October 10, 2005

Give me Jesus

Give me JesusAs I read my scripture passage for today, I feel so encouraged by God. And it's really just another confirmation of what Pastor preached last night. The title of his sermon was, "How Long is the Night?" The title of his sermon yesterday morning was, "The Miracle is in Your Mouth." Get the idea? We really are in control of how long the darkness surrounds us.

A few months ago I went through an extremely difficult trial; in my family, which affected my spirit. I felt beaten down and broken. Hopeless. Angry. How, after all, could a loving God allow such a bad thing to happen?!

Once I finally overcame my own flesh, I was able to take a step back and realize a couple of things. One, just because something happens (good or bad), that doesn't mean God allowed it to. And secondly, most of the "bad" things bring good in the end.

I was so focused and fixed on the negatives of the situation that I couldn't see any good coming from it. Oh, but it did! God taught me a valuable lesson. Trust. Faith. And praising Him, in good times and bad.

Without God in my life, I know I would be a basket case right now. And believe me...I don't say those words lightly. My closest friends can attest to that fact. They've seen me at my lowest and weakest. But through God, and with God, I can do all things!

Jesus is my source of strength. He is a very present help in time of need. Sometimes those words sound redundant and rote, but if you chew them for a while, you will taste the sweet, savory flavors of their truth.

Let the world have their vane gods, but give me Jesus!

October 08, 2005

Changes...again!

I have been working on a top-secret mission. Well, okay...it wasn't really top-secret. I am revamping my entire website. Ah, yes, I hear all the sighs and sarcastic rolling of eyes out there. I know, I know. Why, you ask? Well, sit back and I'll tell you why.

The answer is simple, really. For a long time, I've felt as though my personal website contained a whole lotta nothing. There, I said it. Plain and simple. And to be quite frank with you, it was actually a reflection of me. A whole lotta nothing going on.

So I got to thinking. And I thought, 'Self, what should we do?' And you do you know myself said? She looked me square in the eye and said, "You should get serious!" So that's what I'm doing.

My revamped website will reflect my writing ambitions. I once heard that if you want to be successful, think successfully. I've also heard you are what you think. Oh yeah, same thing. Okay, well anyway! You get my drift.

I am so thrilled about the new look, new layout, new logo, new everything. I can't wait until you see it. Oh yeah, I will be redirecting my blog to the home page, so if you link to me, you can go ahead and change your link to http://www.hopewilbanks.com/ since this is where my blog will be located in the very near future.

I honestly believe that I am moving forward in my life, mostly personally. I have been through a tremendous amount of stress and pressure throughout this year. BUT I have persevered through these difficult times as well. I have/am accomplishing something that I never thought I would--I'm finishing a course I started several years ago! I should be done in April 2006, which works out perfectly since Robert will be back then.

While I have experienced many more valleys than peaks this year, I count it all for joy. Without the pressure of living alone and raising two children alone and the stress and worry about Robert being in Iraq, I would probably have never realized my own inner strength. Day by day, step by step, I have rediscovered me, and that is nothing short of wonderful and amazing, in my book.

So....! Stay tuned, keep watching and don't forget to bookmark if you haven't already. I think you'll like the new look and feel, too.

October 05, 2005

Reach Higher

ReachA good friend and I engaged in an interesting discussion today. We are very much alike in many ways. We don't trust ourself enough. We doubt and questions ourself, even when we know what our own truth is. We do the opposite of what we think we should at times, and then later regret following after someone else's advice, instead of trusting our own instincts.

Speaking for myself, I think a lot of this has to do with the way I have always viewed myself. Because of my past, I learned to never trust myself and to always--ALWAYS--doubt myself, and never, ever believe in myself.

When I finally learned that my past cannot hold me captive, but that I have to allow myself to be encaptured by its chains, I realized that I have to create new habits, new ways of thinking. One of those new habits is to recognize and be proud of my own accomplishments. This may sound simple and silly to some of you, but for those of you who understand what I'm talking about, you know this is a GIGANTIC step towards personal freedom.

To know who you are and embrace yourself, flaws and all, is a major key in gaining self-confidence and freedom. I know now that as a recovering "people-pleaser," it is of utmost importance for me to take a step back at times and remind myself that I am in control of me--no one else can make me do anything I don't want to do, and I don't have to do something just because someone suggests for me to do it.

What "bad" habit prevents you from being you? Create a new, "good" habit for yourself. Practice speaking positively to and about yourself. Try it, and see for yourself what effects you will experience!

October 04, 2005

Today's Blossoms

From my rose bush in the front yard this summer.I walked to the kitchen to pour my first cup of coffee for the day. I opened the cabinet door and reached for a mug. Rote actions. Then I stopped; lifted the mug back up to eye level and read the quote on it:
"Each day is like a garden path--we look around to find the blossoms even sweeter than the ones we left behind."
- Julie Campbell

That gave me the wake-up jolt I needed from the coffee I was about to pour inside the mug.

What blossoms have I left behind? What contribution did I make to this world yesterday? To my children? To my own life?

I want to begin anew today. I want to breathe deeply and inhale the scents as I trod along my garden path today. I want to pluck beautiful, sweet-smelling blossoms, to gather into a magnificent bouquet. I want to make today the day to grasp what is mine, no matter what it looks like, and turn it into something of grand beauty.

"He hath made everything beautiful in His time."
- Ecclesiastes 3:11

October 03, 2005

Secrets

The cats are out of the bag! I have been secretly attending school, totally online, since January. I decided I wanted to show Robert that I have been productive while he's been away, and the best way to do that was to finish something I started many years ago.

Anyway, I purposefully kept this to myself...for several reasons. One of the main reasons was because I needed to prove to myself that I could do this on my own. I don't need recognition or encouragement from others. I needed to prove to myself that this could be done, and that I could finish it for me. Thus, I didn't want any outside influences, so I kept this tidbit of info to myself, only sharing with a few choice people.

I am nearing the end of this amazing journey, so I have begun telling more people what I'm doing. I think I will be done in April, but after that, I plan on going further in my studies. More to come on that in the future.

The second secret I have been keeping mum from Robert. I started back at Weight Watchers a few weeks ago. I didn't want Robert to know though because I wanted to surprise him when he returns home in December. Buuuuuuuuut...I can't keep a secret from my husband. Never have been able to. I ended up telling him Saturday. He was happy for me, and of course supports me in this. I miss my snuggle-bunny! ;)