As I look back, last year was a year of ‘in-between’. 2019 looks to be a year of ‘leaving the in-between’ for me. I have been trying to process a huge transition this year. I have been stuck in confusion of what I ‘should’ do, what I 'know' to do, ‘want’ to do and wondering why He is saying ‘wait’ in other areas.
Following the Lord's leading is not always a straight & direct path to the purpose He has! It frustrates the 'be productive, work hard' nature that I have, but His Way is what I surrendered to. It can look funny, lazy or unnecessary but God has taught me that NOTHING is wasted! David didn't immediately become king as a young teen when He was called. Joseph had the vision as a young teen, but it was many years & heartaches later before it came to pass. Abraham was promised a child when God told him to leave his homeland, but it was 25 years before Isaac was born!
HIS ways and timing are NOT like ours, they are so far beyond ours!
“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts." - Isaiah 55:8&9
I have been so certain of some things He has given me to do and yet held back in fear. I am very unqualified from the world’s standards on these things, but He tells me over & over “GO & TELL THEM WHAT I TOLD YOU”.
I am trying, I really am! My heart’s desire is to be right in the middle of His will, whatever that is.
BUT GOD! God has been doing a big shift, stirring and brewing in my heart. I now know what it is and He is saying, ‘the time is now. GO & TELL THEM WHAT I TOLD YOU.” So I am.
Just to show you how amazing He is, I was praying this morning for Him to continue to guide me & lead me in His path. I spend yesterday writing down what I feel certain He is asking me to move into this year. After my devotions, I kept hearing ‘Jeremiah’, so I began reading in Chapter 1 and came to THIS!
WOW!! Confirmation yet again for me to GO!!
Most of the past three years have been. When the Lord instructed me in Nov 2015 to leave my job and go full-time with Him, I had no idea why He would ask me to do such a hard thing.
Thirteen months later, when I finally surrendered to this instruction, my life was forever changed! At first my days were spent trying to build a ministry and an income. Good things came from that, but the more time I spent in alone time with Him, seeking His leading, I realized I wasn’t going to be the one to build this ministry.
Another surrendering. All the while others are asking, “So what do you do? What is your ministry exactly?” It was so intimidating to not have a direct Mission statement or Purpose statement that I could proudly announce and ask them to come along. This was such a hard thing for a natural perfectionist planner!
All the while, I knew I was doing exactly what the Lord was leading me to do, even when it looked as if I was doing nothing. There was a season I was flat on my back or stomach with nerve issue in my back and could do nothing productive, but HE sent speaking invitations during this time! There was probably a year or more that He gave me the words “build relationships, network & study”. So that is what I made my mission as people continued to ask, “so what exactly do you do?”. How do you explain God’s ways when they don’t make sense to yourself?? LOL
I remember this time last year after an awful battle of health last fall. He had planted a big vision in my head in July 2017 and during my health decline later that year, He was working in me. As I look back, it may have all been to stop me long enough to hear him??
I started out 2018 ready to go forward with some of these big things He had planted in me, but as I prayed over them, I heard these words so clearly that I stopped completely…
”It’s Not Time. REST. RESTORE & BUILD ENDURANCE”
Really Lord? I knew I needed to rest & restore my body after such a battle with health, but I wanted healing of my body so I could go head first into the things He had shown me….BUT that was MY timing and plan, not His.
I had no idea what all Rest, Restore & Build Endurance was going to entail, but I went about my days as usual asking for guidance every morning for what this special day was to be. Some days were spent ministering to one who needed me. Some days were spent in bible study all day. Some were studying up on theology or communication or writing or just crying in the floor praying. Some days were spent on the couch for hours sleeping trying to rebuild my body.
Although, throughout this time, God was doing some amazing healings in my heart and in my MIND! I see now why it was not time last year for some things! It has taken years for God to prepare me for what He is asking me to do.
If you had asked me just five years ago if I would ever do some of the things the Lord has asked, it would have been a quick and loud, “NO WAY!” lol But He has an amazing way of bringing our desires in line with His!
All of that to get to this point. (I know!!! FINALLY huh?!)
I am never sure what words to use as to not ruffle denominational feathers, but I personally feel the words are
“Preach & Evangelize the American Church”
You can call it speak or teach if that makes it more comfortable for you, because I will be teaching the parts of the bible that the church in general doesn’t want to hear about any more.
He has been building me (and my deepest insecurities) up over the past eighteen months to bring me to the point of actually being able to say this out of my mouth!
This is by far the scariest undertaking to date! One…PUBLIC SPEAKING?!!!! All eyes on me?! Nausea. Then Two….EVANGELISM?? I never saw this one coming! Never! I have always wanted to disciple and mentor after they knew Jesus, but never felt called to be the one to be bold and bring them to Jesus!! I wasn’t bold, confident or courageous enough to do that!
BUT GOD!!!! Won’t He Do It?! He loves showing up and doing the IMPOSSIBLE or the LEAST LIKELY thing.
I will tell you that I was paralyzed with fear (AGAIN! When will I ever get over this!!??) when this began to stir in my soul! I sincerely want to glorify Jesus in any way He wants, but the enemy begins to scream lies in my mind when I say that! But remember when I told you that the Lord had been healing my MIND??....this is why! So I could recognize and begin to defeat him as I move forward with God’s plans!
GOD BLOWS MY MIND ALL THE TIME!!!
My fear has finally turned into excitement for what is coming! For me to say that I am excited for the UNKNOWN???? Miracle in itself right there!
I have no idea what this will look like or where & when it will begin, BUT it will be in HIS timing and it will be awesome because He is the one doing what I cannot….transforming lives! I just get to be part of the party!
I AM EXCITED! God has brought others around me that I never would have crossed paths with who have heard that God is ready to bring an awakening to our area! I am ready to see what God has in store for us.
