Robbing Ourselves of His Blessings

I needed this little reminder this morning more than anything ya’ll, so I wanted to share with you. God is so good.

Our lives have been pulled a million directions these past few weeks, spending every second we aren’t working or at church to pick paint colors, carpet, tile, any and all details that needed to be finalized. Then actually making all the details come together, installing light fixtures, door knobs, all the fun stuff. We honestly feel like we haven’t had a chance to breathe.

I’ve had a breakfast routine with my coworkers on Friday mornings for a little over six months now. This morning I didn’t get to go to our normal breakfast, because I was up at 6:15 folding clothes that I had washed between packing last night and that got my normal morning routine off.

So I ran through the McDonald’s drive thru to pick up breakfast and God gave me the biggest blessing. You know McDonald’s has two order lanes? And when you get up to that little fork where it merges in to one to pay and pick up your food nobody really knows what to do? Well this morning the older gentleman beside me threw his arms up like what are we going to do? I motioned for him to go in front of me and he smiled and did.

I thought to myself that if it was any other morning that I probably would have charged right on ahead of him, not even pausing to give it another thought because I had somewhere to be. I’m normally running behind in the mornings on my way to work so I would be coming through like a bull in a china shop to get to my destination on time. But this morning, I wasn’t focused on the clock, I just let the man go first.

I pulled up to the window and the cashier said the man in front of you bought your breakfast this morning. And my heart melted. I knew right then that God had orchestrated everything that happened this morning for me to experience that one blessing. I know it sounds super silly. But I’ve got soooooooo caught up in the hustle and bustle of my routine of life lately that I just rush through everything and don’t take the ten extra seconds it takes to be a blessing to someone or even allow God to use others to bless me.

Of course, I purchased the lady behind me’s breakfast and I saw her buy the person behind her’s. I know just from one man’s act of kindness that at least four people were blessed and started this Friday morning with a smile. & I even got to work five minutes early today! I pulled up beside the man at the stop light and told him thank you and God bless you after we pulled out of the parking lot, and he was grinning from ear to ear.

The moral of this story and the reminder that I learned today, don’t be like I’ve been. Don’t be so caught up in a routine, firing through everything in such a hurry that you don’t get to experience the blessings that God has in store for you.

I Am Whosoever

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16  

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My sweet friend Brooke over at On a Mission Apparel, worked with me to get this custom t-shirt designed and printed by this special day. Today is the anniversary of my salvation! I honestly feel as excited about this as I do my birthday, because not only does God have a beautiful life for me here on this Earth – I get to spend eternity with Him in heaven!! Contact Brooke if you are interested in a shirt like this, shop her store – she has some seriously amazing tees; I’ve worn two other shirts of hers just this week! They are beautifully designed and printed with scripture to start conversations about Jesus, and to top it off they are literally the softest shirt I’ve ever worn. I can promise you that you will not be disappointed.

Two years ago today, April 28, 2015 was a day like no other day in my life, it’s the day I gave my heart to God. We were having Revival at our church that week and Brother Brian Cardwell was preaching. It was a Tuesday night and I had to work later than normal and I wasn’t even planning to go to church. However, God had a different, greater, more exciting plan. I had wrapped things up early, and I got in my car and drove over to our church. Amazingly, there was one parking spot right next to the building so I pulled in and sat there in my car, I could hear the piano playing and knew the choir was still singing. I sat there for a few more minutes debating on whether I should go in or not. I did, I walked down to where we normally sit, four rows from the front, but since the pastor was getting ready to start preaching I sat on the end of the pew, instead of crawling over everyone to sit in the middle where I normally do.

I truly believe that God had started working in my heart long before I even got there that night. Brian shared a short little message and I honestly couldn’t tell you a word that he said. I just fell under conviction and knew that I needed God in my life. What a beautiful day that was, knowing that my name was forever written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Without a shadow of a doubt, I know that I got saved.

God had orchestrated that day like only He could. He allowed the event that I was working, and had scheduled months in advance, to end early so I could make it to church. He had arranged that I would get there late, and sitting on the end of the pew so I could just slip right out. He arranged all that so no one would get in my way and I could run right up to that alter and pray and ask Him to come into my heart.

