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Trusting God

” Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? ” Matthew 6:26

It’s Hard

It’s hard! It’s hard trusting your parent when you’re growing up to know what’s best for you. Maybe not so much in that manner, not like you’re thinking as a kid, “I hope they’re making the right decisions.” You’re just thinking, “this is what I want, why won’t my parent let me have it?!” Or, “I don’t want to do it that way, I want to do it MY way.” Right? We all had these moments growing up. It’s just part of growing up. It happened to everyone, we thought we knew better in all of our kid wisdom… And we were so wrong, weren’t we? Now that we’re adults, we know and understand that many of those decisions were made in OUR best interest or for OUR good. Now, little differences between our natural parents and our SUPERNATURAL Father, is our Heavenly Father, is always looking out for us, and He’s always the perfect parent.

So, in this, we are the children. In all of our kid wisdom, we are charging ahead, trying to do it our way, and thinking we know what’s best, but the Father has a better plan in mind. I think part of this kid wisdom we retain is because we’re still maturing as Christians. And, as we grow, it becomes easier to trust God and know that He’s in control, and He’s doing what’s best for us. Same thing in the natural, as we grow, we trust our parent’s decisions more and more. We gain the understanding that maybe we don’t know all the answers and that our parents have a better understanding of the world, and maybe they know what’s best. I believe, that as we strengthen our relationship with God, it becomes a little easier all the time to know that He’s got it figured out and we just need to trust Him.

Let me share some of my life experience here to show you what I mean. When I first started out as a “baby” Christian (as an adult – we’re not counting all the years that I was saved and “going through the motions”). I was going to church, and really starting to get this connection with God, and feeling the Holy Spirit stirring in me. I made the decision that we were going to move to Arkansas. We started selling/gifting pretty much all our stuff, we notified our family in Arkansas, we started saying good-bye to all our friends and family here, I sold our mobile home. We are hitting the road Jack! And, at one point, someone asked me, “Have you asked God what He thinks about all of this?” And, in the moment they said that, I knew, God said No. I knew it, but I never straight out asked God, it was just as soon as they said that, everything in my body screamed, “NO”. But, as children do, if you don’t ask, they can’t tell you “No”, Right? So, I didn’t, I never asked, I just barreled ahead, this is what we’re doing. And, two weeks before we were to leave on a “scouting” vacation to start putting some more stuff together, I got the job offer of a lifetime. Haha, I mean, the one thing God knew better than anyone, let’s put this in front of her. And, for 3 days, I struggled. But, I was only struggling with myself, I knew that this was the path, not Arkansas. And, I took the job, and we had to re-build everything right where we were. Now, looking back, I know that this is what God wanted. Just a few years later, my dad would pass suddenly, and I would’ve regretted my decision to move away SO MUCH! I’m so grateful God saved me from me. I wouldn’t have the amazing job I have now. I wouldn’t have my ladies’ Bible study group. I wouldn’t have so many things, I wouldn’t be a member of the church I am now, I could go on and on. Hindsight is 20/20. Thank God, He saves us from us.

Fast forward, a few years later, and we’re living in our rental. I have grown much deeper in my Faith, and I’m spending a lot of time in prayer and reading my Bible, sharing time with God, and just burning for our time together. And, the landlord knocks on our door one morning (in the midst of a million other things happening) and says, he’s going to demolish the house in 45 days. We need to move. I don’t even know where to begin, but I didn’t start looking for places to live right away (for some reason?). I talked to a few people, and our sister-in-law had a house lined up to move into October 1st, I didn’t even check anything else, we just accepted. Come to find out, after we have moved in 75% of our stuff, this landlord is Crazy (like certifiable), and we’re going to have to move again (or pay 3x the rent….), and low and behold, the day we start looking for another new place, this little house pops up (just hours before), that is “perfect”. Not really what we love, but better than anything else that you can find mid-semester in a college town. We take it. And the rest, is another story. But, see how all of that, worked together? I’m just following God’s lead, everything was syncing together like a giant puzzle, every time it seemed like one piece fell into place, another one was ready. We couldn’t have ended up where we are without it.

One of the really big moments that happened in the midst of all of this, was a moment I had with my son. We hadn’t quite moved out of House A (the one that was going to get demolished), and my son is outside on his skateboard, and I came out to watch him from the porch. I called him over, and I said, “How are you doing buddy?” He says, “I’m fine.” I said, “Really? Wow. I mean, we all have a lot of stuff going on right now. I’m not fine.” He kinda looks at me. And, sits down next to me on the step, and I said, “You know. It’s OK to not be OK. I mean, we have A LOT of stuff going on right now, and to be honest, I don’t know what’s going to happen next.” And, in this moment, that little kid and I just broke. And cried. And, I said to him, “You know, no one in that house is OK right now. There are a lot of things happening, and moving is a big deal, and I don’t know where we’re going to go or what’s going to happen next, but you know what I do know? I know that God’s got this, and that it’s all going to be OK eventually. That we just have to trust Him.” Then, we prayed for a little while, and we picked ourselves back up, and went about life. And, eventually, everything was ok. But, I mean, just a few short years of growth, and I’m a totally different person. I go from not wanting to talk to God about my decisions, to not even really making decisions, just going with the apparent flow that is happening. And, showing my son, that I’m just trusting God for these things. He takes care of the sparrow, why not me? There are so many moments in my life this recent years, where I just, did my best, prayed it was blessed, and trusted God for the rest. And He does not disappoint. He always shows up. #Godshowedup. Every time. Because He doesn’t change. When you trust Him. He shows up.