I will say now that I am praying hard about this blog and writing at this time. I am feeling very confident as I move forward in a few other areas, but this part I have not received clear direction on?? In saying that, I will probably be emailing once per MONTH and include things from my Youtube channel as well as different FB posts and other interesting finds I come across during the month. There may be more, but for right this moment, I want to try to be consistent but focus on the things I know He has directed me to for this season.
New Year. New Focus. New Things.
#1- Preach/Teach/Speak/Evangelize wherever He leads and opens doors! If you have event, ladies gathering, church opening I ask you to pray for me.
-YOU TUBE channel for challenging focus on what God calls us to do as Christ followers (subscribe & it sends you alert to new videos when I make them.)
-Facebook for impromptu thoughts, quotes, and scriptures that come to mind
#2- Seminars/Retreats for Young Women
-3 hr SMALL GROUP SEMINARS geared to young women 19 & up. I am SO EXCITED! These will be for gals who are serious about a living a life for Jesus & looking for biblical wisdom to do it! MENTORSHIP+ SCRIPTURE TEACHINGS+ LIFE COACHING MIX and will be life guidance for singles looking forward to marriage & family, married w/without kids, or others who feel the call to mentor and help guide young women today!
- LIMITED Seats to keep it small group atmosphere.
-ROCK SOLID PARENTING- Building a Strong Foundation (Coming in Feb)
-BUDGET by THE BOOK- Today’s Best Financial Principles Come From the Bible
-MAKING A MARRIAGE WORK- What’s Love Got to Do With It?
-SUPERWOMAN is a BIG, FAT LIE!- Knowing Who God Created Us to Be
#3- Writing – COMING SOON- ‘THE SATISFIED SOUL’
- An Online, In-Depth, Bible Based, Self Development Course!
If I can ever get it to the finalized state, it is going to be awesome. He has given me such revelation myself as I wrote this!
-Emails & Blog will be once per month with links to different videos/posts and cool things I’ve found throughout the month.
I am praying as we all move into a New Year of New Opportunities!
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"Even in laughter the heart may ache,
My name is Tanner Starr and I am 19 years old. I live in the small town of Cairo, GA. Lately I have just been overwhelmed with Gods love and I feel so blessed. I was recently accepted into the Diagnostic Medical Sonography Program at Darton College of the Medical Professions and that was a huge answer to prayer! I hope my post will encourage you to find and keep that burning desire to grow closer to God!
We NEED a young generation of strong warriors! We NEED a church that is not afraid to stand up and stand out for Jesus. We NEED the guts of this new generation!
And they NEED us! To rally with them & join in. Their ways and insights may be different than past generations, but if Jesus is front and center, that is all that matters.
Will you join me in praying for this young generation as they fight daily against an enemy who wants to destroy them. Will you pray for our generation to step up to encourage, equip and support them as they rally the troops for God’s Kingdom in this crazy time in our world?!
I have a new online blogger friend that speaks volumes to me through her posts. I wanted to share one I knew we have all had to deal with at one time or another...COMPARISON!
I would like to say that we Christian women don't let that game play in our heads, but we do....even on Sunday morning as we enter the sanctuary and catch a glance at another wearing that cute dress that we tried to justify, but just wasn't in our budget.
Yep...we all struggle at times. I think this post will give us all a new perspective on how harmful this game can be if we allow it.
So welcome Jill E McCormick like she joined us for lunch!! :) Take it away Jill!
This topic isn’t new to the blog (The one thing we all do and How comparison leads to shame, fear, and a faulty view of God), but the good news is that we can begin opting out of the comparison game altogether with three game-ending strategies.
But first, it’s important to understand that comparison starts when we’re doing the same work as others and notice different results.John the Baptist was on the “repent-and-baptize” scene for a while. He had followers upon followers, even disciples. Then Jesus entered stage left in John 3. Jesus started baptizing people in the countryside. As one commentary explains, “John had introduced Jesus to the world, but now Jesus seemed to be drawing John’s followers away from him.”
Our comparison starts this way too. We are doing the same work as someone else: working full-time, parenting, working out, cleaning house, and prepping meals. Then we notice that our work doesn’t seem to be measuring up. As fellow writer Lynn Hughes says, “If she does A + B + C, and we all have the same hours in a day, then what on earth is wrong with me?”
Comparison eventually leads to dehumanization and exaggeration.I’m sure that John’s followers were complaining out of sympathy and love for him when they said, “Rabbi, that man who was with you on the other side of the Jordan—the one you testified about—look, He is baptizing, and everyone is going to Him.”
The disciples start by saying, “that man” instead of the name of Jesus. Their language takes out the personal and replaces it with a generic descriptors. John’s disciples are so jealous they can’t even say Jesus’ name.
They also end with an exaggeration: “everyone is going to Him.” Okay, I wasn’t there, although my 7 year-old did ask me the other day if I was alive 1,000 years ago, but I digress. I’m guessing that “everyone” is not accurate since John was still baptizing people. We know this because it says in John 3:23, “Now John also was baptizing at Aenon near Salim, because there was plenty of water, and people were coming and being baptized.”
When we compare, we dehumanize those we are comparing ourselves to and we exaggerate their accomplishments. Have you ever said something like, Well, she always looks fabulous or You know her, never a hair out of place? We can’t even bring ourselves to say the name of our perceived competitor. Then we toss around exaggerations like “always” and “never.”
So, how do we end this game?
1. Comparison ends when we understand that what we have is from God.John doesn’t get drawn into the envy and comparison game his disciples are trying to play. We can learn from what he says in verse 27: “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven. You yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah but am sent ahead of Him.’”
We don’t need to compare when we understand that God has given us what we have, just as God has given to others what they have. Artist and writer Ruth Chou Simons writes, “So much of becoming who our Creator made us to be begins when we recognize that all that we have is given not gotten.” John understood that God made him to be the one who was clearing the way for Jesus to spread His message. John was given that role; there was nothing about it that he earned. What have you been given?