I’m sharing my story of salvation as a hopeful light for others. You see, I grew up in church, and I thought that I had made a profession of faith as a young child during Bible School. During my teenage years, I quickly found myself surrounded by the wrong people and grew away from the Lord and even stopped going to church. I have a past that I’m not proud of at all. However, I am so thankful for the One that sent His Son to die in my place, for my sins, for my unworthy soul. I do not want to cause anyone to doubt their salvation, but at 23, I didn’t completely know without a shadow of a doubt that when I died I was going to heaven. Like I said, God had been working and molding my heart all week long to be right where I needed to be to accept Him.

There are times I wish I could go back and re-live my life, and start living for Him sooner. After that night, I see even more clearly how God can align up our lives and days in such a special way. When I look back at my past, there’s times that I’m embarrassed to talk about. There are times that I don’t want anyone else that I know or love to have to endure. There are more times than not that unfortunately I lived more for worldly pleasure and gain than I did for Him; however, I am so thankful that those sinful days are under the blood. I’m thankful He is still in the saving business and came into my heart that Tuesday night for my life has not been the same since.

God has a plan, He loves and cares for us more than we could ever imagine. If you don’t know Him as your personal Lord and Savior, talk to someone, pray, study the Word, get to know Him. I started this blog post with John 3:16 and I’m wearing a shirt today that says “I am Whosoever” because I am and you are too, God sent His Son so that whosoever  {that’s us!} believeth in Him, would have eternal life.

I have included a little walk down the Roman’s Road of Salvation to help you get started:

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

That verse of scripture doesn’t say that only some have sinned. For we all have sinned. That’s the first step in becoming a Christian, to recognize that you are a sinner.

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 6:23 

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

The next step to becoming a Christian is to realize that there had to be a price that was paid for your sins. God sent His only Son, the only Perfect one to ever exist, to die in your place.

“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Romans 10:9

 “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:13

The final step in salvation is to pray and confess your sins unto Him, believe that He came and died for you, and receive Him to come into your life.

If you need someone to talk to, or pray with you, reach out to me. I would be honored.

 

In All Your Ways

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I won’t even pretend that this whole home search has been easy. I honestly tried to think about all of  the houses we have looked at over the past ten months and we have looked at least 30, maybe even 40. That’s a ton of different houses all in different locations between the town we have called home for all of our lives and my husband’s new job. My mind has been completely overwhelmed. I totally felt like Goldilocks eating the three bear’s porridge. Viewing each house, we would find something that one or both of us didn’t like and then mark it off the list.

I’m sure you guys are probably tired of hearing about it, because honestly I am! But some exciting things are coming our way, we finally after t-e-n looooong months of searching have a house under contract. YAY!

I love to Bible Journal real time things that are happening in our lives, so that later I could look back on them, and I wanted to incorporate this house hunt in that. I thought that Proverbs 3:5-6 was perfect for this time. Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”

You see, in this house hunt we both struggled with location, we were looking at such a broad area we never could pin point a town where we wanted to live. It wasn’t until I realized that I needed to give this burden of finding a house to God. I knew then that when we found the house we were supposed to be in, we would both know.

Thomas and I both had our own ideas and wants, but God knew where we were going to end up, and that’s why we could never find what we were looking for.  I was being incredibly selfish and didn’t want to sacrifice what I am familiar with. I let fear override my mind and all of the unanswered questions keep me from giving any house a chance. It’s funny because we went and looked at the house that we now have under contract back in January, and I found a million reasons why it wouldn’t work then.

One day I opened my Bible to Proverbs 3 and I thought of the house from Up. Ya know, Carl ties hundreds of balloons to their home to take him to the one place Ellie always wanted to go. So I thought what a perfect illustration for what we were experiencing. We had to tie balloons to this dream of finding a house, and let God be at the helm and guide us where we needed to be. The scripture doesn’t say in some of your ways, but in ALL of your ways. We can’t say that we have all of our faith in Him, when we are still adjusting the sails to make things work in our own favor. We have to give every ounce of our thoughts to Him and allow Him to work through us and use us in ways only He can and let His plan for our lives come to fruition.

I started working on this page in my journaling Bible on a Thursday and by that Sunday we had revisited that house, had put an offer in, it was accepted and under contract. It always blows my mind how God works. Sometimes we need something as simple as a animated movie to remind us that we don’t always have to be in control to get where we are supposed to be. God knows exactly what He’s doing, and sometimes we have to get ourselves out of the way and just trust, follow and be obedient to His plan.

