Thursday, October 31, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Finished

31's been awesome :) They say if you can do, or not do, something consistently for 21 days then it becomes a habit, a new routine.  I believe that.  Sometimes in the day in and day out of whatever we may be walking, it's easy to forget why we started.  The "routine" of it all, can become something that we have become used to.  Sometimes we just need to look back and remember.

God called me back to writing almost 2 years ago.  Writing in a way I had never known before.  God also called me into relationship with Him unlike any I had ever experienced.  All my then 17 years of walking with Him prepared me for this.  Yesterday, a hard day for me, I had to make a choice yet again.  I had to remember why I even began this journey, what was it that He was even asking of me that has brought me here? In the beginning, I was in such a place of pain and confusion that inevitably, I came to the point of having to choosing what road I would take.  The world said one thing, but the One Who was in my heart said something quite different.  It's your choice baby girl.....which way....and I promised Him that I would do it His way this time.  Because my way had circled me right back round to where I started from, only worse off in so many ways than when I had begun.

I started this journey because I believe that He does know best.  I believe in my faith.  I believe that God loves me and He has a plan, even on the days when it downright stinks.  I believe I have a purpose.  I believe in miracles.  I believe that He Who began this work in me isn't done. I started this road to honor a commitment, a vow that I made.  I started because unconditional love is something you have to give away long before you can ever hope to have it come back to you.  But I found that the greatest love already rested in my heart.  The love of a Father for a daughter.  The love that was willing to wound so that healing could come.  I started this because I just didn't know how to do it any other way this time.  And He will finish it. Thankful.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Watch

Daniel 6: 17-22
17 Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den and a stone was brought in and placed over the opening to shut the mouth of the den. The king himself sealed it with his own signet ring and with the signets of his nobles. That way no one could tamper with the pit and nothing could happen to change Daniel’s fate. 18 The king retired to his palace and spent the night fasting. That evening he stayed to himself, turning down his regular evening musical entertainment. When he finally went to bed, he could not sleep. 19 When first light of morning finally arrived, the king got up and didn’t waste any time returning to the lions’ den. Darius can hardly wait to see what has happened to Daniel, who has become indispensable to the king. 20 As he drew near the den, with anguish in his voice he called out to Daniel, hoping somehow he was still alive. Darius: Daniel, servant of the living God, has your God, the One you have served so faithfully, been able to rescue you from these hungry lions?

Daniel (to the king): 21 Long live the king! 22 As soon as you shut the mouth of this den, My God sent His heavenly representative to shut the mouths of these hungry lions so that they could not hurt me. He has rescued me because I am as innocent before Him as I am before you, O king. I have done you no harm.

Daniel 6

I was reading about Daniel in the 6th book of, well, Daniel.  And the commentary that I was reading along with it suggested something interesting.  Yes, the story of Daniel himself is interesting and exciting...a nail biter :)  But if you look past it, you see the story of the King.  You see Daniel knew God, His character and what He could do.  And he was at peace during this trial by lion.  But the King....he was up all night!  Wondering and worrying, what would happen.  Surely this God of Daniel's would save him...surely He would rescue him.  And he watched.  How many times does God call us to go through things and, of course, it changes us, strengthens our faith, calls us into a deeper relationship with Him.  But maybe these moments are less about us and way more about others, those who maybe be watching.  Those who see us day in and day out, go through things that seem unfair and downright awful at times, but how do we respond?  I don't always get it right.  But as I look back over the past year, the things I have faced, what He's asked of me, I can only pray that He has been glorified and that as much as it has changed me, it would serve more to turn hearts to the One who can shut the mouths of lions...and we need only be still.  Thankful.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Behind the Scenes - Restore

I spent some time Saturday with friends, new and old.  Friends I have not been around all that much in the past couple years.  Life happened and things changed and for a season, we didn't see each other.  But I smile because God gives us new opportunities.  To be able to go back sometimes, even though much has changed and still love and be loved by many of those who were such a beautiful part of my life.  Blessed that even with all the water under the bridge, that it still leads to a place that holds many precious memories and people that will always be in my heart.  Thankful.

31 Days of Encouragement - You

Maybe today you need to hear that.  I do.  You are ok, just the way God made you.  You have a purpose. You are a very important piece to the puzzle.  No one else can fill your space.  No one else can be you. You are unique and one of a kind.  You don't have to fit into a mold, be like the person next to you or do things just like everyone else.  Your words and your feelings matter.  Some days we all just need a reminder.  You are ok.  Thankful.