2. Comparison ends when we understand that He’s the main attraction.John knew that he was the opening act to Jesus’ main attraction. In John 3:30 John says something that I struggle with everyday, “He must become greater; I must become less.”
God has something specific for us to do. His plans for us always involve loving Him, loving others, and glorifying Him. I love what the Bible Study Fellowship commentary says, “Ask for grace to be faithful in ‘little things,’ and He will put you in the place where you can best express the gifts He has given you.”
3. Comparison ends when we understand that God provides for different people in different ways.Throughout our history, God has provided for and interacted with different people in different ways who are in similar situations,
God appeared to Moses in shrubbery but revealed Himself to Elijah as a still small voice. God gave the Israelites manna and the Jews living water. When Lazarus died, Jesus spoke with Martha to grow her faith, but He simply cried with Mary. Why does He have different responses to different people? Timothy Keller explains it this way, “Different hearts need different things from the richness of God’s glory.”
Our lives are about Him—they’re not about us and what we have (or don’t). The comparison game is one that we don’t have to play. It has a clear start that we can nip in the bud. It leads us to places we never thought we’d go. But it’s in our power to stop playing. Comparing doesn’t have to come so involuntarily. I can choose to be a part, and I am sitting this game out.
She lives in Texas and loves Jesus. She blogs regularly at
Jill E. McCormick- An Achiever Goes Rogue
Go Check her out & show her some love! I think you will enjoy her perspective!
The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged."- Deuteronomy 31:8
I just want to start by saying, I HATE CANCER!
Last week, I found out 2 good friends my same age were diagnosed with breast cancer!! YES, within days of each other! This was a shock to say the least, Add to that 3 other gals younger than us all diagnosed within the past year or so. Not to mention 2 others who have fought the breast cancer battle and are now cancer free for several years.
It just seems to be coming faster & faster. At times, it seems like cancer is winning. It is easy to react and ask where God is in all of this.
As I prayed for my friends and many others dealing with other types of cancers, the Lord reminded me of His Word and what He promises.
I hope this scripture reminds us all today that God is still for us!
My Daughter, I see you. I see you struggling to understand. I hear you crying out to me during the night when you should be sleeping. I know all about those fearful thoughts that try to convince you that I am not here.
Let me tell you, sweet girl, I am right where I have always been. I have not moved one inch!
Your enemy is trying to convince you that I have forgotten you, but that could not be further from the truth. You see, my princess, when I told you” I would never leave you, nor forsake you”, I meant it forever. It is impossible for me to lie.
I know you fear the unknown. The unpredictable future. I hear the ‘what-ifs’ that are ricocheting in your mind. I know you, my love. I know every thought.
And I want you to know today, my daughter, that you are in the palm of my hands. I know you wonder how that is possible when circumstances are shouting otherwise, but remember…I cannot lie.
You are my precious girl. The one I made with that inquisitive mind, that spunk and personality. You were formed exactly as I needed you to be for Me. There was no mistake made in you.
Today is the day I want this truth to sink into your heart so deep and so strong that you remember this day as being a day that everything changed…..You are My daughter. I love you. You are NOT forgotten.
Most importantly today, you can be courageous & not afraid today as we walk this path together because I have already gone before you and I know the way! I have set things in motion. I have lined up care you know nothing about yet. I AM FOR YOU! I have your best interest and nothing less.
I need you to remember….I CANNOT LIE. You need to know that today, or tomorrow. And maybe again in a couple of months. I need you to commit to memory
“My GOD CANNOT LIE!”
This truth will be one for you to draw strength on in days to come.
This enemy enjoys seeing you hurt and destroyed. He wants nothing more than to have you blame me for any bad situation. He will use any tactic available to distract you from the precious relationship we share.
My Sweet Daughter, know today that I am here. I am for you. I have already gone before you. There is no reason for you to be afraid, you only need to hold My Hand and let Me carry you when you get tired. I promise to be whatever you need.
“I have gone before you and I will never leave you. You do not need to be afraid.”
You only need to Trust Me.
I AM GOD AND I CANNOT LIE.
She was so excited to begin to see all the hard work paying off. She had worked full-time while raising 2 babies and living on a single income budget while her husband finished his graduate degree. It had been a long, exhausting time, but she could see the finish line clearly now.
Her husband would be graduating on Saturday and already had the dream job they hoped for. She would even be able to squeeze in a mini-vacation to celebrate before his first day on the job! She was so excited. No more pinching pennies. No more weekends and long nights with her husband in the library instead of helping her with the family.
Finally, we are going to have it all. We have worked so hard for this day and we can now be the happy little white-picket-fence family we dreamed of years ago.
Fast forward 3 years after graduation weekend. Let me tell you what my conversation looked like this day. Her smile was a forced as she welcomed me onto the couch with a cup of coffee.
Today, she looked at me with questioning and tears in her eyes and said, “I have it all. My husband has a great career, I only work if I want to, the kids are growing up and doing great, we have our dream home and cars….so why do I still feel unfulfilled and unsatisfied?”
She did have everything. Everything from the outside, but she was still lacking on the inside. You see, my friend was only doing what she had been told. She was following all the rules for obtaining all that would deliver happiness. She had the picture perfect American Dream. They worked hard and they achieved the goal, only to find there was still ‘something’ missing.
“What is wrong with me? Why am I not happy and content? I just knew when our plan came together we would be able to relax and enjoy life??” She was confused. She knew enough to know that another trip to the boutique or salon wouldn’t fix this. She had already tried that. She then looked silently at me and waited for what I had to say.
I was ready to have this conversation. You see, I had been praying for my friend since I met her a couple of years ago when she joined our church. Her family came to church semi-regularly. At least during the school year. Summer time they spent much of the time away at their vacation home.
Back to the story…as I became friends with her, we just clicked. She was outgoing and personable. A good person. She knew a good bit about church and why she needed to bring her kids and always ready to volunteer to help with different projects. But I could tell the more I got to know her that she was missing the main thing…a personal relationship with Jesus. We had moved towards this subject before at different times, but she continued to tell me each time she had ‘taken care’ of all of that. She had been baptized when she was 11 and she was now going to get to go to Heaven.