Let’s Pray

Father, I pray today, that all those reading this, receive peace. Receive the overwhelming peace of the Messiah. Of the God whose peace surpasses all understanding. We do not know what’s best for us Father, but you do. I pray that you share your ethereal, overwhelming, overflowing peace with all my readers today, and every day. I pray that you air drop peace into their souls. That you steady their lives from within. That you resonate within them Father. That you quiet the world around them and share your ever-loving peace with them, in them, and that it may spread from the inside out. You, Father, take care of the sparrows, and you will take care of us. All the time. May we lean in to You Father. And you shelter us from the storm. This storm and all the storms to come. Thank You for all that you do Father, and all that you will do. May we always trust that You will show up, because You always do. IN JESUS” NAME!! AMEN!!

Mission’s Circle

This week I’m focusing on a group that supports missions and missionaries. They sponsor mission’s trips and they help connect people with other groups and outreaches if you’re looking for missions but aren’t quite sure where to start.

Check them out here: www.globalfrontiermissions.org

Donate to the cause here: https://globalfrontiermissions.org/partner/

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Build One Another Up

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

Encouraging Each Other

So, I had an interesting experience this week. I started a ladies bible study group about a year ago, and over the course of the year, as I’ve shared with other women, I’ve received a lot of people telling me they would like to get involved. This past week, we were getting ready to launch our new book, so I had a kick-off party. I invited every single person who said they were interested over these past few months. I invited some other people who I thought might enjoy it. I shared the word like I was starting a church. I organized games, prizes, drawings, snacks, had the first chapter of the book made in mass so everyone could get a preview. It was going to be GREAT!! I was so excited. All these women getting together to share and grow in Jesus.

Now, my “core” group is great! We are all friends outside of group, we’ve grown and shrank over this past year. We’ve been through some rough stuff and some great stuff. We’ve gotten together and hung out, outside of bible study. We’ve been there for each other. We’ve had nights where we had so much going on in our lives that we’ve just shared and been there for each and to give encouragement or advice, or just shared testimonies of how Jesus is working in our lives, instead of doing the actual “study”. We’ve crashed other bible study events because someone else was doing something that we thought we’d all enjoy and set our lesson plan aside. We’ve had craft and cooking nights, where the items we make are meant to be shared with people outside the group, to share our testimonies and bring others to the faith, or simply encourage them on their walk. I’m so proud of this group, and so encouraged by them. They’re exactly what I want and what I need. I believe that this is a big part of why I have grown so much in my walk over the past year, is because I needed this. I needed a core group of fellow believers to help me digest everything I’m learning during the week, to help me apply these things to my life, to share their experiences, to share scripture they know and give me insight on what Jesus says I should do in this situation. And, I do the same for them. Part of what’s so fun about our group, we don’t all go to the same church, nor are we the same denomination. And, I believe that we’re all changed, and definitely better believers, and better people for it.

Now, back to the party…. We set up, we had a room big enough to fit everyone reserved, we had name tags, snacks, everything. My core showed up, helped set up, brought their snacks, we arranged tables, got the games out. And waited…. and waited…. and no one came. No one. Not one new person. We waited a good 45 minutes after we we’re scheduled to start. Not one.

But, you know what? We still had a great time! We learned new things about each other, we’ve all been hanging out for over a year, and I still learned new things about my group that I didn’t know. We won all our prizes ūüôā Everyone went home with something. We all decided that we really enjoyed doing the games and we would start doing something with new games at either every meeting or every craft/cooking night. We had a really good discussion about stuff that’s been going on. We worked out our schedule for the summer. We definitely ate a lion’s share of all the chocolatey good snacks and really enjoyed each other’s company. We made arrangements for the following week. And, everyone reminded me, that people weren’t saying “no” to me. And, I get that, but I was so excited because this whole experience has done so much for me, and I wanted to share that with others, but I guess that’s just not part of the plan yet. And, that’s ok. I’ll have another one in the fall. The people who are supposed to be here, are here, and the doors are always open. As we all know, the Lord has timing for everything, and we just have to trust it.

What does the Bible say?

Now, as my mother always says, when the bible has a “therefore” look at the before.

1 Thessalonians 5:8-10 ” But since we belong to the day,¬†let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate,¬†and the hope of salvation¬†as a helmet.¬†9¬†For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath¬†but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ.¬†10¬†He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him.”

“Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances;for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

Now, I believe that Bible studies are important because you need help. You need a group of people praying for you, a group sharing with you, giving you advice, helping you grow, reminding you what the Bible says about your situations, because:

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you.” 1 Peter 4:12-14

You are going to face trials. You are going to struggle. Because you’re a believer, and because we live in a fallen world. And, you need support. Just like you need church. Just like Jesus had the Apostles. Our relationship is with the Lord, but having those around you to encourage you and help you grow, I believe, are just as important.

19¬†‚ÄúAgain, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them¬†by my Father in heaven.¬†20¬†For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.‚ÄĚ – Matthew 18:19-20

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you. Thank you for our experiences. Thank you for our chances to grow. Thank you for everything you do for us. Thank you for sending your Son to save us. Thank you for encouraging me in the Faith today, and every day. Thank you for the blessing of believers that you have brought into my life. I pray that you bring these believers and encouragers into the lives of everyone. That you may lay your hands upon others to encourage and to grow, and to find their people to help them along their walks. That you may lay the same fire in their hearts to grow closer to you Father. That everyone can find encouragement in those around them, that they walk closer to you Father. I just pray for your blessing in our lives. I pray that we see your work everywhere, and in everyone. Words cannot express how grateful I am that you laid it on my heart to start my own Bible study and that you gave me such an incredible group of people to grow with, and I pray for that blessing on everyone reading this. I pray that everyone finds a group or fellow believer to have such a relationship with to grow. To learn your word, to make them better people. Thank you so much for all You do Father, and what you will continue to do, in all our lives. IN JESUS’ NAME! AMEN!!

