Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Travel Bug

As I've mentioned before, I am a huge fan of missions. At some point in my life I think God will send me over seas somewhere because of my passions for the hurt, suffering, and the misunderstood. I like to think of it as my big adventure of following God and serving Him.

The hardest part is that I want to go right now and I know God hasn't put the place or time on my heart, so I must wait. It seems like I do a lot of that. But maybe we grow most while in the wait, learn things before taking flight with God. Learning to trust His timing and not our own. I was listening to a radio show the other day and someone shared some great wisdom on the subject. He said a lot of people have destination disease. Which means people think happiness is "over there". That the grass is greener on the other side. How easy it is to have this mentality! Sometimes it is the case that moving somewhere else is better. But often we just think we would be happier somewhere else. For me that would be in a house on the beach... preferably in another country... maybe in the Caribbean... :] Big dreams huh? But the man on the radio pointed out something that spoke a lot to me. He said, "No matter where you are... there you are." If we aren't happy with ourselves where we are now that isn't going to change if we move else where. Other people can add to our happiness immeasurably but being with someone, marrying someone, or moving somewhere doesn't in itself make you happy. It is a choice. Choose to love who God created you to be!

So this summer God has been teaching me that no matter where I am, He has lives to impact through me! Even though I would like to be doing missions in a different country or my dream of living on a beach, doesn't mean now is the time. Even in little Middlebury Indiana, or as I like to call it "Mayberry", He has good plans. Plans to impact and change lives!

So if you are having the travel bug or destination disease, remember to seek Gods impeccable timing beyond you own wants. He knows the desires of your heart. He loves you!

I use this verse all the time but it is so applicable to my days my weeks and my years and yours too!

"For I know the plans I have for you", declares the Lord. "Plans to prosper you and not harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future."

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Chase God's Dream

Yesterday someone close to me spoke this into my life.

It was concerning me and what I am currently doing with my life.
The dreams I am trying to chase with the help of God.
I have so many creative outlets and such that I'm starting to feel like I'm in a tangled mess.
Too much to do, too little time.
That quote made me think.
What am I trying to make happen that isn't really God's PURPOSE for my life?
What is my purpose?
I can't be Martha Stewart and do it all.
You know, the blogging, the mom duties, helping friends, serving at church.
More importantly all my business adventures.
I've come to realize that all of my outlets are great and God given abilities and open doors BUT the enemy can start using them to distract you from God's purpose.
Figure out what dream God has for you and quit trying to force your own dream.
You will flourish so much better and be happier when you are in God's will.

Monday, July 21, 2014

authentic faith

Authentic faith.

What is it? Do you have it? Do I?

Is your faith real? Is mine?

Do you absolutely believe in His Word? His truths? His promises? Do I?

These are all questions I can battle on a daily basis & honestly, on a circumstance basis.

Is my God bigger than my problem & situation? Do I believe He can conquer it and help me through it? Do I trust Him enough to help me through it? Do I believe that His plan is better than my own?


Doubt arises & I question my faith. So is my faith authentic?

I believe that authentic faith is more than just saying you believe, it's a movement. An action to your belief.

When we start rooting ourselves in the Word, our behaviors, our words, our actions start reflecting that authentic faith. My behavior overwhelmingly flows from what I believe deep down. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

What Is Hope & How Do We Find It?

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.  Hebrews 6:19

I would imagine you've not only heard this verse but seen an image with an anchor and this verse recently!  Not only is it trendy but also wonderfully encouraging.  But what does it really mean for us?

Hope is our anchor because it keeps our eyes fixed on God.  Because we hope in His promises, we aren't drifting around, tossed about by the sea of life with no real confidence of what's to come.  Even when things in our lives are frustrating or painful we know that he will deliver us in his timing with his powerful grace.  And we wait in hope for him, knowing that one day we will live with him in heaven where there is not more pain, no more tears, no more illness or disappointment. 

Psalms 33:18-22 says: But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in his unfailing love, to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.  We wait in hope for the Lord; In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name.  May your unfailing love rest upon us, oh Lord, even as we put our hope in you.