She didn’t really care to hear much about the personal relationship part before, but I could tell that today may be different. She was truly upset and thought there had to be something more she was missing. I could sense in her voice that she may be remembering some of our previous conversations. This was my invitation!
I just went for it! I told her to hear me out before saying anything. She agreed. (we were friends like that!) I began by telling her that because of the sin and brokenness in the world, we are all born with a ‘broken’ soul that can only be satisfied and filled when Jesus comes in. Jesus then goes straight to the ‘broken places’ to mend & make whole what we couldn’t. That relationship with our Father God is then fully connected! I gave her a second to digest what I had said. I then told her that once Jesus is invited in, everything begins to change. He brings peace, joy, love and of course satisfaction and fulfillment. I told her that Jesus brings that to all, the ones with & without material luxuries as well as those who are sick or healthy. Jesus brings into our soul everything we can't.
I opened her gorgeous leather bible with a swirly monogram on the front to show her a few scriptures that may help her see it from God’s Word, not just my viewpoint. The pages still smelled new and were hard to separate, but we did it. I picked a few verses that I wanted her to see and hear:
John 3:16 For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son (Jesus), so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. HCSB
John 10:10 The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. AMP
Jeremiah 29:11-13 “For I know the plans I have for you” this is the Lord’s declaration “plans for your welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 You will call to Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart.” NLT
Ecclesiastes 3:11 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. NLT
Mark 8:36 And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your soul? NLT
She thought for a moment and tears began to stream down her face silently. She looked at me with a small grin and said, “I had a feeling you were going to say that….and I am glad you did. I think I need the Jesus that you know instead of the ticket-out-of-hell that I wanted.”
Then I was the one smiling!
With both of us in happy tears, we knelt, a little awkwardly, and then prayed a simple prayer to ask Jesus to come mend those broken places and to plant in her the joy, peace, love and light that comes only from God of eternity. They were simple words. No special reciting or reading, just a heart that wanted Jesus and relationship with the One she would spend eternity with. It was AWESOME.
I will fast forward 12 years and update you on my friend today. She is happy. Not just happy, but filled to overflowing with joy, peace, and love for others. She and her husband are still blessed with many luxuries. Although, she has shared more than once with others that Jesus is what brings the full, satisfying and abundant life, not those things. She is very generous and quick to give God the glory for all they have been able to accomplish.
I have always remembered a sentence I heard her say years ago and it stuck:
Happiness is what I thought I was after, but it was Joy from Jesus all along!
Today, just remember, even when others appear to have the 'perfect' life, you never know what their soul may be aching for. Always be ready to share what you have!
“One pearl to share from a lifetime of marriage wisdom?”, she asked.
On April 23rd, my husband and I celebrated our 29th anniversary. Even after this many years, it still amazes me that we have been married this long. I know there were folks that lost bets on us! We were so young and had no idea what we were in for, so they probably had reason to bet against us. (but we showed them!)
I think back through the years and replay the unexpected and hard things that came on us very quickly and it is a miracle we are still standing, much less still married, and liking it.
As I was thinking of what advice I would share with my 18-year-old self, there was so much she needed to know, but I decided on this 3-word sentence to share.
A tiny little sentence, but so encompassing. I wonder what she would say when I tell her I am still trying to learn all of it myself.? So here is my one pointer on what she must know, accept, and conquer to not only survive marriage, but to like marriage:
SELFISHNESS MUST DIE. Life after marriage is not a life all about YOU anymore.
“Don’t be selfish and your marriage will last” just seems too easy. Well, I hate to be Debby Downer, but it is not easy. At all. Hearing and applying truth in our life is just plain hard! It goes completely opposite to what our human nature is inclined to do.
So much is packed into those 3 little words.
YOU ARE NO LONGER #1- After the I Do, you are no longer #1.
You are now #.5 😊
The sooner you accept this and determine to live this truth in your life, the sooner your perspective will begin to change.
’Therefore, a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So, they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”- Matthew 19:6
OWN YOUR PART- We all need constant reminders that marriage is a union of 2 imperfect people. Yes, even you and I aren’t perfect. Even if we are only 10% of the problem, we are still part of the problem, right?? I know, I know. Sorry.
GIVE MORE GRACE THAN YOU SHOULD-
" as it has been given unto you" is how Jesus said it, I think.
Remember, marriage is two (imperfect) people now learning to do life as one. It is never going to be easy to agree on everything. Just not going to happen. This is where grace and mercy come in. And don't forget forgiveness. It is needed almost daily. We expect all of it, but rarely think another deserves it as quickly. When the other side is not giving at all, we are still expected to give more. I know, another ouch. It doesn’t seem fair, but this is when it comes down to us and our relationship with Jesus over our spouse! We forgive & give grace because Jesus asks us to love & forgive just as He did for us. That’s a bunch!
31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, fighting and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.-Ephesians 4:31-32
SELFISHNESS MUST DIE.
So much work and sacrifice packed into those few words! We can feel almost defeated before we even begin.
There is hope! I have the secret weapon for killing selfishness. Jesus is His name.
See, we are born naturally selfish. In our own self, we will never choose to give when someone only takes. We will never choose to forgive when we want revenge. We will always look out for our best if the choice is left to us and what we want. That is nature of the human. We can fake it for a time, but we cannot hold out on our own forever.
When we allow Jesus to be lead of our life, we are given the Holy Spirit nature. The Holy Spirit lives in our soul and battles the human nature with us and for us. It is not going to automatically make us the perfect selfless person, BUT it gives us the capability to choose to do what Jesus would have us do instead of an automatic reaction. We should ask for the help & choose to do what is revealed to be right. Not easy, but always best.
