Monday, December 23, 2013

Nobody puts baby Jesus in a corner!



Shopping. Wrapping. Decorating. Cooking. Baking. Cleaning.


Preparing for the holidays sometimes seems like a never-ending list of "to-do’s".

As I was adjusting the cushions and straightening the pillows in our living room for what seemed to be the millionth time, I glanced at our Nativity, specifically at the baby Jesus and immediately thought of all the Christmas decorations carefully placed around our home.

The Christmas tree, all lit up and meticulously decorated, was placed prominently in front of the windows on display for all to see.

The stockings were hung (not by the chimney with care, no fireplace - no chimney) on the staircase that was also decorated with greenery, pine cones and brightly colored ornaments.

The wreath, decorated to coordinate with the tree and the staircase was hanging next to the stockings, along with vases filled with glistening wintery twigs and candles placed all about but what about the Nativity?

To be quite honest, I couldn’t find room.

So there it was, the Nativity, stuck in the corner out of the way and mostly out of view.

How ironic.

No room.



Luke 2:7

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.


No room in the inn.

No room in my decorating plan.

No room in my home.

No room in my heart?

No room for the very reason that we celebrate Christmas?

Had I allowed so many other things to take precedence that I also allowed the ONE that we celebrate to be displaced, pushed into a corner, all but forgotten?

I regretfully admit that I had…



Luke 2:10-14

Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger."


And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:

"Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!"


I will make room.

I will purpose to keep Jesus in a prominent place, not only in my home but in my heart.

HE will be above all things and at the center of all things.

Will you join me?

Let us give Glory to God in the Highest for the One that was born to give us Life Everlasting!




Thursday, December 19, 2013

What Lies Ahead...


Possibilities…



It’s exhilarating to think about the possibilities ahead when you begin to live according to your purpose and trust in God’s plan for your life. I’ve discovered so much about who He says that I am and I’m learning to believe that I can do abundantly more than I ever thought possible.



I’m thrilled to say that tomorrow, December 20, 2013 I will be guest posting on Blogs by Christian Women.



Writing for me is a dream. I can get so lost in the ideas and the story that I lose all sense of time and space. It’s a chance to reveal what’s in my heart, to share what God has done and continues to do in my life, in hopes of giving others just that…HOPE.



Please visit me tomorrow as I continue on this exciting journey that God has prepared for me and please feel free to comment or share if you’re encouraged by the message!



Here’s the link to the website, http://blogsbychristianwomen.blogspot.com/ and I’ll be posting the link when I’m published on facebook and twitter as well.



God has placed a passion and a purpose in each of us, so have faith, dream big and believe in the possibilities of what lies ahead, according to His plans for us!



 


Jeremiah 29:11

I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope.





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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Greatest Gift









The value of a gift

 
As Christmas approaches we begin our search for the perfect gift for the loved ones on our lists. We put much effort into the gifts that we choose, thinking specifically about the individual or individuals that will receive them. If you’re like me you may have a theme for each gift, whether it’s a favorite movie, candy and popcorn tucked into a big bowl; a great book, a cozy blanket and a mug with their favorite coffee, tea or hot chocolate; or a family gift with fun games and holiday snacks, the gifts we give most often are thoughtfully planned for the ones we love.

Most of us are good gift givers but are we good gift receivers?

Because we place value in our loved ones, we want to show them just how much we value them in the gifts that we give to them.

How much more then, does our Heavenly Father value us and desire to give us good gifts.





Look, all of you are flawed in so many ways, yet in spite of all your faults, you know how to give good gifts to your children. How much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to all who ask!

Luke 11:13

 
Often times there are circumstances or situations in our lives that make us question our value and cause us to doubt our worth. It may have been something we’ve done or something done to us, either way, we start to believe that we don’t deserve good gifts. We see so little value in ourselves that it becomes impossible to think that anyone else could see value in us either.


The Greatest Gift
 

For to you is born this day in the town of David a Savior, Who is Christ (the Messiah) the Lord!

Luke 2:11

 
As we recognize and celebrate the birth of a baby who would be the greatest gift the world has ever known, we’re also compelled to look at His death, His sacrifice. He chose to give His life, He chose to be beaten, tortured, humiliated, He chose to give us the gift of eternity with Him and our Heavenly Father. He chose us!
To Him our value was worth His very life, not because of anything we’ve done or haven’t done but because of His great love for us and that is the greatest gift.

 
For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16


 
 
This Christmas as you give gifts to those you love, remember the value of the gift that Jesus chose to give and remember the value He saw in you, receive His gift, receive Him!





