Full Circle

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

It starts…

If you’ve been reading here for a while, you might know some of this, but for those of you who haven’t here’s a short recap. Years ago, I worked for a different company, and was brought from the shop floor into a desk job (which never happens there), and I got the incredible opportunity to work with a woman who would become one of my best friends. She was also my mentor, she had 30 years in the industry, and I was going to school online at night, and then would come in during the day, and we would discuss various aspects of business, and she would teach me everything she knew about the work that we did. Sadly, this company that I worked for, didn’t have the best culture, so I finally decided that this is not where I wanted to spend my career. I moved into another position at a different company, but in a short time, found out that this one wasn’t going to work either. I ended up starting back at the bottom, at another local company, but this one had a GREAT culture, and I loved the company. I also just felt like I needed some time to sort my life out, since leaving the second company had been a rough and eye-opening experience. While I thought I was sorting things out, I thought part of my solution was taking me far away from here, but #Godshowedup 3 days before we were going to start making real moves to start looking into other places to live, and gave me an incredible dream job opportunity at the same company where I was starting over from the ground up. You can read more about this here: Plans, Plans, Plans.

So, I’ve been in this crazy, incredible job for the past four years. And, it’s been great, I’ve loved it! I’ve been so busy enjoying my job, I never really had a chance to stop and look around me. My one coworker states that this job moves so quickly it’s like trying to catch a freight train on foot. It’s fast-paced, high stress, and you’re so busy all the time, you hardly have a moment to catch your breath. But, I’ve enjoyed it! I always would joke with people, that I forget that they pay me to do this sometimes, then someone walks in and hands me a paycheck, and I’m like, “Oh yeah, this is how I pay my bills!” I mean, that’s the goal, right? But, you know, there was always something that I had in the back of my mind. I used to have a desk, and wear professional clothes, and I have a degree, and…..But, oh well. I knew God was doing stuff. And, I just had to trust that he had the big picture sorted out. I had no idea what that looked like. Well, then a couple months ago, right before my Christmas miracle, someone within the company asked me to apply for a job coming open. And, I thought, here it is! This is more along my career path, here we go! So, I applied, and got through 2nd interview…. and they picked the other candidate. Oh, I was frustrated, but I also reminded myself that God knows what he’s doing, and that must not have been what he was doing, but it did make me start thinking about other opportunities again. And, low and behold, within the last 30 days, another position opened up. And, this one, again, was along my career path, was what I was working on achieving with my mentor. Here we go! So, again, I applied, made it through 2nd interview….and I GOT IT!!! But, if the other person had specifically asked me to apply for the one a couple months ago, I wouldn’t have taken the time to realize I was ready for something else.<— See how God used that?

#Godshowedup

And, this job, is WAY better, way more prestigious, and it solves all my money issues, which has been a general theme for a few of my posts. Plus, I feel like it’s a sort of reward, definitely a blessing. I started tithing when money was tight, now, I’m going to really start making some waves! I stayed true, thanked God for his mercy and grace, and knew that he had the bigger plan sorted out. When I was asked, in the second interview, what kinds of things do I do for self improvement outside of work, I mentioned my blog and told them it was about my faith. I mean, Holy Ghost! I felt like that was a big step out in faith moment – here I am with two directors and my new boss, and I’m like, “well, I’ve picked up sewing and made some neat things. And, I’ve started a blog about my faith, that’s been interesting and rewarding, and I’ve started a ladies bible study, and I’m working on helping people prepare with missions, and I help out with my son’s ……” etc. Three of the four things I listed first though, were about my building my faith and relationship with our Lord and Savior. And, man, did God show up?!?!

