How blessed we are to have friends who lift us up, who speak truth to us, who listen, give advice, encouragement and their constant prayers. This is richness; this is true treasure to have such wonderful women in your life.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Stopping The "What if?" Spin Cycle In Our Heads

Have you girls ever read about the benefits of meditating on the wisdom, guidance, peace, joy, healing to our hearts, minds and bodies and thought "IF ONLY!"?  I have; but, "I'm just not good at meditating" was my answer every time.  When I attempt to meditate on the Word, my mind tends to wander far and wide.  One day I was reading in my devotions once again about the great benefits of meditating on Scripture, so I talked with the Lord and told Him how sorry I was about my sub par meditating skills and that I would sure love it if He would send some of that ability down into this heart and mind of know...just plunk that skill down in my brain.  Funny thing...and I DO think the Lord loves to be funny the next thought that came into my mind was a "what if" thought that had been going through my brain the night before.  "See, Lord!!??  See what I mean??  I can't even talk to You about meditating without my mind flailing off onto something else!!"  AND THEN IT HIT ME!!  My "What if" cyclical thinking IS meditating!!  In fact, I realized that day I was a really GOOD meditator.  I was just meditating on the wrong thing! 
What if??  Two of the most terrifying words in any language, having the power to light a flame of fear that can ignite a wildfire of panic-stricken anxiety that refuses to be quenched by even a torrential rain of tears. 


What if?

In Angie Smith's book, What Women Fear, her chapter, "Sitting by the Well~Fear of 'What If...'" addresses the two kinds of "What ifs" that plague us...the "what if" of the unknown future and the "what if" of a regretful past.  Angie says it like this: "The first idea is that something might happen in the future, and the second is the fear we made a poor decision in the past and life could have resulted differently." 
The constant whirling of the SAME thought in our heads about what could happen or what did happen, can spin out of control.  Beth Moore calls it a mind "stuck on the spin cycle."  

So then the question do we get out of this relentless hamster wheel of thinking?? (I found this picture and I HAD to include it!)We don't want to read another good book about fear and anxiety.  We want to be mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy.  Let's think on this together.

Something I always find fascinating is God's truth proven out in science.  There are numerous studies out on how our brains work, and I could spout words like "basal ganglia," "dorsalateral striatum" and "dorsalmedial striatum" like I know what I am talking about:), but I don't even know how to pronounce them!  This is basically what scientist in their studies have found over and over:  Our brains LOVE habits (and they have the rat studies to prove it :) because once we have a habit in place, good or bad, we don't have to think much anymore.  It can take a rest.  A habit is much like a well worn track in our brain. A thought gets on the track and BOOM! it is at the end without much effort in between.  Habits are the freeways of the brain.  To break a bad habit and/or create a new one takes thought..a lot of it.  I read an article, "This is Your Brain on Habits," by UCLA psych professor and researcher, Emily vonSonnenberg,  that gives five steps to break a bad habit and cement into your brain a new one. Here are her steps (In my own non-psych words) with the Lord's truth right beneath:  

1. Identify a positive habit and behavior you would like to adopt.
  Philippians 4:8

2.  Identify the bad habit you want to break. 
  2 Corinthians 10:3-4

3.  Recognize when you are beginning to head into that bad habit.  
 2 Corinthians 10:5

4.  Instead of acting on the impulse to "go there," refocus.  Consciously redirect your thoughts and actions to the new habit you want to form.  

2 Corinthians 10:5 AND Philippians 4:8


5.  Substitute the new behaviors of the new habit for the bad behaviors of the old habit.  

Romans 12:2 

Repeat steps 4 and 5 over and over.   

John 8:31-32

Basically, these scientists have found the secret that has really been no secret at all.  The Maker of all minds in the universe says we have to stop thinking and behaving the old way and start thinking and behaving the new way and do it over and over and over and over and over...until our habit turns into meditation and our meditation into abiding and our abiding into our freedom. 

So the "what ifs" from the past...capture them, lay them before the Lord and allow them to be bathed in the truth...that the Lord turns our ashes into beauty  (Isaiah 61:1-3) and redeems...makes good everything we hand over to Him (Romans 8:28).

And the "what ifs" of the future...capture them, lay them before the Lord and allow them to be bathed in the truth...that the Lord is in control (Proverbs 19:21) and His plan for us is good (Jeremiah 29:11).

He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end (Revelation 1:8 and Revelation 22:13).  Beth Moore said once that the Lord is as present in your past, as He is right at this moment in your present, as He is in your future.  You can ask Him to pour healing balm on those past regrets, hurts and pains because He is present in them.  Time holds no constraints on Him!  

We want freedom from the fear of the "what ifs" in life...let the Truth...let the Word...let the Lord God heal us!!!

Let's talk about how to find freedom from our bad thought patterns and encourage each other to the new.  What did you get out of this week's chapter?  Please leave a post here on the blog or on the DV Women's Ministry Facebook page.  Simply ask to join our page to join in on the conversation.  I truly want to hear what you have to say.

Love you, sweet sisters of mine!!!!!


PS  If you want to read a little more on meditating on God's Word, here is a post from some years ago:  It's a Cow Day!!