Mission this week:

Each week, I’ve taken to supporting a mission outreach, here’s this week:

Channel to Brazil

Read more about Marcondes Marques here

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God’s Plans

“But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” Genesis 6:8

BRING THE RAIN!

I’ve had a story in my heart this week. And it all started with stumbling across this picture. It spoke to me. AMEN!! Sometimes, Faith will make you look stupid… until it starts to rain. I mean. It just flooded me with a particular story, which led to another, which has brought me to another…. and two of them, were after I saw this picture.

First Story

Let me share an interesting moment. Several years ago, my life had blown up in my face. I had just left a job of 5 years, with one of my favorite people, to start a new career path, and we were going to buy a house in the little town that the new job was in. And, I was loving the job. Everything was great! And, then, one day I got pulled into the CEO’s office, and proceeded to get eaten alive by the CEO and his right hand. I was able to pull out of buying the house in time, but it was all mortifying and heartbreaking! I still had a job, but if stuff was going to be like this, I wasn’t sticking around. And, in the midst of this angst, I put in an app at one company. That’s it, just one, and prayed for the best. It was all just taking a minute for me to really wrap my head around what was happening, so I hadn’t really hit the streets with my application yet. Then, our 1 vehicle started acting up, and I didn’t feel comfortable driving the 30-45 minutes to this job I was planning on leaving, anymore. So, I just quit. Turned in a resignation online, and just gave up. – This was on a Friday. I got called in for an interview on Monday. That all seemed well and good, couple days went by, I get called in for the next interview. Now, this job was entry-level, but bills don’t care right? So, I go in for the second interview, and I’m thinking I’m going to be talking shop, which I can do. And, they throw me a curve ball, and give me a manager who I don’t think has done “shop” a day in her life. So, I’m answering the ticky-tacky questions that they’re required to ask, and we get all done, and she just flips the paper over, and looks me dead-in-the-eye, and says,

“What are you doing?”
“Excuse me?”

“What are you doing? You obviously are way over-qualified. What are you doing?”

She caught me so off-guard, I just told the truth.

“Well, my career just blew up in my face, I just backed out on buying a house, and I still have to pay my bills. I’m good at running machines, you have machines, and I just need some time to think and figure out what I’m going to do.”

“Ok, thanks for coming in.”

So, of course, everyone’s like, how’d it go? blah, blah, blah. And, bar none, worst interview ever. But, that afternoon, they called, and I started that next Monday. That was over 5 years ago. I spent a year on the floor, four years as a Quality Technician in the Evaluation Lab, and I just got promoted to being a Buyer. Look at #Godshowup! It all seemed like utter madness when it was happening, but I wouldn’t have thought of it myself. Which is why I’m so glad, God has better plans for us, we just have to trust Him and HE WILL BRING THE RAIN!!!

Second Story

So, I met a man last night, who has an incredible story. 38 years ago, he was going through a similar circumstance. He had dreams, goals, things he had figured out with his life. And, he failed. It all blew up in his face, and he said, the whole time that God was nagging at him to minister, and he kept saying, “I will when ….” whatever. Well, all his whatever’s fell through, and here God had gotten him all alone, and was like, “Go”. And, he says, “With what?” God told him, “with what you have.” He had coffee and bread. This man lives near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Near the favelas. Where some of the poorest of the poor live.

He went out on the streets with coffee and bread. He stumbled across some kids (12-14 years old) who were so high they couldn’t even tell him their own names at first. After giving them some of the coffee and bread, one of the kids asked this man to spell his name. “Ok, what’s your name?” “Cisero” So, he wrote down the kid’s name on a piece of paper. And, the kid said, “Now, I’m somebody!” That simple act had made those kids feel important. He asked them if they wanted to know Jesus, they did. He led them in the Sinner’s prayer, and talked with them a while more. Then, right as he was getting ready to leave, one kid yells out, “Hey, you coming back tomorrow?” The man said, “Yes. I’ll see you tomorrow.” This was the beginning of his ministry.

Over the years, he has helped thousands of kids break the cycle of poverty. He now leads a ministry group that orchestrates a school for the kids of the favela teaching them photography, music, art, computer skills. They have one of the only computer labs in the city! Feeding them every day! Feeding their entire families a couple times a year! Encouraging them to fellowship with each other and minister to others. Sometimes they help the kids all the way through college, and all the while teaching the love of Jesus. WHAT AN INCREDIBLE MINISTRY!! It seemed crazy, and then GOD BROUGHT THE RAIN!!!

Third Story

So, I’m talking to the guy a little after service is over, and we start discussing some different stuff, and I tell him about my blog. This peaks his interest. He needs a Marketing Manager for their Facebook and social media. They’re so busy down there with the day-in and out of the kids and activities that they’re struggling to get the word out to people to help their ministry. Well, because I have my blog, I also have a social network. I tell him I will reach out to the ladies who also have Christian blogs to see if someone might have the skills he’s looking for. So, I get home last night and post it to the FB page. I’ve already had two people reach out who are both looking for a ministry, and have been to the area in Brazil and would love to be a Marketing Manager for him! People who have been praying – for rain! and – GOD BROUGHT THE RAIN!!!

Now, if I hadn’t started a blog, we would’ve had an entirely different conversation. If I had stayed home last night, I never would’ve met him. If I hadn’t…. believed that God would bring the rain. I don’t know that I’ve ever posted something to this FB group, except for the usual stuff we do, reading each other’s blogs, encouraging each other, etc. But, last night, I jumped on and threw it out there. And God brought the rain. He always does.

All of these stories have also inspired me to try to see if my ladies’ Bible Study would be interested in doing free will donations to featured ministries every other month. AND, I will be promoting a ministry in my blog. You can check out this gentleman’s ministry here, and donate or sponsor a child, or just pray for them! Because who doesn’t need more prayer?!?!

I hope these encourage you. I hope they bless you. I hope you know, that if you have faith, God will always bring the rain!! He never fails, never gives up, and he’s always there. One of my favorite Pastor Kevin quotes, “God has more faith in you than you do!” Tell him to BRING THE RAIN!! He will not disappoint.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your faithfulness. Thank you for your everlasting rain. Thank you for always showing up, right on time, all the time. Thank you that you give us the examples of Noah and people along our walks to reassure us that you will always bring the rain. You are the beginning and the end, the SAME GOD as Noah and Abraham, and who raised JESUS FROM THE DEAD, is the SAME GOD TODAY! You’re always there. Always watching, always ready to catch us, and show us something better. Give us the Faith and the peace to trust your will, and that you always have something better in mind for us. Thank you Father that you have more Faith in us than we do, and may we all learn to have the same Faith in you. Thank you for all that you are and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

To learn more about Marcondes Marques and his ministry. Check out @ChanneltoBrazil on Facebook or go to their website: http://www.thechannel.org

For More stories about God Bringing Rain:

God who provides

Don’t quench the Spirit

Cookies

Spoons 2

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Best You

” For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. ” Psalm 139:13-14

The Best You

These past few weeks at my new job have been interesting. And, again, I deeply appreciate my guest entry last week, as that helped lighten my load, as it started to warm up here, and it created a whole slew of things to do. But, as I sit down, to wonder what we’re going to discuss here this week, it all became clear – in an instant. Be your best you. As my verse this week states: we are fearfully and wonderfully made. God made us just as we were intended to be. Be your best you. Easier said than done. I’ve had a couple reminders these past few weeks. I’ll share with you here.

Get it together

I’m a really organized person. Like really organized. It’s a control thing, it’s an OCD thing, it’s how my brain works, and when things get too messy, I struggle to cope and to keep up. Which is a far cry from where I used to be. But, how I got here is not too much of the point. The point is, with a new job, you have to switch gears. You have to get a new kind of organized. What worked for your old job, will not necessarily work for your new. And, in my new role, I’m moving at the speed of the internet, so taking the time to figure out how to organize stuff is not really up there on everyone else’s priorities, but it was jamming me up. What I mean by that, is my new boss would ask me a question about something, and because I haven’t gotten a system together yet, it’s taking me 3x as long to get the answer, get it together, figure out where that one thing was written…. UGH!!! Not me. Not me, at all. Although, he’s been incredibly graceful and understanding, I feel like I’ve got egg on my face. So, I took extra time these past couple days to start sorting, organizing, and putting myself back together. And, I already feel a lot better. Because I know, that my best self, cannot function under a certain level of chaos. But – it took me a long time to figure that out. Before, I would just buckle under pressure. Not understanding what my issue was. Not understanding why I suddenly just couldn’t do something any more. Retrospect – it got too messy, and I had not been taking any maintenance steps to clean it up. Or any extra steps to get it under control in the first place. Although you might not need to clean or organize to function, you do have something that helps you feel like you’ve got it together, and you need to make sure that when life starts spiraling, you’re taking the extra time or making time to do what you need to do, to be the best you. Otherwise, something’s going to give… and it’ll probably be you.

Give yourself some grace

Now, because I’ve learned from past mistakes, and because this isn’t my first rodeo. I also understand that I need to give myself some grace. We are always our own worst critics. And as you saw a moment ago, my boss has been very gracious, he gets it. This job is intense. You know the job’s going to be intense, when they’re forewarning you, in the interview. Straight-up. No beating around the bush. How do you handle stress? And, we strive to only work 45 hour weeks… Absolutely transparent about what I’m signing up for. And, although, it’s only my second week, I knew that I needed to figure something out quickly, even if it would go through major re-vamping later. And, my boss has told me, almost every single day, “Good job.” “You did well today”. Something. So, I know that I’m putting my best foot forward, and he is acknowledging that. It’s ok that I’m struggling for stuff here and there, I’m trying to catch 50 balls in the air, it’s no easy task. In the first few weeks, some stuff is going to hit the ground, and that’s ok. I think, everyone would be surprised if some stuff didn’t fall. I still feel really great about my job. I like my boss. I do not regret my decisions. I do not feel like I have to be perfect. And, I’m totally honest when I catch a mistake. And, everyone would much rather be told that a mistake happened and proactively do something about it, than catch it two weeks from now when it hit the fan. Learning moment. *By the way, that’s just something to live by. Own your mistakes, asking for grace in advance is much healthier than asking for it afterwards. And, it slips out of people’s memories a lot faster than when it all went catastrophically wrong and you spent twice as much time cleaning up the mess. Ain’t nobody got time for that ūüėČ Give yourself grace like God gives you grace. Every day, all the time. It’s hard being a human. Cut yourself some slack.

Know your worth

Here’s my favorite story of the week. My son was playing a new computer game the other night, and unbeknownst to us, it had a chat feed at the bottom of the screen. So, here’s my son, playing a brand new game that he’s been all excited about, and he’s struggling, and the trolls show up…. And, you know, they all start saying all this horrible garbage, because that’s what trolls do. Next thing we know, we tell him his time is up, and as he angrily closes out the screens, he turns around, and he’s got tears streaming down his face. And, I’m thinking, he’s upset because his time went by “too quickly” and he wants to keep playing. So I start saying, you know, we set a timer, timer’s done, man. He’s like, “No, it’s not that. It’s just that everyone sucks.” And I’m like, ? “What are you talking about? Who sucks?” He says, “All those awful people in the game.” Again, “What?” Then, he informs us that there was a little chat screen below the big game window (that we couldn’t really see from where we sit), and that he was having a hard time playing the game because he didn’t understand some of the stuff, and that people were making fun of him. OOOOOOHHHHHH!!!! *Mom moment* Well, honey, you can’t let those people get to you, they’re just angry little kids, they had no idea it was your first time playing. (disclaimer, my son is almost 10) The conversation continues, and morphs into a discussion where I finally looked at him and said, “I’m going to give you some real grown up advice here. You ready? You can’t ever let someone tell you what you’re worth. You have to decide that. You know, you’re an amazing little kid, you’re in Cub Scouts, you do community service, you’re learning the piano, you’re an A/B student, you’re amazing. You have a good heart. Those kids don’t know any of that stuff. Same thing goes for kids at school, they have no idea all the stuff you do, and even if you’re not good at some things, you’re an incredible human being.” He kinda just looked at me like I was stuck in the dark ages. So, “You know why I got this new job?” “Because it gives you more money.” “No, I mean, do you know why I got this new job when other people didn’t? I was up against like 20 other applicants. Why I got it?” He shakes his head no. “I got this job, because I walked in there and told those people I was worth it. Didn’t matter that I was one of the youngest applicants. Didn’t matter that I hadn’t done this job in over 5 years. Didn’t matter anything else. I walked in there, and I owned it. Because I knew I was worth it. Because I decided a long time ago, if I want something, I’m worth it. You know, when I was growing up, I got made fun of because I had glasses, because I was poor, because I lived on a farm, because I had an accent, because of whatever, but I realized one day, that I’m worth it. And no one else is ever going to tell me that, you can’t ever let someone else decide how much you’re worth. You have to know, then tell everybody else how it is.” <—- I think that’s some of the best advice that has ever come out of my mouth. It was a super proud mom moment. I hope it sticks. It’s true.

God says:

She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her. – Proverbs 3:15

Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God. Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows. – Luke 12:6-7 (During a time when pennies were like a day’s wages)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved – Colossians 3:12a

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. – Psalm 139:13-14

But the Lord said to Samuel, ‚ÄúDo not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.‚ÄĚ 1 Samuel 16:7

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. – Ephesians 2:10

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God РMatthew 5:5-9

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. – Genesis 1:27

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. – 2 Corinthians 5:17

Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture. – Psalm 100:3

We are beautiful and wonderful to God. He made us. Every last bit of us, and although we are always striving to be better people in general and more Christ-like, we’re still worth it. Every day of the week! Every time! We’re always worth it! One of my favorite pinterest quotes is this:

I mean! C’mon! Think about yourself that way! I hope this helps. I hope it inspires. I hope you all know, I’m praying for you. For you to be the best you, but even if every day doesn’t feel like that, you’re still trying, being a human is hard. Take a tip from the Father, and give yourself some grace! ‚̧

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for your grace. Thank you for your overwhelming grace and mercy. May it pour out upon us. Into our souls. Deep down in the depths of our being, so much, as to overflow onto those around us. That others may see your grace through us. That we may show your grace because we know your grace. Thank you for your blessings Father. Thank you for the lives that we live. Thank you that you are the great Father that knit us together in our mother’s wombs. That you remind us of how special and precious we are. That you, who created everything, decided the world needed one of us too. Thank you for giving us the chance to honor you with our lives. Thank you that your grace and mercy knows no bounds, and that you don’t leave us where we are but you are always helping us fine tune ourselves to be more like you. Thank you that we’re worth it. Every time, all the time. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!!

Featured

Which Gate?

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matt. 7:13-14

Guest Entry 

This week, I’m happy to have a guest entry. I’d like to introduce Jeff Struwe. We go to the same church, and we work at the same place. Jeff and I connected a few weeks ago after Sunday Service, and I gave him my card to hop online and check out my blog. He was so interested and excited about it, that I offered to have him do a guest entry for me. And, he did not disappoint! Jeff is working with a local group to compile a book, that I must admit, I cannot wait to read! I hope you all enjoy Jeff’s share as much as I did. ‚̧ Thanks Jeff!

The Wide Gate

Walking In Faith is one of those blogs that once I read the first one I look forward to the next. Stephanie Hale has created this blog who gives us life lessons while walking in faith.¬† I am extremely privileged to be allowed to participate in this week’s Walking In Faith.

My personal testimony is perfect for Christ’s teaching in Matthew 7. And making a bold prediction, many born again Christians will admittedly agree.

Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.   Matthew 7: 13-14

When I was 14 years-old a friend’s father paid for a one week Baptist bible camp in North Dakota. This was in lieu of payment for doing chores on their family farm. I concurred. What followed was my biggest life changing moment. On the next to last day of camp, I gave my life to Jesus. However, what followed for 39 years was anything but living a life of Christ. Our actions are our responsibility. I had no idea how to follow up once I gave my life to Jesus; regular bible study (daily), attending a bible based church, and the camaraderie with other born again Christians. You see, for the 39 years I did virtually what I wished. Nothing bad, but certainly not a Christian lifestyle. I basically put Jesus on a back burner and helped raise a family until after 20 years of marriage ended in divorce.