 

 

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Help Yourself First

Before you comment about how selfish that sounds or worse- you just stop reading, please let me explain.

I was reminded of something that I heard on a recent flight to South Carolina while attending a conference there. The flight attendant went through all of the "in the event of" procedures and since it’s the same thing on every flight, you probably know the drill.

"In the event of…please put your own oxygen mask on before assisting others." In other words, help yourself first.

Now, I know that it seems so much more noble to immediately respond to the needs of others, helping them, saving them and sacrificing your own needs but how helpful will you be if you’re deprived of the very thing that gives you life- your breath. It makes sense then to put your own mask on first, to help save yourself, so that you can then begin to help save others.

"We breathe to capture oxygen, which helps us convert food into energy in our cells, and to get rid of carbon dioxide – the waste gas which is formed as this happens. Our lungs pump these gases in and out of our bodies, and help us dissolve them in and out of our blood."

Ask Glenn, sciencemuseum.org

"We need oxygen because the main use of oxygen in humans and aerobic organisms is to permit the body to build energy. Energy is required as a host of processes in the body like movement, growth, repair…." - ask.com


We all have need for the bad to be removed and require assistance in moving forward, for healing and growth.



Before we can be really effective in helping others, we need to first help ourselves. We all have had some brokenness in our lives, whether from our past or present situations and sometimes the hurt that remains is so suffocating, that it makes it almost impossible to breath and to truly live. We think the noble thing to do is to help others, to save them when actually we need to be saved first!



For several years I’ve been involved in women’s ministry, holding bible studies in my home, talking with women one on one, leading small groups in our church and helping with big events. A few months ago I felt strongly that I needed to step away from those things. I felt that God was calling me to be still and spend time breathing in His presence. It was difficult to let go. It seemed selfish to me and maybe even to others, but nonetheless, God thought it necessary for me to help myself (by seeking Him) before assisting others.



I was broken and wounded masking the pain, the disappointments of my life and pretending that I was fine, all the while trying to help others be healed of their own hurts, their own wounds. While it was completely possible for me to be helpful to others,

if I wanted to truly live,

to grow,

to be healed and restored,

I needed to breathe in deeply the very breath of the living God.
 
Then the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground. He breathed the breath of life into the man’s nostrils, and the man became a living person.
Genesis 2:7



Stepping away from some things, even good and helpful things, allowed God to breathe new life into me, to get rid of the bad and to move me forward, helping me to grow, repairing all that was broken.

I no longer have a bandaged wounded heart but a new heart, and a new life.

I’ve helped myself by seeking God’s healing presence and now I’m ready to help others breathe Him in deeply and live the life that Jesus died to give them.

If you’re heart is to help others but you haven’t helped yourself first,

Pray

Be Still

And let God breathe new life in you.



 

 

 

 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Why Am I a Christian?

Why do I call myself a Christian? I’ve read some things recently that cause me to ask myself this question and compel me to give an answer.
 
I made a decision a long time ago to surrender my life to Christ. I asked His forgiveness of my sins and asked Him to come into my heart and my life. I’m well aware of the choices that I’ve made in my lifetime, and even more aware of the enormity of God’s grace offered to me through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. He chose to die for me and that sacrifice causes me want to live for Him. He gave me what I don’t deserve and saved me from what I do deserve.
 
The choices that I make, the things that I choose to do and choose not to do are out of a deep desire to honor Him. Just like a child desires to make a parent proud, it is my desire that my Heavenly Father be proud of me.
Sometimes the choices are difficult, often humbling but always with a greater purpose. It’s in those moments when I’m tempted to choose my own way, when I’m weak, that He is strong, and I see the hand of God in my life.
 
Do I still make wrong choices? Yes. Do I still have a need for forgiveness? Yes. But it is through my Savior’s great love for me that I’m acutely aware that I am swimming in an ocean of grace and when I feel as though I’m drowning, He rescues me.
 
Even though I attempt to make good choices, right choices, choices that honor God, the truth is there is nothing that I have done or could do to earn what Jesus did for me.
 
NOTHING.
 
When I say that I’m a Christian I’m not saying that I’m better than anyone else, the truth, is I fail Him…a lot.
 
Christianity is not about hypocrisy, it is about humility, knowing the depth of my sin and the expanse of Jesus’ love for me. His love for me goes deep and wide and His blood was enough to cover every wrong choice, every mistake, and every hurt.
 
Why am I a Christian?
 