Monday, June 20, 2016

We Have An Enemy Who Thrives On Our Silence

 I had always been fearful for as long as I could remember.  At nine years old, I suffered with "KNOWING" I was  dying of cancer for  months, but would not say a word.  In my mind, I did not want to burden my family with such dire news.   So I "suffered with cancer" for months until a school nurse explained that most healthy nine year old girls get two little knots in their chest.  True story!  Another very clear childhood memory is stepping on a nail as a ten year old, barefoot tomboy one summer and being so fearful of tetanus and the dreaded "lock jaw," that I as crazy as this is...I told NO ONE until I could no longer walk on my foot.  I had resigned myself to the consequences of having my jaw firmly locked in place since, after all, it was my own fault; I was supposed to be wearing shoes outside.  I did not have tetanus, because I was up-to-date on my immunizations, but I did have a raging infection.  For cryin' out loud!  I could have lost my foot and even my life by a completely unfounded and unnecessary fear!!!


Isn't it the truth that even in our grown-up lives we are often fearful of the imaginary.  We fear a future that will never happen, but we fret over it as if it were the truest part of our reality!!!  How many sleepless nights have I spent worrying over some "vain imagining" that NEVER materialized.  I want those hours of sleep back!!!

Angie Smith says, "We have an enemy who thrives on our silence. He doesn't want us to be in fellowship, sharing our hearts and seeking wisdom on how to live lives that glorify God in spite of the darkness we feel."  Can I just shout out an AMEN! to that????  

My silence when it came to my fears has caused me more stress and anxiety than I can possibly calculate.  We diligently guard our secret fears as if they need protection from the light of the truth.  When I think of how much anxiety I could have saved myself over the years by simply being honest about my fears and allowing others to speak truth to me, I want to smack myself on the side of the  head and yell: "What were you thinking???" 

My challenge to you girls is to begin the climb out of those secret dark places by facing your fears and telling someone.  Allow the Lord and others to speak truth to you, and your fears will begin to lose their grip on your heart and mind.  When Angie first began to address this issue of fear in the lives of women, her email filled up with those who felt their fear was the most heinous, the most horrific, the most shameful, the singular fear unique among other women.  If only those dear girls could have read each others mail, they wouldn't have felt so alone, fearful and ashamed.  

The TRUTH is we have a Savior who wants to shed His glorious light into our hearts and minds!  His truth and grace have incredible power to fight and pull down the strongholds of fear and anxiety!  Women loosed from these kinds of strongholds are no longer imprisoned in their fears and chained by their silence.  They are a force our enemy does NOT want to reckon with!!!

Please leave a comment here or on the DV Women's Ministry Facebook page the introduction to What Women Fear.  Your insight is so valuable to all of us as we read this book together!!! Let's shed some light on our fears!!!!

Let me leave you with Angie's prayer for this week:

God, be with us as we journey together through our fears.  Bless us with understanding, with peace, and with wisdom to seek Your face when we start to lose our footing.  Bless those who are reading with exactly what they need to take from these chapters, and inspire them to start moving toward a life that is filled with the mercy that satisfies our souls.

With great affection, 


Friday, June 17, 2016

Let's Get Started!!!!

Welcome Ladies to the 2016 summer "Together We Are One Wise Woman" book blog!  I am so glad you have joined us as we adventure together through this summer’s book by Angie Smith, What Women Fear.  And I DO think it will be adventure!  I am so excited that we have women from all over the globe joining us this summer!!!  I know we will be blessed by the insight the Lord will give each of us.  Every Monday, throughout the summer, there will be blog post here about the chapter we will be addressing that week.  This will also be posted on the DV Women’s Ministry Facebook Page  You are more than welcome to join us in either place or in both!! 

We will be reading the introduction in Angie’s book because it is SO good, I don’t want anyone to miss it.  So on the very first week, beginning June 20, we will be talking about the introduction to What Women Fear. 

What I would love to do is have you introduce yourself your first post and give a little background, so we can get to know each other better.

Let me start us off:

My name is Cherri Thompson and I will be hosting the blog this summer.  I live on a small “ranchette” on the western edge of the Antelope Valley in Southern California where we have Australian Shepherds, a cat that is SUPPOSED  to be mouser…not so much…chickens: Tinker Bell, Ariel, Belle and Prince Charming (take a guess who named the chickens???), tortoises, a bearded dragon, a pond with a few fish, toads and frogs (ones that have managed to survive me:) and a family of ravens who kick out a baby each year for us to care for. This is last year's crazy raven, Pinkie:). 
Weird, but true!  I work at the Desert Vineyard Church in Lancaster, CA as an assistant to Nancy Parker, our Women’s Ministry Director…the best job EVER!  I have six children and soon will have an even dozen grands!  I love Bible study, working with my husband around our place, gardening and hanging out with family and friends.

I am excited about what the Lord has ahead for us and  some guest writers who will be contributing this summer! 

Before I go for today, I would like to encourage you girls to read Angie Smith’s book, “I Will Carry You.”  It is a tough and breathtakingly  beautiful read…I had tears streaming down my face as I read it in one afternoon, but I think it will give you even more of an appreciation for Angie and her ability to speak on this subject.  Definitely a book worth your time to read!!! See you next week!!!!  Have a blessed week!!!

PS.  I have NO idea why the fonts are different sizes on this post!?!!  I have tried for hours to fix but finally just gave up!!!!