I think as humans we have been disappointed by someone or something that we have put our hope in so it can be hard to really place our hope fully on God.  So how do we find this hope in our lives?  Reminding ourselves of his truth constantly.  We have to know his word and his promises and make a habit out of speaking God's truth to ourselves.  This gives us hope!  There's a song I really like because it speaks his truth.  It's from the Passion album featuring David Crowder, titled "Here's My Heart." The lyrics say:
Here's my heart, Lord Speak what is true
I am found, I am Yours, I am loved, I'm made pure
I have life, I can breathe, I am healed, I am free
You are strong, You are sure, You are life, You endure
You are good, always true, You are light breaking through
You are more than enough, You are here, You are love
You are hope, You are grace
You're all I have, You're everything
(Please ignore the ad in the beginning!)

So you guys, I encourage you to find out what the truth is about who you are in the Lord and who he is in our lives and meditate on that.  Speak it to yourself and to the Lord and let it be the hope that anchors you in this life, that gives you encouragement and a reason to keep going.  (And never forget we are here to pray with you if you are struggling to find hope or believe in God's promises for you.  Message us here or on Facebook!)

Lots of love,

Thursday, June 26, 2014

God's To-Do List

I am [somewhat] of a Type A personality. I say "somewhat" because I only have so much motivation to work as hard as Type A's like to work. I like organization and control. I have good intentions in getting things completed, but the motivation sometimes is lacking. But… I do love a good list. One of my favorite things is a blank piece of paper and a pen. Lists of groceries, to-dos, projects, packing lists. You name it, I'll make it into a list.

Lately I feel like God has some lists for me. A list of things He'd like to me study in His Word. Books I have laying on my shelf that He knows I would benefit from spiritually. Fruits of the Spirit that He knows I need to work on (like patience!). A list of heavy prayer requests, people to lift up, health and healing to pray for. Characteristics He knows I need to better myself on in marriage, like respect, service, and holding my tongue. As a family, we're also looking for a new church home. Which means starting new friendships, and hopefully long lasting ones that will benefit our spiritual lives. But where do I begin? Which list do I start?

When I feel like God is about to make big changes in my life or challenge me spiritually and deepen my growth… that's when I start reacting more emotionally (good and bad) in my every day life. I become more impatient with my almost 2 year old son, losing my temper and yelling. I am quicker to interrupt my husband with my ideas and opinions instead of patiently and quiet listening to the important things he has to say. Worry and doubt sneak their little sly thoughts into my head, and eventually I start to dwell on them more. This is when I stop and realize that God is about to do something awesome. Our Enemy is using, and will use, every war tactic he possibly can so that no growth in Christ can happen. Our minds are battlefields between the Holy Spirit and Satan. I have to press forward with the Truth of the Word of God in my mind, apply it to my life, and let it sink into the depths of my heart.

I don't always know what part of my life God wants to work on, but I do know that some of the main things on His to-do list for me include pressing forward and persevering in Him. If I am consistently studying His Word, then those truths will become more and more a part of my thought life and belief system. If I am not in His Word and not in prayer, then how will I ever hear from Him or feel His leading in my life?! It starts with the Word of God, the Bread of Life. When we start to apply that knowledge into our everyday lives, we'll begin to see how God can work on us. Just today I was very angry at my son at lunch time for throwing his food. I took him upstairs for an early nap, which he was not happy about… but I needed time away from him. He had a hard time falling asleep so I laid down in his bed with him, only a few minutes later to find ourselves full out laughing at each other. I prayed for patience when he was throwing his food, and God relieved my anger through that laughter with my son. The Bible teaches me to be patient and kind. The Bible also teaches me to pray and ask for help when I need it. Because I have taken the time to study the Bible, this knowledge is in my mind. So I applied it to my specific situation, asking Jesus to intervene in my emotions. Jesus not only relieved my anger, but reminded me about how good laughter can be. And how when I ask for something I need, He will give it in His time, and in His way.

You may feel like God has a lot of things to work on in your life. You may even feel overwhelmed because you don't know where to start. Understand that by prayer and petition, we are to present our requests to God - and to do it with thanksgiving in our heart. Think about what may be on God's to-do list for you - dig into the Word and find how God will speak to you on how He wants you to grow. Then apply that to you everyday life - the knowledge and love of Christ, deep in your heart, transforming your life for Him.