Monday, October 28, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Faithful

The darkness won't last for ever.  The hard times will serve their purpose and new days will come along. With each night, there is also a dawn.  Some days you might have to walk a ways on your own to do the things that He has called you too.  And those times are the scariest.  But He is faithful.  He will not leave even in the darkest of night.  To hold true sometimes to what He is asking of you is sometimes the hardest. Be still and let Him do His work.  Thankful.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Sunday Scripture

Exodus 14:19-20 (Voice)

19 God’s messenger, who had been out front leading the people of Israel, moved to protect the rear of the company; the cloud pillar moved with him from the front to the back of them. 20 The cloud pillar took its position between Egypt’s and Israel’s camps. The cloud cast darkness by day yet it lit up the sky by night. As a result, the Egyptians never got close to the Israelites the entire night. 

I was looking for something entirely different this morning, when I started reading this verse, something stuck with me.  When the Israelites got to their miracle, first they got scared.  They didn't know they were at their miracle.  God told them just be still.  What was in this day, would not be ever again.  It was coming.  But in the darkness with the enemy seemingly winning and nowhere to run, it felt like the Lord had led them to destruction, not to deliverance.

All the while it seems, as God led them out, He had sent a messenger to lead them.  And before the deliverance, he moved.  God's messenger moved to the weakest point, where they were most vulnerable. And what had been sent to lead them, moved behind to protect them.  The cloud that led them served as a barrier, the messenger, their protection.

I get a little confused at times when I am up against something and it seems like I have no direction again, like I've been left to figure it out on my own.  This reminded me that sometimes, He already has the way ahead set.  Like the Israelites, sometimes there is only one way to go forward and what we need is protection not from what we face, but to keep us from running backwards, to hold us while He works forward on our behalf.  Exodus 14:14 told them that the Lord would fight for them, they just had to be still.  He was making a way.  But movement forward outside of God's timing would have sent them drowning and movement backwards would have been death too.  Sometimes He closes us in.  Maybe you feel like that today.  I'm feeling a little trapped between what was and what is coming myself.  It makes me a bit anxious. But He meets us where we are you and me.  Learning to trust when it seems like all is lost is a hard one. But we can do this.  He has set us up for success.  Let's hold fast to what we know and His character.  He's got us wrapped up in His protection.  Thankful.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Roads

Some days we have to come face to face with the reality of things.  Perhaps we wish them different, but here they are.  What will we do with it?  I have to say this has been long and it sucks a good bit of the time, but then sometimes, it really doesn't.  Sometimes, I get to push out of my comfort zone and have to look at things that aren't so comfortable for me.  And in the end I find out a little bit more about myself and the girl I truly am becoming.  And I like her.  I'm finding more and more that to get to the ending you want, you gotta go through some rough patches and some places that are down right ugly.  But I'm believing this road He has called me to is gonna get me there.  Thankful

Friday, October 25, 2013

5 Minute Friday - Together

Joining Lisa Jo and the girls today for 5 Minute Friday.....5 minutes, no edits, no re-writes and love those that came before you...


We gather together.  He knits us together, He holds us together, we face this together.  What He joins together, should not be separated.  He binds us together, pushes us together and even wraps us up in His love, together.  Together means we are not alone.  We are not just one, but many.  When we sing in one accord, together, worship Him, together, pray to Him with two or three gathered together...He hears.  He moves. He rescues.  When we disagree, separate ourselves, become selfish and single minded, even still, we are bound together.  By a love that does not distinguish like we do.  We should remember that.  Because we will be spending eternity not in our own little bubble, but together.  Thankful.


31 Days f Encouragement - Thankful

Some days I feel like I just don't have any words.  That's saying a lot for me.  Sometimes I get to the point of empty and these are the times that maybe He doesn't need to hear me voice anything.  He just needs me to be quiet.  To listen.  So He can answer.  And I can hear.  A while back, when I finished writing, I just wrote the word thankful at the end of it.  And it resonated with me.  And when I write, that's how I end it.  Because there is nothing more to say.  Some days I feel it, some days I deliberately choose it.  But even still, it is what I am this year.  It signals the end of my words to Him and lets me then open my heart and receive what He has for me.  Whatever that is.  Because at times, what I have received has been painful and hard and the opposite of what I wanted.  But I am coming to find more and more it isn't always about me is it? He gives me what I need to face what He has called me to and for that I truly am...thankful.

Dear Weary Mom - Hopeful

Linking up today over at Hope for the Weary Mom....

Dear Weary Mom,

I'm praying for us today.  For you, for me.  Some days even though my two are much older now, still, the future can look scary.  They face things I wish they didn't have to, they have times where their feelings get hurt and people aren't always nice.  My heart breaks when I can't fix it.  But there is one Who can.  There is One Who loves them even more than we can possibly imagine.  And that's a lot.  We both know that.  And as much as I am reminded that I love them and care for them and want the very best, He wants that too.  For all of us.  We are His children.  And the inkling of love we feel is a drop compared to what He holds for us. He sees the tears, the frustrations, the not-so-fair's and the down right mean.  He wipes our tears and holds our hands and whispers the you-are-loved words right down into our very souls.  Some days we feel it. Other days we may not.  But just like the times we tell our own children what we see in light of what they do, He does the same.