I am a Christian because Christ chose to die for me and I choose to live for Him.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Clouded Doubts - Infinite Promises


I hadn't been on an airplane in over 20 years and feeling a little nervous, I was very blessed to have my friend Michele sitting with me, reassuring me and attempting to ease my fears as we hit a few small (even though they seemed BIG to me) bumps on a couple of our flights. During our first flight this morning I was feeling extra anxious and I silently prayed Lord please forgive me for my fear, protect us and keep us safe. This particular flight I wasn't able to sit with my friend but a very nice woman who talked about her children and grandchildren, it was a nice distraction.

As I continued to feel those familiar fears rise up and down with the rhythms of the flight I tried to focus on the incredible beauty just outside of my window. Admiring the fluffy white clouds floating just below us I saw what I thought was a rainbow circling one of the clouds. I looked harder, blinked and even took off my glasses to check for smudges. I leaned over, pointed out the window and asked my new friend if she saw the rainbow in the cloud, but she did not.

I began to doubt what I had seen and chalked it up to being overly tired from a long (although amazing) weekend. I decided to attempt to take a little nap but when I was awakened by another bump, I again looked out of my window to see a rainbow circling a cloud. This time I stared hard, opening my eyes wider and the longer I looked the clearer it became. As I stared at the colorful sphere I began to see an image forming in the middle of the circle. I continued to stare at the mysterious object until I could clearly see that it was the outline of our airplane. I wanted reassurance that someone else could see it too so again I asked my new friend and again she replied that she didn’t see anything. She must have noticed my excitement and then disappointment as she explained that maybe it was the angle that she was sitting that prevented her from seeing what I saw.

It was in that moment that I decided to believe that I saw it! Even if it was for my eyes only, just God’s way of reassuring me of His promise to keep us safe as we flew high above the ground, it was enough for me!
When we safely landed and were on our way to our next flight I began to tell the story to my friend Michele who said, “The rainbow in the cloud, yeah I saw it and I saw the shadow of our airplane in the middle.” She then repeated what I had thought, that it was God’s promise (the rainbow) and that He was protecting our plane.

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a rainbow in a complete circle but I truly believe that it was God’s way of showing me that His promises are infinite, endless, and inexhaustible.

We have an amazing God who even when we doubt, loves us enough to show us just how much, in uniquely beautiful ways!

I have placed my rainbow in the clouds. It is the sign of my covenant with you and with all the earth. Genesis 9:13





*This is an image that I found on wikipedia, not the actual image I saw from our airplane, but almost identical to what I saw. Apparently this is a very rare and I feel incredibly blessed to have witnessed it!


Thinking of the beauty that God painted in the sky to reassure me I can't help but think of another way that God clearly spoke to my heart as we neared the end of our time at Allume...

As we sang our last worship song at Allume and watched as each artist's brush revealed more of God's glory on the individual canvases, I felt God impress on my heart the precious time wasted on comparison. Looking at each of the canvases I could see that they were all so different, so unique, each one beautiful and an incredible gift. That is how God sees each of us, so different, so unique that there is truly no comparison. God wants to reveal the beauty that He painted in each of us, we just need to stop comparing ourselves to everyone else and be who He created us to be!

Friday, October 4, 2013

Praying for the Prodigals


When I was in my early twenties I had a “spiritual” friend and after spending much time with her I was convinced that my God was a loving God who wouldn’t send anyone to hell and if I was a good person I would naturally go to Heaven. I was also convinced that it wasn’t important to name the name of Jesus, after all it was just a name, right?

One day I argued this point to my mom and my aunt (who is like my 2nd mom) as they tried to explain the truth to me I became very offended and angry. Thankfully they didn’t give up on me but stood their ground, relied on their faith in God’s word and prayed for me continually.

Seeds were planted and little by little God began opening my eyes and revealing the truth to me according to His word and by placing specific people in my life.

John 14:6

Jesus told him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.

God loved us enough to send His only Son to die for us, to pay the price for our sins so that we could be reconciled to Him. God doesn’t send anyone to hell, He allows us to choose. He doesn’t bully us, but lovingly leads us to His Son. It isn’t about being a good person, it isn’t about our works. There is nothing that we can do to earn our way into Heaven but we can choose to receive the gift that Jesus died to give us. He made a way for us to come to our Father. He gave it ALL so that we could have it ALL.

One day we ALL will bow to Him and every tongue will acknowledge that Jesus is the name above ALL names and is worthy to be praised!

Romans 14:11

For it is written, As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall confess to God [acknowledge Him to His honor and to His praise].

