Yesterday my sweet cousin Vilma, kindly sent me a copy of an article that had blessed her.
To be honest, I am an impatient reader, so if I can tell something is going to go on for ages and ages, I start to eye-flick. You know what I mean. Quickly scanning the words with my eyes, but not really reading the whole sentence, while pressing my thumb onto my iphone and moving it in an upwards direction so I can scroll down quickly to get to the end. Many people do it I know, because I hear complaints from Facebookers about the fact that nobody ever seems to ‘like’ the video they posted or the long funny story. We live in a quick-quick generation where anything on the newsfeed that captures us visually, will grab our attention faster because the information can be digested in seconds.
A gift in the morning
However, God had different plans as he knew that I needed to ‘get’ what was being said. Suddenly my eye caught a sentence that related to me personally and I began to actually READ the article properly.
Then I cried.
And cried and cried and cried, which is what was meant to happen, as it is evident that God’s anointing was hovering over the truths being revealed.
So up until yesterday, I had never heard of Mary Southerland. But God had spoken through her so beautifully. I set out to find her website.
What a pretty, inviting first page! I have not had time to peruse it properly, but I am eager to do so when I have a quiet 15 minutes. It is evident that this dear lady has a heart for the Lord and a stirring compassion to see ladies come to know him more intimately, as they live out their lives fulfulling the wonderful purposes their heavenly father has for them.
I contacted Mary within the hour, asking her if she would be happy to give me permission to re-produce her article here, so that I can share it with you. Being the lovely, gracious lady that she is, she responded very quickly and said yes.
So all you impatient readers like me, take a deep breath, relax, get a favourite drink and sit back to enjoy the wisdom and encouragement that’s just for you.
Sub headings for you
What I have decided to do to make it easier on your brain, is to add sub headings so if you desire to scan it first, hopefully a title that relates to your present circumstances / feelings will jump out at you and you can start reading from there.
Mary’s Website – Facebook – Twitter
Please feel free to check out her website and other social media info’ which is printed again for you below.
“The Stress-Buster and Women’s Ministry Motivator”
How to Stay Young
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10).
Friend to Friend
In April, I will celebrate my 64st birthday! Honestly, I didn’t think I would live this long. Seriously! Where have the years gone? It seems every day of life has been jam-packed full of both wonderful and horrible things I wondered if I would survive, and yet here I am, going strong and wondering why there always seems to be some kind of helicopter still landing in my life.
I have some advice for you, girlfriend. If you are a young woman, it really is true that you should cherish every day and every moment with your friends and family, because the older you get, the quicker the days fly by. I look at my children who are married and having children of their own and wonder where all of those years went. How did this happen?
If you are an older woman, take a deep breath and celebrate the fact that you are breathing. I believe if you are alive, God has a purpose and plan for your life. Give yourself a pat on the back for your survival skills. Take a few moments to reflect on your life, and don’t get hung up on what might have been. Celebrate what is and what will be.
No more insomnia!
I have discovered some wonderful advantages to growing older and have learned some valuable lessons along the way. Each chapter of life seems to grow more exciting, and I keep wondering when that “slow down” thing is going to kick in. I am no longer overly concerned with a lot of things that once kept me awake at night. There is great freedom in having paid a lot of “life dues” because I have already been there, done that, and don’t really care about getting the T-shirt.
Who am I trying to impress?
I can say with authority that you probably will live through that crisis you think will be the death of you. What defines you today may very well seem ridiculous in ten years or even ten days. Stupidity will give way to wisdom learned the hard way. I now give myself permission to do or not do things I once would have felt compelled to do simply because it was someone’s ridiculous expectation … not God’s plan. My audience has certainly changed over the years. I am no longer desperate to please the people who leer at me through the glass bowl in which I live. Nope! I truly strive to run the race of life for an audience of One.
Age defying cream? No way!
Yes, there are moments when I have made a frenzied and desperate attempt to stay young. But then, why would I want to do that? There are many years of my life I really do not want to revisit, and there is so much of my life now that I love. During one of those youth seeking moments, I came across the following list of ways to stay young and found it quite interesting.
How to Stay Young (and stress-free!)
1. Throw out non-essential numbers such as your age, weight and height.
2. Keep only cheerful friends. The grouches pull you down. If you really need a grouch, there are probably family members to fill that need.