If I could go back and tell my young bride self the most important piece of the puzzle, it would be to get to know Jesus extremely well. Then begin immediately asking Him to help you kill selfishness. I would tell my younger self to expect disagreements, hurts and unmet expectations and to work hard to kill selfishness even then.
I would tell the youthful girl, so full of smiles, that a day will come when it will be hard & appears you are losing a fight, but to never lose the visual that YOU ARE ONE TOGETHER. During these times, you are fighting against yourself.
I would remind her to always OWN YOUR PART in every problem. Even if it is mainly his fault, you focus on fixing you part before moving on to him. Selfishness takes a huge blow when we can do this.
Again, I would mention that name JESUS to her. Jesus will be the one she calls in for backup to GIVE MORE GRACE. We always expect to receive grace, but find it unreasonable to extend it to others when hurt feelings, unmet expectations and betrayals come and kick us in the heart. Jesus will have to be the one to fight our human nature on this one. We just can’t.
Just remember sweet little girl, marriage will be fun, rewarding, exhausting, and hard work, but with Jesus as your #1 counselor and strong friend, you can make it an exciting and meaningful journey for you and the hubby. 😊
And even as I am finishing this post up, I can think of so many other pointers I could share but this is just one, just like they asked!
Hoping I didn’t scare any of you off from marriage with this one!
I would do it all over again, even the awful things to have the relationship we have today. We are stronger together and in our faith for it!
Hi. My name is Sheila and I am a Slowly-Recovering- Perfectionist. :) I am MUCH better than I once was. I really am. I always knew I was a perfectionist-type, but I tried to focus on the positives and ignore all the negatives of the issue. At least until God gave me a mind blowing lesson dealing with my Perfectionism!
Everything changed about 4 years ago. I became very ill, literally overnight. I was very sick. No doctors could tell me what was going on, the why, or how to fix it. (I will do a post on this whole story one day.) I woke up one morning and felt someone had siphoned every form of the energy from my body. I went straight back to bed and slept the next 21 hours. I did the same for the rest of the weekend, and the majority of the next 5 months. It took more energy than I had at times to get to the bathroom. My head felt too heavy to carry. My body was depleted of every ounce of energy. No amount of rest helped. NOTHING helped. This is what I refer to as my 'body shutdown'. It was one of the hardest times of my life.
As an active perfectionist at that time, this body shutdown indescribably hard for me. I was not capable of my normal daily function. I fought hard to hide it from others, but my family saw me fall flat.
I cried out to God for healing, yet it lingered. I asked Him to show me what I was to see. What I was to learn. He had my full attention and I learned something life changing.
The #1 mind blowing lesson God taught me about my Perfectionism was THIS:
MY EFFORTS ALONE do not keep the world spinning! The world will not stop...with or without me! Not even my little world! Eye opening lesson.
IT WAS A WAKE UP CALL! Being that I was not able to do anything, I eventually realized that even if the toilet bowl isn't cleaned every single Saturday morning, it will be okay. It wasn't cleaned for several Saturdays....even grew a moldy, black ring in it.
BUT YOU KNOW WHAT?? After my awesome hubby cleaned it, the shine was as bright as if he cleaned it every Saturday (before mold began to grow)!
Who knew moldy, slime ring could hold a spiritual lesson with such significance, right?!
God used this time when my body and mind were broken. I was unable to keep up with the plan. Things that I once thought I controlled and took complete care of were going right on along...without me.
God used this body shutdown, or DOWNTIME, to show me things I never could have realized before.
My life perspective changed after that sickness . I was finally seeing the constant doing, the insanely long to-do lists, the satisfaction of looking at what I accomplished, was not most important for me anymore. I realized my health, and enjoying time with people I love are much more valuable than my need to accomplish. I was able to begin accepting that spending time doing things I enjoy or just flopping on the couch to read or relax (when the bathroom may be trying to grow that ring back again) is not wrong! I learned to see the importance of the little things that bring joy to this life.
I will confess. I liked being the perfectionist most of the time. I was getting it all done. I was being applauded at times. Being productive. Keeping it all together. The productivity brought me happiness for moments, until the next task jumped up to take it from me. It never lasted long, there was always so much more to do.
God wants life's best for us.. He wants Joy for us even when we can't keep it all together. God wants us to be able to sit, chat and enjoy rest without guilt. He wants us to see that time spent with Him is anything but unproductive! I get that now!! I started to realize taking time to enjoy life is a gift from above and some of us have to learn how to accept this gift.
We can work to control every detail of life and stay exhausted and worried OR we can choose to let God lead our life and efforts, bringing us joy in them.
God wants life's BEST for us.
As any true perfectionist will tell you, this is a heart weed that is hard to kill. Unfortunately, this weed will not die overnight. When it grows big and tall, waving all over the place, it's easy to spot and make corrections. ONCE we decide the NEED for changes that is. It is hardly ever that evident. It masquerades as something 'good' more of the time.
We may not be able to sit & chat right now, but you and Jesus can! Sit down, breathe deep 5 times and try to relax. Go outside where you can't see the mess in the kitchen. Go sit in the sunshine and go to Your Best Friend, Jesus. Let Him show you what it is HE wants to fill your time with. Let Him tell you where you can be busy with Him doing amazing things! Just sit and listen to what His voice sounds like. Let His voice bring rest.
He loves you. He wants your life to be abundant and full. Not busy about nothing & exhausting. Take a break to sit with Jesus today and I PROMISE it will not be wasted time!
I love you ladies! You really have no idea how you encourage me with your sweet notes!
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
-Luke 1:37 KJV
NOTHING! NO-THING shall be impossible....with God. The bible says that, right?
That day was a normal weekend day. No, really it wasn't normal. It was a relaxed weekend day because I was just enjoying being in the moment. Enjoying time with family. Just BEING, instead of being rushed, being busy, looking to the next thing on the list. It was not an extra special time, but it was. You know those days?
