What I’m Giving Up

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When they arrived at the place where God had told him to go, Abraham built an altar and arranged the wood on it. Then he tied his son, Isaac, and laid him on the altar on top of the wood. 10 And Abraham picked up the knife to kill his son as a sacrifice. 11 At that moment the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!”

“Yes,” Abraham replied. “Here I am!”

12 “Don’t lay a hand on the boy!” the angel said. “Do not hurt him in any way, for now I know that you truly fear God. You have not withheld from me even your son, your only son.”

This morning as I was reading about Abraham willing to sacrifice his only son to God it made me question what I was willing to give up. Though God does not ask us to sacrifice as they did then, we are still asked to sacrifice our control of EVERYTHING! We can’t let him have control over some parts of our lives and not all because when we do we are saying that He is not powerful, strong, or capable enough to handle the things He has given us.

The strongest command he has given us is to LOVE! So today, I am going to start by working on how I view the people in my life. How would God want me to LOVE His son (my husband), His children (my kids), and ALL of His other children (my friends). LOVE can be hard at times. That’s when we sacrifice what we feel or think about a situation or person and just LOVE.

How are you going to LOVE today? Are you going to turn the cheek when cross words are spoken or your day is falling apart and your family is demanding so much when all you want is a break? Will you offer the same grace to others that God gives you daily?

I don’t want to hold anything back from him.

It all belongs to him anyway. I hope to let him guide me in how I LOVE through my walk today.

Blessed!

This past year has been one to remember…but only the good! After reading a post from Courtney DeFeo about appreciating 2014 before stressing over 2015 has prompted me to do the same. Click here to read her post and check out what amazing things she has done this past year.

I looked back at pictures starting in January of 2014 and realized how many firsts that we experienced this year!

I followed a calling and started this blog!

My trips transitioned from cribs to big beds.

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They were potty trained over Spring Break! Whoop, Whoop! No pictures to share there!

I was recognized as Teacher of the Year at my school! What an amazing honor!

ICE Shelly Lott TOTY 2014

All my babies were in Nigel and Aaron Lynn’s wedding.

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They all played T-ball together. We found out that it just wasn’t the girls thing.

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Caleb graduated from the 3 year old class at FUMC.

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We had a lot of fun on our vacation.

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Caleb started Pre-K!! Oh my!!

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Girls started dance…they love it!

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Trips turned 3!!!!

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Boys first trip to an Atlanta Braves game.

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Brody’s first time playing soccer with his big brother.

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Fall Festival with cousin Jenna and Kole.

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Emma’s first hunting trip.

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My baby turning 5!!!! I can’t believe it!

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Although 2014 was a year of firsts and joy it also contains things I have intentionally not included, because I only want to remember these things.  I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions because I’m more like a daily resolution person. However, I do hope to laugh more with my family, play more with my kids, and enjoy life as it comes.

Although I know as I write this that it’s not going to be as easy as it sounds. Real life gets in the way, but I intend to make a bigger effort of how I respond to how life comes at me. I’m pretty certain I will fail at this a few times, but I will press on and I hope to get it right a few times too. One important lesson that I’ve learned this year is that God doesn’t ask us to be perfect, but He loves our imperfect progress!

Now go and reflect on your blessings and feel free to share yours with me!

Yes I Am “That” Mom

Yesterday was career day for the kids at church. So, the night before I was asking Caleb what he wanted to be when he grew up. He named a couple of things like a pirate or a ghost. I kept prompting him to tell me what else he wanted to be and he finally said a gold power ranger, so he could get the bad guys. I couldn’t break his heart and tell him that being a power ranger wasn’t a real career.

As I was getting ready for church I started questioning what other people would think about sending my child as a power ranger for career day. Then I remembered why he wanted to be a power ranger. Men have a God-given desire to protect and I’m so glad to see him displaying this trait at such an early age.

When you have children you want your kids to dream big. To dream as though nothing or no one could ever take that dream from them…not even me.

As he grows up his idea of who the superheroes fight will change. Right now the bad guys are those creatures they fight on his show. His idea of what power rangers wear will turn into uniforms such as those in the military, law enforcement, and firemen, etc.