Also, funny side note. On the day that I’m waiting for an answer (because I was supposed to know whether or not I got the job a few days ago, but some stuff happened that delayed things.) I was having a terrible day. I was doing my job by myself, work was crazy because of some things happening from all this wild weather, I had several tasks to complete in a short amount of time…. I mean, it was all just kind of a hot mess, and so was I. But, I got everything done, and I’m clocking out for the day (which on this day is noon). So, I go to get some lunch for my family and myself and even that’s a hot mess. I mean, I just cannot win. Everything is just not happening today. But, I’m trying for all I’m worth to stay cool. I had just recently had a really terrible day, and God helped me through it, so SAME GOD today as the other day. I’ll be alright. I get home with the food, and they get MY order wrong. My husband and my son, theirs is fine, but mine, all sorts of messed up, and I REALLY wanted my food, they could’ve cared less. UGH! But, I was also reminded of a blog I had read a while back, where the girl had discussed Elijah yelling at God and complaining how everything was wrong and messed up (1 Kings 19:5). And, God was like, here’s some food… and why don’t you take a nap? And, we should all remember to never underestimate the power of food and a nap. So, that’s exactly what I did. I ate my messed up order, and I took a nap. And, when I woke up, I had just missed a call from my soon-to-be new boss. So, I shook off the sleep, and called him back. And, he offered me the job. #Godshowedup Nothing about my day seemed nearly as bad when I woke up, even before I called him back to find out things were about to change forever 🙂

So although this story is just a few short paragraphs, from beginning to now, is over 7 years of my life. 7 years of trusting that God knows what’s up, and I’m just trusting him to show me what I’m doing. And, this is just the work part, the other parts of my blog discuss the personal battles that have happened in between those 7 years. The constant refining and removing and shifting that God has been working at to help get me where I am. All those things are working together to help me get to where I’m going. And, although I have no idea what the future has for me, I’m only 30. I mean, if this is where I’m at now, I know that God has got some serious stuff going on and big plans for my life. I know, that if I just continue to trust him, and let him make my path straight, it’s all going to work out. There were plenty of times where I couldn’t see the forest through the trees, but now, hind-sight is 20/20.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, Thank You for your blessings. Thank you for always having things figured out for us. Thank you for your faith in us, and our faith in you. That we always be drawn closer to you. That we may follow in the footsteps you make for us. That we may have the great peace that surpasses all understanding because our thoughts are not your thoughts and you have great thoughts about us that we cannot comprehend. That the blessings you wish to pour out upon us are more than enough, greater than anything we could ever imagine. That you are the great and mighty Father who loves his children dearly and wishes only the best for us. That you are the Beginning and the End, and that you are there before we get there. That we can walk in faith because you know where we’re going, like a parent guiding a child, holding our hands through the turmoil, and picking us up and carrying us through when we need it. That you are the great and mighty God who ensures our future and leads us in the way to it. Thank you God for all that you are, and all that you are making us to be. IN JESUS’ NAME!!! AMEN!!

Little help?


32 But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 (NIV)

Sifting you as wheat

So, these past few weeks, I’ve been sharing about some difficult times in my life, and how I’ve handled them. I’ve been wondering how the Lord was going to bring this all together, how is he once again going to use these things for good? And, low and behold, on Wednesday night at church, here was this verse.

“But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 (NIV)

The Holy Spirit said, “Here it is.”

Some context here, in case you don’t know where this is at in the story of Jesus. They had all just shared the last supper together, and Jesus was telling everyone about the fact that he was about to be betrayed, and betrayed, and the disciples were going to fail, but that everything was going to work out. And, his faithful Simon Peter, declares that he would follow Jesus to prison or death, but we know better don’t we? Just a little further, in the same chapter, less than 24 hours after it’s been decreed, Simon does denounce our Savior, not once, but three times, just as Jesus said.

And, that was it. Jesus wrote Simon Peter off. No forgiveness here….? I’m kidding. Jesus gave him the reassuring words, that he had prayed for him. Jesus knew Satan was going to sift him like wheat. It bothers me a little that they translated this word to “sifted” in the Bible. Have you seen wheat get “sifted”? It’s not like sifting powdered sugar, it’s this whole tumultuous ordeal! It’s a process, it doesn’t look the same AT ALL! It’s not gentle, it’s not slight, it’s not a soft, cute thing whatsoever! So, I really feel like that gets downplayed here. Jesus tells Simon, that the devil is about to mess you up! And, it happens, doesn’t it? Just like it happens with us. We get tossed over, stirred up, shaken, and we don’t look anything like we did before. But, Jesus has prayed for us too. Don’t lose faith. He has prayed because he knew Satan was going to “sift” us.

