Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let's Chat Friday Challenge

Let's Chat Friday has been very rewarding for me. I have been blessed more so with this than any other area in my blog. There is something so humble about sharing your most intimate thoughts with others that brings great reward to the heart. I have learned, grown, and have been encouraged in countless ways. So as I asked a sweet friend to join me for Let's Chat Friday she challenged me to answer my own questions. Can you believe that? lol I never thought of answering them myself. Just thought of asking them of others. They are just curious questions of the heart that bring us closer to another. If I was getting to know a friend better these are questions I would ask over a shared lunch. So, I have been pondering my answers throughout the day. So, here is my interview with myself!
Robin, tell me a little about yourself..
I am a sinner saved by grace who found the Lord sitting in a church pew next to my husband, holding my baby son, as I listened to our Pastor speak about the love of the Lord a week before Thanksgiving Day almost eighteen years ago. Which seems like forever. I can't imagine my life without the Lord. I am a mother, a wife, a friend, and soon to be grandma. Did I really just say that? I mean Nana. This year will be my first year not teaching my children in sixteen years. Our home is about to be an empty nest. So I have many challenges ahead, but I think my whole life is one challenge after another. I love purses, hunting and reading a great book. Yes, I carry my purse along when it is deer season, and yes, I have a book handy too!

Since you have walked with the Lord has there been a time you struggled in your faith? If so, would you please share?
I always say, "Although I stumble daily I will strive to follow Christ with all my heart." I think at times each day is a struggle for me. I question many things and often doubt myself. About seven years back when my daughters left home I struggled in my faith greatly. We were always very close, and I pictured having that perfect family. We were that perfect family, but that was shattered in my thinking. I was broken and crying out to God wondering why all this was happening. We went to church. I taught Sunday School, Awana, and volunteered for everything. I read my bible and walked with the Lord. I was doing everything thought a good Christian should do, so why was my life falling apart? I blamed God for a bit. I was so confused and exhausted trying to figure everything out. I was losing my girls, my health was declining by the moment and I thought I couldn't take one more day. That is when I thought about ending it all. But God had a greater plan. He wasn't finished with this girl yet. Ironically, during this time when I thought my faith was the weakest, God was most present in my life. He walked me through each day and He set me on new ground. He was creating in me a new person. One that realized there is no perfect except for Christ. Life is still a struggle at times, but I am finding in my imperfections is where God truly shines.

Has there been an "aha" moment in your life that has changed your perspective?
I seem to have "aha" moments all the time. I am on this journey with my health that is not always a fun ride at the park. I suffer from severe migraines, panic attacks, thyroid issues, and to top it off Fibromyalgia. Through each surgery and illness God has taught me not to define myself by my circumstances, but through Him. No matter what comes I am a child of the King. I am a Royal Blue Blood. God is bigger than any illness that will ever effect me. When I focus on Him and not my circumstances I see much clearer and I see His will and direction for my life.

Do you have a favorite bible story, verse, song or hymn that gives encouragement when struggles come?
Just soaking in God's word, holding His word in my hands brings great comfort. Two of my favorite verses are Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." Isaiah 40:29-31 "He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless. Even youths will become weak and tired, and young men will fall in exhaustion. But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint." I can turn on the Christian radio station on a day of struggle and the words of the songs just melt my pain away and renew me. My favorite song is still "Amazing Grace." No matter how you put it, it is grace that sets me free everyday and sets me in a new day ready to see all God has for me as I let go of my past.

What is one thing you look for in a close friend and what is one quality you hope others see in you?
Each friend that comes into my life carries with them a different attribute. Honesty is important to me. With honesty comes everything else. If you don't have honesty nothing can grow. I hope they see grace in me. It is in grace that the Lord shines through us reaching others. Without grace we cannot have love.

