My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

Archive for life

From death to life, empowered to stand

For several weeks I had been praying a short, simple prayer, “Holy Spirit of Life, ‘life’ your people, that we may live! Breathe in us, Spirit of God…”

…Only to find myself sliding in a kind of despair I’d never experienced before. I struggled with doubt I would have never thought possible and questioned every promise from God that would rise up in my spirit. At times when it seemed that the light and life had gone out inside me and I chose not to pray, I’d awake during the night to hear my spirit praying, “Holy Spirit of LIFE, life me with Yourself. I want to live!…”

As always, after God speaks and brings breakthrough in my personal life, He confirms His word in some public setting, speaking though some other source.

At watch might service, the sermon was entitled, “Time to live again.” As I study Ezekiel 37, the scripture reference from last night’s sermon, I once again rest in the covenant relationship with a God who will come to us when we find ourselves in valleys of despair and death.

He commands only that we perceive, become conscious by the ear and give our attention to His word (vs. 4 – Dry bones, HEAR the word of the Lord!). He follows with promises of what HE will do — vs. 6 “I will attach tendons, I will bring flesh on you, I will cover you with skin, I will put breath in you, and YOU will come to life.

I’m very much aware that death requires nothing of us, but LIFE does. Even after the first prophecy – that produced the rattling and noise of the coming together of bones, that gave the dry bones the appearance of a healthy physical body – they were still lifeless, without any power to act. However, when The Breath was called forth and the Spirit of God surged in them they stood up, ready for action.

The good news is that no matter what causes us to give in to despair, if we can decide not to shut down and close ourselves off but instead to open our ears and perceive/discern that in the midst of whatever it is, God is still speaking and working – we can live.

Advertisements

On life, love, growing older, keeping life simple, natural hair and more…

life, love, growing older, keeping life simple, natural hair

Celebrate Life!

As I celebrated another birthday, I think what’s so beautiful about growing older is what can develop on the inside, and how our perspective on life changes.

Here are a few disjointed, yet connected thoughts:

On Life:
Don’t try to dance to everyone’s rhythm, find your own beat and move to it.
• People will try to define you, don’t let them. Discover who you are and be that.
• People will try to confine you. Grow in spite of.
• People will try to rattle you. Possess yourself from the inside and draw from that place of peace.
• Keep things that make you giggle, close – when life offers nothing to laugh about draw from that place.

On Love:
I learned very early not to allow fear to keep me in relationships, I’ve had to learn not to allow fear to keep me from relationships.

On Keeping Life Simple:
Even if you can’t afford to get dressed up and go to a live performance, get dressed up anyway, throw back your windows and let the birds serenade you. Learn to make your own moments beautiful, no matter your place or circumstance.

On Growing Older:
I love where I am at this moment. I love that I feel free to dance even if everyone chooses to sit it out. It’s great to feel good in your own skin.
Don’t be bothered by little things, and learn to forgive quickly. There are too many older people who are still bothered by little things.

On Natural Hair:
It seemed like such an unlikely affair, I fell in love with my naturally graying hair. Wearing ones natural hair doesn’t make one more self-aware, but I believe the journey of knowing and loving oneself is worthwhile — and such an awakening!

On God:
I really believe God exists. What He’s doing in me – renewing me, changing my attitude, my outlook;  filling me with strength, peace – that’s what beautifies.

The time for courage

“Gift of Jehovah,” that’s what his name means. I sat at my desk on Tuesday morning, working, but the tears would not stop. He was dead. For several days my mind offered up a single cry, “Father, I don’t understand…” I had really admired this 19-year-old who was so responsibly and committed to his faith and his work in the church.

I tried searching the internet for news about the accident — it’s sometimes hard for me to process things without facts. I did not find anything about him but there were so many others who had died during that week and I found myself grieving for them and their families as well.

If what my faith teaches is true, that, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved,”  then, is it not time for courage? I found myself troubled by this question, “Where will eternity find all those who had died?”

