Category Archives: Change

Moving to New Website–Simply One.

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven.” — Ecclesiastes 3:1

A Year of Simply.

Last year on Thanksgiving Day I posted my first entry on this website. Almost one year has passed, and I have been so blessed with the opportunity to share with you my thoughts and the lessons God is teaching me through His Word and my life.

It all started with the nudging of the Lord to write—to testify—about His love and work in my life. Blogging wasn’t even on my radar. I didn’t even know what a blog was, to be honest. But God orchestrated His plan one step at a time, and I followed, knowing nothing and feeling completely unqualified to be a writer.

But thanks be to God! He gives us everything we need to follow His plan for our lives. And He has been so gracious to me. I’ve made lots of mistakes along the way. I’ve shed a few tears of frustration and doubt in my abilities. I’ve stared at the blank page and wondered why the words wouldn’t come. I’ve had a bad attitude some days and wondered how anything I might write could make a difference.

But God has been with me every step of the way. He lifts me up when I’m down and helps me to carry on in spite of my emotions and weaknesses. God’s calling is never about our abilities or qualifications. It’s only and ever about HIM. Sometimes I forget that.

This past year of blogging on Simply. has been a wonderful experience. I’ve learned a lot—about writing and blogging…about myself…about the Lord. And I still have so much to learn and share.

Moving on…to Simply One.

Back in the spring when we learned David wouldn’t be returning to teach in the classroom because of his disability (read post here), we knew God had another plan for us. He doesn’t  keep us on this earth without a purpose. So we prayed. And we waited to see where He would lead us.

And through the course of the last few months, the Lord planted a desire in our hearts to minister to husbands and wives through a new marriage blog. And in September, we launched Simply One. (www.simplyoneinmarriage.com).

After a lot of prayer and seeking the Lord’s direction, I have seen the need to stop writing on Simply. and focus my blogging efforts on Simply One. This will also free up a little time to work on other writing projects that I’ve yet to begin. So (with some sadness) this will be my last post on this website.

I’ll be transferring all the posts from Simply. to the new website, and the dates of the posts will be intact, so they can be accessed through the Search feature or Archives list.

But I’m not through writing. I’ll continue to share what I’m learning about life’s journey with the Lord about once a week—just in a new location. And the joyful part of it is I get to share it with my sweet husband. One in marriage…one in blogging.

Want to take a look at our new blog?  Just click on the image below to go to our homepage. Take a look around. Read our About page. Check out the Free Resources. And read a post or two.


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And if you’ve enjoyed reading Simply., might I ask you to subscribe now to our new website? It’s as simple as clicking the button below and entering your name and email address.

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Thank you for allowing me to share my simple thoughts with you. I pray you’ve been encouraged by the time you’ve spent here. And I hope to connect with you over on Simply One.

Praying the Lord will fill you with peace and joy!

Blessings to you, friends!
Sabra

Scripture from the New International Version of the Bible, 1984.

8 Comments

Filed under Change, Marriage, Moving, New Beginning

Making the Choice

“You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” — Ephesians 4:22-24

How many times have you heard the following words come out of your mouth?

“One of these days, I’m going to…”
“I really ought to…”
“Maybe when ____ is over I’ll get around to…”

I’m afraid they’re like a broken record playing over and over in my head and all too often they come right out my mouth. There’s just so much in my life that needs to change and yet is not getting done.

Unfinished Projects and Needed Change

I have so many projects in my home waiting to be completed. Some have been waiting a long time. Do you have any of those?

Needing to get organized a while back, I bought a beautiful new household binder and started filling it up with notes and planning forms and sheet protectors (because, of course, I wanted it to stay nice). That was…I can’t remember how long ago. I’m not even sure what happened or why I didn’t finish putting it together. And, frankly, I don’t know where that binder is right now. (Sigh.) Needless to say, I still need to get organized.

Then there’s those things that need changing. You know what I’m talking about. Those nagging little monsters like a few extra pounds and pudges around the middle. A closet that’s so chock full of stuff you’re afraid to open the door. The same old drab dinner menus. That crazy schedule!