I pray today you and I can love through the tough spots, tend to others who are hurting, even if it's us that bear the wounds of their actions.  I pray that we all can find and extend the forgiveness we so desperately desire and sometimes seek out in the wrong way, because there is only one place to truly find all that we need.  And that is in Him.  The rest will fall into place when our heart is aligned with the One who loves it most.  Thankful.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Go

I don't know about you, but there are days.....I want to quit.  This is way more than I ever signed up for, it's not easy, a lot of times I'm walking it alone and I.Am.Tired....but here's what I learned...from running.

When I first started getting back into exercising after being away from it for far too long, half mile walks each day were all I could manage.  When I started going to outdoor classes a couple years ago, I could not run a quarter mile without stopping.  I pretty much cried and whined the whole time.  But I kept doing it.  And now, well what used to seem an impossible task or me is typically my warm up.  That would be running roughly 3 miles....and the first 3 miles SUCK!  And if you are reading this thinking 3 MILES?!?!?! Yeah the first few steps even, are hard.  The middle seems ok, everything is manageable and I feel pretty good. But the end, oh the end, even though you just ran 4 or 5 or whatever, that last mile can feel like it will take forever and you are never ever gonna be able to make it.  But you just keep going, because you must.  Because there is something inside you screaming don't quit NOW!!!!! And you don't.  And that last little bit to the finish, somehow...SOMEHOW you get a wind in you and you sprint it :) Yes you do.  Because you got this! You can do this!!  I believe in you.  Thankful.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Dark

I smiled when I saw this.  I had been praying.  It has been a little dark lately, but somehow it's familiar to me in a way that I have learned not to be so afraid.  Sometimes we have to look at those long forgotten places and deal with what we have stuffed in the cracks and corners.  Clean it out.  Face the hard truths and then let Him take that and heal them in a way that only He can.  When it gets dark, sometimes our tendency is to run. It magnifies whatever fear is staring us in the face.  But the running is when we tend to trip and fall and hurt ourselves.  Sometimes being still and getting our bearings, waiting for the light, is the only way to go.  We run because we are afraid.  This time it will overtake us.  We can't come back from something this overpowering.  But with Him we can.  Because light consumes the dark.  And this usually comes when we can embrace whatever it is we fear most.  Maybe it needs to swallow you and in that you will soon realize the darkness cannot overtake what is in us.  Perfect Light.  Thankful.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Behind the Scenes - Seasons

I've been remembering lately.  God has been reminding me of His hand, His goodness.  Saturday, as I was cleaning and preparing, I was reminded.  A year ago things were so unsure.  The year had been a long, hard road and I had very few hand holders.  Two stood by my side.  And I smiled as I made cupcakes for the party that would be happening very soon.  We would be celebrating my youngest sister, not of my blood but my sister, nonetheless.  It was her birthday :)  This picture serves as a heavy reminder to me.  He does not remove without giving back His best.  And when He restores....Oh.My.Word.  The beautiful family He has placed me in.  The ones that share my day in day out beautiful mess.  The ones who sit with me, love me, cry with me, laugh with me, encourage me, hold me accountable, and will not let go.  Even on the hard days.  A year ago it was all crumbling.  This year the new foundation is nothing short of amazing.  I realize that these are the ones who have cried and mourned with me.  But there is coming a day that they will laugh and rejoice with me.  Thankful.

31 Days of Encouragement - Spirit

I read a post yesterday that resonated with me.  When I saw that big, black cow as the page came up, I thought, wow......that's what it feels like has been staring me down lately.  I am reminded time and time again that this battle rages and more often in ways that I cannot begin to imagine.  These are the times when literally, all you may be able to do is praise and give thanks.  And I believe that these are the times that bully gets the angriest.  Because in those times, we are surrendering, admitting, we don't have the ability to do this on our own.  But we can praise and give thanks to the One who does.  A battle was once won with singers :) Scared the enemy so bad the killed each other! My sweet friend Christine wrote about that recently. So it seems maybe you and I aren't the only ones feeling pushed around lately. And I'm learning to push right back...with prayer and thanksgiving and song.  Weapons long hid...perhaps it's time we change it up a little. Thankful.

