Our Necessary Quiet Retreat

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You are my place of quiet retreat; I wait for your Word to renew me.

Psalm 119:114 MSG

Good morning!

In a world full of distraction where do we go for a quiet retreat?

As a mom to young children it seems like every direction I turn there is something calling out to me; piles of toys, dirty dishes, spilled milk, laundry baskets overflowing just to name a few.  It’s even hard to go to the bathroom by myself, with calls of “mom!!” coming through the door.

Some days our assignments are overwhelming.

Some days our jobs are hard.

Some days it feels like we are regressing and not gaining.

Some days we struggle for air as we can’t seem to look up over the mess of it all.

But throughout this journey I have learned that as I press into Jesus, He brings my quiet retreat.  It doesn’t mean that we have to follow a set of “rules” or wake up before our children to get our bible read.

It is in the freedom of relationship with the Father that we find our quiet…

It is when we call out to Him in the middle of the mess, in the middle of the dishes, in the middle of the laundry stacked high and the never-ending clean up.  It is when we open up our hearts, our lives, and let Him be in the center of it all.

He alone will bring us quiet retreat…and He alone will renew our strength.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

What Are You Magnifying?

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For your Maker is your husband – the LORD Almighty is his name – the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth.  Isaiah 54:5 NIV

Good morning!

What are you magnifying in your life?  You know…that thing you can’t stop thinking about. We can magnify the Good or we can magnify the bad…

It is easy to get swept up in our current problems and let our minds roll over and over trying to figure out an answer or make a plan as to how are going to combat it, or try to figure out how we even got here in the first place.  A few things that get magnified in our lives are

  • Health Concerns
  • Special Food Diet
  • Exposure to allergies, chemicals, and germs

But as we let our minds run wild with thoughts all we are actually doing is magnifying the challenge we face.  We take our situation and make it bigger and bigger and bigger in our minds until it becomes all consuming.

Do you have something in your mind that you are magnifying?

Is our situation bigger than our God?  The God of all the earth?  The one who laid its foundation and binds up the waters? 

Not likely.

Instead of magnifying our current situation friend, let’s magnify God.  Let’s lay down our anxiety at His feet and lift our eyes to Him. Let’s start making Jesus bigger in our days and step into the peace that comes with trusting Him in and through ALL things.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Stop and Smell the Roses

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Good morning and Happy Tuesday!

It can be so hard to get back into the swing of things after a three-day weekend, can’t it?  It feels like a Monday, but actually its Tuesday and it can throw us all for a loop!  It can make us feel behind, almost anxious to “catch up” with time.

But as my husband and I sat outside on our front porch yesterday morning, coffee in hand, sunrise behind the fog as far as our eyes could see, it was nice to sit and take in a breath of fresh air.  We reflected upon the weekend of graduation parties; watching families close a chapter in their lives and begin new ones and how fast the time goes.

It struck a conversation about our own boys and truly treasuring the time that we have with them.  It is so easy to get caught up in a routine, the day in and day out responsibilities, but sometimes we just have to stop and smell the roses.

We must slow down, even though time tries to pull us forward.  This week, this month, this summer lets stop and take the time to enjoy our journey.  Time is something that we don’t get back…we must enjoy the days while we are living them.

So instead of being anxious to catch up, lets slow our stride enough to smell the roses, enjoy the sunshine, and thank the Father for providing these days.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday!!

Good afternoon!

By the time Thursday afternoon rolls around I’m in desperate need of a mental reset.  And the best way to reset our minds is to focus on the things we are thankful for.  It turns our thoughts from the things weighing us down to Jesus and the amazing gifts He provides.

So, here are a few of the things that I am thankful for!

  • Warmer days, beautiful flowers, and a freshly planted garden
  • Beautiful sunrises
  • Two boys giggling on the trampoline as they spray water
  • Time to go visit friends tomorrow as a family
  • A husband dedicated to walking by my side through this life

What about you?  What are you thankful for today?

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Emotions Are Draining

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Good morning!

Anyone else get tired of riding the waves of their emotions?

I know I sure do. Even though my feet are planted firmly on the Rock my emotions seem like they are on a roller coaster ride sometimes.  One that goes up and down and all around and I’m not sure where to get off at.

Anyone else feel that sometimes?  Like you stand firm, stand firm, stand firm, and then whoosh!  Here they all come at once.  I am so glad that we don’t have to live by our emotions.  We must choose to stand on the truth and not let all the emotions we’ve built up on the inside scoop us up and take us on that ride.  I don’t know about you, but I’m not really into roller coaster rides anyway.

As I was doing some studying this morning and looking back over some verses I have written out (my go-to scripture cards) I read Isaiah 30:21:

“Your ears will hear a word behind you, ‘This is the way, walk in it,’ whenever you turn to the right or to the left.”