We sat for hours just catching up, laughing, sharing and just being together. No agenda between meal times except to give attention to each other. (That makes for a happy day when we slow down enough to let it happen)
Conversation went from what others in the family had been up to recently, what would be for supper, and all the in between.
Although, one thing stood out to me from this ordinary day. As we bounced around about everything we could think of, eventually the discussion turned to one of those ongoing problems and how she was still praying continually for circumstances to be changed for the better.
I said, "Me too." And I was praying. BUT only when I thought about it. I couldn't say, honestly, I was continually praying. It was more like when 'something happened again'.
Do you know what I'm talking about? That situation where it has been the same ole thing for what seems like forever and just appears this is how it will always be.
I realized this situation has been going on so long, it is considered 'the normal'. Just the way it is. There has never been a 'how it used to be' to this situation. It has always been this way. It has always been messed up.
I have since pondered and prayed about this situation often. I realized there are times in life, when a situation isn't a NEW mess. NEW messes are easy to remember to pray about because they disrupt our normal. But one that's been dysfunctional for longer than we can remember can become easy to FORGET to pray about.
This issue, deal, or dysfunctional situation, whatever you call it, could be many things. Probably different for each of you reading. It may be the child who has grown up with a parent or sibling bound up in addiction. It could be the little girl, now grown, who longed for a relationship with her daddy and never got it. It could be a teenager living in turmoil trying hard to live up a parents unrealistic expectations. It could be many things. It could be your situation.
Sometimes it can feel we are asking for a wish or a dream to happen. We come to prayer and don't even know what to ask. We have never seen it healthy or right, the way it is meant to be.
But today, this is the POINT to remember:
GOD is the One who speaks the Impossible, POSSIBLE!
When it feels pointless to pray anymore, ignore the popular saying "it is what it is"! God is looking at the same situation with bigger eyes today. Eyes that can see the past, the present and the future.
"For with God nothing is ever impossible and no word from God shall be without power or impossible of fulfillment."
- adaptation of Luke 1:37 ( Amplified Bible by Joyce Meyer)
I love this verse in the KJV and the extra emphasis added by J Meyer too.
WITH GOD NOTHING, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE!
God reminds us that He sees and He cares. He knows this situation seems, or has been, a lifetime. He knows the tears. He knows the sleepless nights and the depression and discouragement you feel. He knows.
"NOTHING is IMPOSSIBLE". Never Stop Praying! Keep Coming to Me. Lay your Hurts Down. I hear every word.
NOTHING. EVER. is impossible for ME.- God
Prayer for us today:
Father, THANK YOU. Just thank you for being You, the One who holds the universe in place each day & brings the sun each morning. I praise you for speaking into my heart a word about my situation, that even when I can't imagine it ever changing so much for it to be the way you intended, YOU can! Father, I want to see what YOU see is possible in this! Please meet us today as we bow in prayer and begin to show us what You see. Begin to energize our Spirit to imagine what you are going to do in our situations. I ask you to first and foremost begin in our hearts today with the changes to better know the glory that is to come. Change my heart. Change her heart Lord. Change us to see you, hear you and love you more and more every day. In Jesus' precious name. Amen
Have you ever awakened to a feeling of complete overwhelm? Almost as if you are being swept over by the huge waves over & over again and about to drown?
There are days like that for all of us. At times, those days turn into weeks or months before we feel we can catch our breath again.
BUT GOD...He sees. He knows. He is working even in these times, when we feel like He has abandoned us.
THAT IS NOT HOW GOD WORKS! He never leaves us. He is always there, even if we can't see it or feel it. He promises this to us all throughout the scriptures.
Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you. He will be with you; he will neither fail you nor abandon you.”- Deuteronomy 31:8
My friend, Laurie, is allowing me to share a personal story on this very matter. Laurie is a gifted writer and her heart is so set on Him that it pours out through her life and her writings. The more I get to know her, the more I love her and I think you will too!
This morning I woke up without the best outlook on life. I try to write down what's in my heart before I spend time with God. I do this because it is unreal how he will often speak to the details. That's the process of hearing from God. I used to think it was so complicated but it's totally not.
Journaling is saying to God, I believe you're going to talk to me. I believe it enough to get out my pen.
It seems the more faithful I've been to do this, the more I "hear" from Him....
This morning my words to God were...
"I feel a little bit like I'm drowning today"...and I proceeded to whine. I can do that with Him. 😉He gets me. (I'm sure somebody can relate to the drowning bit, right??!-sw)
I almost left it at that. I got up to start laundry and pour another cup of coffee and I thought, I can't leave it like this. I decided to "check my gauges" (the word, the Holy Spirit, Godly friends) and see what God had to say about where I was today. So I opened my devotion for today and began to read.
Before I could even finish reading the devotion, I had to write,"well God, you've done it again"...
The scripture reading with the devotional included....
As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”” - Luke 8:23-25 NIV
Needless to say, my perspective shifted and I am filled with faith and hope. And I'm reminded
"It is well 🎶...the waves and wind still know His name".
Check with God. He's in the smallest details of our life. Always ask him what he has to say about it. And when you ask, be ready to listen. Get your pen out!
- Laurie Helton
I know Laurie's story encouraged you too! I told her how great you all are :)
Give her a shout out today and let her know how much you loved it!
The music I have heard so far is along the lines of Hillsong, Elevation and those sorts of praise & worship bands. The are short songs that are pure scripture. I may need to suggest to them that I need them to repeat the passage reference 50x over at the end of the song?? I have such a hard time with that part. I try.
I was introduced to The Verses Project by a friend. Actually this friend is one of my former Sunday School class members! She was in 7 & 8th grade when I taught her and came to love her. She has since been to Asia for a year as a missionary, came back to finish college and is now working full-time while taking seminary classes. She is a Jesus girl.
It makes my heart smile so big when I teach beginner youth kids and then get to see them spread their wings as they grow into their own person and their own faith! I have learned so much from 'my kids' throughout my time teaching youth. Many times, it was me who was taught just by loving on and listening to them.
