His Plan Alone

Hi Girls! I wanted to say thank you to all those who entered my birthday contest and sent me birthday love (I’m going to tell myself that you sent love because you love me not because I bribed you!) Sarah was the lucky winner and I emailed her a bit ago. Sarah be sure to check your email, I want you to be blessed with your copy of God Is Able! 

 

This week, amidst the birthday celebration here, I found myself along with my community wrestling through a really tough week. We as a community found ourselves rocked to our very core. I landed in a spot of really questioning God, I don’t think I was alone in that spot. I questioned the very existence of a God I love so much. Questioning His way for man. Questioning His purpose of earth, if he wanted to create beings why not just create us into heaven.

Why is there pain?

Why tragedy?

Why loss?

Why unfairness?

Why do some live with nothing, some eek by and some have more than they know what to do with?

Why do some suffer their entire time on earth?

It all can seem like a cruel joke. 

 

The reason for these questions, these moments of crying out to the Lord angry sobbing tears, is that last weekend tragedy struck our small town. A young girl who bravely fought cancer since preschool age passed away, after fighting most of her life, the battle ended. The same weekend a high school girl was involved in a car accident leaving her and another woman with significant head trauma and a young mother delivering a baby who would never breath a breath of oxygen. 

 

These events called me to question God as I sat on the floor of my war room hurting, not understanding and flat out mad at the unfairness this world offers. In that moment with tears streaming down my face, washing more make up off with each rivulet, I knew to open to Isaiah 41 and to read to the end of the chapter. That one chapter gave me a peace for every question, every angry fist shake. 

 

It caught my attention right away in verse one when it opens with “Listen in silence before me….Bring your strongest arguments. Come now and speak.” I had given my arguments and knew it was time for silence. As I read on, verse 4 says Who has done such mighty deeds, summoning each new generation from the beginning of time? It is I, the Lord, the First and the Last. I alone am he.” This answers one of my whys. That He alone knows the plan. He knew the plan before the beginning and already knows the end of the plan.

 

Is it wise for an ant to judge the tree growing taller because it blocks the sun from its hill? No, there is purpose to the tree growing up taller. The fruit that will fall and feed the ant is just one aspect of the purpose for the tree growing there. Had the ant had its way, it would have missed out on the longer term blessings because it could only see the very tiny piece of the picture. This is true for us in the position of the ant. It would be unwise for us to judge the bigger picture only because we have yet to eat from the fruit. 

 

This is where faith steps in, my best friend and I decided while we sipped coffee pondering my whys. Faith that there is a plan bigger than ourselves and one event. Trust has to reign, trust in His provision that he doesn’t intend disaster but a hope filled future. Laying claim that he works all things for the good of those who love Him as Romans 8:28 tells us. 

 

He works all things for the good of those who love Him. | Me, Coffee & Jesus

The question still arises from my heart, because His word says have faith that can move mountains and they will move (Matthew 17:20) pray and seek me with your whole self and I will answer (Jeremiah 29:13) why not bring healing? With prayers going out for healing, why not heal a broken body? Why do two parents have to say good-bye? Why does a sister have to grow old without her confidant?

 

WHY??

 

The answer is the simplest yet the hardest to understand. An answer that I already knew but needed reminded of. We don’t get to and don’t need to understand. God’s plan is His alone and it isn’t our place to dictate the plan.

we don't need to and don't get to understand. Me, Coffee & Jesus

Our place is surrender anger and bitterness over to Him.

To pick up obedience of continued prayer and trust.

To seek joy from Him and the glory that is Him.

To worship Him when our heart is broken and bleeding from grief.

That is our position in the plan. 

 

 

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This week feature is Micah with her post When You Question Your Calling you’re going to want to be sure to read this! It will encourage your heart to keep walking into where the Lord is leading you. 

 

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I’m Having a Party!!

This past Friday I celebrated my birthday….34, wow! I can hardly believe it, I don’t feel 34, in fact I feel like I still need to ask permission to stay out past curfew 🙂 Today I wanted to celebrate with you and tell you 34 tidbits about me and give you a chance to win “God Is Able” by Priscilla Shirer.  You can win this awesome little book by commenting on this post. Get an extra entry by subscribing to my blog (see the sidebar) and another by following me on Facebook and Pinterest. I will announce the winner next week on the blog and contact you for a shipping address by email.