So parents, continually pray for your children, don’t give up and don’t give in where God’s word is concerned!!! Stand on the truth and one day their eyes will be opened and truth revealed.

Proverbs 22:6
"Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it."

Ask the Lord to bring his light into the life of your prodigal, What looks enticing in darkness looks shoddy and cheap when exposed to true light.

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Fearlessly Forward


As I think about all that the word FEAR implies I envision one of the scenes from Arachnophobia where the main character, Dr. Ross Jennings (played by Jeff Daniels) helplessly watches as a deadly spider crawls towards him but instead of running, or even desperately searching for something to kill it, he is completely paralyzed by his fear and unable to react in any way. Earlier in the movie he explained that his fear began when he was just a baby laying in his crib and could only watch as a spider crawled up his leg, onto his body and then his face with no one there to stop it.

His childhood fear tormented him his entire life and had become a paralyzing reality even though as an adult he now had all the power to stop it.

And so it is for so many of us.

Whether the fear is irrational or not is irrelevant if it paralyzes us in any area of our lives as we become incapable of "stopping it".

Many of us fear failure, disappointment, criticism, ridicule, sometimes we even fear success.

Our childhood fears follow us, taunting us and reminding us that we're not good enough, smart enough, or talented enough. Hurtful words spoken to us become our deadly tormentors and we become paralyzed, unable to move forward to become who we were created to be.

At one point in the movie another character named Collins asked Dr. Jennings to move towards one of the spiders to distract it. Dr. Jennings responded that he was scared to death and Collins replied, "Yeah, we all are, but our brains secrete a neurotransmitter that enables us to deal with them." "I don’t think I have that particular neurotransmitter." rebutted Dr. Jennings, right before he did exactly what he thought he couldn’t do. He moved forward to face the very thing that he feared most.

We’re all capable of overcoming FEAR in our lives not because of what is in us but because of WHO is in us, as He enables us to move forward to become all that He created us to be.

Joyce Meyer wrote a book titled Do It Afraid! She says, "Giving in to fear alters God's best plan for your life. So use the power of God's Word to do what He wants you to do...even if you have to do it afraid!"

The hardest part is taking the first step, but it's through faith that we’re able to take another and another until we believe that there is nothing to fear but fear itself and that we have the power within us to stop it.

 

2 Timothy 1:7 (NKJV)

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.
Push through, fearlessly forward, until fear gives way to faith!




Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Doing a new thing!

I’ve recently made some changes to my blog and I wanted to explain why.



I want the emphasis to be on encouraging others with what God has done for me through His grace, hence the name change to Grace Covers Me.

 

"For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,"
Ephesians 2:8


His grace and His mercies are new every morning, which is why I didn’t want my blog name to reflect something old, or rooted in the past.




"The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness."
Lamentations 3:22-23




He is doing a new thing and I want to do a new thing too!




"Behold, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs forth; do you not perceive and know it and will you not give heed to it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:19



 


My prayer is that through my writing I will be able to speak to hearts that have been wounded, broken, abandoned and give them hope that His Grace covers them too.




 

"Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms."
1 Peter 4:10



 

 

May the Lord bless you and protect you.

May the Lord smile on you and be gracious to you.

May the Lord show you his favor and give you his peace.



Numbers 6:24-26




Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Beauty is in the eye of the Beholder





"I know you, I danced with you once upon a dream." – Sleeping Beauty
 
 
 
As little girls most of us dreamed of being a princess in a beautiful gown with jewels and a crown. We created a fairytale image of ourselves, a beauty, as we danced and twirled and asked, "mirror mirror on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?"

Unfortunately most often the fairytale fades and the image we see looking back at us falls disappointingly short as we begin to pick apart the "beauty" before us.
 
It’s a battle so many of us face. We glance in the mirror or at a photograph and we study the image, trying to find something, anything that reveals the beauty we so desperately long to see. We look but fail to find what it is we’re truly seeking.

 
Love.
Acceptance.
Approval.


The world tells us what "beauty" should look like through the images we see in magazines, on runways, in the movies, or on the television screen and we compare ourselves, but once again we fall terribly short.

 So, defeated we try to create a false beauty. If we act a certain way, or dress a certain way, if we do this or do that way then others will see us as beautiful. We try to create an image that we think will be more appealing to others but when we catch a glimpse of ourselves again in the mirror all that we see are imperfections, failures, and disappointments.

 Will we ever be good enough in our own eyes? The truth is…probably not. We will always find fault, there will always be comparison, there will always be something that distracts from our beauty.
 