What are a few of your favorite books you have in your collection you would share with a friend?
This is a tough one since I have been reviewing books for a while now. I have a whole collection. Francine Rivers, "Redeeming Love" is my all time favorite book. A new one that I fell in love with is, "Where is God?" by Dr. John Townsend. This book was able to show me much about having great faith and how to survive those struggles that come each day when we find ourselves asking, "Where is God in all this?" Each book placed in my hands is a gem to me. Each one can teach me something of great value.

When life seems to go crazy, what is one thing you do to bring comfort and peace?
A book. I know, I am a real geek. I surround myself with encouragement through God's word and through all these books I find myself through escaping my circumstances for a bit and as I come to a place of peace I am able to see more clearly and see that God has been in control the whole time. When illness hits me head on and I find myself in bed I go to Romans 5:3-5 "And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us." These scriptures bring great comfort to me, knowing that through all God has a plan and purpose. I may not understand all that happens but in faith I trust the Lord and believe in His hope.

What is one thing about yourself you admire?
Wow, anything good in me is all Jesus. One gift He has graciously given is mercy for others. Through that mercy I find compassion and love reaching out to others encouraging them. This is much harder than I thought it would be. Blessings to all you ladies who have answered these questions with such wisdom and inspiration.

What are a few of the things you love surrounding you?
I love just being washed in God's presence. Being around family and those close friends who add such joy to my life. I love visiting with my children. Each minute I can have with them is a blessing that leaves me speechless. Books, my paper and a pen add a smile to my face. And I cannot forget Daisy! She is an addition to our family that was a total surprise and one that came at the perfect time to add laughter to my life when I needed it the most.

What are your deepest passions?
My greatest passion is found my Savior, Jesus Christ. Without Him I am nothing and in Him I am everything. He changed my life in one day and has been working on me every since. Praise the Lord He is not finished with me yet. In Him I find the passion for writing, sharing His word and the love He has bestowed upon my life. I want to spend the rest of my life searching Him and getting to know Him better.

What is the best advice ever given to you?
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 A sweet friend of mine said these words to me on a day I felt I would explode. As she said these words I felt the Lord just wash over me, bringing quiet, peace and comfort. For this girl, I hate to be quiet. And most often it is my mouth that gets me into more trouble than anything. I am learning when I am quiet God speaks loudly and when I speak loudly God cannot be heard. I am a work in progress and through this one verse, one friend, the Lord has moved mountains in my life.

In the legacy you leave, what is one thing you hope out shines before all others?
I often tell others, "Jesus looks good on you." I pray at the end of my life others will be able to look back and see Him clearly through my struggles and imperfections. I pray they see His beauty shine in the gifts that He has given me. At the end of my life it is my prayer that everything He gave me is used up for His glory and honor. It is my hope that others see life can be different. You don't have to hang on to your past, but you can have a future in Jesus.

What are you currently working on?
Well, as you can see I am doing this blog. I have another called "Simply Robin" that is still in the works. I am praying and asking God's direction. I also write for Faithful Feet. A blog that began with a group of people from Max Lucado's site wanting to share the love of Christ. I am doing many book reviews and taking the advice from Mary Demuth, "Read something every day and write something every day to learn your craft." I am learning the art of writing and putting together a devotional. Yes, I am a writer who is aspiring to be published. But I have learned everything in God's timing. I am still in that learning process. I also have another book churning through my mind. It seems there is always something churning in there. So for now I am carrying paper and pen with me everywhere I go. God is always showing me something new, creating and growing me.

How do you define success?
I simply define success by following Jesus and His will for our lives. To lay ourselves and our will down, so His can bloom in us. This world defines success by material things. Success has nothing to do with what we own, but who died to set us free from all that is trying to own us. We can find success in Jesus. Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

You can find all my links to me right here on my blog, along with the Max Lucado site too. It is an honor to join these ladies on "Let's Chat Friday". It is my hope that through this you too will be encouraged to step out of that comfort zone and begin to ask yourself questions, questions that will bring us to new growth and learning more about who we are in Christ.


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