I was reminded of Matthew’s re-commitment to God on Sunday, he had held his hand up high when Pastor Garmon had asked if anyone wanted to renew their commitment to Christ, and I sat next to him as he reaffirmed that commitment out loud. I realize that if I believe “The Book” then Matthew’s life, no matter how much we miss him, is not lost. Paul said while we live we have the opportunity to glorify Christ and bring benefit to others, but when we die, if we know The Christ, we gain.

Matthew’s death reminds me that we have no guarantee of the length of the days of our loved ones –they can be taken in the next second, minute, hour, day; So I ask again, is it not time for courage?

In Acts 4:13 the Bible tells us that as Peter and John boldly proclaimed that there is only one way to God — that is through Jesus Christ — that those who opposed the message were astonished at their courage. Courage to speak the truth of The Word even though it could cost them their lives.

My prayer is that God would give us the courage to live and speak the Good News of the Gospel with clarity, conviction and boldness. Courage to work through those things in the body of Christ that divide us and cause others to question the validity of The Faith. Courage to decide to do life according to the Word so that we don’t cause others to stumble. Courage to reach and love those in our space back to a relationship with Christ. Courage to reach our world.

Fit for something

Surrounded by Senior Sheroes

A FIT life requires flexibitly

We walked around the park enjoying the cool weather, over 200 years of life and life’s experiences combined, “pounded” the track. No matter our age we still need to exercise, so we had gotten in the car, Laura, my mom and myself and had headed to the park.

At 88 years Laura had the privilege of setting the pace and as we walked I was about to jokingly comment on how fit we are but stopped myself because I knew what the responses would be. Laura would be quick, she would laughingly say, “yes, fit for something!” my mom would say, “of course we are fit, right Laura?”

I’ve thought about getting them little exercise outfits complete with headbands and a little cape with SS embroidered on them – SeniorSheroes. Do you know how parents sometimes dress their children in ridiculous outfits because they think it’s cute? Well,…

I remember my mom made almost all our clothing when we were little and some even as adults, (the dress in the above photo she made about 6 years ago). I had never given it much thought before but it came to me that by the time my mom was about 21 years she had already had three of her four children. Lost in thought I was amazed at this woman who with limited education, (mama had pulled her out of elementary school because of a fight), had cooked, baked, done hair, made clothing for others and whatever else her hands had found to do to take care of her family. Then had worked toward her dream of her own clothing store. She had shopped in Puerto Rico, Miami and New York for clothing and had loved it.

I’ve learned so much from these women, my SeniorSheroes, from their wise and not so wise choices, from their triumphs and their really tough challenges, I’ve seen life rob them of their ability to remember and slowed their ability to move, but these women are fighters. I realize that as long as something stands up within us and refuses to curl up and surrender when we face the tough things of life, we will always be fit for something.

Breathe, Just Breathe. Bearing Life’s Challenges

My heart was pounding – this unfamiliar beat was unsettling, especially at 4:30 a.m., but a waking thought, a reminder of a certain challenge was causing me to pa….

Dona, DONA, breathe, just breathe, something within me whispered.

I inhaled, drawing deeply, held and released my breath slowly. I repeated it again and again until my heart rate slowed and I felt my body relax.

What had happened? Life. It has a way of delivering pleasure mingled with pain, ease along with hardship, joy partnered with sorrow, health and sickness,… and just when we feel as if we have our ducks all lined up, in a second, a strong wind can blow and take off with some of those ducks.

But the challenges of life are “common to men,” so the Bible reminds me. As I started thinking about plans I have to change and sacrifices that will have to be made I remembered hearing about this young man who had seen someone along the road who needed help, he had stopped to assist and had been hit by a vehicle, he had lost a leg. I thought about my 38-year-old cousin who had just discovered she has cancer, stage 4. I thought about the challenges of others in our nation and around the world and I wanted to whisper to them, breathe, just breathe.