They say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and fortunately there is one Beholder who sees our true beauty. 
He calls us His Beloved and according to Him we are the daughters of a King!
He sees us in a beautiful gown, with jewels and a crown, dancing and twirling but there is no need to ask, because in His eyes we are the fairest of them all!

 

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Distracted with much


I arrive at work; look at my cluttered desk and wonder, where do I even begin? I have so many tasks ahead of me, so much to do and the pile grows bigger each day; emails to respond to, meetings to attend, schedules to meet, deadlines to adhere to (~sigh~) when will I find the time to do it all? I wade through the mess, attempting to prioritize, making lists and checking off my accomplishments. Before I realize what time it is, the work day is done, and it’s time to leave.

 As I’m driving home I decide to make a quick stop to pick up “a few things” which unfortunately becomes a full blown shopping trip with a cart load of groceries and I now have to hurry home to get started on a late dinner.

 When I arrive home I look around at all the things that need my attention; weeds to be pulled, laundry to be done, dishes to be loaded and unloaded, rooms to be cleaned, bills to be paid and on and on and on (~sigh~) when will I find the time to do it all?

 After unloading the groceries I look at the date and realize I forgot about a meeting I had promised to attend so I apologize and hurry out the door. In my desire to serve, I agree to volunteer my time and my talents so I make plans for upcoming events and opportunities to be a blessing and I think (~sigh~) when will I find the time to do it all?

 I’m exhausted, but I can’t sleep. My mind races and as it jumps from one thing to another, I take a deep breath and let out another ~sigh~ thinking of all that still needs to be done.

 I try to remember a time when life was simple, with little to do, and fewer demands but I can’t even fathom it.

 I think about the story of Martha and Mary in Luke 10:38-42 Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”

And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.

If I were to be really honest I’d have to say (with a cringe) that if I were Martha, I may have responded to Jesus’ statement something like this, “Somebody has to get things done! There are meals to be cooked, rooms to be cleaned, beds to be made (I’m sure they had overnight guests!), there is more that needs to be done!” Of course I would have said it through humility and tears! But why didn’t Jesus see all that needed to be done? There was so much to accomplish and just who was supposed to do it?

Somebody had to find the time to do it all!

As I read the scripture again I noticed it said “He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.”… “But Martha was distracted with much serving”. I know that so many of us can relate to Martha and her plight but why do we so often feel the need to do more and more and more? Is it for approval, validation, praise, love? Also like Martha, many of us have invited Jesus into our homes, into our lives but find ourselves too distracted with “much serving” to spend time with Him, when all that we’re seeking can be found at the feet of our Savior.

As Christians we sometimes become so distracted by wanting to be His hands and feet that we forget to simply take time to sit at His feet, spending time in His presence, receiving the good gift that He so freely offers, that will not be taken away from us.

Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”

I want to be more like Mary, don’t you?

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

To My Daughter



on becoming a mom…


For nine long months you plan, prepare and panic as thoughts of becoming a mom for the first time swirl around in your head.

You’re terrified and excited all at once. The uncertainties intertwine with expectancies and the complexities of this miracle growing inside of you are overwhelming.

You become increasingly aware and completely in awe of the thought that the God of the universe knew her before He formed her in your womb.

You prepare a nursery with furnishings, hang and fold tiny dresses and little socks and pack your bags for the day that you will finally meet her!

You make your plans but cannot possibly prepare your heart for the unimaginable love you will feel for this tiny precious gift.

A love that grows as she grows until it feels like your heart can’t possibly contain it and then one day she will become a mom and your heart almost bursts!

Momma, mommy, mom…it will be the hardest and most rewarding title you will ever be given.

God will give you grace when you feel like you’re failing.

He will give you patience when you feel like you can’t take anymore.

He will give you wisdom when you have to make unpopular decisions.

He will give you blessings you never thought you deserved.

And He will give you love that you never dreamed possible.



 



 

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Letting Go


At 45 years old I am just beginning to become who God created me to be.

Insecurities and doubts have fallen away and in their place faith has taken root, not because of anything I’ve done but because of what He has done. And as my faith has grown I've learned to let go.

I let go of the plans that I had for myself, the ideas of who I should be and the disappointments of who I wasn’t.

I let go of the past and all that I’ve done and all that I haven’t done.

I let go of the fear of the what if’s and the if only’s.

I let go and I let God have control.

I prayed the prayer, “Not my will Lord, but yours” and meant it.