Things like this are just a constant reminder that no matter what I thought I was doing FOR God, it was God blessing ME. Always.
So take a minute to check out THE VERSES PROJECT today and find your verse for March to memorize. If we listen to it once a day this month we will probably have it down. We may have to sing it when we quote it, but that will be fun too, right?!
LET'S DO THIS! Let me know what verse YOU pick!
So here goes a HARD lesson today...are we called to "LOVE" the back-stabbers too!!?! How can God expect us to love people that betray us? Is it even possible to love them? Let's look at some scripture and see.
JOHN 13: 1-15 ( just read this story & let it soak in a few minutes!)
What really got me as I read this story again:
Jesus even washed the feet of Judas...the one who was to betray him in just hours! Jesus KNEW Judas the one who would betray him! Jesus KNEW he was about to get stabbed in the back!!
BUT get this, He served & loved Judas anyway.
Jesus did not skip over him. Jesus did not smirk and mumble while washing his feet...He served & loved REGARDLESS.
Think about it! Jesus was giving up ALL of his glory, power and majesty he could have demanded from them. He gave it all up to serve in the lowest position for His friends and Judas, His betrayer!
Now I know me and I am not sure I could .... or WOULD do this for someone I knew had betrayed me! Not only was Jesus being nice, He was serving Judas and the others by performing the task that was given to the lowest servant on the totem pole!! Washing feet was entry level and just down right nasty back then! It would be much easier for me to call Judas out & tell everyone of the injustice. The Judas(s) deserve to be shamed and held accountable, right??....Jesus says no, not by YOU Sheila. Ouch
It is easy to serve & love the ones who appreciate our efforts but not the 'Judases'. It is humanly impossible to love those who betray us, but with God ALL things are possible. Jesus example is a hard one to follow when the last thing we feel like doing is good to those who hurt us and therefore 'do not deserve it' in our eyes.
The moment we deem the 'Judas(s)' unworthy of love will probably be the moment the Holy Spirit reminds us that WE DID NOT DESERVE SALVATION EITHER, but Jesus didn't withhold it from us. (another punch to the heart)
So HOW can we LOVE one who has betrayed us? Christian agape love is different than a friendship love or romantic love. Christian LOVE means you work diligently to forgive the offender, through prayer, godly council and obeying what God leads you to do to overcome this hurt. Christian love doesn't mean you have to invite them to dinner or do lunch on a regular basis.
This choice to LOVE the 'Judas" is between you & God more than between you and the offender really. It doesn't mean what the offender did is excused, it only means you want a growing relationship with God MORE than you want revenge.
To love and serve requires that we forgive. Can you say H.A.R.D? But remember, with God all things are possible!
I can promise that change will come when you begin to work through the hurt and anger, going to God in prayer AND a willingness to be obedient to what He tells you! He will begin to change YOUR heart and the way you think of that offender. It won't be easy or overnight, but He WILL make it happen if we truly want it.
He begins with us. He grows our heart's ability to see what Jesus did for us as we betrayed Him. Only when we understand that forgiveness, can we begin to forgive and love others in that Christ-like way!
The more I study the Bible and get to know my Jesus, the more I see how amazing He is! The night before he was to be crucified, he didn't ask for a special event. He didn't fall into a pity party. He didn't make it about himself at all!
Jesus used his last night with the disciples to SERVE them. Jesus HUMBLED himself by washing the disciples feet. He SHOWED them by example on his last day of life what they were to do for others.
Jesus taught them that night to SERVE & LOVE even the betraying back-stabber.
Jesus showed us- YOU SERVE & LOVE Me & Others, God takes care of the rest. John 13:1-15
But you know what?....I am because I am certain you probably had one of these mornings not too long ago too?? You know the kind that nothing goes right. When it seems every single thing you touch turns to trouble instead of gold! The one that makes you want to throw a two yr old tantrum in the floor.
I was so pumped to be at home today to work on the website. Trying to learn the technical stuff eats up a lot of my time and I was excited to have a full day to just focus on writing new posts for you. I began the morning early as usual and had a wonderful and worshipful quiet time. I had inspiration to write and time to get it done. I was hoping to get some done ahead. High hopes as usual.
Breakfast and into my office by 8am. Heater and worship music going. Within an hour or so, I have a post almost done. As I am typing the last paragraph, my laptop shuts off without any notice!! WHAT?! I freaked and began praying that my site auto saves as often as Microsoft Word. Finally, I have site back up and NOPE, not even half of the post was saved! NOOOOOO!
I was so aggravated and learned a lesson on saving multiple times throughout typing a post! I re-typed the entire post and wanted to make an image that would relate. I tried opening a new tab to make the image and not working. I reboot & still not working. I am beginning to move from aggravated to upset at this point. I decide to move my new modem closer to my office to see if this helps. Not only does it NOT help, it drops internet connection all together! I then move the modem back to normal place thinking all would reconnect. WRONG again. I restart the modem and I restart laptop ….nothing. UGH
I then give up and call my internet provider for the 3rd time in a week to try to find out what the issue is. And we all know how fun calling automated customer service can be. Thankfully, a sweet lady helped me get reconnected and hopefully get the upgraded speed I was promised and never had. Hoping that works out.
I am then finally back up and running. I go back to the 2nd written post and excited to see it still there and intact. I work the graphic up to insert into the post as a visual of the post. As easy as it always is, the image would not drop into the post as I was trying to do. After a few times of refiguring, I decided to just go without it and deleted the image.
WHEN I DID, I LOST IT!! I lost my mind as I saw my entire twice-written blog post disappear! I couldn’t do that again if I tried!! That should be impossible, but it happened. Tears and anger were welling up fast.
I could not believe that my writing day had turned into lunch time with NOTHING to show. Nothing. I wanted to just cry and go crawl back in my bed and start over again tomorrow.