 

God Is Able Giveaway

1. I grew up in the country digging in the mud and chasing chickens. 

 

2. I am more of a city, high heel kind of girl now.

 

3. I am grouchy about getting up early. When I was a little girl I was a bear even on Christmas morning. 

 

4. I could eat ice cream 3 times a day…and that is what I would live off of if stranded on a deserted island.

 

5. As a teenager I watched my favorite movie Speed most likely 5, 429 times at least. What girl doesn’t love Keanu Reeves! 

 

6. I played the flute daily for 10 years. My band teacher thought I was pretty good 😉

 

7. I practiced said flute 1-2 hours everyday during those 10 years. 

 

8. I have only lived in 2 houses my entire life. 

 

9. My sister and I are almost 14 years apart. We basically grew up as only children. 

 

10. I hated public speaking in high school. Almost to the point of throwing up or crying when it was my turn in front of the class. 

 

11. I married my high school sweetheart 2 months after graduating….celebrated 15 years this past July.

 

12. I suck at all things video games, much to the dismay of my video game loving family. 

 

13. I could live without most sports, but I do enjoy an occasional Colts game. 

 

14. I love office supplies. Notebooks, folders, paper clips, push pins, organizing do-dads. I love them all….do I have a home office? …NO!

 

15. I have hypothyroidism which has caused me to gain more weight than I wish it had. 

 

16. I love sweater weather…that’s a season right?!

 

17. I love books. I currently have 14 of them stacked by my bed. 

 

18. Purple and turquoise are my happy colors.

 

19. Brandon is my almost 12 year old, he is quite excited that he is almost taller than mom. 

 

20. Rachel my almost 8 year old is often called my mini me. 

 

21. Shoes are my favorite piece of clothing. 

 

22. I work part time for an optometrist. I take all his notes and assist in the exam room. I’ve been with him for 14 years.

 

23. I owned my own photography business for 5 years while working in the optometry office full time. God called me to lay the business down 3 years ago. I do still take some sessions for previous clients, I love seeing families grow up! 

 

24. I love make-up, all things make up….buying it, applying it, learning new tricks. I could totally be a make up artist! 

 

25. I could end most sentences with an exclamation mark or an ellipse or better yet skip punctuation all together….if it wasn’t for my husband I would be the queen of run on sentences ….and all my blog posts would look like this!!!!! 

 

26. I have two dogs who I consider my 3rd and 4th children, my husband does not agree with this line of thinking. 

 

27. My third doggie child is Boo an 8 year old terrier mix. We adopted her from a family who was moving and couldn’t keep her. 

 

28. My fourth doggie child is Temperance a 5 year old long haired dachshund. We also adopted her from a family that was moving and couldn’t keep her.

 

29. My favorite books in the bible are Ephesians and James.  

 

30. I am a shortie. Pants that say short are still an inch too long. My husband loves to point this out laughingly as I climb counters because I can’t reach the second shelf of cabinets. 

 

31. I am a total extrovert who very occasionally exhibits some introverted tendencies. I thought I was becoming more of one until I spent the day alone shopping and ended up sad wanting to have the sales clerk hang out with me. 

 

32. I have binged watched more shows on Netflix than I care to admit. I will say in my defense most have been watched while I edited sessions. My top 5 are: Burn Notice, Psych, Parenthood, Hawaii 5-O and Leverage. 

 

33. Favorite authors are Karen Kingsbury (The Baxter Series) and Priscilla Shirer (God is Able).

 

34. My best piece of wisdom: I used to say follow your heart. Now I would edit that to say follow your heart smartly. I think following our hearts to pursue passions is a really great thing. Often times those passions are something God wants you to chase after and our heads can easily talk us out of. But also our hearts are overly emotional (maybe just mine is) so to let it dictate our thoughts on our bodies or jumping into a relationship or project that isn’t an act of obedience can lead us down a path of heartbreak and tears.

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You can find me linking up at these amazing blogs.

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This weeks featured blogger is Kaitlyn and her post Even if Not this great little post reminds us even when we don’t know what the Lord’s plans are we only have to trust in Him. You should pop over and be encouraged!

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Not Just Any Calling

Hello lovely ladies! I have been studying through Ephesians and I just have to share some great things that have been speaking to me. First I have to say I LOVE Ephesians, I think some days I could read it over and over. It is jam packed full of good juicy nuggets of truth and life applications. Yes, I know the entire bible is packed with good stuff but something about this book just grabs me and pulls me in!