And changes are not just needed in our physical lives, but our souls also need some transformation work. Maybe we need to spend more time alone with God, praying and studying His Word. Maybe He has revealed something we need to do differently and we’ve yet to take those steps. Maybe we just need to take time to be still and rest in Him.

Ready for Change

God’s Calling Us

Life in Christ is a journey of change. We are called to become more like Him by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us. But we have to be willing to make the effort and work with Him. Ephesians 4:22-24 says: “You were taught with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

God’s will is to transform us to be like Him—righteous and holy. Are we working with Him on this or pushing Him away?

Now, not every change has eternal consequences. Household binders and organized closets won’t be found in God’s Word. But they can be used as tools to help us live a life that reflects the character of God and become more like Him. So while they may seem inconsequential, they can be very beneficial.

Make the Choice to Change

I’m guessing, just like me, you have a list rolling around in your head of things you need to change. So, my friends, what’s stopping us?

There are as many reasons as there are projects, I suppose. But the bottom line is: When it’s not thrust upon us, change is a choice.

We don’t change because we choose to leave things as they are.

Life is busy and things get in the way. We’re distracted by…well, everything. But if you’re like me, there’s at least one needed change nagging at you constantly, hanging like a weight around your neck. You’ve not forgotten about it. It’s always right in front of you. But making it happen will take effort. It may make you uncomfortable. It might even be painful. And so, you try to put it out of your mind and do something else.

The result? Life stays the same. Same problem. Same consequences. Same awful nagging.

You know what? I’m tired of the same.

I’m choosing TODAY to make ONE CHANGE.

There are plenty I could make, to be sure. But I can’t take them all on at once. And as I’ve often heard: The way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time.

So, I’m taking one little bite today. I’m going on a hunt for that household binder and finally finish it. And tomorrow I can start living a little more organized.

Found it! Now to put it all together...

Found it! Now to put it all together…

One nagging monster down. A little less weight hanging around my neck.

Will you join me?

What ONE CHANGE will you choose to make TODAY?

Let’s change our words to say…

 “Today is not going to be the same. Today I am going to…”

Grace and peace,
Sabra

Holy Father, we know there are so many things in our lives that need changing. Give us wisdom, Lord, to know what to change today and to take the steps to make that happen. Thank You for promising us strength and grace to succeed and for your transforming work in our lives. May we become ever more like You in righteousness and holiness. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
 
This post is linked up with these wonderful blogs…
Coffee for Your Heart at www.HolleyGerth.com.
Woman2Woman at www.MeredithBernard.com
Click on the link to read more encouragement from other bloggers.
 
Scripture is from New International Version of the Bible, 1984.
Images by Sabra Penley.

18 Comments

Filed under Change, Deny Self, God's Works, New Beginning, Transforming, Work

Do You Have a Blessing Room?

“Above all, love each other deeply…. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” – 1 Peter 4:8-10
 

Have you ever had your heart set on something and faced giving it up for the sake of someone else? It’s not easy, that’s for sure. Even if you choose to show love to another person by sacrificing what you desire, you can still struggle with self-pity and grumble in your heart. You might feel pulled in different directions—joy in giving and sadness in giving up—a feeling hard to shake.

Hard to Give It Up

I dealt with this feeling recently. Our son was leaving home for graduate school and his bedroom would soon be empty. What would we do with it? Without giving it much thought, I just named it and claimed it—it was going to be MY writing space. My refuge—my quiet place to read, study, and write.

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But I forgot God often has other plans. And so He did with this room.

Our sweet daughter asked if she could move back home until her wedding in May.  And, of course, we said yes. Just as we have enjoyed our son being home for a year after college, we will enjoy our daughter being with us these last months before she marries and settles in a home with her new husband.

And while excited to spend more time with her, my heart struggled to let go of MY writing space. Lord, this was supposed to be my quiet place, I whined. But God didn’t let me get away with grumbling and self-pity.