I was wrong to think that a power ranger wasn’t a real career because as he grows his idea of what they look like will change, but that God-given desire will stay the same.

I would also be wrong to tell my girls that they couldn’t be  princesses one day. They may not wear beautiful ball gowns or live in a castle somewhere, but they will be their husband’s princess and their children’s queen.

I don’t want to limit my children to thinking they can only be certain things because as they grow they will develop God’s idea of what a true superhero and princess is without my interpretation.

Parents are their own form of power rangers who put on the full armor of God to protect their family from the devil’s attempts to destroy us.

10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

So, yes I am “that” mom who lets her child believe he can be a power ranger when he grows up.

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Be Intentional…

Today I felt insulted and embarrassed by words that may not have not been said to make me feel that way.  I have to admit that even at my age it’s not easy to respond with grace for the offender. I have rehearsed several versions of a response to this person and each time I am gently reminded…

And now dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.  Philippians 4:8 NLT

Don’t say “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the LORD to handle the matter. Proverbs 20:22 NLT

Thankfully, the way He handles things is not the way we would.  His way is much better than ours and is not done with selfish intentions. If we heed to his word we are allowing him to take the lead. We won’t see or hear the things we have rehearsed and played over in our heads come to reality when we hand it over to him.

We are told

Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and those who love it will eat its fruit. Proverbs 18:21 KJV

We are all familiar with this verse. The message here is for us to BE INTENTIONAL with our words. We take for granted just how much power our words hold. A simple hello or kind word can mean the world to someone who may be depressed, lonely, or hurting. A harsh word can also be detrimental to those same people even if they were not intentionally said to cause pain.

Those who control their tongue will have a long life; opening your mouth can ruin everything. Proverbs 13:3 NLT

Even though we can learn to control our words, we CANNOT control the words of others. What we CAN control is our thoughts. WE have to BE INTENTIONAL with our thoughts as well.

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Sometimes applying the Word can just be tough because we have to get over our pride and give up control, but if we want a really clever response to hurtful words we start with BEING INTENTIONAL with our thinking.

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My Bucket List

Most of you have a bucket list (at least in your head) of things you would like to do in this lifetime. That list, for me,  consists of a lot of traveling all over the world that can’t be checked off until kids are grown and retirement starts.

I am laid-back in so many ways, but I am also a planner and a list maker. I get satisfaction from being able to mark things off my list. It kind of feels like a graduation day or at least calls for a happy dance when I actually finish a list!! Well, you know what I mean…it’s quite an accomplishment. Even just being able to get everything on my grocery list in one place is exciting! Since my bucket list will take years to even get to, why not have a bucket list now for my kids. The time with my family will take up most of my life and there are definitely things that I would like to make sure I complete before I go to my next exciting adventure in heaven where there are no grocery, work, laundry, or honey-do lists of any kind!! Can I get a shout?

My bucket list for my kids is not a list of places to visit, but lessons of faith and love that I hope to imprint on the hearts of my children. (My bucket list for my marriage will have to be its own post later.)

First things first….

I want my children to be secure with who they are and who they have been created to be.

The enemy is always around trying to make us feel less that who HE says we are. I hope to engrave scriptures that help them to always know who they are in Christ from the inside out!

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I want them to know how unique each one of them are and to never compare themselves to anyone else. He created us to be us to be different from others.

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In these days, it is so easy for children to feel entitled. I hope to change the mindset of them always thinking of themselves to how they can serve others. I hope they are always grateful for their many blessings.

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It’s so important to me that they learn how to Love everyone All the time, not when it’s convenient for them or when it’s done out of selfishness. Love others for their differences, their inner beauty, and Always treat them as a child of God. He loves and cares for them as much as He does you. You’re in this life together, make it memorable not miserable.

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Our children need to know that their choices are important. One day they will have to make the most important decision of their life- to follow Christ. I hope that I am able to set an example that they would wish to follow.

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I want my children to grow up and be successful, but not in a wordly life. Their choice in career will not determine their status of success. I want them to have a heart of Christ for whatever career fits them. They are to have a life of service and to bring others to Christ, so as long as they are fulfilling that requirement of being a child of the King then I will stand by them in their choice of career. The most important thing in deciding what they will do is to make sure they are true to their heart and follow their dream no matter what others may think.

