Deep Waters

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The swirling waters of a full Arkansas River.

Have you ever felt that the waters are just deep and life is just too tough? You can’t catch your breath. You feel as if you’re drowning. You’re trying to fight your way out.

Yep, I have. And it seems it’s more and more these days.

When my word for the year came to me (strength), I had no idea that it would be as needed as it was. I guess that’s the way the Lord works, though, when He puts ideas in your head! It seems to be one challenge after another with little to no break in between. Geesh.

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I found this bracelet at JCPenney earlier this year and have worn it every day!

So what does one do?

You MUST relinquish control to the One who loves you. I’m one to hold on to worries and struggle with releasing it. The thing is, many of the issues I’m having to deal with I have absolutely NO CONTROL OVER. How are you to solve a problem if you don’t have any control over it? You can’t.

I was running by the river earlier this week after an exhausting day of teaching, my main goal of alleviating the stress of the day. As I frequently do, I pray but last night I had no words. My sentences wouldn’t come. My words seems to freeze. I was frantically searching for guidance yet found none. I glanced at the river, noticing the rushing current and the swollen banks. Under water. That was what I felt like.

Psalm 121 says the following: I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip–he who watches over you will not slumber; indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. The Lord watches over you–the Lord is your shade at your right hand; the sun will not harm you by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord will keep you from all harm–he will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Isn’t that so reassuring?

My second tattoo was inspired by Isaiah 41:13 (NLT) – For I hold you by your right hand – I, the Lord your God, And I say to you, Don’t be afraid. I am here to help you. 

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An infiniti symbol in the shape of a heart on my right wrist, perfect for inspiration of Isaiah 41:13.

I have to keep in mind, however, that there are reasons I am going through the trials that I am. Maybe not reasons that I understand yet, but reasons. 2 Corinthians 13:8-9 (NLT) says: Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. Okay, so I’m not to the boasting part about my weaknesses, but I will pray for His power to work in my weakness.

I hope that you are able to place your hope and trust in Christ. Life is hard enough to manage it alone; grasp tight to His hand and His grace will guide you.

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A Little Ink

When I was in high school, I had a friend that had this small, red heart tattoo on her ankle. I never asked her about it, whether it had any significance or why she wanted it, but I do remember that I was in awe of it and that it would be something I would like to have.

Fast forward 30+ years. I continued to admire others’ ink so about a year ago I started a new category on my Pinterest account and called it “Hmmmm”.  My ex didn’t like tattoos so I hadn’t ever done anything about wanting one.  After visiting a tattoo shop with my daughter while she was getting a piercing, I realized that it wasn’t as scary as I thought.  I am my own person and I wanted something that would represent my strength, regardless of what life has dealt me.  Does that mean it would be a constant reminder of what happened in my life?  No, as it depends on the perspective of the situation. Was I doing it out of spite?  Absolutely not. This was 100% for me. I started small and a few tattoos that focused on strength caught my eye.

begin anew                      strength symbol

And then I saw this one.

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I did some research and found the Story of the Lotus where it explained that the lotus flower begins to sprout underwater, surrounded by mud, muck, fish, insects . . . you know, basically a dirty and rough environment.  But despite its living conditions, it pushes to the surface and, as the article says, “rises from adversity.”  It goes on to talk about Buddhism and says this:  “… the bud of the lotus symbolizes potential. The lotus flower represents an awakening, spiritual growth, and enlightenment. Just as the lotus flower emerges from the water clean, the lotus also represents purity of body, speech, and mind. The lotus could be thought of as an awakened mind, which grows naturally toward the warmth and light of truth, love and compassion. The lotus may appear fragile on the surface, but it is flexible and strong, securely anchored under the surface of the water.”   Cool.

Then I found this article on Lotus Flower Meanings.  I love this part:  “Let’s face it. Poop happens. It’s what we make of a poopy situation that counts. Sure… we can crawl under our misery, never lifting our heads to the light that beckons us. That’s always an option. Or, we can be like the lotus. We can make the best of our crummy environment and rise above. Lotus flower meanings are all about aspiring to express, to live, to share beauty.”  Wow — I had plenty to hide my head about and the rejection I had experienced certainly made me want to never lift my head again.  I am embarrassed that my marriage failed, but marriage takes a partnership and that didn’t exist anymore in mine (not by choice, I might add).  I have decided that I wasn’t going to let that situation in which I had no say define who I am or what’s going to happen for the rest of my life.  I can relate to what this beautiful flower represents and I wanted this symbol permanently etched upon myself.  So, on March 7, 2015, I walked into that tattoo parlor and in about 15 minutes, it was complete.

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My lotus flower – 3/27/2016

It’s been over a year and I still love my flower.  In fact, I’m going to get another tattoo on my wrist but I’m going to let the artist design it using the elements I want.  We’ll see how that turns out!

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A picture of a lotus flower, taken by someone’s OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA.