Thankful

It’s that time of year again where everyone is asked the question, “what are you thankful for?”  Hopefully whenever you ponder that question, you have a hard time answering – not for lack of things to be thankful for, but because there’s an immeasurable amount to be thankful for!  I couldn’t answer that question in simplicity; I’d have to write a book and it would be incomplete.  I hope that you feel the same way!  We are so blessed!

So instead of asking, “what are you thankful for,” here’s my question:  “When you think of this past year and all you have to be thankful for, what is one thing this year that has really stood out among the immeasurable list of what you have to be thankful for?”

Here’s my answer:

Last year was a year of many trials, but also a year of growth.  In a span of four months, my sister was in the hospital for over a month with life threatening injuries, the home I lived in had a house fire, I moved in to my own place with my son for the first time in his life, my grandma had a stroke that left her in an alzheimers state, my grandpa died after a long battle with cancer, I was in a hit and run car accident (the guy later turned himself in) that totaled my car and left me in a very long and frustrating process, the car I replaced it with broke down, my super sweet and loved boss passed away after a short battle with cancer.  It was a lot of trials, but also a lot of growth and a lot of blessing in response to the trials.

I share this because it was the beginning process of what I am most thankful for this year.  Last year when I was facing trial after trial God placed the word “preparation” on my heart.  This gave me hope in the midst of what I was facing.  I really was able to keep my eyes on Jesus through it all.  At the beginning of this year God placed the word “growth” on my heart, and that is what I have experienced this year.  What stands out to me this year in particular to be most thankful for is that God has been growing me in my relationship with Him and He has been growing me as a whole, helping me to discover who I am in Him and to find complete fulfillment in Him.  As I have given over control to Him over these past two years, submitting to and trusting Him, He has truly directed my every path, led me in the way I should go, and established my plans — just as His Word promises to do (see Proverbs 3:5-6, Psalm 32:8, Proverbs 16:3).  It is this growth, in dependence on Him, in faith and trust in Him, in fulfillment in Him, in completeness in Him, that I am most thankful for this year.


Someone shared this fabulous idea and my son and I started a “Grateful Jar” at the end of summer.  We write down one thing we are grateful for in the morning before we start our day and drop it in the jar.  It has been wonderful to reflect on all God has done and continues to do for us!

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Be blessed!

Keep enduring, keep pressing forward; your breakthrough is coming.

When God is about to do something big in or through our lives, there is a real enemy who will try and come against it.  I once heard someone put it this way, “God has defeated the enemy, but the greatest way the enemy can get to God is to stop one of His kids from fulfilling His purpose for them.”  The enemy can see when we are growing closer to God and the enemy can see when God is aligning things for victory in our lives or when God is aligning us in a position to be used by Him to let Him bring victory into the lives of others.

God’s plans are to prosper us and not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.  God’s plans are to work all things for our good and turn what the enemy meant as harm to us to be used for good.  God’s plans are for us to come to a knowledge of the truth and be saved.  God’s plans are for us to share Him with others and bring glory to Him.

The enemy does not like any of it and will do anything to stop God’s plans for us.  The Bible says the enemy comes only to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.  We have to be on our guard with an awareness that as we are pressing forward in God’s will for us, we will face opposition.  I have experienced this time and time again in my own life, and right before I have experienced the greatest growth or breakthrough, I faced a tremendous amount of opposition.

Don’t be afraid of this opposition because God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you.  His word says, “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)  Keep enduring, keep pressing forward.  Breakthrough is coming!  Victory is near!

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

Be blessed!


“I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy ; nothing will harm you.” (Luke 10:19)

Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4:7)

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11)

“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” (Genesis 50:20)

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” (Romans 8:28)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

To the one who feels like giving up…

If you feel alone and like nobody understands and like nothing will ever change, I’m here to tell you that you are wrong!  I’ve been in that same place before, having those feelings, and I know how burdensome each day can be.  I know what it feels like to want it to all end.  I also know what it feels like to give up and give in when you don’t know any other way.

I feel led right now to reach out to anyone who may be in that place.  Don’t give up.  You may not understand what I’m saying right now, but I promise you that there is hope for you.

Go back 6 years ago and I wouldn’t say such a thing, but here’s what I have to say to you, Jesus is real.  At a time when I had no belief or consciousness of Him, He did a work that led me from the darkest of places I could have been.  When I was in my darkest place, no one ever expressed this to me, what I am saying to you right now.  No one mentioned Jesus; no one told me there was hope in this life.  But, thank God He had His way of reaching me and He didn’t leave me in that dark place.  I’m begging you, please don’t blow this off.  This can be a starting point for you, that’s what I’m hoping and praying.  If you’re seeing this then I believe God led you to see it (or He led you to share it with someone you know who needs to read it).  My stats on this blog are not many as I do not put in effort to share it (God will lead who needs to see it here), so if you’re reading this then I believe you are at a first step.  I would not be able to say all this if I hadn’t experienced it personally.