Though challenges are common here are 6 choice-actions that will help us to bear them:
1. Refuse to engage battles that are unimportant
2. Be focused – seek resolutions. There is a hidden strength within all of us
3. Laugh often, give it all you have
4. Refresh others and you will be refreshed
5. When life gets overwhelming reset priorities
6. Do what helps you to breathe easy…

So this evening I had pulled out the laptop, searched for the Gaithers on YouTube, gathered with my mom and Laura and we raised our voices in song after song… “Through It All“, “Because He Lives“, “The Love of God“, “It Is Well“…

In the meantime and in-between time

Plant hope, faith, peace, obedience, common sense and gratefulness in in between times

Be patient with the process

Are you at the place you want to be? How are you handling the in-between time on your way there. I confess, I don’t like the uncertainty of in-between things, this flux of not being here but not quite there. I hate just-below-the-knee dresses. I like my dresses preferably short…, or long. I don’t understand capris, even though I wear them occasionally I take issue with this indecisive garment that can’t decide if it wants to be long or short. It’s unusual for me to buy 1, 2 or 3 inch heels, I like my shoes the way I like my shoes. I find this length of my natural hair somewhat challenging, though it’s growing it is in this in-between stage of being neither long nor short.

But don’t get confused, these are just external, minor, in-between things that I can control to a certain extent. Much of life can find us in “in-between” places dealing with things beyond our control, yet, we have to learn to flourish in these places.

Here are 6 seeds to plant in the soil of “in-betweeness”:

Hope: We don’t all start out on the same playing field, don’t let that make you bitter. Hope in God, seek him in your planning, commit yourself to work your plan, and be steadfast.

Faith: Though this is not a guarantee against pain or hardship it guarantees that the object of our faith, God, loves us, and can take the challenging and the painful and work them for our good and His glory

Peace: Remind yourself of what God says, it will remind you of why you can have peace even in challenging times

Obedience: Offer God the right to yourself, surrender everything of you to him and obey His word.

Common sense: If it took years of unwise decisions to get you to a certain place, be patient with the rectification process, adhere to wise principles and stay committed to change

Gratefulness: Take time and correct faulty thinking. Be thankful! not for everything but in every situation give thanks, the unchanging factor is God.

Do you have time for a core check?

What core area of your life needs to be strenghtened? Growth and change come from not only taking time to evaluate self but formulating a plan and following through with it.

How is your core?

“Do you know those toys that come with labels that say batteries not included? well this one says CORE not included!” My physical therapists were having fun at my expense after my five pathetic attempts at raising my upper body from the floor as I reached for a ball perched on my raised bent legs, and even though I protested with, “Do I really need to put up with this verbal abuse?” I was laughing just as hard as they at this funny, clever remark.

After hearing Willis’ remark Kurt came over, pressed lightly on my abdomen and asked, “do you mean the flat belly is only for show?” They were working on eliminating the pain caused by an injury to my left shoulder that had led to neck and back pains as well, and restrengthening my core was part of the plan to alleviate the back pain.

As Willis lectured me on the importance of having a strong core, I listened and took note of these girdle-like muscles that support, protect and enable movement. However, his first comment caused me to shift from the physical and take a look at other areas in my life and do a “core check”. In a society where so much can be about “show,” I recognize that there are some things that are too important for me to settle only for appearances.

If I were to ask you, “Do you know of anyone who seem to live a life founded on pretense? They are all about the show – how perfect they can make others believe their life is. They’ll buy it, lease it, go into debt to get it, as long as it creates the image. They’ll lie about it, fake it, and say it so many times that they themselves, though they don’t change to make it truth, start believing it. They’ll settle for the form of the thing and miss that it’s the power that makes the difference, and is available for asking.

If I asked you that question you’ll probably be able to list names and relay incidents. But I’m not going to ask that. I’ve come to realize that it can be easier to point out the challenges of others yet fail to recognize and address the same challenges in our own lives.

So, the question really is yours. Can you recognize any area in your life that is founded on pretense? Are you all about a show…?

%d bloggers like this: