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My Faith & Transformation Journey

Life is Not a Hallmark Movie

Every year I get hooked on Hallmark Channel Christmas movies. I love the ones where the Christmas spirit changes a person’s heart and everyone lives happily ever after. Ok, I admit, I especially love the movies where the star says they will never love again because somewhere along the way their heart was broken. And yet, in a few brief days (TV hours) they meet the perfect person and find love again—and live happily ever after. Healing and moving forward happens quickly in these movies. Lives are fixed and tied up in a neat bow in record time.

Unfortunately, life isn’t a Hallmark movie. Healing our wounded hearts and souls usually requires more than a few nicely placed words of encouragement. For some of us, healing may take years of counseling and support from family and friends before we see a breakthrough. For others, full healing never really comes. For some of us it may be years after we were hurt that we are even willing to acknowledge our hurt. We hang on for dear life, put on a Sunday smile, and make believe that all is well. Before we can have a healthy relationship, we need to be healthy ourselves through that process we will better understand what we are looking for in a life-long relationship with another.

I think that we are all seeking purpose in our lives and most of us are hoping to share that purposeful life with another person. It doesn’t matter if we are young and seeking our first romance or trying to get over our first love. It doesn’t matter if we have lived long and divorced or lost a spouse to illness or an accident. It doesn’t matter if we have never had a true loving relationship and don’t know what that looks like. We as humans seek relationship with others and most of us are looking for that person who shares our passions and will support us in fulfilling our dreams.

So how do you have your Hallmark moment? I suggest you start by praying about what God wants for you today and in the future. Seek out a counselor, spiritual director, or life coach who can help you discern what that is for you. If there are hurts that need healing—seek healing first. Then build your life around your purpose. Be where like-minded people are likely to be. Volunteer where your gifts can be used and meet other people who are using their gifts in a similar way. Turn off the movie, get off the couch, and head out the door.

Will you find your life partner there? I don’t know. I can tell you that if you truly seek God’s call on your life and you put your energy into areas that support your life mission; you will find people with whom you can share your life. You see, it may not be about finding the perfect partner but about finding the best way to live your life and finding people who support you on that journey. And maybe, just maybe, you will cross paths with the person of your dreams and maybe, given time, you will find your Hallmark ending.

“Trust in the Lord and do good. Then you will live in the land and enjoy its food. Find your delight in the Lord. Then he will give you everything your heart really wants. Psalm 37:3-4

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My Faith & Transformation Journey

Obedience

In a coaching session today I was asked how it felt to be obedient to God’s will and call on my life. I had to stop and think about what it felt like when I was calling the shots and making believe that God supported my decisions. I can tell you that today feels a whole lot better than back then.

The Psalmist wrote “When I learn your righteous laws, I will thank you by living as I should! I will obey your principals. Please don’t give up on me!” (Psalm 119:7-8 NLT)

I had to come to a point of willingness to learn how God wants us to live and then accept that his plan is so much better than my plan. My plan had me jumping from one relationship to another. My plan had me spending money I didn’t have to have what I didn’t need. My plan had me making up the rules as I went to justify a destructive, or at least unproductive, behavior.

I have redesigned my value system to one that more closely aligns with the one that Jesus spelled out for us. I say ‘more closely’ because I am still working to transform my life. I am still seeking a better understanding of the words I read and how to apply them to the way I live. Today I find my wisdom in the Bible and I lean on people who are examples of a God-driven life for inspiration. Today I am willing to obey—or to hear—what God has said is a better way. It is the choice I make every day when tempted to go my own way. I am not perfect and there are days I think I have wondered far off the path. The difference today is I am willing to seek a way back. I am willing to ask for forgiveness and I am willing to make changes. And more importantly, he never gives up on me!!

So how does it feel to be obedient? GREAT! FREE! BLESSED! ALIVE!

It is an exciting life to seek the face of God and to live in his will. How about you—are you willing to find a new joy in your life by setting aside your self will and accepting God’s will?

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My Faith & Transformation Journey

Slowly Transformed

Walking in the zoo the other day, I saw this tree that was beginning to turn into autumn colors. Way at the top, just a hint of red was showing through. It was surrounded by other tress that were already fully converted to fall and full of red and bright orange leaves. And there were trees around it that remained a stubborn green. And I thought; “isn’t that like us—some just starting to transform, some well on our way, and some who are holding back?”

My transformation journey took me to a few key passages in the Bible which I cling to as my inspiration to change. One is Psalm 25 and the other influential passage on my life is Romans 12:2. I heard it at a youth conference and was so moved that it became my mantra and one I often share with others to encourage them. “Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will know what God wants you to do, and you will know how good and pleasing and perfect his will really is.” (NLT)

Every time I read this passage I am reminded that God wants me to be and do more with my life than what I was and am doing. Every day he wants me to move forward and a little closer to his image. I learned here that God could change me in ways I could never change myself. He could break the bonds to hurtful times in my life and set me on a new path unlike any I was living. He could fulfil my “if only” dreams of a better life. But it had to begin by changing the way I think, or maybe enriching the way I think.

Yesterday I began a list of things I wish I did differently. I wish I gossiped less and complained about people less. I wish I was fully doing what I believe God has called me to do. I wish I could forgive quicker and show mercy faster. I wish I was doing a better job with managing my finances. I wish I gave more time and money to others. I wish I could lose these 50 extra pounds of unhealthy living. I wish I was fully living out God’s purpose for my life.

And then I looked at the things I am good at and the things I have accomplished. I feel loved when I never trusted love. I am better at seeing people as God sees them and not judging them. I am not hiding relationships that I should not be a part of. I have time I never had to change the things above and to answer God’s call. I am being honest about my financial situation and have a plan forward. I am eating healthier and losing a little weight at a time. I have a strong rich spiritual life and an unshakeable faith. I know what God wants from me and I have put one foot forward to get where I’m going. I am happy. I am content. I have real joy.

These things came slowly. Just like the slowly changing tree, I am making progress on my wish list. And some of the things I started to change a few years ago are now full blown and bright spots in my life. And yes, I am still probably digging my heels in on some things—but God will get me on them when he is ready for me to get on them.

Transformation—a process forward. What inspires you to change? What motivates you to take the first step? Where are you heading and how are you getting there? I would love to hear your story and weave it into my God-story. Please share your ideas below.

Blessings,

Maggie M.
© maggiemarcum.com

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A Psalm 25 Study for Personal Transformation My Faith & Transformation Journey

Seeing the Right Path

I think we all have times in our lives when no matter what we do we just can’t seem to find the right fit or we think we are stuck in some life situation and we will never find our way out. Fear sets in. Despair takes over. A dark cloud seems to be our only friend. No matter what we do; we just can’t find the right direction to head and all we do seems for naught. We may see the future but something seems to be in the way of getting to it.

Finding the way out can be difficult. We hear that God is “fair and just” and “does what is right” for us, yet we struggle to believe those words apply to us. And yet, if we can take the first step forward, we might come to believe that God will lead us step-by-step in a new direction and place us back on the path of success.

It is helpful if we can develop an attitude of moving toward something rather than away from something. Ask yourself what it is that you love to do and what makes you smile when you think about it. Develop an image of what you would look like if all the pieces fell in place and you were where you would like to be. Now walk back from that ideal situation and ask yourself how you got to that place. Write the story of your success all the way back to where you are today. What steps did it take to reach your goal? Which people did you need to stop listening to? Did you need to go to school? Did you need to network with others in the field? Did you need to stop doing something so you had time to focus on your goal? What did you need to do first?

This method may seem unrealistic to you, but if you have a dream that you have been holding in your heart and not acting on, it may be that God placed that dream in your heart and is waiting for you to take the first step on the path. You may need to take a risk and step forward in a way you have never done before. I am doing that today. I know where God wants me—I have seen the end goal—and today I am taking the first step by writing this blog and getting a new degree to support me.

There is a path for you. God is with you. He will lead you there if you spend some time in prayer with him. Ask someone you trust to help you sort out your journey. Find a spiritual guide or a coach that can help you learn how to see God’s plan for you. Start today by taking one small step, even if that step is just getting out of bed or turning the TV off!!

“The Lord is god and does what is right; he shows the proper path to those who go astray. He leads the humble in what is right, teaching them his way.”
Psalm 25: 8-9

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Poetry

Finding a New Path

Humbly I come to you, having lost my way.
Wanting your forgiveness for my pride;
I sought my way and stumbled on the path.

Your words call out to me, pulling me back.
Yet I hold on to that which I know;
Hoping you will follow my lead and direction.

My plan has gone astray, the door has closed.
I have no choice but to surrender my will;
I’m left to accept that you have a new plan.

Where now shall I go amidst this turmoil?
How do I trust this new plan you have,
When I can’t yet see the light ahead?

How, O Lord, do I trust you when I have failed?
How, O Lord, do I trust me?
How do I even start anew?

And yet trust I do, as I cry out for your direction.
I breathe in all I know of you and wait;
I wait to hear your calming reassurance.

I wait to take the next step, leaning on you.
I wait; and then I slowly step forward,
Trusting you to open a new door,
Leading me into a new life.

A new path emerges and I see you in it.
All that is good has come from this my journey of change.
Protected Ransomed Refreshed Regenerated

© maggiemarcum.com

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My Faith & Transformation Journey

Inspire Monday

At church we have been talking a lot about sharing our faith and how best to do that. The thought of talking to someone we don’t know about Jesus can be pretty intimidating. This morning as I was reading my devotionals I remembered just how grateful I am for all the changes in my life that are the result of my faith in a power greater than myself. That is what inspires me to share so that others will know they too can have a different life, one that has new freedom and purpose.

I was, and still am, a slow learner. I can also be strong willed and self righteous about the way I live. Thankfully God is patient with me. For years he put me in the right place to hear what I needed to hear. He sent messengers and messages over and over, and waited and waited for me to take the wax out of my ears and respond. Little by little he took my “poor little me” attitude and changed it to an optimist who couldn’t believe the doors that opened for her. Ever so slowly he prepared me to let go of negative behaviors and to accept a better more peaceful life.

Be inspired today by the world and people around you. Watch to see where God is speaking to you; where he is showing you the possibilities for your life. Watch the person who is content and happy in their lives and ask them what inspires them. Take a minute to pick out an app with a devotional and let the words you read inspire you to transform your life. Do it today, don’t wait any longer.

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling about me everywhere… Acts 1:8

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My Faith & Transformation Journey

Timing

I admit it—I’m a rusher. I want what I want when I want it and I have been known to manipulate the situation to get what I want. Did you catch that? I said “what I WANT;” This attitude has caused such pain in my life. I never asked if this was what God wanted for me. And even when I knew it was not what God would want—I did it anyway. Or worse yet, I convinced myself that no matter how wrong I knew it was, surely God would make it right for me!

This was especially true with relationships. I was always looking for better, or maybe just different. I could not stand the idea of being alone. So I was willing to do what I needed to have the relationship I thought I needed. I wasn’t willing to wait on God’s timing for me. The end result for me was three marriages and countless affairs in and out of those marriages. Nothing seemed to make me happy so I kept looking and manipulating. And then one day I said: “enough” and God said: “finally!”

I learned that the most important relationship I could have was with Jesus. Coming to know him by reading the Bible and talking with others about his love for me changed everything. Suddenly God was enough. He filled my life with wonderful new relationships—with other women. I can sit here today and breathe in his love and look at the change in my life and I am overwhelmed to tears. I am no longer hunting for the next husband or lover. I am content and trusting that if God wants that in my life I will know it is time. For today, I do my best to be available for all the good relationships God places in my life. It is so much easier when I take my hands off and trust God’s timetable for my life.

So when the apostles were with Jesus, they kept asking him, ‘Lord, has the time come for you to free Israel and restore our kingdom?’ He replied, ‘Father alone has the authority to set those dates and time, and they are not for you to know.’
Acts 1: 6-7, New Living Translation