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

 

 

 

A Father’s Love

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So you are probably wondering why in the world I am sharing a picture of my dashboard – but is there any better feeling than going from having your gas light on to having a full tank?

I casually mentioned to my dad a few weekends ago that I would come over one weeknight and borrow his vacuum to clean my car out. We have a vacuum for our cars, but since our entire house is packed up in boxes, I didn’t want to start digging to find it. Next thing I knew, my dad was texting me when he got off work and said he was on his way to come get my car. Guess what he was going to do? Vacuum out my car for me. So when I met up with him to get my car back and give him his truck; I found out that he had vacuumed, filled my tank up AND took my car to get an inspection without me even asking.

I started thinking about how truly blessed I am, about how much my dad loves me and cares for me. Then it hit me, I have a Heavenly Father who does the same.  When my spiritual tank is empty, He pours in to me exactly what I need, in the moment when I need it most. When I need an inspection, He puts something in my life that brings me back to reality, and reminds me of His promises in His Word. And, while I can’t clean my sins up, He sent His son to die for me, and wiped my slate clean. How truly blessed we each and everyone are, by a Father’s love.

The Unexpected

A few weeks after my 25th birthday, we found out that we were expecting the most precious little miracle ever. Seeing those two pink lines on the test absolutely took my breath away. We were scared, nervous, curious, excited, and practically every other emotion there is. We scheduled doctors appointments and got to see the tiny little bean that was our child growing inside my body. We saw a flashing heartbeat, still too new to hear and as itsy bitsy as it was, the little flash was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. At my first ultrasound, all I could think is how do people see a child forming in the mother’s womb and not believe in God. I was witnessing a true miracle. We began buying clothes, thinking of how we would publicly announce, and dreaming of a future.

Then the unexpected happened. We went in for our eight week appointment and found out that our sweet baby had stopped developing, and no longer had a heart beat. I never knew the hurt and emptiness I would feel over the next few days. Everywhere I went I saw newborns, I found out someone else I knew was expecting, saw women with perfect little baby bumps everywhere. I’ve never felt so helpless or broken, I had no control of what was happening. My heart ached because our first child that I was so excited about meeting, was no more. That Sunday morning I knew where I needed to be, I needed to be in church, I needed to be spiritually fed. I knew if there was one way we were going to get through this it would be through Christ. And boy was I right.

At church, I sobbed and sobbed, I cried UGLY tears. But we had a ‘special’ service at church, one of those where the Holy Spirit comes in and fills the place, and I found myself in the altar and God had given me exactly what I needed. He gave me complete and utter peace, beyond any understanding. I would never hold this sweet baby, but he or she was born straight into the arms of Jesus. I would never get to see him or her grow and become an adult, but they never have to face the hurt or hardships of this world. Jeremiah 1:5 says “Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.” God has a plan for each of these precious babies, regardless of if that plan includes a life here on earth, Even though we think our plans are superior, His plan is perfect. He reminded me of Jeremiah 29:11, a verse I’ve clung to my whole life; “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” And with a promise like that how could I be questioning Him? Psalm 139:13-14 “For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” This little baby was like all others, fearfully and wonderfully made; God just had a different plan for ours.

Miscarriage is something few talk about, but it happens all too often. I was astonished when my doctor told me that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. I knew they happened, I had several close friends experience them. I just never imagined that I would be a member of that ‘club’. Once the people close to us found out about our loss, others started sharing their stories with us. I had women I knew all my life share with me their stories, and until then I never knew that they had miscarried. I’ve learned that women who have experienced this kind of loss, are the strongest women. These women are the most faithful women, because they trust God. These women are not alone, they have a bond that is beyond anything I’ve ever seen, because they’ve experienced a loss that no one should have to experience.

I have questioned if I should share our story, but I’ve earnestly prayed for God to use me; and I can’t do that if I’m silent. So I’m breaking the silence, because I too am 1 in 4.

Empty Room

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Life has been a complete and utter whirlwind lately. Our home went under contract to sell in the middle of October. & ever since, I’ve been reminiscing on memories savoring all of our lasts in this sweet home. This weekend we spent our last night there. My mind flashed back to so many great memories that happened here. The first time I met my husband, our first dates, to when we got engaged on the back porch, came home on our wedding night, so on and so forth. I love to laugh and think about how much of a bachelor pad it looked like. When we first started dating my husband had three ducks hanging on the wall, they weren’t even in the center of the wall. But slowly and surely over the past three years, we took this house he lived in by himself and created our home. Our love for each other grew in this house. Before it was our home, it was Thomas’ grandparents home, I thought about all of the holidays they had to have hosted there, the people and families that had been prayed for in that home, etc. I wish these walls could talk – oh the stories they could tell.

We’ve been slowly moving things out weekend by weekend for the past several weeks. We don’t have a home to move in to as of yet, but we are living with his parents until we find something. Yesterday, we moved the very last piece of us out of the house. I realized after all of the stuff was out that it wasn’t our home anymore – it was just a house. I had spent many nights last week crying while enjoying the last few moments there and my husband reminded me then that home is where we are, not the four walls that surround us. While the memories we will hold forever dear, the house is going to become a home to a new family. They will love and cherish, they will have memories just like we did – but when it’s time for them to move on, it will just become a house again.

As I stood there looking at our empty living room yesterday, I thought of a human. How we could be seen the same way. Completely empty. Then we accept Christ and he moves into our hearts and makes us beautiful. I was reminded that you don’t know what someone is going through, everything could be beautiful and put together on the outside but on the inside they could be broken and empty. Just like our house had been complete chaos with moving boxes and things everywhere for the last month. I was reminded how God could take something with holes all in it, and make it beautiful again. Just like how we did with our gallery wall of photos, the wall was covered in holes, from misplaced ducks to empty nails where photos once hung, and we made it beautiful again. I was reminded that it’s what goes into something that makes it beautiful, and just as homes are made beautiful in their owners unique way – God does that to each and every single one of us. It’s not what’s on the outside that counts – it’s what we do with what’s placed inside that makes the difference.

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