Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do You Feel Like Your Drowning?

Photo & Story by: Lisa Petrarca

Do you ever find yourself paddling along through life, everything seems to be going nicely, no problems or troubles and then...WHAM...all of a sudden a huge wave comes crashing down on you? It pushes you under, you begin to flip, spin and roll to the bottom. You become disoriented unable to figure out which way to swim. All of a sudden you look for the light. You instinctively know that is the way to safety and the air you so desperately need. 

Frantically you paddle, relief sweeping over you as the light becomes brighter and you release the last bit of air left in your lungs. You know that once you reach the surface, you'll be filled up with new, clean air and safe once again.

Our everyday lives can often feel like we're being hit by a wave and forced under. Do you sometimes find yourself gasping for air as you try to overcome stress, worry, grief, heartache and disappointment?

You need to remember to "swim" toward the light. Don't continue to get tossed, hit, and held down by your troubles. Seek a relationship with Jesus Christ, "the Light." Let Him renew you with His life giving Spirit. Allow yourself to be brought into the safety of His embrace. Allow Him to carry you safely to the shore. He can fill you with a peace beyond your circumstances and give you renewed hope. Ask for help today. If you feel as though you're drowning...PRAY. Tell the Lord what you're feeling and ask for help to get through it. Allow Him into your everyday life. He is only a prayer away. Call out to your Savior...He will help you overcome it. Run towards His Light and allow Jesus Christ to fill your emptiness.  Find everything you've been searching for in Him.

"Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them." Psalm 89:9

"And the same day, when the even was come, he saith unto them, Let us pass over unto the other side. And when they had sent away the multitude, they took him even as he was in the ship. And there were also with him other little ships. And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him, Master, carest thou not that we perish? And he arose, and rebuked the wind, and said unto the sea, Peace, be still. And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. And he said unto them, Why are ye so fearful? how is it that ye have no faith?" Mark 4:35-41

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

When Anger Strikes

story by: Lisa Petrarca
Yesterday I had an incident happen where I felt my “old” self rising up. The person that I thought I’d finally gotten under control over the years. To feel those old feelings get stirred up…anger, pride and a head full of vicious, hurtful words of attack, were surprising. My “old” ways and methods used to let people know “Don’t even THINK about messing with me or my family! You have no idea what you’re up against!” 

That was years ago...years of perfecting a tool of defense to keep others at a distance. But I’ve grown. I’ve changed. Since allowing Christ into my heart, I realized that I’m not alone. He is with me in all my struggles and battles. He began to soften and change my heart. As I started my day reading the Bible and praying, a noticeable change began to happen. It was slow, but obvious, the more I stayed in God’s word daily. I began to see people through Christ’s eyes and not my own. I actually began to pray each day to see others through HIS eyes. It’s amazing how faithful the Lord is to answer! Bitter, angry people who used to set me off, I started to have compassion for them as I saw their actions as that of a hurt, insecure, lost, broken child. WOW…it was a whole new concept! I actually felt bad for them. Instead of responding to their anger, I started responding with love and kindness. Love conquers all! It diffuses situations, people and the enemy.

Now, imagine my surprise to find myself falling back into my old ways. I was faced with a choice, I could respond with anger and harsh, stabbing words in return or I could pray and ask for God’s wisdom. I had a choice! I could take a moment and make the right decision rather than just react. I decided to ask for prayer from an online friend, who quickly asked me, “What would Jesus do?” At the moment, I wanted to take things into my own hands. I didn’t want to respond in a Christ-like way. I didn’t want to respond with love…I was mad! I had the perfect things all prepared to, “let them have it” right back and then some. But I chose to wait, pray, read some scriptures and listen to praise music. I needed help. I was battling my “old” self and that’s not easy! It’s easier to give in and justify my actions. I can always find reasons why I did, said or acted in a certain way. But God wants to change us, heal us, help us. He wants to give us wisdom, peace, comfort and love. So then we in turn can be an example and blessing to others. Learning to show Jesus through our actions; allowing His love to pour out onto others.

I’m happy to report to you that I was able to do what God wanted me to do. The conversation started out with a little bit of my old self trying to creep in, but as the conversation continued I remained calm and was able to diffuse the situation.  I responded in love, even coming up with an idea to help everyone involved get closer and work towards a common goal. The Lord faithfully stepped in because I took the time to ask for His help. He gave me the peace and wisdom to make things better instead of worse.

Today, if you find yourself in a battle, take a minute before you react. Go spend some time with the Lord alone. He will fill you up with wisdom, strength, and direction. You don’t have to react the way you used to. You have a choice…choose to change. God has BIG plans for you. Allow Him to help you grow!

“Thou rulest the raging of the sea: when the waves thereof arise, thou stillest them.” Psalm 89:9

“I will sing of the mercies of the Lord for ever: with my mouth will I make known thy faithfulness to all generations.” Psalm 89:1

 For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.” Isaiah 54:10


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

What Happened to the Child Inside of You?

story & picture by: lisa petrarca

Do you ever think back to that little child inside of you? The days when you had no cares. The days were long, filled with neighborhood games; street ball, hide-n-seek, catching butterflies, frogs and lizards. The endless hours spent at the lake or beach...swimming and enjoying each day.

I often long for the days when I was carefree, pain free and took the time to enjoy each and every moment of the day. At what point did I lose my child-like joy?

At what age did you leave that happy, sweet child behind and become a busy, worried, stressed out adult? When did you stop finding joy in the simple pleasures of life? You somehow lost your inner child to responsibility, over-commitment, work and daily life struggles. But your Heavenly Father still sees you as a child. He wants you to have child-like joy and trust. The burdens you carry are to be given to Him each and every morning, continually laying them at His feet throughout the day.

You are not meant to do this alone. He is your Father. He expects and wants you to lean on Him, look to Him and ask Him for help so you can look at your day through His eyes. Even with all of your responsibilities, He can still fill you with child-like joy and a peace beyond understanding. The Lord's view is full of wisdom and love. There is nothing you face or come up against that is too hard, impossible or beyond God's ability to help you. Go to Him in prayer today as His little child. Ask to see situations in your life through His eyes and not your own. He will take you, His child, into His loving, caring embrace, which surpasses all understanding and show you how to have child-like faith, peace and joy again. Trust your Father in Heaven...HE LOVES YOU! 

“How you have helped the powerless! How you have saved the arm that is feeble! What advice you have offered to one without wisdom! And what great insight you have displayed!" Job 26:2-3

"Does God listen to their cry when distress comes upon them? Will they find delight in the Almighty? Will they call on God at all times? I will teach you about the power of God; the ways of the Almighty I will not conceal." Job 27:9-11

" The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble." Psalm 9:9

"At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?” He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 18:1-4