Faith Featured

A Gift of Peace

Written by Betty Streff

This week has offered me some huge opportunities and exciting developments in my writing but has also train wrecked my routine. All but one. One routine that is now cemented in my day is giving God the first few minutes of each and every day when I wake up. I finally had a really good night’s sleep and woke up startled to have slept a good two hours longer than I ever do.

I had a heck of a time not springing into jack rabbit mode trying to recapture the two to two and a half hours I had lost this morning. Needless to say I had a brain in full pinball machine mode and the jack rabbit was threatening to take over. I was really mad at my myself that I was not strong enough to overcome that mentality but God stepped up and in today’s page here is what he told me, right off, which is why I know it’s the most important few minutes in every 24 hour day:

“Do not be discouraged by the difficulty of keeping your focus on me…….you aim toward it but never fully achieve it in this life.”

GRACE! Forgiveness before I can ever even ask. That is how amazing Jesus is even when I do not deserve it. I asked the gals to rerun a post today from earlier this year when I first began to form this new habit.

I have been coauthoring a book for the last couple of months and in the next few weeks we will publish it. It’s about how to discover your why and I’ll be sharing more about it as it comes closer and closer to reality.

I can’t wait.

 

My  oldest daughter gave me a wonderful little devotional book for Christmas.  I’m sure many of you are familiar with it but I had never seen it.  The title is Jesus Calling  and it’s subtitled Enjoying Peace in His Presence.  The author, Sarah Young, has written several titles but this one fit me like a glove.  God is an expert at delivering the words we need to hear exactly when we need them and my daughters are experts at reading their mom.

Amazingly, jack rabbit that I am, I have started every morning but two this month with this little book.   Some days I use my iPad to quickly find the chapter and verse but it always feels much more real and relevant when I turn the tissue thin pages of my Bible to the place I seek.   When I missed a morning I couldn’t wait to get back to see what God had to share with me that day. It is said that it takes 21 days to form a habit so with a little luck I am on my way.

Every day, the second my brain knows that I am awake, I repeat my special morning mantra verse inside my head.  “This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad”, Psalm 118:24 and I tell God thank you, thank you, thank you.  I live in a state of extreme gratitude for all the blessing I have received,  knowing I only have them by God’s grace and not because they are what I actually have earned or deserve.  Still, I felt there is an element missing in my faith.

I jokingly say the last several of years of my life have resembled a game of whac-a-mole with me in the starring role.  Nothing horrible in comparison to the heart breaking things that I see happen around me.  In fact, except for the sheer number of what seems like one setback after another,  no one thing is exactly tragic.  It’s just the “here-we-go-again-ness” of it all.  Really, I hope someone out there can relate with me because sometimes it’s the accumulated buildup of a whole lot of little junk that can really wear you down, don’t you think?

Especially in the area of what I call (also jokingly- although there is nothing funny about it) my “midlife derailment”,  I have struggled.  Most specifically in the area of finding work that really uses my strengths and values after more than 25 years of happy self employment, I keep striking out.  My batting average has been pathetic.  Yet I still have an unquenchable belief that somehow I will be able to make a living doing what I feel I was born to do; helping and encouraging others through rough patches and showing them how they really can become remarkably happier and more at peace with life.

When the answers are slow in coming and it seems as though they never will, it is easy even for the most dedicated believer to get a little anxious and nervous about life zipping by.  I hope I am not alone in feeling this way, will someone please say “I get it”?

So when I opened this little book early on New Year’s Day (and talk about “having me at hello”), on the very first page God told me “I know and understand you completely”.  And he went on to say “I also know the plans I have for you: plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”.  I have heard this verse a hundred times or more but it was as if He wrote it just for me that morning.

With each new day I am fed with more encouragement to press on, trust that he is leading me exactly on the path I need to follow. Peace is exactly what I have needed so much and each page promises me that God has this all handled for me.   He has a much better view from where He is than I can possibly imagine.  What a wonderful gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

About the author

Betty Streff

Betty Streff began her career as a customer service representative for a large corporation in Omaha. Four years later she found herself to be a farm wife in a small rural community with limited opportunities for women. After a humbling self assessment, she listed her assets as talents for sketching, sewing, and the natural ability to strike up conversations with complete strangers. Using these and her optimistic nature, she began stitching up some bibs and pillows for a craft show, who wouldn’t?

Over the next 25 years she became a serial entrepreneur obsessed with studying faith, spirituality, leadership, motivation, and management as she developed her businesses. Betty has spent the last few years working in corporate America in the hospitality and manufacturing world and she continues to immerse herself in the study of what makes people tick.

The explosive growth in the relatively recent science of positive psychology fascinates her. Betty devours everything she can find on the subject and is especially intrigued with people who thrive no matter the circumstances and in discovering ways that happiness and optimism can be learned. She is currently exploring ways of sharing and cultivating the exciting possibilities with both individuals and businesses.

She and her husband Steve have been married 45 years and are blessed with 2 incredible daughters, 2 fantastic sons-in-law and 6 amazing grandchildren.

2 Comments

  • I am using another Sarah Young devotional that has the Scripture written out for you; however like you, I am a sensory person and like to turn/feel the pages of my Bible also! It’s like reading a book/newspaper for me…….don’t want a Kindle, because I need to actually “feel” it. 🙂