE YOUR OWN PRESS

When I slow down and pay attention to how I speak to myself it’s quite appalling.  The words are full of doubts and accusations planting fear and anxiety in my heart. Not at all helpful.

Fortunately God knows more than I do about all the circumstances and situations in my life, and inside of me. He knows me better than I know myself.

In the book of Phillipians Paul teaches us to think on these things:

Therefore, my brethren, those things that are true, those that are honorable, those that are righteous, those things that are pure, those things that are precious, those things that are praiseworthy, deeds of glory and of praise, meditate on these things~Philippians 4:8 ABPE

If we do what’s natural we open the press room to whatever thoughts show up, without even requiring  a press pass.  On the other hand, if we ON PURPOSE think on those things on Paul’s list, our hearts stay full of hope and faith. The noise seems to stop and we can more clearly sense the leading of the Lord. The headlines in our mind begin to read what God says about who we are and who He is. The quiet truth.

Breaking Story

Photo credit Dollar Photo Club

I have nothing to offer but my testimony: a real imperfect story of a real imperfect, life full of the grace and care of the Lord. I may not be enough or do enough, but Jesus is enough. He is great at taking our imperfect stories, our imperfect lives, and turning them around for good. He is true and honorable and righteous and pure. He is precious and praiseworthy.

You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. ~Isaiah 26:3

I pray you receive the grace to have an ear to hear the quiet voice of the Lord and ignore the shouts of your internal press corp. Have a great week!

Angela


read more

White lies or 50 shades of gray?

White Lies or 50 shades of Gray

 

I’ve been thinking about white lies. We’ve all told them. We all have an opinion about whether or not this is a gray area.

A white lie is a lie that is not intended to cause harm.

So what is it intended to do?

1. “I didn’t want to hurt their feelings” is the number one reason we give for telling a white lie. I wonder though, if we could not hurt their feelings by telling them the truth in a kind way instead. I wonder if it’s our comfort we’re really more concerned about.

2. “I didn’t want to say no and disappoint them.” Is it that we didn’t want to disappoint them, or that we didn’t want them to be disappointed in us?

3. “I knew the truth would upset them.” Are we more concerned about them being upset, or about having to deal with their upset?

4. “I’m just trying to avoid conflict.” What if we learned to respectfully resolve conflict instead?

We should really look at our intentions and ask ourselves if the ‘white lies’ we tell are to protect the people we are lying to, or to protect ourselves. We should ask ourselves if it’s worth it.

Are ‘white’ lies worth our integrity? Are they worth risking the trust people have placed in us?

Is it like a gateway drug? If you lie about about little things is it easier to lie about big ones? 

I have more questions it seems than answers. What got me thinking about this was a book I was reading recently.  The author asked a question at the end of one of the chapters:

What is your most important value?

I value honesty most…but I’ve told ‘white’ lies.

When my daughter was about 10 she asked me a question and the answer was a little tough. Afterwards she said this to me, “I believe you mommy because I trust you.” I felt in that moment, if I had failed in 100 other ways, at least I had done something right.

When I was young I never had a sense of security because I was lied to, manipulated, and there were always a lot of secrets in my home.

At a time when our lives were turning upside down, Phoebe trusted in my word. I earned that trust because I have always told her the truth. I of course am age appropriate in my answers and I use discretion so as not to burden her with adult problems, but I tell her the truth.

The Lord is the same with us. He always tells us the truth; Even if it’s hard to hear, even if it hurts our feelings, even if He knows we are going to be mad at Him. In the little things and the big things He tells us the truth. His example is the answer to all the questions.

Our relationship with Him is more important to Him than our reaction. 

Because I know God doesn’t tell ‘white’ lies, I believe Him because I trust Him. Even if my life feels like it’s turning upside down, I can trust His word. I feel peace just writing that, and so grateful.

I want the people I’m in relationship with to feel safe and know they can trust me. I also want to feel safe in my relationships.

My prayer for all of us today is that we will always make our relationships with each other our priority, that our intention will be to provide people a safe place, and that we will decide the plain truth is always better than a lie of any color. 

Thank you for visiting The Land of Angela today. I know everyone has a opinion or two about this! Please share in the comments. I would love to hear your thoughts.

If this got you thinking, I bet it will get your friends and family thinking too so be sure to share!

Also, if you would like to help keep The Land of Angela up and running click here to find out how to help.

Visit again soon!

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 15 year old sophomore in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.


read more

10 Questions to Spring Forward in THE MIDDLE of any Season

 

There are two times during the year I feel a sense of a new beginning. New Year’s Day and the beginning of spring. So here we are, the beginning of spring and I need a mulligan!

mulligan- a second chance to perform an action, usually after the first chance went wrong through bad luck or a blunder.

Many, not all, of my goals and resolutions from New Year’s Day have gone awry! Sunshine and warmer temperatures give me a little burst of energy to give myself a second chance.

I believe in living and loving on purpose! I believe in making goals and plans to make the most out of life and I believe in making memories with the people in our lives.

The problem is, sometimes I let the days and months slip by without really putting those beliefs into practice.

Look carefully then how you walk! Live purposefully and worthily and accurately, not as the unwise and witless, but as wise (sensible, intelligent people)~Ephesians 5:15 AMP

This change of season got me thinking. What if we made a point to reflect on and re-evaluate our lives once every 3 months?  What if we use the changing of the season outside to remind us to make the most of whatever season it is inside?

10 Questions to Spring Forward in THE MIDDLE of any Season

 

 

10 Questions To Spring Forward

 

 

  1. What do I love about my life?
  2. What’s bugging me about my life and what, if anything can I do about it? How can I make the things that are bugging me, that I can’t do anything about, better?
  3. What are some things I have been putting off that I could take care of in the next three months, or projects that I’ve started that I could finish and get them off of my mind. (3 months worth of anti-procrastination Wednesdays!)
  4. Are there health concerns I need to address or regular check-ups I need to schedule?
  5. What fun and/or new experiences do I want to have in the next three months, and what would I need to do to make those things a reality?
  6. What goals do I want to accomplish in the next 3 months?
  7. What are some things I can do to love other people on purpose in the next 3 months?
  8. What can I do get to know God better in the next three months?
  9. What can I do to improve my relationship with _________ in the next three months.
  10. What have I been afraid to do that I can gather my courage up and do before another season of my life comes and goes?

The desires of the diligent are fully satisfied.~Proverbs 13:4 NIV

I’m going to write down some answers for myself to these questions. I challenge you to do the same. I wonder If we take some time to give ourselves a check up, how much better the quality of our lives and relationships will be by the time summer begins?

Thank you for visiting The Land of Angela today!

Take a moment before you leave and sign up to get your posts via email.

Also be sure to share with your friends and family, and if you would like to help keep us up and running, click here to find out how!

Visit again soon,

Angela

Angela is a single mom raising her two favorite people.

Her favorite son Evan is a baseball and wrestling loving 19 year old young man with special needs, and a great sense of humor.

Her favorite daughter Phoebe is a 15 year old sophomore in high school, who is also a gifted and anointed musician, and singer/songwriter.

She works from home as a freelance writer, blogger, and medical biller.


read more


Pin It on Pinterest

Shares
Share This