Dear Younger Me

Since I started this blog, this subject has been on my heart. The song “Dear Younger Me” by Mercy Me has been playing every time I have gotten in my car the past two days. I started writing this blog about a month ago and every time that I would get in my car then, the song was on. The lyrics are very similar to  what I’ve wanted to share from my heart. I’ve ran from it and fought with myself about sharing it, but God keeps putting this song in front of me, so I feel like someone out there needs to hear the message so here it goes:

Dear Younger Me,

First of all, always remember that your worth is in Christ alone. It’s not found in the negative thoughts you think about yourself and definitely not in what others think and say about you. Matter of fact, do not let those voices keep you from living your greatest potential. Do not listen to the voices saying you can’t, you aren’t good enough, that no one cares about you, that you are unworthy; BECAUSE YOU ARE. I want you to love yourself, for you. Be and accept the beautiful person that God created you to be.

I’ve thought a lot if I could go back in time and change things, would I? Absolutely not, and I’ll tell you why. I am so much more grateful for what I have now because of the trials, hardships and hurt you are facing now. I know that seems silly, but you learn strength, perseverance, how to love, how it feels to fall, and how it feel when God lifts you up out of that pain through the trials you face now. The times that it seems you are at your end, you aren’t, you are far from it. The pain and disappointments you face now, you will look back at and laugh. They aren’t going to end your world, they aren’t going to even worry you tomorrow.

Even though you think you do, you don’t know what love means. First you will need to fall in love with God, and then He will send you the perfect man to fall in love with. Only then will you understand the true definition of love. My heart breaks just thinking about what I settled for in my youth because I did not think I could have anything better. Now, I look at my life and God has blessed me with a husband that I could only dream of as a teenager. I cherish my husband so much more because of the emotional and physical hurt that I experienced at such a tender age. Would I want to go through that hurt again, no, absolutely not, but I know I would never appreciate what I have now if not for my past.

Put more focus into a relationship with God than any other relationship in your life. When you put God first, everything else will fall right into place where it needs to be. I promise, this will make all the difference in your life.

Cherish the little moments and make memories with your family, because in the end they are the ones that will always be standing by your side. Friends come and go, but family is constant. One day you are going to wake up and realize that your parents are getting older, or that you wish you had more memories with your grandparents when they are gone and you can’t make more; so make them now.

Every choice you make, sets up your tomorrows. You may think it doesn’t but it will totally surprise you one day when you realize how much your life changed because of one simple decision. One day you will realize that the little, tiny, teensie weensie things that you choose day to day are all connected. The silliest things make the biggest difference in your life. Spend your days being a light for the Lord and show His love to everyone you meet. There is enough darkness in the world, use your platform to show others what God can do.

Tonight at church, our pastor shared a message about the crosses that we carried. Remember that when God gives you a trial, He’s been there before you. He knows your days, He knows what tomorrow holds, He knows how you feel. No matter how dark it gets, remember He’s there – you are not alone. He loves, cares and knows more about you than any one person on this earth ever will. You are His child, He set you apart, and He will guide your ways.

Now here I am at 25, I’ve faced challenges and heart aches I never imagined I would have to face. But, I’ve realized along the way that they are all a part of the beautiful life that God has chosen to give me. Every single second of what I went through before this moment, has molded me and shaped me into who I am today. Be grateful, even for the trials, be grateful.

Love,

Older Me

 

 

 

For What I Have Now

“I still remember the days that I prayed for what I have now.”

This quote has been burned on my heart for the past few weeks; so much that I had Imperfect Dust, a shop on Etsy {link here!}, create a custom sign for me. I want this sign to be something I read every single day, as a daily reminder, to just be grateful for what I have. When I sent the request to the shop owner, she sent back to me: “Just to double check! Do you want it to say “I still remember the days I prayed for what I have now” or “I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now”? I have seen it with “the things” and wondered if that’s what you meant originally. Of course, I don’t mind either way.” I read it and instantly knew I wanted the word what on there, not things.  I told Danielle my thoughts, and she said “Amen, girl! :)”

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If there is anything I have learned during the past few months, it’s that the things don’t matter. {Of course I love to splurge every now and then and buy something for myself, but who doesn’t?} Ya’ll, we seriously have all of our furniture and belongings packed to the ceiling and stuffed in a single garage space in my in-laws garage. We have all of our day to day stuff in the same room of their house that we are living in. But without the clutter around me, I’ve been able to enjoy my evenings and spend quality time with my husband without all of the stuff of owning a home to get in my way. It has been truly amazing.