The Bible tells us repeatedly that we are going to go through trials and tribulations, but don’t lose heart, for God is the Victor. And, here I’ve been sharing my stories with you, to let you know, I’m still here, because God’s got my back. Because, I put my Faith in Him. The winner of life. A couple years ago, around the time that the Year of Great Loss, was just getting started, I had an epiphany moment. I realized that older people were really chill, for the most part. If you think about it, they’re pretty laid back, aren’t they? They don’t really get ruffled over much. Because, they’ve lived it. Whatever you’re going through, they’ve been there, done that. And, they’re still here. And, they’re the people that we turn to when life is happening, for their wisdom, experience, for guidance, which is good, that’s something we should be doing. But, we often forget another tool at our fingertips. The Bible! Here is Simon Peter, getting ready to go through the wringer, but Jesus reassures him, I have prayed for you, that you keep the Faith, and then strengthen your brethren. Just as we are supposed to do. We are supposed to use the things in our lives to help others understand that they are not alone, and to help them know that they can get through anything, if they just turn to God. That’s how we’re getting through all of this stuff! We lean on the Victor, turn it over to Jesus, who has overcome the world, so that we might also overcome it. And, something that I think is also incredibly powerful, Jesus prays for us.

Prayer

Let’s take this into consideration. When people unload stuff on us, we tell them, “I’ll pray for you.” Why? Because, it’s really the most powerful thing we can do. We tell God about the issue, and then we ask for Him to put his mighty hand upon it – and bless it, comfort it, exalt it. No matter what we do to help the situation, God can do more. Whatever we have in mind for the person, God has more. We turn these things over to Him, because he knows best. And, think about it, Jesus is praying for us. Jesus prayed for his disciples, and continues to pray for them- because we are now his disciples. He’s up there, praying for you, praying for your struggle, praying for your needs, praying that you may keep the Faith, and strengthen your brethren. This concept of Jesus praying for us, was shared at church a while back, and has been so comforting and encouraging to me. To simply remember that Jesus is praying for me. ❤ My Lord and Savior is praying for me. Wanting good things for me, praying that I keep the Faith, wanting me to strengthen all of you. To encourage you. To comfort you. To tell you that Jesus has got you! He loves you, and he’s here for you, that you may not lose the Faith.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray for these people. I pray for everyone that needs to be lifted up. I pray for your comfort and blessing on their lives. I pray that you watch over them, and guide them. I pray that they remember that they are on the same team as the God who has RAISED PEOPLE FROM THE DEAD! That they are with the God who has THAT power, that strength, that righteousness. That you are the God of MORE THAN ENOUGH! That nothing is impossible for you, God. And that we may all keep the Faith! And that you may give us the wisdom and assurance to share our testimonies with others, that we may show others YOUR way. That they may understand what a Great and Loving and ALL POWERFUL God you are. I pray, that they lean upon you, and find rest in your arms. That we may all be victors with you, Father. That your windows open up to pour out blessings upon us. That may we all remember that You are there for us, and Jesus is praying for us, and that our lives are in your hands, that you may bless us and keep us safe that we may do your will all the days of our lives. In JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!

The Year of Great Loss

Taking your own advice

So, I’ve been doing this blog for a while now, and have found it so incredible, how many times, I’ve needed to read my own blog. Like, while my kid was having his outbreak, and I was stressing out, my mom said, “Go read your blog.” (which was this post.) Or, there have been a few times where I just read it, and I pull a little piece of insight that I didn’t have before. It’s been quite the incredible little item of retrospection. And, we all need to do that sometimes don’t we? Take a moment to listen to ourselves, and maybe even let the Holy Spirit help you pick up on some additional insight that you didn’t realize you needed or already had.

So, I said a couple weeks ago, I was going to be sharing about some major life events that would never leave me the same. My biggest and most recent one, was “The Year of Great Loss.” Sometimes when my husband and I go through major life events or stories that we’ll never forget, we give them nicknames. This is a snapshot of what happened to us in 2017. I don’t feel like dragging the story out because a lot of it was Satan, but after I handed it over to God, he’s used it all for good.

The Year of Great Loss

December 2016: my friend is falsely jailed for a crime they didn’t commit

January 2017: My landlord sold our house out from under us. And, the person he sold it to, is a Scrooge.