But never once did I feel miserable. A second relationship didn’t fare well either. But this time I knew things had to change. Not only was this last relationship a failure, but after working for 20 years with the Post Office – a job I really loved – work began to get on my nerves.

The Narrow Gate

I left everything behind and struck out for a place I referred to as home (South Dakota). I guess I was like Jonah. Trying to hide from God. We all know how that turned out and it was no different than my situation.

You see, I was walking on that wide path and realized destruction wasn’t far away. I needed to do something, so . . . I literally called out to Jesus and reminded Him that 39 years ago I gave Him my life. Imagine, reminding Jesus of my situation. After being hired by my current employer, the Holy Spirit spoke to me about finding a church. (#Godshowedup) I attended a few in the surrounding area of Brookings, but after dating a co-worker for a month or so, she brought me to Holy Life Tabernacle in Brookings. BINGO. Twelve years later, my most important day of the week is Sunday. Fellowship at the Tabernacle. And that co-worker?¬† We have been married 11+ years.

I have to be perfectly clear though. Even knowing that I am on that narrow path leading to the greatest prize, Heaven, I must watch my step. And I know that many, many others are in the same situation I am. I would like to offer 2 Christian songs about my Walk In Faith. The first is the song, “I Am A Child of God.” The lyric is: “I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.” You see, fear is the opposite of faith, and to walk in faith we are applying the teachings of Jesus and living with the Holy Spirit within us. The other is a song by Building 429. The title is “Where I Belong” and the lyric is, “All I know is I’m not here yet, This is not where I belong, Take this world and give me Jesus, This is not where I belong . . . “

Dwell on these lyrics. John 14:6 says, Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”¬† Walking in fear is giving in to the devil and walking in faith is following Jesus. And Building 429 tells us that as followers of Christ, this world that we live on is temporary and living with Jesus is eternity. To all my brothers and sisters in Christ, walk on that narrow path that Jesus describes to us in Matthew 7. Walk in Faith and you will be rewarded the grand prize.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you that you have faith in us. Thank you that you do not leave us where we are. That you save us from us! Thank you that you have made a way for us to get to you. That we are reminded that You want us all to be saved. Whether we sin terribly, or whether we’re just not quite walking as straight of a path as we should. You’ve forgiven it all, you’ve removed our sin from us as far as the East is from the West. That we may always remember that you wash us white as snow, as the pure, freshly fallen crystal snow, that’s so pure. Our sin is removed by your blood, that you’ve paid the ultimate price and that we may honor our covenant with you by living in a way that you would want for us. That we may honor your name with all that we are, that we continue to straighten our feet and keep our eyes on the prize – our eternal life with you. That no matter where we’re at, we can re-adjust our steps and fall in line with your will for us. That you are the good, good Father, and that you only want good things for us. Thank you Father for all that you are, and all that you would have us be. IN JESUS’ NAME!! AMEN!!

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 ūüôā

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!!

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. ūüėÄ

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!!

Prayer (continued)


 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being РEphesians 3:16

Take it to the Lord in Prayer

I’m building off of last week’s here a little bit. It’s just really been on my heart and I cannot emphasize enough how important this life line is. Please believe, that’s exactly what it is. No ands, ifs, or buts about it.

Let me share a little story here. A couple months ago was the one year anniversary of my dad passing away. And a few people had let me in on a little secret when it first happened. The first year, is a year of “firsts”. First Christmas without them, first Thanksgiving, first birthday. And please believe, they all suck. They all absolutely suck. We smiled, we gritted our teeth and beared it, but we have quite a few small children between us. So, you kinda have to. You can’t call off Christmas because everyone just can’t handle the holiday or thought of this person not being there for it, a 4 year old does not get that. But, the one that took me a little by surprise, was the anniversary of his death…. I’m not sure why I expected that day to not be as terrifying as it was going to be in my mind, that I was blowing it out of proportion, but I was not. There is something to be said about that day. You think about it, all the way up to the moment that you heard the news or the time they told you it did happen, and then you just replay all of it in your head for the rest of the day. And, it’s awful. And, I’m really sorry if you’ve lost someone recently and this is stirring all your stuff up, but I’m just being honest. It’s just brutal. And, I think, moving forward from that moment, the only part that helps is that you get to reassure yourself that you’ve already survived the “first” one without them, so you can handle more. But, anyway, that wasn’t supposed to be the focus here. Got a little off topic, but still important to the rest of the story.

So here we are. The anniversary of my dad’s death, and I’m a wreck. I’m at work, and I’m hiding, and I’m randomly crying, and I’m trying to act like everything’s fine, which it SOOO isn’t. And, I’ve packed my whole day with stuff. I’m going to get off work, then I have to run over here, and do this thing, and over there and do that thing, and, and, and… and my sister asks if I’m going out to my mom’s tonight, and I start making all these excuses, my schedule is full! (Obviously, I’ve done this on purpose). And, so I text my mom to tell her, I’m really sorry, I’m just so busy, and she, in all of her wisdom and awesomeness, says exactly what I needed to hear. “It’s ok, I’m here if you need me. Don’t worry about it.” At which point, I can no longer pretend that everything’s ok. I become hysterical, and I promptly leave work. I come home to my unsuspecting husband, who has no idea that I’m going through all of this. And, proceed to sob and ugly cry all over him. Which, he just holds me, and lets me. And, then, I pull it together and say I’m going to see my mom. And, I go out to my mom’s, and explain everything, and then, we do a few projects (guess where I learned that coping mechanism from…. ;)) And, I’m kinda better, and now I have to go pick up the kids. So, we hug and I feel much better, and I head back into town, and back to that crazy schedule I had laid out. And, one of the things on my list, is church tonight. The kids have been working on Operation Christmas Child (which I did with my dad for close to 20 years), so I feel obligated to go, even though after that huge emotional release, I’m just drained. But, God knew, that I needed to go to church that night, so look at all this stuff come together…. I am dragging my feet to go to church, but we’re doing it, for my kid, here we are. And the message that night was exactly what I needed to hear. And, it changed my life. And, I hope it changes yours too. Because – it changed the way I think. *which is another concept I’ve been trying to share with you here.