 I have been reflecting on how much God has truly blessed me with, and again I’m not referring to the “stuff”. My life has not always been as amazing as it looks online. There’s some moments that have been down right scary. I could have chosen to go down the wrong paths and there is honestly no telling where I would be today. I am just so thankful that I am a whosoever and that God sent His Son to die for me, to save my soul.

I am truly, truly blessed to say that the things I’ve always prayed for as a young girl are exactly what I am living as my reality right now. I prayed for a Godly husband, a safe and secure marriage, a man who would be loyal to me, a man who would nurture me, who cared for me, and who loved me for me. I had prayed for closer family relationships, loving in-laws, friends who would be there no matter what. I had prayed for stability, financial freedom, and structure. I had prayed for a closer relationship with Christ, to be able to study His Word, to be able to be a light to others. I had prayed for joy, for hope, for love, for contentment, for faithfulness, for kindness, for self-confidence, for a caring heart; and just looking back, God has blessed me immensely.

I think too many times, we start focusing on all the things that don’t go our way. The unanswered prayers, and why He didn’t make those desires of our hearts come true. I am so thankful that God knows what He is doing. I am thankful for the unanswered prayers, for the moments that He reminds us that He is the one who is in control. When we take a second and step out of the picture, stop looking at the stuff, and start thinking about the beautiful gifts he’s placed in our lives….WOW! We serve a mighty God.

Instead of tearing each other down, let’s pray for one another. Instead of being jealous of what material thing someone else may have, let’s take a look at our own lives and see where God has blessed. Because I can guarantee that once you stop comparing your life to someone else’s, you will be blown away by what a mighty God that we serve.

A Season for Everything

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:” 

Ecclesiastes 3:1

As I’m laying here in bed, watching it snow out our window, I’m thinking of the different seasons we experience throughout a year. 

Spring, is so beautiful, all the fresh bright colors, the time change that allows us to see the beautiful sunrise each day, it’s all a picture perfect masterpiece that God paints for us to enjoy. We all look forward to spring; to enjoy the new growth, the bright colors and the fresh air floating around. {I snapped this picture in our front yard last spring of the little buds blossoming into beautiful flowers.}

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 Summer is a season I think most everyone loves. Kids are out of school, temperatures rise, barbecues are held. We plan vacations, usually to the beach, a lake or a river, so we can enjoy the sunshine and warm weather. {This photo was taken last summer, kayaking down the Yadkin River.}IMG_3219

 Fall is my absolute favorite! When we were picking our wedding date, I knew I wanted a fall wedding. I love the warm colors, the crisp air, hay rides and the crunching sound leaves make when you step on them. {I snapped this photo in the Fall, of a tree in the parking lot of the DMV while getting my licensed renewed.}

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And of course, in the dead of winter, there is just something so peaceful about snow falling. It’s like a warm blanket of newness is covering the ground. I look out now and see the stillness of an early morning, covered in a sheet of white. No one is out moving, no footprints or tire tracks, no noises, just peace. When the sun comes out, we go out and make snowmen, sled, fourwheel and drink lots of hot chocolate! {This photo was just taken a few seconds ago during our first snow of the season.}

Each season is unique – spring, summer, fall and winter. For each season there’s a different view and feel. They each bring joy, and they each bring their own challenges. Each of them, has a different temperature that our body has to adjust to. For each season there is beauty that surrounds us, if we just simply look for it. 

It goes the same for the seasons of our lives, we must choose to look for the beauty through them all. 

Verse 2- 8 says this: “A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

All Things New

“And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.” Revelation 21:5 KJV

Happy New Year, I’m a few days late, but hey it’s better late than never! Don’t you just love how a new year brings a new prospective to everyone? It seems like everyone is more optimistic this time of year. Dreaming, planning, goal setting and preparing for another year can be fun! I’ve spent a lot of time the past few days reflecting on 2016.