Monday, October 21, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Trust

So Monday morning has found me again.  Looking at the week ahead makes me a little antsy.  All the things that need to be done, starting me in the face.  And so I wonder how.....because most days I feel like I'm in over my head.  And let's be honest....I am.  So I can worry about the how's and when's and why's or I can simply put my trust in Him.  I'm not talking Pollyanna Head In the Clouds....We all face things we just don't understand and things come at us that are more than we can shoulder.  But worrying about these things when we are a child of God is just a waste of time.  Instead of worry today, just talk to Him.  Express your concerns.  Then trust.  That He sees you, that He will answer you, that He cares, that He isn't indifferent or oblivious to what you are facing.  It all must pass through His hands.  Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to "Trust in the Lord with ALL our heart"....and my favorite translation of this verse states "don't rely on what you THINK you know"...cause my goodness, how I think I have it all figured out so often.  "In all your ways acknowledge Him" in everything you do, do it for Him and His glory.  If you can't, well then, stop.  Kinda simple, really hard to do, I know. "And He WILL make straight your paths."  Period.  He will.  Submit it to Him, don't rely on yourself and what is running through that brain of yours, acknowledge Him, and He will get you to where you need to be.  In His time :) Thankful.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Sunday Scripture

This week what keeps coming over and over is wait.  Be patient.  And while your doing that, be hopeful, be your life.  I know God is working in this place I am at.  I know it's not finished.  I know the prep work is what is needed for whatever will be next in my life.  Waiting....on His timing.....what to do, what to do....just live.  Last year was a hard one.  I knew what God was asking.  No doubts.  But this year was very different.  What happens when you do what He asks and then that just opens up a whole new door to a place you have never been?  I look back to a year ago and I see His hand leading me through this.  So much has been given to me.  Last night was spent celebrating a birthday with the family He has brought me into. Little by little He keeps adding :)  It makes my heart happy. Waiting has a way of changing you that doing can't.  Stillness, unhurried times, quiet has a way of letting things settle in.  Letting them bind to you.  Today if your waiting, I pray you can look around and see, that although you may be at a stand still, He is surely not. I believe He is preparing us for something that will simply be amazing....more than we ever hoped or dreamed. Thankful.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Still

It's Saturday :) Breathe.  This week has been exhausting on a whole lotta levels.  Who knew that being still could be a battle?  Why would He ask us to linger, to be still, to just wait?  For me this week it has been looking at a lot of things and truly seeing them.  You can't do that in a rush or through a shower of busyness. It takes the stillness sometimes to hear what He needs to say.  It takes being still to have the strength to not look away, to not fight to get out from under something.  Let it be.  Let Him be.  Open you hands today sweet sister and just wait.  Thankful.

Friday, October 18, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Hollow

Promises.  His Word is always true.  He promised.  It may not be on our timetable.  But it will come to pass. I'm waiting on some right now.  Getting a little tired.  Wondering how long.  Waiting.  But the fact is, His Words don't expire.  He speaks them into being and then lets them do the work they need in us to be able to hold all the goodness of the promises He wants for our lives.  For a vessel to be useful, in must be hollow, so it can hold all that it was meant to.  If it is full of itself, it cannot hold the very thing that it is meant to share. Sometimes that preparation is painful and takes a while.  And then sometimes it has to set, so it can strengthen and be ready.  So if that's you's me too :)  Let's don't get discouraged, you and I.  We won't be on the shelf forever.  He's got big plans for us.  I'm believing that today.  Thankful.

5 Minute Friday - Laundry

Word: Laundry


I love laundry.  Yes, I do.  I love laundry products.  They make me happy.  I love getting stains out, making things look new again.  I love how perfect everything is coming out of the dryer.  Perfect.  New.  Beautiful. No wrinkles or stains or blemishes.  Smelling beautiful.  Then life happens.  The laundry gets used and tossed aside and stepped on and wadded up and really, really dirty.  But then the mom comes back around and gathers up all the not so lovely anymore...and she sorts and treats and searches out hidden ugliness and places all the worn and weary laundry in the wash where it comes clean yet again but it's still heavy with things that are remnant of the bath.  So it goes in the dryer with the sheet of sweet smells that rub up against everything as it tosses about, helping it to release what is left behind from the cleaning and allows it the freedom to return to what it was made to be.  Kind of how God handles me.  Thankful.


Thursday, October 17, 2013

Hope for the Weary Mom - Home

Zechariah 9:11-12 (MSG)
11-13 “And you, because of my blood covenant with you,
    I’ll release your prisoners from their hopeless cells.
Come home, hope-filled prisoners!
    This very day I’m declaring a double bonus—
    everything you lost returned twice-over!
Dear Weary Mom,

I dropped coffee off to my girl this morning and she denied the cinnamon roll I had cut up and put on a plate for her to eat quickly before the bus.....I'll take it with me mom.....I walked into my boy's room.  I told him it was time to get up and handed him his coffee milk and as he looked at me through one eye, I offered him a bite of the breakfast that awaited him.  What kind of place is this with such service?!? I teased him....he smiled at me and said....home.  And such a flood of gratefulness swept over me.  The above verse has stuck in my heart all week.  For almost two years now, we have lived here, but we weren't here.  It felt like my soul was in prison, my emotions held captive, my ability to live chained in a state of hopeless.  We all wandered around for sometime wondering do we get back.....

