Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Craving Connection

Craving Connection
13 Apr 2011
Renee Swope

“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another — and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 (NIV)

Devotion:
Do you ever catch yourself checking email repeatedly? One morning I checked my email as soon as I woke up. Then I made breakfast and checked it again. Had my devotional time and checked it again. Ran some errands and when I got home, checked it once more.

Now, I admit I have a thing about keeping white space in my inbox, but this was about more than managing emails.

I was going back for a reason. I sensed the Holy Spirit nudging me to pause and ask myself, “Why do you keep checking your email?”

I sat there and let my heart respond honestly. I wasn’t sure if it was God or me answering, but my thoughts intertwined with His Spirit whispered: You keep coming back because your heart longs for connection with a friend.

Yet no matter how many times I checked email, it was never enough to satisfy my craving.

Somewhere in the busyness of life I had let many of my friendships reduce to quick connections via email. Over the past year my schedule had gotten so full with kids, school projects, family needs, investing time in my marriage, and new responsibilities at work that something had to give.

I didn’t want it to be my family, so I asked God to help me find balance.

I had sensed Him leading me to cut back on the amount of time I spent talking on the phone, socializing with neighbors and hanging out with friends. Although I hadn’t completely cut out my friendships, my face-to-face connection time with friends had been reduced to a minimum.

That morning as I sat at my computer, I realized I had not found balance. The pendulum had swung too far.
Here I was checking email repeatedly, trying to fill a God-created need for relationships with a white screen and black alphabet keys.

My heart was craving more. God had revealed the source of my incessant email checking and shown me that I needed to fill the lonely place in my spirit with friends I could talk to and share life with — in person.

That day I called one of my closest friends. She happened to be available so I turned off my computer and took a break from work to spontaneously meet her at a coffee shop.

It was just what I needed: face-to-face, heart-to-heart, eye-to-eye connection and conversation.

I know friendships are not easy to build. They take time. And time is limited with lives that keep us so busy. But in this age of technology, it’s important to evaluate things in our lives that create a false sense of connection like email, television, text messaging and overboard activities.

Although these things are okay in moderation, they can’t substitute real-life relationships.

So what about long-distance and internet friendships? Aren’t they important, too? Yes, they are. But God created us for relationships where we can see each other, hug each other and talk to each other face-to-face.

We need to pull away from our computers and televisions to intentionally carve out time for friends that are in close proximity. Times where we can meet face-to-face to share what’s going on in our lives. Today’s key verse instructs us not to give up meeting together to worship and encourage one another. As we see here and throughout the Bible “meeting together” is important to God.

Jesus needed face-to-face connections, too. So He surrounded Himself with intimate friends — first His Father, then His close friends John, Peter and James and then the other nine disciples.

He also had friends like Mary, Martha and Lazarus. People He spent time with sharing meals and having conversations about spiritual truths that applied to their everyday lives. Through His example we see how important it is to satisfy our craving for connections by spending face-to-face time with friends.

So, who will you connect with face-to-face this week?

Dear Lord, You created me with a need for friends. Yet, I find myself rushing through my days with little time for heart-to-heart connections. Help me to seek You first as my ultimate Friend, and then reach out to others so I can have and be a close friend. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Related Resources:
Visit Renee’s Blog and enter to win her “Friendship Gift Pak” that includes an advanced copy of Renee’s upcoming book A Confident Heart as well as a Starbucks gift card to share with a friend.

Girlfriends RoadTrip message on CD by Renee Swope Learn how to connect to the heart of God and other women by looking at and learning from Jesus’ closest friendships.

Find more encouragement through Renee’s Resources.

Application Steps:
Make a list of one or two friends you enjoy being with. Call them on the phone to encourage them and set up a time to get together.

If you’re not sure who to call, ask God to show you someone you can begin a friendship with. Invite them to join you for lunch or to go for a walk together this week.

Reflections:
How often do I check email or my Facebook page? Do I crave connection?

What are some steps I can take this week to develop a new friendship or strengthen an old one?

Power Verses:
Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (NIV)

“I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” John 15:15b (NIV)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Beginings

I'm back! It has been awhile since I posted anything, over a year to be exact. A lot has changed in my life since then. I am living in Virginia now. I have always loved this area and the change of seasons. My boys are all living with their father now in Alabama. The twins said we have lived with you for 14 years and now it is our turn to live with our Dad. It might be true but I am wishing I was selfish at times because I miss them so much it is hard to breath. I have never been on my own in my entire adult life as I had Alexandria when I was still in high school. Had to grow up fast and that I did. I wouldn't change it if I had the chance to do it all over again either. Since I am on my own i don't know what to do with myself at times. I read a lot and hang out with my grandmother and her friends. I do have a job I really like a lot and I love the people I work with. That is so important since you spend most of your time with these people. The Holiday's were lonely but I know with time it will get better. Life is so funny and it changes like the wind. You just never know what is going to come at you and from which direction it is going to come from. This year I plan on keeping up with my blog the ups and downs of what I am going through as a Newly Single Adult. I hope everyone has a fantastic year. Annetta

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Update!