Last night I posted my first Bible Journal entry of 2017 on Instagram {see it here!} and I’m so excited to dive back in to that. I shared on my post a huge goal of mine for last year was to spend time reading the Bible from cover to cover. Bible Journaling was my outlet to dig in deep and truly study the Word of God. When I journal, I don’t just haphazardly throw some paint and words on a page, I spend time studying and understanding what I’m reading. Then, I find a way that I can express that through journaling so it makes it easier for me to remember. I’m a huge visual learner, ya’ll! I had a really good run going. But, I’ll be honest, I got totally discouraged in Leviticus. I just couldn’t get my mind to think about how I wanted to journal, so journaling fell on the backburner.  I occasionally would journal random scripture that was on my heart, or from a sermon; I just got so much more out of it when I was reading chapter by chapter. But in 2017, I’m starting in the New Testament and I’m so excited for this new start.

2016 brought a ton of new things for Thomas and I! New opportunities, new adventures, new cities, new emotions, new ideas, new everything really.

One of my favorite things from 2016 was all of our travels. I saw a quote on Pinterest, and it summed up my love for travel, so I have to share it! “I don’t want to spend decades on this planet and never see the diversity of places God created.” Thomas and I unanimously agreed that our trips were our favorite this year! If you haven’t figured it out – we LOVE to travel. I love seeing new places, and even visiting places we have been a million times before, even in our own backyard, and finding new experiences to enjoy. {You can follow along with our travels with the hashtag #theadventuresofthomthomandjordy on social media! And don’t you love our cheesy hashtag? I said it as a joke one weekend while camping and it stuck! We even used it as our hashtag for our wedding.} We visited lots of places we had been before but added so much more new to our travel map and it was so absolutely wonderful.  Some of our new trips from 2016 are below:

  • Road trip on our Washington, DC vacay and visited Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania.
  • For my 25th birthday, we visited NYC and loved every second of it! {I seriously ask him almost every day if we can go back!}
  • For our One Year Anniversary, we did a road trip from San Francisco to Las Vegas with a few detours along the way. We stopped in so many cute little towns that I absolutely loved! But some well known spots  we stopped in, downtown San Fran, all the way down HWY 1 to Los Angeles, the Mojave Desert, Route 66 to Williams, AZ, up to the Grand Canyon, over to the Hoover Dam and a few days in Vegas. It was a whirlwind of a trip, that we both loved every second of. That one road trip checked off sooo many cities in California, Arizona, and Nevada from our map!

I love planning things ahead, and Thomas has ALWAYS made fun of me for it. But we planned all of these trips ahead this past year, and it was truly the best year of all for us. And guess who is so excited about these adventures, that now he’s charting out where we will traveling all the way to 2020?! I think I’ve wore off on him a bit! 😉

We had so many new opportunities and emotions this year it has really made us think and look at life differently. Thomas was promoted at work, and it has been so exciting. I am seriously so proud of him and the leader I’ve watched him grow into the past six months or so. We sold our house this year so we could move closer to Thomas’ new job, and I expected to cry like a baby on a daily basis after we moved out. But God, has given me a different set of eyes on all of it and now all I can think is the exciting opportunities up a head that would have never been possible if we hadn’t been obedient.

We experienced a surprising pregnancy in September, and then just eight short weeks later, a devastating loss as we suffered a miscarriage. This brought us closer together and made our marriage stronger than it had ever been before. I became friends in early 2016 with some of the most amazing and encouraging women, who were there for me at a time when I felt alone. Another reminder, that when God puts people in our lives, He always has a purpose. They too, had experienced the same loss and were able to help me through the emotions!

I grew closer to God in ways that I never thought would be possible. I spent more time in His Word and studying than I ever have in my life. We realized it’s not all about gifts and money, but more about what you do with what the Lord has blessed you with. We gave more and tried to help others more this year, and shared God’s love. We focused on quality time with loved ones this year, so it was amazing to get to make memories that will last a lifetime with our family and friends.

I started sewing last January, and since have made several quilt tops and projects! 2017 goal is to quilt them, but if you know quilting it may be a 2018 goal too, haha, I just get so distracted by new pretty fabrics! I started this blog, and it has been a wonderful outlet to just share my heart. To those of you, who have followed along on this blogging journey, I promise to do more in 2017. I’ve been blown away with the response  from those who follow me. For those who have told me I should write books, you tickle me! That may be a goal in the future, who knows. 😉

But, after all that, it’s a new year and I have a new focus.  I am truly so excited to see what 2017 brings for us {Hopefully a new house!}  and what the Lord will have us do for Him! Hope that each of you {if you’ve read through all my rambling and made it this far} have a blessed 2017!