 

Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians while in prison. He had spent 3 years with these people, loving and teaching them about the Lord. Therefore, when he wrote this book he knew who he was writing to.  He knew that this group was ready for some meaty teaching. He knew that after 3 years away from them they would need to be reminded of Gods greatness and need some encouragement to keep living for God. Maybe that’s why I feel that it is written to me! Those are the reminders and encouragement I need!

 

Through much of chapters 3-5, you get these verses that just take you to your knees with how good they are.

Chapter 3:12 tells us “because of Christ and our faith in Him we can now come boldly and confidently into Gods presence.” 

 

If you have been with me long you know those words are my jam! Boldly and confidently, the king of kings is saying come to me with boldness and confidence. OK!…(said in my best Monica from friends voice- you are my soul sister if you read it in her voice!) If He says that than why in the world would I want to be anything less in my daily living?

 

Verse 16, Paul is praying for each believer to be empowered with inner strength from His Spirit. “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into Gods love and keep you strong.” 

 

Uh, did you read that girls, I love this word picture. Christ settling into our hearts, growing our inner strength to live like him. This causes roots made of His love and goodness to grow down deep. These roots keep us strong. Oh, I know you may just need to read that again!

 

Chapter 4 starts out with Paul begging us to lead a life worthy of our calling, for we have been called by God. He quickly tacks on “always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other making allowance for each others faults because of your love.” He closes out these few verses with “For there is one body and one spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.”

 

We are begged to live a life worthy of our calling. I have to pause just in case you’re having an “I don’t know if I have a calling” kind of day. If Paul is begging us to lead a life worthy of your calling, you can bet your best pair of jeggings that we have a calling! Our lives are a direct reflection of the God we love so much, while we all sin and most days we are so far from perfect we don’t know what perfection might look like. We need to choose who our actions reflect, God or ourselves. If they reflect God we will walk in our calling humbly and patiently interacting with those around us.

we have a calling

It seems to be an oxymoron to say be bold and confident in the presence of the Lord yet in our calling dealing with others, we are to be humble and patient. Hmmm, sounds a bit like Jesus if you ask me. He was bold and confident about whose he was, yet loving and gentle when dealing with others. He was bold with the truths he spoke while being gentle in his delivery.

 

I hope you find as much reassurance and hope as I do in that we have been called by God and we don’t just have any calling we have a calling that is to a glorious hope filled future. That is how verse 4 ends, a glorious hope filled future, let that settle over your bones.

 

While there are many days I question my calling – the big picture calling 5 or 10 years down the road, I assume you might have those same questions. What reassurance those words are. We are called, we are called to a glorious hope filled future.

We are called. We are called to a glorious hope filled future.

Sisters I pray this week you will be filled with His boldness and confidence. That you will have reassurance that while we still question, we have the promise of a calling that is glorious and hopeful.

 

I want to make sure you know that next week I plan to have a little giveaway in honor of my birthday!!! I plan to give away a copy of Priscilla Shirer’s “God is Able”. This is my one of my favorite books. Since I bet most of you have read “Fervent” but not this one I want to bless your socks off with her teaching on Ephesians 3:20-21. Spread the word, come back next week and comment on the post to be entered in and hopefully be the one to win!

 

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This weeks featured blogger is Keri of Living In This Season, her post Rest is a must read! “Cherish the beauty of the rest and let the hurry and hustle be a distant memory.” This is how we should be striving to live! 

 

You can often find me sharing at these other amazing blogs! 

 

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Obedience is Our Calling

As I sat across the table, not just once but several times, and heard the voice of women saying they just weren’t sure if their salvation was still good. They all said a variation of this idea, they weren’t sure if they were qualified since they weren’t one for consistent bible study and prayer and only had occasional church attendance.

 

I was a little sad and very impassioned to love on these women with truth. Truth from Paul in Ephesians 2: 8-10 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 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.”

 

Paul is explaining that nothing we do can gain us salvation, other than a heart that accepts it. God didn’t want any room for boasting that someone did it better, faster or with more glitz …..you know us humans, we would make it a competition. Oh, yeah, the disciples already did that.