It has been along time since I entered a new post. So here is a brief summary of what has been going on in the past month or so. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Everyone came over to our house it was the first year I have been able to entertain in my home since it is big enough to have people in it. The boys have gone camping with the boy scouts a few times. They went to Alabama for Christmas to visit with their dad and his family. They had a great time meeting family they haven't seen since they were very little. Now Dylan wants to move to Ohio to be near his cousin. The boys got Ipod Touches and Paintball guns for christmas from their dad. I am having so much fun trying to have conversations with them since they block everything out except what is on that ipod. The joys of children.
On Christmas Eve we had a party at the house. We played Charades and had a white elephant gift exchange along with lots of great food. Before the boys left for their dads we were able to take some family pictures around the tree. It was lots of FUN since I was dropped several times trying to get in position for the picture before the camera took the shot. I hope everyone had a great Holiday season and here is Hoping 2010 is wonderful.












Wednesday, November 18, 2009

My Favorite Time of Year!

I just love cooler weather, the change of seasons, all the holidays. You can smell it in the air even here in Florida at times. This is when I really wished I lived north of here because there is just all those wonderful smells of the season. Fresh cooler air has its own wonderful aroma, wood burning, chestnuts, baked goods, hustle and bustle of the holidays. People seem to be more peaceful and happier. I love to decorate for the Christmas. I am in love with snowmen.they are so cute and cuddly (or at least they look that way).We can't forget about all the great food that is made during the holidays. I will probably gain all my weight back in the next month. LOL! Most of all I love getting together with family and friends. I hope everyone has a wonderful season no matter what is going on I encourage all to stop and just take a big whiff of the air. Take in all in and SMILE! What is your favorite thing about this time of year?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Boys Photos

A few weeks ago after church on the way home I stopped at the Baily Riverbridge Park at the foot of the Ormond Bridge. The boys weren't as happy about this as I was but I wanted to take some pictures of them dressed in their church clothes. As you can see I got some really good pics some weren't as good because there were sour faces from the fellas. It was really hot and sticky out along with the fact that Jacob and Jared don't like to have their picture taken so you will see more of Dylan who really likes to have his picture taken. I have printed most in Black and White. I love B/W pictures the one you will see are all in color. The third pic is Dylan doing his Michael Jackson move. I took about 200 pictures so by the time I was done the boys were cranky and hot. I hope you enjoy the few I have posted.

















Tuesday, October 27, 2009

UPS AND DOWNS

I haven't had a post lately because I have been really down on everything and decided not to post anything unless it was something positive. You know don't say anything if you don't have nothing nice to say. The month of October has had many ups and downs for me. As everyone knows I am in the process of JOB HUNTING which is really sucking. On the brighter side This month has been full of Birthday celebrations in the family and with Friends. It is the busiest month of the year for me. I turned ???, my beautiful daughter turned the BIG 21, my sweets Mark had a birthday. A lot of my beautiful peeps had birthdays also. Out of state family celebrated birthdays as well. Some I was able to share in a celebration with and some I could only send birthday wishes to. I hope everyone of you had a wonderful birthday and many more.

The boys in school, now this is a sour subject since my boys don't like to ask for help, like to study, think they should not turn projects and reports in if they have to get up in front of the class to present. I feel like the only parent that goes through this or at least the only parent were all the kids are giving her a hard time about it.I wish for one child to do what is needed. So now they are all on restriction since I have a ZERO TOLERANCE policy stating that everything is to be turned in on time NO exceptions. That sound easy to me. I need some advice on this subject. What else can I do to them because we already have the rule no television or video games during the school week. This has worked in the past but now they don't even get to have television or games on the weekends. They complain but don't really seem to care. I am open please give your advice.

I had a yard sale a couple weekends ago that is a lot of work but was very successful. I was tired and sick of my allergies on Sunday when we were done with the sale but had to prepare for Marks big birthday dinner we had that evening with all his family and my mom. We had the FLU going around as well. So I woke up Sunday morning sick. The boys got their flu shots in return Dylan and Jared both were sick. Jared more so than Dylan with the high fever. I was so scared it was the SWINE FLU. that is the last thing we need around here especially since Dylan's asthma and allergies have been really acting up lately.

Marks dad and his girlfriend Caroline had a Luau party this past weekend. That was really nice. I went to a thrift store and found a dress that was perfect. The food was great. Caroline loves to entertain. We had a great time.

Dylan is playing baseball this fall. We made him sit out a couple of games but he went with his homework and had to do it there. Trying to show him how he is letting his team down by not doing what he is suppose to do. He is doing great and he has started pitching.

I have done a couple of photoshoots this past month. One with the boys and the other of Wayne and Caroline. It was a lot of fun. Now I just want to bigger and better camera.

All in all life is great with all it little and big UPS and DOWNS. I know in the end everything will work out perfectly. Having a little/lots of Faith and lots of Patience. Giving it all up to our FATHER. I hope everyone has a great day!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

On a new Path!!

I am in the lines of the unemployed now with all the other Americans that are out of a job. This is so scary for me. Since I quit on Friday I have been having so many anxiety attacks. I know I did the right thing! I know Heavenly Father will be with me through it all. In the morning I will redo my resume and start on the great hunt. In some ways I am looking forward to seeing were it will lead and what wonderful things will happen through all this. I just really worry about the boys. I know they are going to like me being home more. Maybe I will find a great stay at home JOB, maybe one that has me home on the weekends, Who knows maybe there will be a way I can go back to college. There are so many possibilities and I am excited about them. Please send prayers!!