Lately God has been opening and closing, renewing and reviving, restoring and reminding....and when I read that verse this week, it put my feelings into words.  I have been the hope filled prisoner trying desperately to get back home, back to where He is, back to where I belong.  And this was such a reminder that you can live in a space, but it doesn't mean anything.  Home is a state of being.  A condition of your heart.  A place that your very soul belongs.  And here we are...we are home.  Thankful.

31 Days of Encouragement - Trust

Trust.  How do you learn to trust again when your trust has been broken?  For me, it's been handing it all over to the only One who can truly heal what has been shattered.  When God puts things back His time....they become as they should be, or perhaps should have been all along.  When we follow His direction, His path, then healing will happen.  It's all about His timing.  How long will I feel like this? Why is this seeming like it is unending? Why does it look like You have left me here?  All questions I have asked Him.  And they all usually get answered the you trust Me?  Yes.  Yes I do.  And simple trust says I don't have to know the answer or figure it out.  Simple trust can be compared to what I ask of my children. I know the why and the when.  I have reasons for it.  It WILL happen, but when I know that it's the right time.  No different with God.  He has never failed to show up.  Thankful.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Appointed

Write it down.  He's been telling me this for a very long time.  It reminds me.  I can go back, when necessary, and see His hand.  I can see that these feeling have all been before.  I can see that He answered. In His time.  His Word is never false.  And so these things He has spoken to me...somethings for a few months, some things for literal years....even though the answer seems to linger, it will come.  It won't delay. Write it down so others can have renewed hope.  Write it down so others can see they aren't alone.  Write it down because your words have purpose.  Even if that purpose is only for the sake of reminding you. Thankful.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Behind The Scenes - Boys

I talk about my girl a lot :) She's well, my girl.  Girls are easy for me....she is soooo me.  But I also have a boy :) And this boy is quite amazing.  This boy has surprised me his entire life.  He showed up 15 months after my girl and I knew NOTHING about boys.  I cried when I found out he would not be a sister for my girl.  I didn't know anything about how to handle boys.  But then I saw his little face and I just loved him.  And that's a good thing, cause he loved me so much that he only wanted his mama until he went to kindergarten :) This boy prompted me to be a stay at home mama.  This boy climbed and sang and laughed and ate gross things that sent us to the ER and made me loose sleep but also been the reason I got out of bed when, were it not for he and the girl, I probably would not have been able too. He was (and still is) his sisters bestest bubs ever. This boy is quiet but has the heart of a giant.  He has compassion and the ability to relate to any person of any age.  This boy has a gift that I believe is so very rare.  God gave him a heart that forgives.  He always believes the best, always loves and always perseveres.  He rarely meets a stranger.  He has always known he who is and who he will be.  When he hit 9th grade, everything changed for him.  He was planted in the right soil and he has bloomed into a young man I just can't believe is my own.  I am so desperately proud of him.  In the middle of the last couple years of hard days, this soul pressed hard through the pain and adversity and has grown into that tree planted by the river, whose roots grow deep and who is going to be well watered no matter the season, no matter what comes.  There are many things I could look back over in the course of my life and lament.  But in the middle of all my wrong roads and missteps, God gave me these two amazing human beings to travel with.  Today I'm grateful for this boy that changed everything and taught me that sometimes we don't get what we thought we wanted....we get something more amazing than we could have ever dreamed of.  Thankful.

31 Days of Encouragement - Waiting

Wait.  I didn't like to be told that as a child and I didn't grow any fonder of it as I got older.  We spend more time waiting for the next thing than anything else.  So how do we fill in the spaces?  I used to spend my today's waiting on tomorrows and wasting my now desiring then.  Still do sometimes.  But I am learning to refocus and be grateful for the right here, the right now.  Even if it's something small, it can serve as a refocus. What I have is pretty awesome.  It's a season that somehow I don't believe I will have again and quite honestly, it feels like maybe He's teaching me how to rest, because when we come into a season of more responsibility, we need to remember how to get away and be still.  What to do while we wait on what comes next?  Serve right where we are.  Maybe that's making your kids lunch everyday.  Maybe that giving a smile to others, maybe that's just learning to praise on the hard days.  Days of waiting are actually days of learning.  Developing skills we will need when our not so slow days come upon us.  And perhaps it's to love those around us who are waiting too.  It's always more fun to have someone to sit beside.  Thankful.