Monday, June 23, 2014

a community: where we thrive

I've always loved having a lot of friends. I had groups & groups of friends throughout high school & college. I had a few really good friends, seasons of "best friends", but as I got older I realized who my true friends are, my real best friends. I love them. And I couldn't do life without them & I will fight for them & our friendship until the end. 

But community, that's still important. It's so easy as we get older to become unattached from community. We are no longer in school & we enter into this huge world. A world where I sometimes struggle to find others around me wanting the same thing I do. 

In school, I feel like everyone searched out for friends. In this busy world, I feel like no one searches out for friends. And maybe that's a bold statement, but when you go to Target are you looking for friends? When you go grab coffee are you looking for friends? When you are out to dinner with your husband are you looking for friends? I do not. 

So how do you make friends? I live 2000 miles away from my best friends. I've lived here for a little over 4 years now. You know how I met people? The internet. 

I've met several girls, Julie, being one of them, where we do Bible studies for the past few years & traveled to see Beth Moore. They've become apart of my community here. 

2 resources that I absolutely love are the Influence Network and Thrive Moms. Influence Network you can join & become part of forums & a community group. One of my absolute favorite things is that they offer online classes each month. They have been an absolute blessing. Thrive Moms just launched a network called Thrive Local. It is brand new & there are spots all throughout the US to join a community. And it's a community where you can meet in person. 

Hebrews 10:25 Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another.

I'll be honest, I love staying in my home & not getting out. I am a hermit, a homebody. I just love being in my own home. But God has spoken to me on multiple occasions that I need to get out. He put me here in the middle of California for a reason. And that reason may be as simple as encouraging another believer in this community. To love on them. 

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three come together in my name, there I am with them. 

How powerful is that? Come together in unity, in community. 

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

God Speaks

Today I feel like sharing a personal story about what God has done and is doing in my life.

I suppose I'd better start out by giving some background! Sometimes I know things before they happen or I know when something is right. You must be thinking "wow this girl is psychic" or maybe "she is nuts". But no! Well I can be a little nuts sometimes but that is besides the point;] Anyway I am nowhere near psychic. You may call it a gift of prophecy or something but I just say that my Holy Spirit senses are tingling. Let me give you an example in case I've befuddled you.

About six to eight months ago I got a call from my boyfriend saying he talked with some organizations about doing work in other countries around the world. There were several opportunities that arose and for awhile he didn't know which trip to go on. Well I prayed and almost right away I felt a peace about one in particular. I knew he would go on this trip and what do you know.. just this week we took him to the airport and sent him on this journey. See I knew it would all work out even before he did! I think God spoke to me in this way so that I would have peace about him going, which I still do and so that I could support him and encourage him. It was like I already knew things would work out and so when road blocks came up and he didn't think he would be able to go I made sure I was right there for him!

God speaks to me often in this manner for more long term things. Another example is about two years ago I know I'd work at the same place one of my parents did for my first job. Mind you, there were no openings at either place when God revealed this to me. So December 2012 rolled along, I graduated high school, still no openings. I waited 3 months and guess what, I started working with my mom.

And one more example for you is that about three years ago I found out God didn't intend for me to go to college... NOT in my plans. I had ALWAYS thought of myself going to college, all of my friends would be. Well I followed His will and haven't gone. I don't know all the reasons for his wanting me to stay home but I have a great job, have grown closer to my family and am doing volunteer work at my church and right now all this is enough. Gods will is enough.

Sometimes I don't completely know why God does the things he does but I do know when my Holy Spirit senses start tingling I'd better follow it because He has the absolute best plans for me!

I don't know if you all get this feeling from time to time... maybe you 'just knew' your husband was the one you'd end up with. But this is just the way God speaks to me. He knows I listen best this way. So maybe for you it is different and that is perfectly fine! Maybe you are like my boyfriend and he communicates to you through the dreams you have. Or maybe you hear things in the sermons at church or in just God's creation! However you hear God speaking to you, listen!!! He desperately wants to talk to you! He wants the best for you. It may not always be easy, believe me, some things he has revealed to me are not easy but we have to listen!

Obey the Spirit of the Lord!

God Bless!