I stopped trying to figure it all out and stopped trying to make something happen and I prayed, “Move me God, into the position and plan you have for me, whatever that may be.”

I prayed believing that whatever His will was for me would be so much greater than any plans or dreams I had for myself and I believed that whatever happened would be GOD’S plan and that there was always purpose in His plan.

I don’t boast about my own strengths or abilities but about the power of the ONE who created me, the ONE who knew me before He formed me in my mother’s womb and the mighty works that He desires to do through me.

I know that I can do ALL things through Christ who strengthens me.

God’s purpose and plan for our lives include realizing who we are in Christ.

We are more than we ever thought or believed we could be!

We were planned, called, justified and glorified to live according to the purpose God has for us.

We just need to let go and let God do His work in us and through us and leave the outcome to Him.

Romans 8:28-30 (NKJV)
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What I've Learned in the Waiting

So often we want what we want and we want it now! (As I ponder this statement the scene from Willy Wonka with the bratty girl demanding "I WANT IT NOW!!!" plays out in my mind.)

We want things to happen quickly, and usually without much effort.

We want the miraculous and sometimes that’s what we get, but sometimes there is waiting.

Cue the dramatic music.

DUN, DUN, DUNNNN.

I know, believe me, I know. Sometimes waiting is difficult, sometimes it’s hurts and sometimes we want to give up.

But it’s in the waiting that we develop strength. We learn what we’re capable of and it’s usually much more than we ever thought was possible.

In the waiting our character is developed, and we become more like the person that we were created to be.

It’s in the waiting that God takes our fears and fills us with hope, faith and determination.

Think of it in these terms; what if the reason God isn’t giving in to our demands and putting us in positions that we WANT RIGHT NOW, is because He hasn’t fully prepared us yet.

What if we’re not finished with the test?

What if we haven’t learned enough to accomplish what He’s prepared for us to do?

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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.
 

I’m sure if we were to look back over our lives we would see many times, many signs where God was preparing us for where we are right now.

I hope that the wait isn’t over.

I hope that He is continually preparing me for ALL the plans and promises He has for me.

 
1 Corinthians 2:9 (NLT)

That is what the Scriptures mean when they say, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him."

 
We serve an amazing God who knows exactly what is best for us and His timing is perfect!

I’m thankful for the wait.

I’m thankful for the tests.

I’m thankful that God has me right where He wants me.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Beauty in the Perfect Imperfections

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” ―

Amy Bloom

 

 

 
 
How many times have you looked in the mirror only to be disappointed at the image you see?

We think "if only my nose were smaller, my teeth straighter" or a bazillion other "if only’s".

So often we are more critical when it comes to our own appearance than our worst enemy! Truthfully we ARE our own worst enemy! 

We are constantly bombarded with images we fear that we’ll never measure up to and most likely won’t, as many of them are airbrushed and altered to be more aesthetically pleasing.

So we attempt to alter what we see with the newest diet and exercise fads, pills, creams (how many infommercials do we see in a day?) and surgeries all in hopes of obtaining perfection.

Now if you’re one of the millions of people who have tried any or all of these things please don’t feel that I’m judging you, I’ve tried some too.

The problem isn’t with dieting and exercising or trying new things. We should all strive to eat healthy and incorporate exercise into our daily habits and routines and we should care for our bodies and our appearance.
 
Genesis 1:27
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

So if we’re created in God’s image why then do we sometimes despise the image we see looking back at us?


The way that we view ourselves and our appearance sometimes becomes so distorted that it becomes an obsession and that’s when we cross the line.

And unfortunately some fall into the deep abyss of eating disorders and other dangerous phobias and addictions as the idea of perfection is always just out of reach.
 
“There is nothing more rare, nor more beautiful, than a woman being unapologetically herself; comfortable in her perfect imperfection. To me, that is the true essence of beauty.” ―
Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience


Is it possible that our true beauty is in the imperfections, the very things that make us who He created us to be?

What if each time we glanced in the mirror we looked for the beauty God knitted in us? Would we see Him, our Creator, there?


What if in our self-talk we began to speak positive affirmations, thanking God for the qualities that make us so wonderfully and beautifully unique?

Let’s try it, and if that voice of doubt or negativity tries to speak out against what God created, let’s remember what His words says…
 
Psalm 139:14
The Message (MSG)
Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out; you formed me in my mother’s womb. I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking! Body and soul, I am marvelously made! I worship in adoration—what a creation! You know me inside and out, you know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something. Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth; all the stages of my life were spread out before you, The days of my life all prepared before I’d even lived one day