3. Keep learning. Learn more about the computer, crafts, gardening, whatever. Just never let the brain idle.
4. Enjoy the simple things. When the children are young simple is all you can afford. When they are in college simple is still all you can afford. When they are grown, and you are on retirement, that is all you can afford.
5. Laugh often, long and loud. Laugh until you gasp for breath. Laugh so much that you can be tracked in the store by your distinctive laughter.
6. The tears happen. Endure, grieve, and move on. The only person that is with us our entire life is ourselves.
7. Surround yourself with what you love, whether it is family, pets, keepsakes, music, plants, hobbies or whatever. Your home is your refuge.
8. Cherish your health. If it is good, preserve it. If it is unstable, improve it. If it is beyond what you can improve, get help.
9. Don’t take guilt trips. Go to the mall, the next county, a foreign country – but not guilt.
10. Tell the people you love how much you love them every chance you get. Never assume they know.
11. Don’t worry about things you cannot change or do anything about. Accept them and move on.
12. Read more and dust less.
13. Spend more time with your family and friends and less time working.
14. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savor, not to endure. Recognize these moments now and cherish them.
15. Do not “save” anything. Use your good china and crystal for every special event such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, or the next blossom of flowers you see.
16. Wear your best outfit to the market.
17. Don’t save your good perfume for only special occasions. Use it even if you are going shopping or just to the bank.
18. “Someday” and “one of these days” should vanish from your vocabulary. If something is worth seeing, hearing or doing, go and see, hear or do it now.
What about you? Are you living each day to the fullest? Jesus is all about living an abundant life in the here and now … whatever stage of life that might be for you. Jesus came so that we can live abundantly and eternally. Eternity began the moment you accepted Him as your Lord and Saviour. Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.
Father, I want to live life to the fullest. I want everything you have for me and don’t want to miss a single blessing or trial that is for my good. Please help me keep my eyes on You and celebrate every day and all that it holds. I trust You, Lord, to work all things together for my good and Your glory.
In Jesus’ name,
Now It’s Your Turn
Who or what is stealing the joy from your life?
What circumstance are you facing that you need to see through God’s eyes and boldly trust Him for?
Look around. What can you find in your life to celebrate?
Are you living out God’s purpose for your life or are you bowing to the wrong audience and listening to the wrong voices?
Today, make the decision to celebrate life and all God has for you.
Read Romans 8:28 and know God is at work to make your life exactly what He wants it to be.
Mary Southerland is a dynamic communicator, delivering a powerful message that changes lives. She will make you laugh, cry and walk away thirsting for more. Through warmth, humor, transparency and solid Biblical teaching, Mary leads women to discover the powerful truth of God’s Word and motivates them to apply it in their daily lives. An international speaker, Mary has spoken to thousands of women across the United States, Latin America, Mexico, New Zealand, India, Thailand, South Africa and the United Kingdom.
Women identify with Mary, because she has not only survived the road of clinical depression, infertility, adoption, full-time ministry, and the daily stress of life, but has learned to thrive in the midst of life’s greatest storms. Through God’s power, Mary has emerged with joy, strength, and victory. She has also worked “in the trenches” with pastor’s wives and women’s ministry leaders through conferences, retreats and one-on-one mentoring. Her heart’s desire is to encourage women and support leaders by helping:
· Create a culture of joy to face storms with strength.
· Turn past failures into future successes.
· Handle difficult people with compassion.
· Embrace the pain in their lives and use it for good.
Mary’s books include, Hope in the Midst of Depression, Sandpaper People, Escaping the Stress Trap, Experiencing God’s Power in Your Ministry, Trusting God and Knowing God by Name. She has also been a staff writer for Rick Warren’s Tool Box on Pastors.com as well as magazines such as ParentLife and Proverbs 31 Woman and writes a weekly online Bible study with over 4500 women enrolled. She is a regular contributor to Logos’ E-magazine, Faithlife for Women, and Living Better at 50+. Mary is the Co-founder of Girlfriends in God, a conference and devotion ministry for women, working with noted author, Sharon Jaynes and award winning composer, musician and author and worship leader, Gwen Smith to encourage and equip women for their life journey. Crosswalk.com, the largest Christian website in the world, and Bible Gateway host the daily devotions with over 500,000 subscribers.