Monday, October 14, 2013

31 Days of encouragement - Timing

It's Monday.  This week I want to encourage you...and remember that God's timing isn't ours.  That's what has been heavy on my heart this weekend.  Our job sometimes is just to obey.  Even when it makes no sense whatsoever.  Even when it leaves us feeling like this can't be right.  But you know deep down, it is right.  You might be have no idea how long this wait has been.....let me promise you I do. Movement in the same direction for months that are bordering years....I do.  I get it.  And our only option is to run the other way, do it on our own, you know, the way we have always done it.  How'd that work for ya'?  Yeah, me neither.  So, today let's you and I keep going in the way we know is right.  Even when it's uncomfortable and seems unending.  Patience. Thankful.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Able

So it's Sunday....lots of scriptures I can think of rolling through my head.  Each would offer some encouragement.  But today I read something that offered me encouragement in a different way.  I'm sure someone has said to you at some point in your life, that God won't give you more than you can handle.....I've said it to myself a hundred times.  But the truth is YES.HE.WILL.  Let me tell you this little joy ride has found me over my head every day.  When He called me into this, sister, I jumped into the deep end of the pool without my floaties.  He gives us more than we can possibly handle because He doesn't want us to think we got this!  Not in our own strength.  The Bible tells us we can do ALL THINGS through CHRIST Who strengthens us.  On the days that I look back and think how?!..... It was the One in me Who is greater that he who is in the world.  None of this is doable.  Not by ourselves.  But with Him nothing is impossible.  It just isn't.  So today if you are in over your head, I am too....and today if you feel like you are gonna be overtaken by whatever is pressing down on you, grab hold of Him.  He won't leave us.  He won't forsake us. We can't.  He can.  Thankful.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Three

Words.  It's amazing to me that God chose to give me words as a gift.  For many years I used them as a weapon.  They were my defense.  I used words out of fear, to tear down, to wound, to protect myself.  My words kept me bound.  But when these 3 words found themselves piercing my heart in the most desperate of times, they changed everything.  When I let Him begin to show me what my words were truly meant for, when I let His words settle in deep, when I accepted that even in the bad times, these 3 little words still rang true, it changed me, and in turn, changed my words, that changed my heart, that made me able to accept and then to give away what we all desire so very much.  These words give freedom, life and a chance to sow something great into places that may need it more than we ever know. There are 3 words that I never regret saying. Thankful.

Friday, October 11, 2013

5 Minute Friday


The days come and the days go.  They seem so uneventful, so ordinary.  We get up, we go about our day, we come home, we sleep.  Wash, rinse, repeat.....until we choose to change perspective.  It's a choice you know.  You must choose to see the ordinary as something very unordinary.  Choose to see the gift in the changes that come, choose to see the gift in the days of the so very small and hidden.  Without those days, the unordinary cannot grow, cannot strengthen, cannot be ready when the time comes.....ordinary.  I prayed for the day when I could come home and hear laughter in the house again, when I could simply watch TV and not think about anything other than just being still in a moment.  I yearned for the days when the very ordinary would not seem like they took every ounce of strength I had left.  And here they answer to my prayers....and sometimes I forget that.  These days were my prayers for so very long.  Not what I expected, but my answer still.  Little by little.  One thing at a time.  One step must come before the other and it is in this very ordinary, that we find ourselves heading in the right direction.  Thankful.


31 Days of Encouragement - Steps

What feels overwhelming in your world? For me, it was simply the task of navigating all of this alone.  One tiny girl up against the biggest giant she had ever encountered.  I had been here before....but this was so very different.  This, THIS.....well, it seemed quite impossible.  I had risked it before and at the first sign of resistance I ran in the other direction....only to find my self right back to where I had started...but this time, it seemed this giant had grown a few feet.  There is no point to this.....your being stupid....Perhaps....something inside whispered to me....but try it anyway....maybe to day you just need to have someone tell you to take one step towards whatever you feel is the most ridiculous and impossible thing you have ever encountered.  Maybe the world will laugh at you, call you names and tell you that's the dumbest thing they ever heard of....maybe they are right.  But maybe, just maybe....this will change everything.  Thankful.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Push

A sweet friend sent this to me a couple days back.  In the midst of struggle...trying desperately to see what in the world He was doing now......God is always working.  The Bible tells us that He, Who began a good work in us.. will.not.stop....until it is complete.  If we are His child, then He will it for our good.  But He wants it to work for the good of others as well.  My pain...this road I did not want to walk along.....turned out to be the road that would change me....and change others as well.  This work in me is not only for the good of myself, but to let Him do the good work He has planned in the lives of those He places in my path.  Good work is rarely pain free.  Training to run is NOT pain free, but crossing that finish line makes me thankful I put in the time.  There is something deep in my core that tells me when I cross the line of this journey, I will not be sorry for one ounce of this hard work. Today if you are just about ready to throw in the towel and say this is just too hard.....don't.  You are stronger than you know.  Yes you can.  Thankful.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Expectations

Maybe you are tired like me, maybe your hopeful but a little weary too.  Maybe it's a struggle to see that there is any good coming around the corner.  Maybe your confused, hurt, sore, irritated, skinned up, hair gone crazy (me too, but it's getting better!), burnt out, worn down, not much strength left....can we just.sit.down....I understand.  So here's the thing, today let's you and I just expect a miracle.  In whatever way, shape or form He wants to send it.  I can already feel my brain start to say.... are you nuts?? You are gonna just get let down again sister!....perhaps.  But maybe I won't.  And maybe the biggest miracle of all comes from the expectation of it, no matter what comes our way.  Thankful.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Behind The Scenes - Unexpected