Your day probably didn’t look just like mine, but you know THAT KIND of day. It could be slow toddlers, colicky baby, sassy teens, a mean co-worker, or boss that ruins the first part of your day. It could be the flat tire, the truck that won’t crank making you late for work on your busiest day. I know you could give me pages of examples.
All this venting to tell you that we ALL have days where it would be easier to be a kid and just throw a fit and then take a nap and wake up feeling all better. I wish it was all that easy!!
BUT GOD…yep, always a But God!! As I was ranting and having my little pity party, I was reminded of the first paragraph of the blog post that was twice deleted. That’s when I began to feel like a whiny brat! God was reminding me of the bigger picture. The picture I had JUST written TWICE!!
My deleted post began with listing people I know personally that are going thru some of life’s major storms. They ranged from a beautiful 2yr old battling brain tumor, great friends watching the dreaded C work attack their family members, life altering health diagnosis, loss of children-stillborn and grown, addictions ravaging families, job loss, and infertility. Those are just off the cuff in MY LITTLE world!
Ouch…and to think I was in tears due to inconvenience! Lord please forgive me!
Lord, please forgive me for getting so worked over just inconveniences! These are simple issues others are wishing were their only problems! Lord, thank you for showing me my selfish heart and reminding me there is a bigger picture here. When I was made to step back and take a breath, I realize I am so very blessed. Thank you for reminding me to reset my attitude and focus on the wonderful things and let go of the rough morning. Father, I ask you to continue to prick my heart when it begins to go nuts over things that are not truly important in the big picture. I love you Lord, even when you step on my toes. Amen
Being a number geek, I actually kind of enjoy creating budgets and seeing how little tweaks can amount to big change.
Budgeting and frugality were never really choices for me, but more of just the norm. I learned from the best...my parents. My parents worked very hard and always lived within their limits. Money was hard earned & not wasted.
I understood early on what it was to earn and manage money. I didn't appreciate the responsibility and accountability back then. I wouldn't have admitted it, but being proud of working hard and a job well done was a gift in itself.
When I was started paying my own bills is when I realized what great life skills I had gained. There is just something about being able to control your money (and yourself) so that you can pay your own bills without depending on others. That sense of accomplishment, at times comes with sacrifice, but is worth weight in gold..(punny).
God cares about how we manage our money! Jesus taught about money a lot! We are to be good stewards of ALL God blesses us with. That includes our money. But money can easily become a distraction to what God has for us to do with our life.
GOD wants to be what we depend on instead of our money. He promises to provide for us if we trust him.
At times, spending just gets out of hand without us realizing it until bills start rolling in. Sometimes we know & just want to ignore the problem. Neither work out well.
Money is not bad. God wants us to use our money wisely to meet our needs and to bless others too.
So with that, here are 4 simple steps to get you started.
*4 SIMPLE STEPS TO BEGIN TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR FINANCES*
#1- GATHER & PILE ALL your bills together= ALL the bills...yea...I know :(
This is usually not a fun chore, but a must. Just look at it as calling out the ugly right from the beginning. Don't forget to include your automatic drafts too.
ADD MONTHLY amount due (use minimum pmt amount) & WRITE DOWN.
#2- WRITE DOWN ALL OF YOUR NON-REGULAR bills too.
Find the 'monthly' amount needed to pay and ADD together & WRITE DOWN. These would include annual bills like tags for cars, property tax, home insurance...things you are not billed for monthly but need to include. Take the annual amount & divide by 12.
#3- GATHER ALL OF YOUR INCOME- this is a little easier.
ADD together & WRITE DOWN.
Use your last pay stub as your reference. If you work varied hours or have self-employed income, you will have to dig a little deeper and gather a few months of pay together and get an 'average' income to work with.
#4- PUT IT DOWN IN BLACK & WHITE!
I am a visual. I love a list, so I prefer to write it and see it. Just me. :)
INCOME...NET Income or Bring Home Pay
$______________________ Income Per month (#3 figure)
$______________________Bills Per Month (add #1 & #2 figures together)
$______________________Total over/-under Per Month (#1 - #2 )
THIS is your starting point. This will feel like a pat on the back or a kick in the behind depending on what that number looks like.
CONGRATS if you have #3 with money left! You can continue to see where you can make changes to make that number grow or see how you can put it towards saving for future needs.
If the Total is a $-number, you are spending more per month than you make. This only digs a deeper hole each month. This is where it gets hard. Easiest change to correct is to cut expenses. We usually all have some expenses that are truly wants instead of needs. May be time to put those on hold for a bit.
Either way, this is a positive start because now you know where you stand! Even if you hate where you stand, it is better than being in the dark and staying there!
BE PROUD of yourself today! No matter what that figure is, you have taken the first, hard steps to gaining power over your finances! The more you know, the more you can do!
For now, my best advice is to look deep within yourself and find what you really want to carry out with your finances. That is different for every person, to own a home, to build a retirement income, to start a college fund, to give more. THINK on this. When you find what it is you want from your finances, you have a motive. When you have a clear reason & plan, it is much easier to change old habits.
A prayer for you today:
Father, please show us deep within our hearts what it is that we are to do with our finances! I ask you to calm the ones who feel buried too deep to dig out. Assure those who think this situation is to dire and can never change. God, I ask you now to change our hearts to see as you see. Change our desires to help our financial situations. Show us ways to help ourselves. Thank you Lord! Amen
The LIVING section of the blog will hold posts that we all deal with at one time or another. The LIVING talks of all real life issues that women today deal with on a daily basis....overwhelm, job stress, MONEY, comparison, self-care, healthy habits.... you get where I'm going.
We will not only be diving into these issues, BUT also diving into the Bible to see what God has to say about dealing with these issues!
Does the Bible really talk about healthy habits? what we do with out money? YEP!
Should be some interesting topics in this area! Let me know what you want to see!
Hope to see you back soon!
Be Like The Devil
Generation Z Series
Marriage Wisdom In 3 Words
Pity Party Lesson
Storms Of Life