*Insert your name here* has the victory

Say it with me. You have the victory. Why? Because God has the victory. That was the message. Let’s unpack a little.

You are “X” years old. You have lived this one life. You have “X” years of experience. You have experienced “X” things. Right? Right.

God is ???? however old. He has watched billions of lives. He has helped billions of people, trillions. He has experienced ALL things. YOUR PROBLEMS ARE NOT NEW TO GOD. God has done this all before. God has a perfect track record. God always wins. God already won. God knows exactly what you’re going through. God has comforted grief before. God has comforted rape before. God has comforted abuse before. God has forgiven murderers. God has solved people’s finances. God has solved every single problem there has ever been. God has helped every single situation of every single person that has ever come asking. God has healed every thing before. Stop acting like God can’t handle your problems!! I’m sorry that this might sound crass, but you are not special. You did not suddenly come up with the very first problem that God was like, “Whelp, you got me there, good luck, let me know how that turns out.”

And, as soon as you grasp that, like really grasp that. Chew on it. Mix it. Get it from your head to your heart – God will show up. You have got to stop acting like we have this itty-bitty God.

Isaiah 40:12
Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand,
    or with the breadth of his hand marked off the heavens?
Who has held the dust of the earth in a basket,
    or weighed the mountains on the scales
    and the hills in a balance? (NIV)

That’s A GREAT BIG GOD! He holds all the oceans, waters, seas, rivers in the hollow (cup) of his hand…. That’s a GREAT BIG GOD! And, he’s the God that lives inside you. He has the victory

1 John 5:4
for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith

We have the victory. God has the victory. We, team God, have the victory. Over everything. Over all our problems. Let him. Let him fix it. Let him heal it. Stop trying to do it on your own. Stop acting like you’re so broken, God can’t fix you. He CAN! and He WILL! and HE DOES!! Same God. Same God who always was, is, and will be. THE GREAT I AM!! SAME GOD. Problems change, people change, things change, GOD DOES NOT CHANGE. Same God, who does it for everyone else, will do it for you. Let him. And, that change, starts with prayer. Talk to him. Tell him about it. Ask him to fix it.

Romans 12:12
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.

Let’s Pray

Dear Heavenly Father, I’m bringing this person to you today. Because, you are our Great Big God. There’s nothing you can’t handle or fix or forgive. I’m bringing them to you, that they might start understanding this incredible relationship with you. That they might know that you are their God. Their own personal God. Who wants to come into their life and be their Savior. To fix their problems, to let them know they are not alone, ever. I’m praying that you may soften their heart to you. That you may reach inside them and touch them, and take all the ugliness they’re hiding out. That you will make them a new creation in you, Father. That they may truly understand, from their head to their heart, that you’ve got all of this. That there is nothing “too big” for you, Father. That you’ve done this all before. That you are the Great I AM. That you have the grace, and the mercy, and the healing, and the understanding, and the love to cover and cleanse and handle everything we could ever want or need. You know their hearts, Father. You know every need, every hope, every thought they have, and you are everything they need. Please, instill this peace and understanding in their hearts, that they may take it all to you and know that they, and everything that they have and are, are yours Father. IN JESUS NAME, WE PRAY, AMEN!! ‚̧

My grace is sufficient

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. – 2 Corinthians 12:9


My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.

This week, I feel like my story is focusing on something that happened, just at this same time last year. Now, little background, in 2017, God had come into my life with a bulldozer. And proceeded to move EVERYTHING around. Literally, everything. Not one aspect of my life remained intact. And, I could see a theme. A theme of letting go, and letting God. Although, I didn’t come to the Letting God part until 2018. In 2017, I couldn’t do anything else besides react. Nothing that happened that year was something that happened by choice. They were all things that happened to us, or those we loved. And, I felt like the theme of trying to Let Go, was pretty evident. I am a control-freak. Like, in every sense of that word. But my family loved me anyway. And, not to say that I’m magically not, now, but I really have eased up, because in 2017, that was the only way to survive. I couldn’t control everything, and God was all done being nice about trying to make me let stuff go. Now, I know it wasn’t all God, because some of the stuff was most certainly Satan, but God has used it. And, the start of 2018, #Godshowedup to let me know, that he wasn’t done with using that “Letting go” lesson, and we needed to get to the “Letting God” part.