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Never Give Up!

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My bucket list could go on forever, but a lot of things I would put on this list falls into these categories.

I realize that I won’t be able to check these things off my list as quickly as I can a grocery list because these seeds will take time to nourish, grow, and produce.

I’m okay with the process and time it will take to complete this bucket list.

What’s on your bucket list?

Are You Dreaming?

How many of you had a dream that you tucked away when you had kids or thought people would think you were crazy or that it’s just too far out of your comfort zone? We were all created with a purpose! God places those dreams on our hearts and it’s up to us to follow through. Sometimes those dreams may be scary or impossible, but they can happen! It’s never too late to start living that dream and making it become reality.

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If you are like me, you worry about what people think. I am definitely overcoming that mindset. I have learned that sometimes you have to take risks with your dreams and that may lead to failure.  If I fail or look silly in the process that’s okay. At least, I am stepping out and finding my path. It would be so easy to give up on this dream God gave me a year ago about this blog. I wouldn’t have to worry about looking silly or it failing miserably. It would just be so easy to do nothing.

It’s been a while since I’ve written, but it seems like I have been at a loss for words. Many thoughts have been running through my head that makes me wonder if it’s worth continuing, am I really making a difference, was this really a calling given to me?

 

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Here’s the catch with your dream-God gave you a dream that helps to fulfill His purpose. If you won’t do it He will find someone who will. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to miss out on this amazing opportunity. God can do many miraculous things, but he won’t do everything for us. We have to work at it and know that He doesn’t call the equipped, but equips the called. I’m not sure where that phrase originally came from, but it is so true. None of us are equipped on our own. He gives us everything we need to be able to fulfill these dreams.

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Following this dream He gave me means that I have to study and always have my heart open to listen for words He wants me to share. It’s not always easy. You all know what my life consists of- 2 year old triplets and a 4 year old. None of which should be an excuse of not being able to complete this dream, but an inspiration. It does, however, make it a struggle. That’s okay. He never promised me that this dream would be without humps and bumps. He did promise me that there would never be a mountain that He wouldn’t carry me over.

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Those bumps can seem like mountains at times, but it’s important for me (and you) to remember that there is an outcome to our dream. There is no exact timeline for it, but it’s the journey that is so amazing. We learn, grow, and mature into the person He created us to be.  When those times come (and they will) when the devil wants to steal, kill, and destroy our dreams and you feel like giving up think about…

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Those feelings of being overwhelmed, not good enough, not capable, or fear of looking silly can bring you down. If there is one thing that I am learning it’s that you can’t live your life based on your feelings. They simply can’t be trusted! Think about it. You can go from happy to mad in less than 30 seconds. They are constantly changing and they are usually from quick assumptions. So, it’s always good to remember that emotions can get us into trouble if we don’t keep them in check. I could easily give up when I have a flood of emotions such as embarrassment of not doing a good job, making a fool of myself, worried that I didn’t really hear from God, or stressed that I’m not doing it right. A lot of times we can take the easy way out of situations. We can pull out when the going gets tough, so we won’t have to deal with the emotions, hard work, stepping out of our comfort zone, or changes that must take place.

Dreams are not like the fairy tales on television. What we don’t see behind the scenes is how many times they had to change something, replace characters, or how long it took to get it right. That’s the reality of our dream. We will change in the process, our life will change, sometimes the people in our lives will change, and we are going to have to keep pushing forward until we get it right.

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Your dream will definitely be a journey, but don’t let that discourage you or give up. If you haven’t started on your dream yet, what’s holding you back? Take the first step today and we can do this together. I’ll be your support and you can be mine.

What for?

When you hear of sudden tradegy in someone’s life it usually puts things in perspective. We realize that most of the things that we put our energy into will not matter when we are gone. We suddenly have a strong need to let our loved ones know we love them and go out of our way to show that love.

The sad thing is that in a short while all of that extra love and kindness stops and life takes over again.