When our emotions run away with us we don’t have to let our feet go with them.  We can stand firmly on the truth that comes from God’s word even though our emotions rage within us.  The more I read, the more my perspective started to shift from myself and the circumstances surrounding…to Him.

His Word brings us hope, brings us joy, brings us truth in the midst of whatever it is we are walking through.  And maybe more importantly it keeps our focus on Him.  And when we focus on Him, there is nothing we can’t handle.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

Where Our Help Comes From

Tanna and boys

Happy Monday!

As we kick-start our week I felt encouraged to share with you where our help comes from.  As I spent some quiet time with the Father this weekend and prayed about the upcoming doctor appointment (today) for our son I was greatly encouraged by the scriptures in Psalm 121.

I lift up my eyes to the mountains – 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 life; 

the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. 

So as we start into this week and face whatever it brings, lets pick our heads up and lift our eyes to the One who provides our help.  He’s got us!

Blessings!

The Johnstons

Declaring Truth

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Have you let the heaviness of your current circumstances weigh you down?

I’m here to tell you it can happen before we know it.  And don’t worry…you’re not alone.  This world can be brutal and unless we chase after the truth, the lies will consume us.

As I sat down at my kitchen table a couple of days ago I could feel my stress level rising as the weight of anxiety was creeping in.  Our son that was in the hospital a few weeks ago has been sick again this past week with something viral.  As I got him out of the bath that afternoon I could see the rash spreading all over his belly and creeping up his chest.  Seriously? I thought to myself.

I sat down at our kitchen table, opened my journal, and wrote across my page:

If I didn’t hold on to Jesus so tightly I might just fall apart. 

And I began writing the truths I needed to hear…

  • I believe His promises
  • I believe He is good
  • I believe He works all things together for good
  • I believe His ways are higher than my ways
  • I believe He goes before me and behind me

Declaring Truth

Sometimes we just need to declare out loud His truths over our own lives.  We need to be bold even when it is just to remind ourselves of the very truths we believe in.

As I sat there, trying to process all my emotions and give my anxiety to the Father I wrote one more statement in my journal:

Even though it doesn’t look like I want it to…maybe it looks just as it should.

As I lay my head in my hands and began to pray I felt Him asking me to yield my frustration, yield my control, and to trust Him.  Trust Him with my child’s health.  Because after all, they were His children first.

What has you all tied up in knots?  There is no better way to untie them then to declare His truths over and over until we feel the release of His power in our hearts.

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

Pushing Through

Pushing Through Blog

Good morning!

I set out for a run yesterday and I had barely gotten a half mile in when I had a twinge in my right knee and some nerves speak fire through my left foot.  I thought to myself, “maybe I shouldn’t go as far today”.  I have experienced pain in my left foot for quite some time.  I had a couple of stress fractures a year and a half ago and some nerve damage that left me in a walking boot for a while.  Even though it is better, I still have some nagging pain to deal with.

Most people probably are dealing with some type of issue that is nagging…either physical, mental, or emotional.  It could be:

  • a medical issue
  • a strained relationship
  • a difficult work atmosphere
  • a tough marriage
  • a challenging child

How often do we accept defeat when really we just need to dig in and find the courage to push through?  We give up way too easily most times.  Our minds can convince us that we are justified in just giving up, giving in, and taking the easy road out.  But what if we decided to dig in?  What if we decided to let God work on us from the inside out? Even if it meant we were going to go through a few hard days or a challenging season.

Honestly for me yesterday the only thing that needed revived was my mind… and I think for most of you this is probably true as well.  Deep down, the truth was I just didn’t really feel like going for a run so my mind was coming up with all sorts of excuses to keep me from it!  I am so glad that I hit my Unstoppable playlist (TobyMac) and kept running.

What are you experiencing in your life that keeps lingering?  Let’s make the choice today to dig in and keep going.  Let’s lean on Him for courage and yield to His guidance along the way.  We will be glad we did!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

 

The Power of Our Thoughts

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Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.  Philippians 4:8 NIV

Good morning!

What is the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning?  Today you might have immediately rolled over in your pillow and thought, “ugh, its Monday”, and all that comes with starting a new week.  It is so easy to let our thoughts immediately focus on ourselves, our lives, our jobs, our plans…

But what if our first thoughts were on Him?  What if we shifted our focus from ourselves: our day, our plans, our job, etc. to Jesus…

I want to encourage you this week to start your everyday with a simple prayer.  It might look something like this:

Father, thank you for today.  Thank you for walking ahead of me and behind.  Thank you for surrounding me with your love.  Father help guide me today in your wisdom and your strength.  Help me to keep my eyes on you and follow hard after you.  In Jesus Name, Amen

I believe that if we start each day by focusing on Jesus we will start to see change in our perspectives, change in our attitudes, change in our hearts and change in our thoughts…all for the better!

Blessings,

The Johnstons

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