Let Go

So, what happened?!?! Right?! Quite simply, I say, that I broke my back. Now, they didn’t actually find any fractures, but they were pretty sure that I herniated at least one disk, if not more. It was my lower back, right above my hips, like just those last few right on top of my hips. I was taking the trash out before we were going to have a dinner with my sister-in-law, and I slipped on the ice, and when I fell, I fell straight on my bottom. And I felt my whole spine *Squish*¬†and¬†I¬†instantly went into shock. Suppressed vomit, cold shaking, blinding light, – shock! I knew that sick feeling instantly. And, I also knew that I had just done something really terrible. I laid there for a long time, just shaking and breathing, and sick, in the cold and snow and ice, just feeling everything drain out of me, and I couldn’t even scream. And, I slowly pulled myself together and walked little baby steps back inside. My husband was frantically looking for me, and when I came in the back door, he came running, but as soon as he saw me, he knew something was wrong. Now, at that time, I thought I broke my tailbone, it was late on a Friday, and I knew that the ER would do nothing for me. So, we had our awkward dinner (since everyone could see I was in great pain), and ended the evening. Then, Monday, I went to the Dr. Who listened to my story, and agreed, that’s probably what happened. Gave me pain killers, and sent me on my way. It wasn’t until my back swelled, and some other symptoms that we really figured out what was wrong. Which, honestly, was worse. Broken tailbone – 6 weeks. My herniated disks – 6 months, at best. I went from someone who could lift 80-100lbs on a regular basis at work, to not being able to lift a cast iron skillet, or stand for more than 15 minutes without feeling like I was going to pass out. I went from a non-stop employee, mom, Cub Scout committee member, etc. etc. to Stephanie, and absolutely nothing more. I was only allowed to continue working because they essentially put me on desk duty, with light errand-running (that took 5x as long as it should because I could only walk in baby steps). – Which is exactly what the Dr ordered, don’t sit, stand, or lay down for too long, keep moving, as much as you can, but get plenty of rest…. I’m sorry, have we met? But, God is good, all the time. If I had any other job, I would’ve been put on medical leave, which when you look at my “Christmas Miracle” would’ve been way worse (because in just a few short months, I’m about to be garnished.) But, here’s the deal, folks. I was the “do everything” mom. I did everything, all the time. Our days were packed with everything, Mondays this, Tuesdays that, etc. And, I needed to be still. (Psalm 46:10a, Be still and know that I am God.) To Let Go. And to let God. And, here we’re about to Let God.

Let God

The first couple weeks were rough, you know, until like April. *lol. But, seriously. I couldn’t cook supper, I couldn’t wash dishes, I couldn’t do the laundry, I couldn’t make my bed, I couldn’t put my pants on, I couldn’t take a shower. I had to relearn how to do some of the basic stuff, like putting on pants, because, when you can’t bend at the waist… putting on pants and socks is a little tricky. But, I also had to learn to let my family do it. My son had been helping with chores, but now, it was a need. My husband, who is amazing, can do everything. And, he just stepped up. He totally understood and was gracious and absolutely what I needed. But, here was the other thing. I couldn’t focus on anything except myself because the pain was so bad. I couldn’t even think about some of this other stuff because just going to work, took me out. There are some nights (a lot of nights), where I just came home and went straight to bed. Because my body needed rest, to heal. And, so many days, I just needed God. I needed God. Like, I needed him to heal me, I needed him to give me patience with others, with my body, with my mind. I absolutely needed him. And, although 2017 had started opening my eyes, 2018 drove it home. Let God do it. God has given you this family, God has given you a good job at a great company. God has given you a good doctor. God has given you everything you need. Just let it happen. Let all these people that you care about take care of it. And let God heal you from the inside out. There were quite a few days throughout those months, where I just cried. Just cried for it to be over. Cried for my dad to be there to fuss over me. Cried because it took me 45 minutes to get dressed. Cried because everything hurt. Deep down in my soul. And, God said, “My grace is sufficient, my power is made perfect in your weakness.” And, it was. I, slowly, started getting better. We went from 5lb weight limit, to 10lbs. to 15lbs., until finally no more restrictions. I took that time, to focus on me. Focus on my relationship with God. To pray, more. Every day. To start reading my bible. To start being present for my family, instead of just running. I needed to show up. Instead of my gigantic to do lists, and my not enough time in the day, and, and, and, ….. I just let it go. I didn’t have a choice. My kid’s going to be grown in less than 10 years. Where did it go? What was I teaching him? When were our moments together? My husband was spiraling at work, and I didn’t even see it. My family didn’t need all my stuff, my clean dishes, my clean laundry, my whatever. They needed me. And, so did God. And I needed Him, and them. And, you know, if I hadn’t, I would’ve never started a ladies’ bible study, never reached out to those around me, had this incredible relationship with my Lord and Savior, and I wouldn’t be here. Talking to you about it. Encouraging you, to put some of this stuff down. Let others do it, or don’t do it at all (what?!?!) Does every single load need to be put away? Do the dishes have to get done every day? Do you always have to make supper? OR —– Could you spend that time, praying? Reading your bible? Spending time with your kids, or your husband, or wife, or your friends? Encouraging them on their walk. I’m not saying, do don’t this stuff ever, just balance, baby. Are you making time for the important stuff, you know, the life stuff? Are people going to remember that you did everything, all the time, or that you were there when they needed you?

Our purpose is not to do all this stuff, it’s to share the gospel, it’s to grow the Kingdom. And, we don’t do that by checking off boxes on a list, we do that by being present. Being here, there, wherever. Being in the lives of our loved ones. In order for God to show up, you need to show up too. We were not made to the defend the Kingdom, we here to demonstrate it. God is love. Love is action. 1 John 3:18 “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.” I encourage you, to start taking baby steps, pray every day, read your bible, go to Wednesday night church, join a prayer circle, something that connects you to God more. The more you’re in him, the more he is in you. John 15:4 “Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.” First step, Remain in me. Tap in. Plug in. Get in with God, and he’ll get into you. Let me leave you with some of my favorite lyrics that have been singing in my heart this week, “Fill me up, so all they see, is you, Lord.” There’s no where else I’d rather be. ‚̧ I hope you join me. He’s waiting.