February (All in 2017): my friend’s wife moves in because he’s in jail until the trial and she needs help; my husband’s grandpa passed

March: friend gets let out on bail, but isn’t allowed to move in with us, wife has to move out

April: life long friend is hospitalized for alcoholism, we inherit the dog, who is very sick (eye infection, skin infection, and some cancer)

May: friend from alcoholism passes, another friend moves in because he moved from far away & needs help (and is suffering from health problems), we continue to try to help the dog-they won’t operate on the cancer until the other problems clear-up

June: finally get the dog “ok” for surgery

July: full of family birthdays (good stress <3)

August: serious fighting with some of our live-in friends and family members, also was notified that our house is going to get demolished – we have 45 days to move out, trial for my friend begins, the wife that lived with us – her dad passes

September: my uncle’s house burned down, he’s in the ICU with his whole family, we’re packing and moving into another house, my friend is found guilty for a crime he didn’t commit

October: we find out the house we just moved into is owned by a crazy person who now tries to triple the rent, my uncle is working on getting out of ICU – everyone else has been released, we find a new place (we have just moved an entire house worth of stuff twice, in less than 30 days), both roommates move out when we do

November: my uncle is finally released from ICU, and my dad passes away from a massive heart attack

I don’t remember much after that.

I literally got to a point during all this, where if I wasn’t keeping you in the loop, I just didn’t even bother trying to explain what was happening. I had a few people tell me that I reminded them of Job. And, the best part of that, is that Job got everything back twice-over. Now, I will say, some of that you really can’t get back – losing loved ones, but in the aftermath of losing loved ones, you really change your perspective on life. That was probably one of the bigger benefits of all this. Also, when I’m looking back on it, I realized, that just a little before EVERYTHING started, I really started praying. Like really praying. Down on my hands and knees, worshiping God for his greatness, being thankful for everything, and praying for others and myself, for more than 3 minutes, sometimes I would lose track of time I was praying so long. And, as Ephesians 6:12 says: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (ESV)

Somewhere around August, between fighting with friends, and getting told that we needed to move out, Satan showed his hand. I had this epiphany moment, where I realized that there was no way that all of this was coincidence. That Satan didn’t like what I was up to, and where I was going in my life, and began to take me down a notch (or five :P). Which only caused me to double-down for a while there. And, as you can see between August and November – it only climaxed into a whirlwind of madness, because Satan and I both knew who we were dealing with. And, then I believe that God stepped in, and took my dad home, and said, “Enough”. Because everything stopped after that. And, it was exactly what our entire family needed to begin healing, to put things in perspective, to draw us closer to Him. I couldn’t have made it through that year without God.

He’s used a lot of those things for good.

The dog needed someone who could care for her, so she ended up with us, and we got her back to being all better, cancer-free and able to live out a few more years. The house we lived in originally, wasn’t the best, and with the weather we’ve had this year, we would probably be suffering for it. My husband and I finally moved into a house that doesn’t allow roommates, which had been a big part of our lives for almost 15 years. We always lived in places that had an “extra” room, and it always seemed to be filled with someone in need. But, God finally closed that chapter of our lives, which has allowed the two of us to grow closer again. My friend who is still falsely imprisoned right now, has started a ministry within the prison, and using this to glorify God. His wife stays strong in the Faith, and helps keep people updated out here, and also shares his ministry information with us – we continue to fight the charges – more info another time here. My uncle’s house burned down, and he was released just in time to be here with us when my dad passed. He’s also been on a journey since then of adjustment and a self-discovery of sorts. And, although it was and is hard, my dad passing has allowed much of my family to grow closer to each other, and to God. We stepped into new roles, we’ve taken on different responsibilities, and we’ve grown as people and as followers in Christ, which is exactly the kind of legacy my dad would want. So, although, 2017 was a Year of Great Loss, it’s been gain since. Just as God promises. Satan tried to take me down, to steal, kill, and destroy. But, when I leaned on God, he lifted me up with his mighty right hand. (Isaiah 41:10) And, currently, I feel like I’m winning life. (Luke 21:19) Which is a far cry from just 2 years ago.