When I was at my darkest I had no real understanding of what unconditional love is.  I felt unwanted and I felt like I had no purpose in this life.  I reached a point where I felt stuck and I really wanted it to just end.  That’s when God began to do a work that led me to Him and changed my whole future.  What He did for me He will do for you. He loves you.  He knows you, everything about you – your good, your bad, your ugly – and with everything He knows He wants you so much. He loves you unconditionally and He wants to be in a relationship with you.  He wants to show you just how loved you are.  Though people may let you down, He never will.  He has plans for you – to prosper you and not harm you, to give you hope and a future.  He has His eye on you, yes you.  He sees you and He has a special plan for you.  Yes, these words are really true for you.

There is nothing complicated about having a relationship with God.  It starts with a desire.  When I first had a curiosity and a desire to have this hope that I was seeing as a possibility in Jesus, I went through several weeks of pondering and the biggest question I struggled with was, “Will He really forgive EVERY sin?”  To save you all that pondering, the answer is yes.  The Bible says,  ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ” (Isaiah 1:18) “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)  He will forgive your EVERY sin.

Read this and accept it. It was God’s heart for me and it is His heart for YOU too:

“Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?  And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders  and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”

He cares that much for YOU.  The Bible says that nothing can separate you from His love!

I pray that you have a glimpse of hope and that there is a desire in you for what I now have in Jesus.  It starts with a desire and telling Him you want to know Him.  It’s your own words from your heart, nothing fancy.  It can be as simple as, “Jesus, I realize there is nothing in this life that completely satisfies and I’d like to get to know you. Reveal yourself to me. I want to know what it means to know you. I want to surrender to you and have a relationship with you. I am a sinner and I need a Savior. Jesus, cleanse me of me of my sin. I believe in you. I believe you died for me and rose again so that I could have life in you. I surrender to You as my Lord.  ”

If you prayed this today, I am so excited for you.  There is rejoicing in heaven right now!  If you need any prayer or if you need further direction, dont hesitate to reach out!

Be blessed!


 

“But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ” (Isaiah 1:18)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalm 37: 23-24)

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Letting go of what other people may think -> Being obedient to God

Fear of what other people think of you. Fear of other people misjudging your actions or motives.

I have seen this to be one of the strongest and most effective tactics the enemy uses to keep God’s children from stepping boldly into accomplishing assignments He has called them to do.  I have seen these fears stop people from praying, stop people from speaking, stop people from being obedient to God.

As the Holy Spirit leads me to share on this, I want you to know that I share this from a place of experience.  I say this having come from a place of being in bondage to the pressures of fear of being misjudged, fear of having my motives questioned, fear of not measuring up to others or passing their assessments of me.  I have been in bondage, but praise God, I have been set free!

There is a place of peace when you are able to lay aside unnecessary external pressures, specifically, most often misperceived pressures you take on from other people.  I call them reverse judgements.  You think someone is judging you, when in reality they most likely are not, but you are actually the one judging them – judging that they are judging.  That’s a brain twister there.  Yes, we will indeed be judged or assessed by other people (who themselves need conviction and growth) from time to time and that is unfortunate, but we cannot let that hold us back from accomplishing God’s purposes for us.

Daughter of God, You have been created by God, uniquely fashioned by Him and you are perfect to Him just the way He created you.  Do not worry over what anyone thinks of you aside from the Lord.

If God has placed something on your heart to do, no matter how big or how small, go do it!  He knows your heart and He is the one who knows your motives.  Don’t let the lies of the enemy hold you back from completing assignments God has for you.  When you are having any thoughts about motives include Psalm 139: 23-24 in your prayers: “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

“People will think I’m weird.”  Oh goodness, ask anyone who knew me when I was newly saved.  I would start every sentence on a spiritual topic (what I felt I was hearing from God, etc.) with, “You may think I’m weird but…”  If you hear from God, do not worry over other people’s understanding of what you are doing.  People will misunderstand, but you will have peace in walking in obedience to God.  I will give one personal example and this is when I was newly saved.  I had been driving around with my son’s old clothes in my trunk ready to be dropped off for donation for several weeks.  It was a long tiring day of work and I was so ready to go home, but I randomly felt within me God say, “you know those clothes in your trunk? Drive to the Dollar Tree.”  Okay, I rarely go to that store unless I’m needing something very specific that I know they sell, so this was completely random.  I hesitated and then I went.  As I pulled into the parking lot I saw a lady with two small boys walking in at that moment.  I knew within me this was really happening, that God really had spoken to me and really was doing a work, but then came the feeling of “that women is going to think I’m so weird if I randomly ask her if she needs some clothes while she is shopping.”  I walked in the store and hesitated, but I wanted to obey what I know was God’s leading.  When I did ask her if she wanted the clothes, her response was, “Jesus sent you! My son has just outgrown all his clothes and I was needing to get some new ones.”

Step boldly into whatever God calls you to do!  Other people may very well not understand the step you are taking or, through their dimmed vision, see you as underqualified, but when God calls you to do something, be obedient and it will be His power at work in you to accomplish all He has called you to do!  His power is made perfect in your weakness.  Believe every bit of what He says.  Let nothing hold you back woman of God!

