Bring Your A Game!

English Daisy – April 18, 2017

It’s easy to be thankful when things are going well, but a thankful change of attitude is even more necessary in the midst of frustration and struggles. I call it bringing my A game (Always be thankful). Here’s one of my older poems that addresses this need:

“Perfect Praise”

Trusting God is wonderful,
and supplies one with much peace,
for when we look up and praise Him
our inner fears and turmoils cease.
In praise, God has created
the quickest way to liberation:
Humbly trusting, filled with hope,
giving God all our adoration.
Thanking Him comes more easily
through the happiest of our days;
But true communion and joy is found
when we fill every moment with praise.
Though things aren’t always easy,
it will get better along the way,
As we thank God for what He’s done,
resting in His mercies when we pray.
Faith is seeing things unseen,
trusting through all situations.
Praise God in advance for what He will do,
and He’ll surpass all expectations!

©Ladeena Ashley

Work Stress
Recently I was given a special project at work. I had been expecting it, but what I didn’t see coming was the flood of applications that had preceded the project, swiftly overtaking my inbox. Okay, no big deal. After successfully thinning out my regular work a bit, after lunch I turned my attention fully onto the project. That’s when things became super hectic: Cue the phone calls, an important email, and several frustrating design issues. With each interruption my irritation grew; soon I was completely tense and uncharacteristically cranky.

Off My A Game
Even after my workday was done, the tension lingered. During the ten minute walk to my car, the Lord gently whispered to me as I noted the warm afternoon sun and abundant blooms. Yup, the enemy had gotten me off my A game. The Lord pulled me out of my peevish rut as I prayed, asking forgiveness for my unchecked attitude, thanking Him that I have work that keeps me busy, even of it stresses me out at times. Later I sat quietly in the car to decompress for a few minutes before finally driving home.

Pain To Praise
Just like God can turn good from bad situations (Romans 8:28), we always have to be on guard against the enemy of our souls, who delights in using everything, good or bad, to pull us away from God’s grace any way he can (1 Peter 5:8). When life is a pain in the neck, that discomfort should send us running straight to the Lord, because although not everything in life is a joy, there is strength, comfort and contentment when we trust in and look to Him instead of focusing on our struggles.

Praising God for His goodness, His providence, and of course all the blessings I enjoy lifts me out of any doldrums, worry, and, yes, the occasional frustration. It resets my mind, calms my spirit and keeps me moving!

Whatever may be a source of frustration for you today, if you’re struggling with or stressed out about something in your life, stop and pray. God will renew your mind with His peace as soon as you surrender it to Him. Trust Him with it, thank Him for what He’s already done and for what He will do. Better times are just around the corner, but we must be in the right frame of mind, ready to receive it! So bring your A game!

“Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
(That’s right! It’s a command! God knows it’s what’s best for us!)

Blessings to you, this day and always!
©Ladeena Ashley
2017 All Rights Reserved (blog content and photo)

God Sees Me (& You)

We all have a story to tell. Whether from humble beginnings or an immense wealth of knowledge and ambition. My story would definitely be described as the former. Though at times I wonder how God could use my simple faith to encourage others, I think it may be the simplicity of my faith that is so valuable and uplifting.

My Story

Without going into too much detail, one part of my story involves chronic digestive issues. I was diagnosed with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and lactose intolerance back in 1999. Then in 2011 I had surgery to remove my stone-filled gall bladder, and have had problems with many foods ever since. This week I’ve been struggling through a nasty IBS flare-up that has my insides screaming and my head throbbing. My severely limited diet has been even more curtailed, leaving me tired and a bit frustrated. Thankfully, the Lord keeps me looking at the positives, like: “Hey, it helps me keep my girlish figure!”

Being among the trees and squirrels helps, too. Last night, after a particularly sticky summer day, I decided to stretch my legs and cool off by heading out for an evening walk in a nearby park. What began as the expression of my perennial awe of nature turned into yet another reminder of God’s purpose and care for me. (Apparently I need lots of reassurance!)

“Late Summer Evening”

The night affords a mystic beauty:
Towering trees shrouded in shadow,
Muted greens aglow from the city.
Gnarled shapes cast upon the meadow.
A hidden choir of crickets throng.
Heat of day now a balmy breeze,
Stars, like sequins, shimmer a song;
A wispy wind rustles the leaves.
Trunks and branches, tangled and dark
inspire this evening reverie.
A late summer stroll through the park
with nature and humanity.
Different perspective in moonlight:
Yet God sees me as if it’s day.
Comfort to know I’m in His sight
where the light and shade interplay.

© Ladeena Ashley

Always Surrounded

I love the way I feel in nature. Day or night, there’s always something to marvel at. But best of all, no matter where I am, God sees me – sees us – and loves us. His purpose and plan are perfect (Psalm 18:30)! We are all surrounded by the shadows (sin and pain) and light (God’s goodness and love), and He walks with us, strengthening us through all of it! When He looks at the world, all of the shadows and darkness are light to Him (Psalm 139:11-12). He sees us and knows us better than we know ourselves. We cannot run from His presence, but I, for one, would never want to. God has always been faithful to me, and He’s the only reason I’ve made it this far.

© Ladeena Ashley
2016 All Rights Reserved (content & blog photos)