Now, I hope you all know that I didn’t share this story to gain pity, but to encourage you. Although our circumstances are different, God will help you win. It’s a promise. He is the Victor. And he wants us to have the Victory. No matter how big your problems seem, God’s handled them all before, you just need to let him. Also, always remember who you’re fighting. You’re not fighting a diagnosis, or a coworker, or a family member, or a circumstance, you’re fighting Satan. But, we’re on the winning team, we just have to remember that.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, you are amazing. You are our Victor. You are our strength, encouragement, and comforter. You are everything we could ever need. May your blessings pour out upon us. May your face shine upon us, and may we find ourselves always in your arms. Help us to grow our Faith, that we may recognize Satan’s attacks for what they are, and let you handle them. That you use everything in our lives for your good. That you equip us for these battles, that you help us keep our hearts and eyes focused on you. That you give us your supernatural strength and wisdom to win at life. That we may be servants that make you proud. That we can share our testimonies with those around us, to encourage them and give them strength and understanding to win their battles. May we do this all for your glory and honor. In JESUS’ NAME. AMEN!!

Life

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10 (NIV)

Life Happens

Amen. Life happens. I’m preaching to the choir, right? Life happens to all of us, we’re living it. Some days are better than others, some days are so bombarded with stuff, it almost seems unimaginable that we’re still here. But, in these moments, I’m reminded of how we are supposed to be handling these things. We’re supposed to be turning them over to God, and letting him handle it. Asking him to lift us up with his righteous right hand. To not be dismayed or discouraged. He is our God, and he will prevail. He is the victor. And, through Him, so are we.

I just went through a rough season, my entire month of February was a wreck. Like, freight train. First, my son got the flu, then my husband, then myself. Only, my son got a fever and some gut rot deal, my husband had a fever for 5 days and pretty much slept the whole time. And, I got some sort of stomach flu deal, that made it impossible for me to keep anything inside me. Day 3 of my flu, I had become so dehydrated, that I required medical attention. I woke up as soon as the clinic opened and told them that I needed to get in ASAP. They could see me within the hour. Amazing. I opened up my front door, blizzard. I seriously was so delirious from my illness that I considered calling an ambulance. But, I knew that if I could just get there, I would be ok. So, I get the last of my strength, and I get in the car to go to the clinic. I’m practically delusional by this point, my mouth and throat are dry, every time I take a drink my lips and throat instantly need more fluids and are dry again. The doctor pretty much just looked at me and said, “We need to get some fluids in you.” I had lost 10 pounds, at least, maybe more. I’m not someone who can afford to lose 10 pounds. I didn’t even recognize myself in the mirror. As they took me back to a room and got me situated, my messenger app buzzed. It’s the women’s feed from church. We use it as a way to share encouraging words, or request prayers, quick notes, etc. The Pastor shared her morning devo: “Come to me for rest and refreshment. This journey has been too much for you, and you are bone-weary. Do not be ashamed of your exhaustion. Instead, see it as an opportunity for Me to take charge of your life.” – (which is an excerpt from Shannon Stoddard on beliefnet) But, this word came to me, right as they are plugging IVs into my arm, and I just shed a tear. Yes, Lord. You are my rest and refreshment. I ended up needing two bags worth of fluids to get me back to some sort of human. And, I rested while they pumped me full of fluids, but I knew I was going to be fine with that word. Amen. Then, we all got to have some sort of break for about a week, where we were kind of getting back to normal. Then, my son had a cold sore outbreak.

Cold sores. No big deal. Not for my kid. My kid doesn’t get like the little one on his lip. He gets blisters all inside his cheeks, on his tongue, they spread onto his lips. He can’t eat, he can’t hardly talk, can’t go to school. It’s a big deal. He takes medication but it doesn’t seem to do much, yet. Maybe we’ll try some different medicine next time. Either way. This outbreak was rough, he ended up getting a particularly nasty UTI as well, that could only hopefully be remedied with one medicine, and if this didn’t work, he’d have to check in to the hospital. One super sick little kid, and two really stressed out parents. It lasts for about 2 weeks. I mean. We just can’t win. He just starts clearing up, we get the call that a friend of my husband and I’s, of 15 years – at least, has passed away.