He showed me His plan. He gently whispered, “This isn’t meant to be YOUR room. This is meant to be a blessing room. Right now and always.”

A Blessing Room!

I never saw it that way before. And no wonder! My heart was so filled with a room for myself I couldn’t see a room for blessing anyone else.

When our hearts see only from the desire of our eyes, we cannot see God’s perspective and are blind to His blessings.

The Blessing Room

Asking the Lord’s forgiveness, I started to see this room with His eyes, and the excitement inside me grew. As I recognized the beauty of its purpose, all those negative feelings melted away and turned to pure joy.

A blessing room is a place of love, generosity, and hospitality. A place to bless all who enter.

This room will be a blessing…

                …for our daughter to live in until she marries.

                …for us to spend more time with her now.

                …as a guest room for visitors later on.

                …as a quiet place for study and writing when empty.

Who knows all the ways God will use it in the future.

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But here is the key. It is God’s room. It is to be used for His purposes. And He desires to bless everyone through it.

It’s the same with our hearts. They belong to God and He has created us to bless others with all the blessings He has given us.

When you make room in your heart for others, your heart itself becomes a blessing room. Always open, always giving, always full of love and grace.

And that’s the heart of God, isn’t it?

Bless All Who Enter

How to Let Go and Fully Give

So when we’re faced with those unwanted feelings that wreak of self, let’s take them captive and confess them before the Lord. He will whisper just what we need to hear to see our situation from His perspective and guide us to a new understanding. And as we surrender, our hearts will be filled with joy and peace and open to pour out God’s abundant blessings.

Do you have a blessing room?

Dearest Father, how we need to see Your perspective on every part of our lives. Reveal to us where our hearts are closed to loving others. Help us to open our hearts to You fully so we may shower Your love and grace on all those around us and be the blessing You created us to be. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Blessings to you,
Sabra
 
 
All Scripture from New International Version, 1984.
Images by Sabra Penley.
 
Linking up with my friends today on these wonderful blogs…
 
 

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Filed under Attitude, Blessing, Change, Deny Self, Doing Good, Giving, God's Purpose, Grace, Joy, Love, Sacrifice, Self

Don’t Wait Too Long

Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. – Psalm 90:12

 

How could I have lost sight of it? That life can change in the blink of an eye. One moment all seems well. The next? Something breaks your heart and sends you reeling.

He was fine. Nothing out of the ordinary–his usual begging, whining, ploys for attention. How did we not notice?

He behaved a little strangely at first–laying in places and ways he never did before, his constant down and up, being away from where we were. But he suddenly plopped down, and I knew. Something was really wrong.

When I saw his almost lifeless body as my son picked him up and placed him in the car, I knew in my heart we would be coming home without him.

Jerry 001 - Copy

He was just a dog…I know. But he was so much more to us. A faithful companion—a part of the family—for twelve years.

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As I tried to process what had suddenly happened, it struck me hard that we never took him walking on that trail we talked about. And now we never would. And as I looked through his photos, why were there so few of him with us? We had a lot of him alone, but where were the photos of our family with him? It was too late now.

Yes, in the blink of an eye, life can change forever. 

And when faced with that change, as we try to wrap our heads around what just happened, we think of things we wish we had done. Maybe things we had planned…maybe things we thought about doing…maybe a conversation we’d been putting off. But the reality sets in that we will never be able to do them now.

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Oh, how God is working to teach me this lesson! My Dad’s death, my husband’s life-changing illness, and now my sweet dog, Jerr-Bear. Somehow I keep forgetting.

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Psalm 90:12 says, “Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.”

We never know how much time we have with the ones we love. So let’s determine to do those things that are important now and not put them off for another day. Another day may not come.

God’s Word tells us that there is a season for everything (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). But we don’t know how long those seasons will last. That is for God alone to know. We must, therefore, strive to live each day to the fullest and always let others know how much we love them.

Don't wait too long to do what's

So spend time together. Take those pictures. Have that conversation.