Joining Crystal and the girls for Behind the Scenes
He wasn't my dog.  Dogs weren't my thing.  Yet somehow he belonged in our family.  The last 2 years have been rough on him.  For a while I worried.  I worried about all of us.  He wouldn't come near my bedroom door for a year.  Then, he would just sit and stare at me from the hallway.  But this spring, one morning.....
He jumped up on the bed.  And we both kind of wondered what would be next.  And then he came and laid his head down on my Bible while I read.  And somehow I knew that in the end we were all gonna be ok.

This is him most mornings now.  He has a new routine.  A new side he prefers.  He's a momma's boy.  Never saw that one coming.  Sometimes we don't see the good things coming.  The hurt and the pain tend to cloud what's really right in front of us.  Family, friends, life....all waiting on us to come back around when the time is right.  Thankful.

31 Days of Encouragement - Thoughts

Some days it's hard to get out of your own head....the thoughts that come....not always ones that make for a great attitude.  Some days all you can do to fight is stand.  Stand on what you know to be true.  Stand on His Word hidden deep in your heart.  Sometimes those battles are the hardest.  My favorite one, the easiest to remember is "no weapon formed against me shall prosper".  Weapons don't have to be big.  They don't have to even be things we expect.  The tinniest failed....not pretty....not good enough....weapons, all of them.  Made to destroy you from the inside. So challenge them.  Remember who you are.  Even on the hard days. Thankful.

Monday, October 7, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Plans

Plans....I'm a planner by nature.  I can organize, clean, recall dates, times, events.....everything is pretty much at my fingertips.  And that is a blessing and in some ways, something that I have to submit to Him to help not let it control me.  When we depend on our plans, we shut God out and put Him in a box. We makes plans....but He orders our steps.  Can I make my plans and leave room for God to change them?  I'm learning.  His ways are not mine, His thoughts higher than anything I could ever imagine.  So for this girl to say...I trust You Lord, I don't have to know the answer....well let's just say that takes a lot of dying to self. And it has been my life over the past 22 months.  My plans did not turn out like I thought.  But His plans brought me to a place I never thought I would be.  It's hard to keep believing the best when it still feels like this is the worst.  It isn't really, He said His plans are for my give me hope and a future.  And while some like to point out that the verse referenced above (Jeremiah 29:11) speaks to the Israelites being held in exile for 70 years....still, God's word can tell what the story was and He can use it to instill hope in the future generations as well.  I feel like I have been in exile for about 70 years :)  But when I prayed to Him and truly sought Him with my whole heart (Jeremiah 29:13-14) I did find Him and He promised to bring them....and this girl, back from where we were captive.  Maybe you have been running for a real long time too.  It's no fun, I know.  But He's got these plans, for you...for me.....and so my prayer for us today is this, that we seek Him and His face, and let Him do the rest....Thankful.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Sunday Scripture

It has been a week.  October rushed in and oh my.....things got shaken up in my little world.  But here I am. What do you do when you are forced to face things, to look at things for what they are and make choices? What do you do when all that you think and a lot of what made you feel secure gets stripped away? I heard that a lot this what are you going to do?.....

I learned that I can praise Him in the tough times even still.  That yes, I do trust Him even when everything just looks like it's going down faster than me on a mud hill (that's fast, I tried it this past May :) I found there is a strength in me that I truly have never known and I know where it came from.  That He has made me well able to withstand all that comes my way.  And He has done the same for you.  Run to Him sweet girl, not away from.  You can have a melt down, break down, shut down, sit down, fall down....just make sure it's all while running straight into His arms.  He's there.  We don't have to know the answers or heck, even the questions. He already knows.  All we need to do is say even here, even now, even in fear, even through doubt, even through pain, even through this aching hurt that will.not.go.away....yet I WILL praise You.

When I rolled over this morning after tossing and turning and battling even in my dreams, I looked at my verse was Him waiting for me.  Just to whisper the reminder He has given me so many times. Cause just when you think you aren't gonna make it...He picks you up and carries you.  Thankful.

Jesus looked straight at them and answered, “This is impossible for human beings, but for God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26 GNT)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Ashes

What happens when you hold ashes in your hands and open them up? Usually they scatter when the wind hits, disintegrate as soon as water touches them.  Once the remains are gone, we can see what is left, what is solid and what is true.  What doesn't get destroyed now will hold the ground work of what is to come.  The new.  When the earth is burned, the green that springs forth shows itself so much more beautifully against the black and chard remains.  And from our ashes, the new that He brings will show itself so clearly against the picture of what once was.  Beauty in the midst of what was once death.  As we sit in our ashes there are times that follow where the rain comes down hard and the winds blow fiercely and we begin to think that after all we have been through that we might never escape the harm....yet it is these very things that remove the ashes to show the beauty that lies beneath, that allows the old to be removed and the new to have the ability to spring forth.  Let Him work, let Him move.  What He tears down, He will rebuild.  Thankful.