Sometimes, when it’s too much to stand, kneel. I have prayed so much this month. Prayed for healing. Prayed for direction. Prayed for strength. Prayed for everything. And, today, I needed all those prayers. Today, was a loooong day. A funeral and reception/wake, errand for a friend – which went horribly awry, picking up my kid, stuff for Cub Scouts, eye dr, picking up my nephew, stressful but good work phone call, taking my son to piano, finding out the snowblower is a different kind of broken with a serious blizzard en route, and finally picking up my car from the shop…

Now, my car has had me town-bound for almost 2 years. I had taken it to 3 different shops and dumped a ridiculous amount of money into it, and every time I got it back, it still wasn’t fixed. I was seriously discouraged. But this last year, during my Christmas miracle, the group had wanted to look into getting my car fixed and requested I take it to a specific shop they work with. And this guy, is amazing. I’m someone who knows a thing or two about cars, and loathe when mechanics talk to me like all I know about cars – is that I have a purple one. Please. This guy went for a drive with me, and finally figured out what was going on with my car. Now, although the group couldn’t spring to help me at the time, but I now had a quote to go with my problem, finally. So, when tax time rolled around. My car went to the shop. And, today, I got my car back. I had never realized how much I had been stressing about my car, FOR 2 YEARS, until I was able to touch my brake pedal doing 55 today, and not being afraid that my car was going to rip itself apart. I cried. The relief of not being afraid of my own car, was so overwhelming. I thanked God. And, I realized all the other wonderful things that happened to me this month, in spite of everything else.

Different me

2 years ago, if I had a day like this, I would’ve called my mom, or another good friend of mine, and just railed. I can’t believe this, why won’t this day just stop, on and on…. But, today, when I felt that moment. When I felt that full boar, ROAR! What is going on!?!!? And, wanted to blow it up all over someone’s ear drum, I didn’t. I remembered the moment of rest and refreshment, of God giving me the strength. In the midst of my madness, somewhere between Cub Scouts and my nephew, I was just losing it, and all of the sudden, instead of picking up the phone and proceeding to regurgitate my issues all over someone else’s day. I just plugged in my Christian tunes. Jammed out to some DC Talk, Newsboys, and David Crowder. And, said, “God, you’ve got this. Because I don’t.” And I imagined the “story” where Satan comes knocking, and you see him through the peephole, and go, “God, it’s for you!” and walk away. I couldn’t possibly handle my day today, but God did. I didn’t have the strength to deal with everything that happened today, but God saw me through. I also decided to start thinking about all the great stuff that happened this month. And, I hadn’t even picked up my car yet….

The Good things, the God things:

I shared at church on Wednesday night, my testimony, and many, instead of giving me judgy looks and deciding they didn’t really want to be encouraging me anymore, instead loved me more. “Powerful testimony.” “You’ve really overcome a lot.” “I’m so glad you’re here.” And, I got to pray for a lot of people, who after hearing my testimony, wanted me to pray for them. It was so rewarding, and comforting, and encouraging, and praying for them – felt so good. Just this incredible, otherworldly good. Deep down in my soul – good.

I also got to be a guest blogger this month! Amen! How encouraging! Feel free to check out her site, and my guest blog.

My son and I made a memory this month during his sickness, that we will never forget (but is too embarrassing to share openly here).

I got to reach out to friends during our great loss that we haven’t seen in years, and be people that they could depend on in their time of need.

I got to see an old friend for coffee, and a new one. 😀

I started making some new career moves, that might pay off.

I had a a couple big wins at work. I mean, God is good.

My son did finally get better, and so did I, and so did my husband.

And, then, I finally got my car fixed. God had it all, the whole time. Continued to sprinkle blessings in with the madness. Reminding me that He was here, and wants good things for me. And rewards those who follow him. And, we need to remember that. He wants good things for us, but we have to trust that he does.

“Encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.” 1 Thessalonians 2:12

“Strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said.” Acts 14:22

“But godliness with contentment is great gain.” 1 Timothy 6:6

“Stand firm, and you will win life.” Luke 21:19

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray right now, that you lift this person up with your righteous right hand. That you give them the strength and endurance to win life. To remember that you are the victor. The Alpha and Omega. You’ve got it all under control. And, although, we can’t always see the end, you’re already there and waiting. You know the plans you have for us, and we need only to trust you. To give you thanks for all the great things you do, and appreciate all the time we do have here, with our loved ones, friends, and family. That, you, our Great Big God, the Great I AM, can get us through any of our days. That we need only to turn to you. To ask you to take it from us, for your yoke is light, and the world’s is heavy. We don’t have to do everything on our own, because we are not alone. I pray that the person reading this starts to have eyes that see the good in every day and every person. That you have created them all, and they are all perfect in your sight. That we may open our hearts with compassion for all your good works. That we receive your blessings, and we shut the door on Satan when it’s not for us. I pray a shield of protection against the world’s fiery darts, and that you shut the mouth of the roaring lion. I thank you Father for all that you do, for your peace, and your comfort, and for your everlasting life, and your strength. That all these things we may receive. In Jesus Name. AMEN!!