What we seem to forget as our lives get busy, especially this time of year, is that at any moment EVERYTHING could be taken away; your family, house, car, job, friends, etc. and what has really been on my heart lately is what will I have accomplished in my life. I’m NOT talking about career, status, or obtaining monetary things.

We all have been created uniquely with special talents and skills, but we are ALL called for the same job in life. We are all called to live a life like Christ’s. One of love! One of service to others!

Our life shouldn’t be just about us or our close family. It needs to extend to everyone we come in contact with each day.

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Philippians 2: 3-5 NLT

We’ve all heard this verse,

Three things will last forever-faith, hope, and love–and the greatest of these is love. 1 Corinthians 13:13 NLT

Our guide through life (The Bible) talks about love and loving others throughout the entire book and it makes it very clear for us in Mark and Galatians.

Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this:’Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind, and all your strength.’ The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these. Mark 12:31

For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 6.14 NLT

For God does not show favoritism. Romans 2:11 NLT

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all started living up to our potential of showing love even with a simple smile or hello.

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10 NLT

And don’t forget to do good and to share with those in need. These are the sacrifices that please God.            Hebrews 13:16 NLT

If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion–how can God’s love be in that person? 1 John 3:17

I challenge you along with myself today to start to do something everyday for someone else. Some research says that it takes about 21 days to form a habit, others say longer. So, let’s start with doing this for a month. You will have to be creative and recruit your family. What a great opportunity to teach your children love and how to be a service to others.

Winston Churchill once said, “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

If you need help coming up with some ideas, here is a link to Good Housekeepings 50 Simple Acts of Kindness (here).

But also be encouraged to do it all without expecting any kind of recognition or thank you.

“Watch out! Don’t do your good deeds publicly, to be admired by others, for you will lose the reward from your Father in heaven. When you give to someone in need, don’t do as the hypocrites do–blowing trumpets in the synagogues and streets to call attention to their acts of charity! I tell you the truth, they have received all the reward they will ever get. But when you give to someone in need, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing. Give your gifts in private, and your Father, who sees everything, will reward you. Matthew 6: 1-4 NLT

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I want my life to be an example for my children to love others more than themselves. To be willing to give no matter what others may say and to do it out of a heart of love like Christ’s.

Best wishes on this journey of courtesy, affection, gentleness, good will, tolerance, grace, hospitality, and unselfishness.

 

Which are you?

Sometimes we as Christians become skeptics or groupies. As skeptics, we know the word and can quote it, but don’t really believe it is true for us. We question God’s ability to stay true to his word. Will he bring healing, will he restore a broken marriage, help us financially, or protect us? As groupies, we love God and we run hard and fast after him wishing he will love us and that if we could just do this one thing then maybe he will notice and have favor on us. We want what the others have, but it just always seems a little out of reach.

Scripture tells us

But to all who believed him and accepted him, he gave the right to become children of God. James 1:12 NLT

Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God...Ephesians 2:19 KJV

It’s when we realize our real group that we look at our life in a new way. We are children of the King. We can be confident in his love for us. We don’t have to question if he is with us or if he will keep his word.

He is who he says he is! He is our father and just as a good father does, he teaches us and equips us with his word to be able to overcome the world (especially those times when life slaps us in the face).

All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right. God uses it to prepare and equip his people to do every good work.    2 Timothy 3:16 NLT

It’s so much more comforting to know that I am the child of the same God who still performs miracles and that his promises for me are yes and amen because as his word says

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NLT

As surely as God is faithful, my word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” 2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT

So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing where to I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 KJV

Which group do you fall into today?

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Don’t spend your time being a skeptic or groupie. Remember that you are a child of the KING!

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Don’t Look Back Your Not Going That Way!

One day this week I came across two sayings that stuck with me and I had to write them down.

The first one, “Don’t look back your not going that way!” was just a really true statement that I thought I would just keep.

I didn’t know that I would really be thinking about it a few days later. Sometimes your past can sneak up on you in the most unexpected times. It could be a comment about a time that you wasn’t proud of, seeing an old friend, or coming across an old keepsake. It happens! The past will sneak in and sort of nag at you. It brings in a flood of memories and feelings that you had forgotten about or had deeply hidden.