Don’t wait too long…do what’s important while there is still time. For we don’t know how many days we have.

Sovereign Lord, thank You for the time You give us with those we love. Help us to cherish every precious moment. Give us wisdom to do what’s important with them now, while they are still with us, for only You know what the future holds. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

Scripture from The Holy Bible, New International Version, 1984.
Images by Sabra Penley.

10 Comments

Filed under Change, Enjoy Life, Expectation, God's Timing, Lessons, Love, Relationships

When God Says “No”

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

What do you do when God says “no”?

What do you do when those prayers you’ve been lifting up finally receive an answer, and it isn’t what you had hoped? When the “no” comes at the end of heart-felt prayer about the very thing that makes your heart sing? Your work? Your health? Your relationships? Your passion? Your dream? What do you do when you hear “no”?

 

Three days ago, we received a “no” from God. In that moment, a prayer that has been ongoing for fourteen months came to an end. And I can’t help feeling a dream has died.

You see, my husband is a minister. For ten years he served as a pastor and has been a seminary professor for the last sixteen. Last year, a severe illness left him with a disability of several things needed for this calling. We long ago realized preaching was probably not going to be in David’s future. But the dream of teaching once again in a seminary classroom stayed strong in our hearts. We thought, “Just maybe….” While we knew it was possible that might never happen, we held out hope and lifted up prayers.

Receiving this sad news has, for a moment, taken the wind out of our sails. But just for a moment. For in the quiet stillness of a life slowed, we cry out to God all the more. Through our tears…through our fears.

What does a preacher/professor do with impaired speech, troublesome motor skills, and weakened memory? We don’t know. But of one thing we are sure–God knows. He knows it all. And as the quote above from Jeremiah 29:11 states, this is all a part of His plan. He isn’t surprised by any of it. And it is all in His control. What great peace this knowledge brings!

no wind, no sails

 

My husband’s new weaknesses have halted this part of our journey–that of actively teaching at the seminary, but these same weaknesses are preparing him for another part–one not yet known to us. God is transforming my husband–indeed, both of us–for our next assignment. And in His time, God will breathe new wind into our sails to move us in a new direction. He will place in our hearts a new dream. The dream that is necessary to compel us onward toward God’s new work…a work in keeping with this season in our life.

We may seem to be drifting at this point, but we are in fact still serving, still moving forward with God’s ultimate purpose–for us to bring Him glory in all we do.

sailing forth

 

Our inability to see where this is leading is okay, because God is always with us as our constant companion and guide. As long as we keep our focus on Him and follow where He leads us each day, we will be moving in the right direction.

And one morning, when the time Is right, God will open our eyes to see where He is leading us. We’ll see a new dream on the horizon.

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For now, our mission is the same as that of every believer–to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds…and to love our neighbors with the love the Lord has shown to us. That is true no matter the calling, no matter the gifting, no matter the location or health or life situation. This is the Lord’s will for us–to bring Him glory in everything.

So when God says “no” in answer to a specific prayer request, I will give Him praise. For He has heard my prayer and answered. And He is leading us on to something else–another part of this great adventure.

When God says “no,” it can feel like the death of a dream. But in reality, it is simply the birth of something new.

I love these words from Isaiah 43:18-19: 

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.

And so we work in the waiting. Waiting in expectation for this something new.

Trusting God…rejoicing always…praying continually…and being ever thankful.

For when God says “no,” He isn’t leaving you without. He is simply saying “I’ve got something else for you.”

In Christ’s love,
Sabra
 
 
All Scripture from NI84.

Images:
"Ships that pass by..." by Gopal Vijayaraghavan via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
"Tucker Thompson sailing ship" by Jakob Steinschaden via flickr
     (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
"View from the bowsprit" by savagecat via flickr (CC BY 2.0)
Morning Horizon by Sabra Penley

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Filed under Change, Expectation, Faith, God's Purpose, God's Timing, God's Works, Hope, Joy, New Beginning, Peace, Prayer, Thankfulness, Transforming, Trust, Waiting