Friday, October 4, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - Praise

Do you ever wonder why?  Why do I have to go through this....why did I make that choice......why didn't I make that choice.....why did I act so ugly.....why did they do that.....why?  Seems as though many times we want God to give us these answers and most of the time, for me, He just wants me to praise.  It took a long time for my heart to come to the place of active praise in the midst of a storm.  I'm battling that today, something so very small, but it feels so big.  Because it is challenging the beliefs I have within my self about my self worth, my value.  And through this, He wants me to praise.  As He breaks down these walls that hold me bound to things that truly don't matter and won't even be issue a month from now.  He wants look at what He sees, what truly defines us.  And most often that comes from the hard days, the hard times, the not so great feelings, the doubts that creep in.....praise Him today beautiful girl....whatever you are facing, whatever trial feels like it will swallow you whole.  It won't.  Praise lets our soul do what it was made for.  To connect with the One who knows us best and Who will quiet our restless hearts until the answer comes in due time.  Thankful.

5 Minute Friday

Joining Lisa Jo and the girls or 5 Minute Friday.  No edits, no re-writes and love those that came before you.

Prompt: Write

Write...I have done it my entire life.  It's how I processed my feelings even as a little girl.  After I became a Christian, I began journaling.  Stop and start.  I wrote my story once before, when it was my only story. When God was showing me how to share what He had done with painful things in my life.  I made copies and shared with those close to me.  That was long, long ago.  For the past few years I journaled...when I was close to God and when I was far away...and at one point, an entry simply stated....will I ever write anything different?  I am so tired of hearing myself say the same thing over and over...He pulled me back to writing very early on the morning that my life would change abruptly.  And the words that I wrote let me know now, He had prepared my very soul for the battle I would be facing....and I wrote.  And on that day for the next year, I wrote on paper.  And then He called me to this again, writing on a blog, to share me, my story and what He has done.  And so I write.  Just like I breathe. I write.  Thankful.


Thursday, October 3, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - You

You.  You matter.  You matter more than you know.  You are more than your bank account, the car you drive, the house you live in, the degree you may or may not have, your job, your past, your family, your decisions, your status on Facebook, your status in or out of a relationship, your weight, your height....your hair color....and that is from a girl who spent the evening in tears because she added low light to her highlights and now she is a little darker than usual....yeah, you I...we...are more than just what we assume defines us.  Today remember that.  Just because you are you, God has a reason to smile.  He looks at all of us, His children, and smiles.  Because He sees who we are inside, who we will become and He loves us. You. Me. Thankful.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

31 Days of Encouragement - One

Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 (NIV)

It's the power of one.  One hand to hold, one listening ear, one that says...I understand...with one, just one, we feel like we can make it.  When it feels like you against the world, that one standing beside you can give assurance.  Some days we don't need any words, maybe we just need a hug.  So I'm sending you one today :)  And this reminder, He is always with us.  Through every trial, every heartache, every lonely night and every new dawn.  He never leaves.  He is the One. Thankful.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Behind The Scenes - Grace

This past weekend found me reeling from a week of activity.  Homecoming week for my girl's senior year.  It was a lot of fun and by Saturday night when she left for the dance, I.Was.Tired.  I sat down in the quiet and thought back to how very different this school year has been.  Not so very scary even with the huge changes that have come to pass.  We learned a little something I think.  Even when it seems like the bottom is falling out, we know Who is there to catch us.  Even when big changes come, we have learned to look for what He is trying to show us.  That beautiful smile was something I missed for a very long time.  But we are making it...we are getting there.  Today, that's enough for me.  Thankful.

31 Days - Encouragement

So it's October 1st.  October.  Hard to believe that another year has almost come and gone.  I will be joining The Nester for her 31 Days project.  31 Days of Encouragement.

This picture has been an encouraging word to me for almost 3 years now.  It's actually on the lock screen of my phone.  Because I need to be reminded that often.  People may fail us, situations, jobs, dreams that seem impossible, all may make us feel like we have maybe He has walked away.  But He hasn't.  And regardless of situation or circumstance, He will not fail you.  The whole of that verse above He gave to me many years before I would actually cling to it like I did my next breath.  He does that.  Settles His word deep in your heart, so when the time comes, you know it's Him speaking.  When the time came, I knew.  So I will encourage you today, whatever you are facing....big or small, He is right there.  He is the original hand holder.  He's got this.  He's got you.  Thankful.

Hebrews 13:5 (Voice)
Keep you lives free from the love of money, and be content with what you have, because He has said, "I will never leave you; I will always be by your side."