A lot of the time it’s that past that your not so proud of because the enemy loves to remind of us of where we’ve been and of course it won’t be the trophies or astonishing accomplishments that we made, but the times that we would rather keep in a dark room with a huge lock with a key that’s lost at sea.

It’s a given that in our life we will make poor choices and it’s certain that the enemy will remind you of your not so proud of past. How we react and treat those old memories is what matters.

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We may have made poor choices in the past with words, people, or actions. But not to worry for the Lord said that we have been made a new creation!

This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us this task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5: 17-18 NLT

My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me….Galatians 3:20 NLT

We must make choices now that reflect who we have become not who we were.

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 When I look back and then look to see where I am now I am in awe. I’m so grateful of the life I have now with the people I have been so richly blessed to spend it with. It’s a choice that we must make to change our thinking.

And be not conformed to this world; but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. KJV

We are to capture our old memories and replace them with who we are now and with the things that we have been blessed with. Everything in life involves making a choice. We can choose to rehash things we could have done differently, said, or been OR we can choose to look at the life that shows how much our Heavenly father loves us and know that our sins are forgiven as far as the east is from the west and to be remembered no more.

We don’t have the ability to forget like HE does, but he has given us his spirit to guide our lives toward following him. We are to keep our eyes on him and know that our past has been wiped clean in his eyes! That’s the most important thing.

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I look forward to what the Lord has for me tomorrow. That’s so much better to meditate on than what has happened long ago.

The second quote that stuck out to me, “You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward.” was something so true. Trusting God with our future will require a lot of faith. Not because we don’t believe he can fulfill his promises, but to continually change those old thoughts into the promises he has for our future and to be thankful for the blessings we have NOW.

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Is That Your Best?

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A glad heart makes a happy face; a broken heart crushes the spirit. Proverbs 15:13NLT

It’s so easy to be thankful and easily give praise when we are soaring along enjoying life with no major struggles. We gladly sing His praises and are willing to share the joys of our lives. Although it’s great that we share what He has done for us, it’s also good to share the struggles; big or small. It’s through our weaknesses and trials that you can connect with others who may be going through similar situations.

Paul knew when he was in prison that these trials would come, and it’s through those trials that we reach the lost and also our fellow believers whose faith may be lacking.

And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News. For everyone here, including the whole palace guard, knows that I am in chains because of Christ. And because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. Philippians 1:12-14 NLT

 It’s so important that we keep a thankful heart during our difficult times. The Lord wants you to lean on Him and let him guide you through whatever bumpy path you may be on. During this time you don’t want to be thankful or joyous, but continue with a thankful heart.. Start praising Him for the little things that you have been blessed with and your praises will just continue to flow from your spirit.

Offer Him your Broken Hallelujah!

The Afters put it best:

I can barely stand right now, everything is crashing down, and I wonder where you are. I try to find the words to pray. I don’t always know what to say, but your the one that can hear my heart. Even though I don’t know what your plan is, I know you make beauty from these ashes. I’ve seen joy and I’ve seen pain. On my knees, I call your name. Here’s my broken hallelujah!  (listen to it here)

I have told you this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world. John 16:33 NLT

Seeing the big picture right in the midst of pain, hurt, or disappointment is unmanageable and at times impossible by ourselves. We are to reach out to others and stand on HIS promises and strengthen our faith.

 We are here to love. We are not here to be alone, but to have relationships.

We are made to be companions not just in our victories, but also our battles. We are to fight together for our families, health, and our callings.

Don’t just believe in God, but BELIEVE GOD.

There is a difference in believing in God and believing that God’s promises are the same yesterday, today, and forever. When we share with others what we have been through or may be going through at the moment, you may not only be helping strengthen areas in your walk, but also doing the same for them.

It’s okay to be vunerable and transparent.

Be open when you are struggling because we were not meant to travel this road alone. Don’t be ashamed of your past. Everyone has one! Your past is your life’s greatest story of what God has done for you and what he can do for others. Share it, don’t save it. Boldly share your story, for others to know his love.

Love without ceasing!

Love God with all your heart ALL THE TIME!

Just like a tree has seasons of being bare and broken, we will too. But do not forget that a new season WILL come! One of full bloom!