Honor & Changes

“Give to everyone what you owe them; If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” Romans 13:7

Honor where honor is due

I’d like to take a moment this week to honor someone: Pastor Kevin Suiter, and his wife, Cindy. Kevin was the Associate and Outreach Pastor for my most recent church home, he served there longer than I’ve been alive. Real quick – don’t worry – he’s still with us. But, him & his wife retired this past week to start the next chapter of their lives. Freeing up their schedules for time to see their grown children and their grandchildren. Also, to enable them to have a more mobile ministry, and in turn, enjoy one of their big joys in life – travelling. I’m wishing them all the best of luck, and much love from all of us as they start this new exciting time!

But, I also wanted to take a minute to shout out here, because Pastor Kevin, is one of my readers!! And has had an encouraging word from the beginning. I mean, it was a pretty big deal to me, to have a pastor tell me how much he loved my blog and how excited he was for me. And, that he didn’t just read it once! He continued to check in, and take a moment on Sundays to tell me how he had enjoyed it this week, and what a good job I was doing. ❤ What a blessing! I attend a bigger church, and here I reached out to the entire Pastoral team, by giving them all little slips of paper with my blog address just written down (before I thought of making business cards :P) And, all of them took the time to read it. I couldn’t believe it! And, they all had encouraging words, and have continued to encourage me. Words cannot express how grateful I have been for this. But – back to my Pastor Kevin shout-out! He has been such a light for us – all of us – our church, my son, and myself. And, to hear all the incredible, moving testimonies that were shared during the “Retirement Party”. Not a dry eye in the house. He’s a part of the jail outreach, men’s retreats, Pastor Conferences, tent revivals, plus all his sermons are available on Google Podcasts (and they DO NOT DISAPPOINT!!) And yet, every time, he talks to everyone or anyone, you feel like you’re the only person in the world. He’s just such an incredible Pastor, and he’s touched SO MANY lives, including mine and my son’s – in such an incredible and lasting way. The world is a better place because of him, and I thank God for him. And, even he’ll tell you, he couldn’t have done it – without Miss America (that’s his nickname for his wife – Cindy). Cindy Suiter, who started and ran our Children’s Program, was the church Secretary, and always shared an anointed word. She was one of those behind-the-scenes people, who kept the ship in shape so that we can all rest easy knowing she’s on the case. Her organization, drive, patience, and understanding could not be matched, and our church wouldn’t be where it is today without her. Thank GOD for both of you! I’m so blessed to know you and to have you in my life, and I wish you both the best of everything! ❤

And Change

And, of course, with these big, great moments in life, we’re reminded of change. Everything changes. It’s inevitable. And, although, it’s hard to accept change, it’s all for the glory of God, he uses all of it.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” (NIV)

God tells us, everything changes, seasons come and go, and you just have to be ready for them, or adapt as needed. Just as in, “saying good-bye” to our Pastor and his wife, we make room for a new pastor and his wife. We prepared for the changes, as we should, just like Jesus did. Jesus prepped the apostles for his leaving (whether they were understanding it or not ;)) Jesus got us ready for him not being around, and gave us instructions for what to do until we either we go to him, or he comes to us. You know, “Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth” – BIBLE. And, everything you need to know, is in there. For every situation, for every relationship, for everything – you’ve got the instructions – right at your fingertips. You just have to get it from in there, to your head, to your heart.

Psalms 119:11 “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” (NIV)

You also need to know the word, so that in moments of crisis, you know what the Lord has already told you to do. Knowing the words of God, are what will help you be ready for changes, when you expect them and when you don’t.