If you feel led to pray in a group setting, pray!  He is loving every word of it no matter how studdery or stumbly it is coming out.  Let go of what grade any other person could put on your ability to pray.  If people give you an A+ or an F it does not matter.  If anyone is grading your abilities, they are the one who needs conviction and growth.  With this being said, prayer in a group setting should never feel like an obligation or some way of proving yourself to other people (see Matthew 6:5 on not praying for the purpose of being seen by others).  If you don’t feel led by the Spirit, don’t do it out of pressure, but if you feel led by the Spirit to pray, pray boldly without hindrance!  The enemy would try and have you remain silent, but there is power when a group gathers and prays in agreement.

Somewhere in my walk with God I was able to completely let go of any worry over what others may think of me.  This was a process over time of trusting God and being obedient, no matter what discomforts were attached, but I have seen Him move over and over again as I have let go of my own insecurities and submitted completely to His leading.

If God says speak, speak.  If He says pray, pray.  If He says do, do.  If He says go, go.  Let nothing hold you back from accomplishing all that God calls you to do!  All glory to God!

Be blessed!

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All scriptures from Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 or New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson

Why I believe… my testimony to the good news of God’s grace

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.” (Acts 20:24)

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. ” (1 Peter 3:15)


Last week I was asked the question, “why do you believe” for the first time since I was saved in 2014 so, as a result, I wanted to take a few minutes to share my story of God’s great grace in my life and why I believe in Jesus as my Lord and Savior.

I can look back the past several years and see all these dots connected which led me straight to Jesus.

Eight years ago I was at a point in my life where I felt numb,  I felt sick, I had no desire to live.  I was hopeless and had no vision of a future for myself.  I can with quite certainty say there’s a large possibility I wouldn’t be here today had God, full of love, grace and mercy, not intervened when He did. I had reached a point of being sickened with where I was at.  I felt stuck and I no longer wanted to be doing what I had been doing.  I wanted it to all end. I felt completely hopeless.

When I found out I was pregnant I knew I couldn’t stay where I was.  I hadn’t been able to break free for myself, but I could do it for my child. Getting pregnant was the first dot in the story of God leading me to Him. I moved to a new state and this was another dot. I got a job in this new state when my child was 11 months old. Another dot. This job was a pretty miserable work environment, but I learned a lot of job skills I did not previously possess. At this miserable job, someone persistently invited me to attend church for over a year. After a series of events and my child having illness I decided to try the church. Another big dot.

At this church I was taught about Jesus – that He came to this world and died a terrible death by being crucified on a cross, dying in place of me, and that He rose from the dead and is seated at the right hand of God.  I learned that by believing in Him I could be saved. I learned that if I was repentant, by His great grace, He would forgive any sin I’d committed and release me from it.

If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.  For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.” (Romans 10:9-10)

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

“Repent, then, and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped out, that times of refreshing may come from the Lord,” (Acts 3:19)

‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’ ” (Isaiah 1:18)

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.” (Ephesians 1:7)

So at this church, after three weeks of pondering within myself as to if God would really forgive every sin, I repented and I surrendered my heart to Jesus and I believed in Him as my Lord and Savior. Kaboom, majorly huge dot – the biggest one in my story!

God didn’t stop there though. Even after being saved I have seen dot after dot leading me to where I am today. That miserable job? No more. There was a dot that led me to a great job in a wonderful work environment that I wouldn’t be able to have had I not learned the job skills at the miserable job and accepted the invite to church at the miserable job.  Shortly after becoming a Christian, my life scripture became Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to Him, and He will direct your paths.”  I have learned that in every situation I have faced this scripture holds true.  I am at a point now in my faith where I have seen the way God directs me and I have seen His faithfulness time and time again in my own life and in the lives of people God has placed around me. His Word has proven true.  As I said, I have seen dot after dot connecting and these dots represent a caring God who is real and who loves me, who didn’t just create me and leave me wandering aimlessly, but who leads me and heals me and strengthens me and upholds me, who gives me joy and peace and life.

The Lord will guide you always; He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with My loving eye on you.” (Psalm 32:8)

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in Him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” (Psalm 37: 23-24)

I have this thought, “how couldn’t I believe?” The belief I have in Jesus is more real than things I see with my own eyes in this world. So often when I see things in this world I see a facade. I see falseness all around me – people trying to appear as something they’re not or seeking in places that will never fulfill, finding security in things that cannot stand (and I used to fit in this description before knowing Jesus).  What I have with Jesus is a love I never thought was possible for me, but now I know it is. It is real and true, not based on anything I have done or have not done — unconditional love.  I don’t just know of Jesus, I truly know HimKnowing Him, I believe in Him.  I am in love with Him.  Jesus is my Savior and my Lord.  He truly is the reason I live.

Glory to God for His great love, mercy and grace!

Be blessed!

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ALL SCRIPTURES FROM HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® COPYRIGHT ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 OR NEW KING JAMES VERSION®. COPYRIGHT © 1982 BY THOMAS NELSON
(originally written 4/4/19)