Dig Deeper

I was listening to a pastor’s podcast a while ago, and he was sharing about a change that had happened in his life. He had lost his mentor – who had gone to be with Lord. And, in the throws of grief, he was angry with God, for taking the pastor too soon. He wasn’t ready to be on his own yet. He still needed his mentor. And, he was telling God about all the stuff that he still needed his mentor for, and God, in his still small voice, said, “I’ve given you everything you need.” And, the pastor knew, that he had. And, in that moment, he let go and let God. And, accepted that he was ready, as ready as he was ever going to get, and it was time to start a new season.

Because, if you ask us, we’re never ready are we? We don’t ever feel ready to do anything. Not really. I mean, there might be times, where we think we are, but in that last moment, before we step out-there’s just the slightest hesitation, isn’t there? But, in truth, there are some things you just can’t prepare for, not until you’re in it. You can’t always know every little thing that’s going to happen. – That’s God’s job. That’s why we can rest assured, when we’re on team God. Because, he’s got it. So, whether we rail against the change, or easily step into it, the change is happening, whether we like it or not. And, letting go and letting God, is really, how we as Christians, need to learn to handle life. We need to learn to be more reliant on God and understanding of the fact that we don’t understand. I was at a women’s conference a few months ago, and I heard the speaker, Beth Taylor say so incredibly profound: “You receive the peace that surpasses all understanding, when you give up the right to understand.” And, it’s so true. Stop trying to understand what God is doing, or why. Just accept it. That’s the only way we can make it through some of these life changes. We don’t have the big picture. We don’t have the playbook. But, we’re on the team that does. Team God. Trust him. Trust him like you trust a coach, a mentor, a pastor, your parents, your best friend, because he’s all of those things, and more! Let me share some inspirational quotes that help me get through life here (None of these are mine, I’ve picked them all up over the years):

Worry is a conversation you have with yourself about things you cannot change, Prayer is a conversation you have with God about things he can change.

If the world gets you down, drop to your knees and take it to God in prayer.

Do your best, pray that it’s blessed, and He will take care of the rest.

When you have your Bible, and you don’t feel like it’s working, Double the DOSE!

Everything you want is on the other side of Fear (False Evidence Appearing Real – FEAR)

In the darkest times of your life, your praise to God should be the loudest. Let the enemy know you’re not afraid of the dark.

You have obtained the EXACT SAME FAITH AS THE APOSTLES

God performs “stress tests” sometimes to know your heart – just like the doctor

God does give you more than you can stand, otherwise, why would you ever need to call on Him? We were never meant to do this alone.

In your emptiness, it’s your heart that matters.

The SAME GOD that rose Christ from the DEAD, LIVES INSIDE YOU!! (Ephesians 1:15-21)

I hope those help. They’ve all had their time on my warboard. Some of them, have a permanent residence. But, they’re all things that I remind myself of, in times of trouble, times of change, times of stress. We have to remember that we’re on team God. That we serve the Almighty, the God of Abraham, the God who rose Christ from the dead, the God who sacrificed his son for us, the God who saves you from you.

I believe in the upcoming weeks, I’m going to share some major life events, some have resolved, some have not, but I’ve let them all go to God. I’ve accepted that I have no idea what’s going to come of them, but I’m resting assured that God’s got it all figured out. He knows exactly how this is all going to play out, and I’ve just got to trust Him. I hope they encourage you. I hope this all helps you grow and understand your faith and our God, that it helps bring it from your head to your heart. Because, that’s what we all need, and God’s ready to give it to us.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m praying for this person right now. Whether they’re going through changes right now or not, that they know you. That they draw closer to you. That they get it from their head to their heart that you’ve got this, and that you understand it all. That some of it’s you, and some of it’s the world, but it will all be for your glory in the end if we let it. I pray, that this person draw deep in your well of living water, of overflow. That they truly understand that You are the Great Big God that has all the supernatural, amazing power we could ever want or need. That you are the SAME GOD that rose Christ from the dead. SAME GOD. Oh Father. That you may stir within them, draw closer to them, comfort them and hold them in your mighty hands, deep down in the depths of their soul. That you may give them the supernatural PEACE that we all need in our lives. The peace to trust you, to know you, to love you, to let you have it all. The peace of the Messiah, the peace of our Faith in you Lord. That you may know everything this person needs just like you know the hairs on their head, and you knew them in their mother’s womb before they came to us. That they may accept this all, and trust in you Father. The GREAT I AM! IN JESUS NAME, AMEN!!! ❤

God bless you and keep you all this week.