 

He goes on to finish by saying because we are made new we have a purpose, we have good things to do. In order to know these good things, we do have to be plugged in to his word and going before him in prayer. He wants us to do these things because he commands us to go and make disciples in Matthew 28:19. He instructs us to move from spiritual milk to meatier thinking so we can go.

Go and Make Disciples

There are good things in store for those who invest in their relationship with the Lord. Out of that investment our purpose is defined and treasures in heaven are stored up. To me that sounds mighty good. I want to move beyond a simple salvation and into a life driven by obedience to his commandment of love others and make disciples. 

 

I challenge you, if you are stuck drinking milk, turn some worship music on (the Jordan Howerton Band station on Pandora is the bomb, so do it and turn it on!) and spend some intentional time with the Lord. Start in the book of John if you’re not sure where to begin, be reminded of the greatness of the love the Lord has for you.

 

Obedience isn’t something that’s always fun or easy. My kids certainly don’t find emptying the dishwasher or taking out the trash fun. They do find that being obedient in doing their assigned jobs results in being allowed to do fun things. While at least to me taking out the trash never becomes fun, the amazing thing about being obedient to get in the scriptures is it does become fun. Down right addicting even!

 

As I type the above words, words that I wrote in my notebook days ago and have been pondering since, I realized that these words are truly for me. The words on obedience are soooo for me! I have been missing here (I hope you noticed and maybe even missed me!) and part of the reason I’ve been missing is simple disobedience. Now I have made some really good excuses. I’ve been really busy leading a bible study during the time I was writing in. I’ve been spending more time in my prayer nook with the Lord.  Another excuse is I feel that I’ve somewhat lost my vision, I am unsure of my big dream so I’ve used that to be lazy and to just stay still.

 

I’m so thankful to serve a God that serves up big heaping piles of grace. That He lovingly reminds us of his love and his plans for us. That his plans are really just simple acts of obedience that he is calling us to.  Girls, do it today, act obediently. Find time to get quiet and hear what he is calling you to. Is he calling you to time with him or to be brave by sharing your story or to boldly encourage another person. No matter what the action of obedience is for you, don’t hesitate, be bold and act how the Lord instructs you.

 

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Bolder Than Lions

Sorry that I played hookie last week. I spent the weekend kicking off the planning of the Engage Youth Conference 2016 for the Brethren church.  By the time I returned home I was just ready to be with my family. You would think I would prepare and plan for these things, but I’ll be honest, I’m a procrastinator! What can I say I’m all about keeping it real here!

 

Remember a few weeks ago when I had a post all hand written and ready but I didn’t type it up to post? This week I’m ready to share it with you! The post is centered around 1st Peter 5:8, “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” As I was reading that passage I was intrigued about lions. I felt that, for the Lord to give us such a great example, we should know how our enemy hunts.

 

While I’ve never been to the savanna to see lions in the wild, I have always imagined they hunt aggressively, fast, brutal even. Since I don’t think I will be taking a trip to view it first hand I turned to the next best thing: Google!

 

From the readings I found I discovered lions hunt in none of the ways I imagined, quite the opposite really. The lion is often slower than their prey, in fact their prey usually doesn’t even have to run at full speed to get away.

 

Interesting, I bet that means I don’t have to run at full speed either. I only need to run in the right direction. 

Run in the right direction

Lions are sneaky, they prefer to hunt at night or early morning so they can have the cover of darkness. They aren’t ones for the chase, they would rather lie in wait. In fact they are smart enough to lie in wait near something their prey finds vital.

 

As I’m reading about the hunting habits and scribbling notes in my bible about them I found myself thinking over and over, “Yes, that it is how satan works.”

 

Yes, he lies in wait. Yes, he attacks near what we hold vital: finances, health, job security, family relationships, church relationships.  Yes, he too pounces on us when we are walking in the near dark, when we are unplugged from our light source.

 

Lions are really good at hiding as well as being extraordinarily patient. Oh, yes that sounds right for satan as well. Just when we think we are good here he comes on the prowl or pounce rather.

 

Thank goodness the Lord has Peter give us some guidance. He says, “Stand firm and be strong in our faith.”  What does it mean to stand firm? My bible concordance says “to endure successfully, to be securely fixed in place not weak or uncertain.”

 

Ephesians 6:13 tells us “we will still be standing firm when we put the right armor on.”

 

2 Thessalonians 2:15 Paul writes “Sisters, stand firm and keep a strong grip on the teaching we passed on to you. 

 

Friends we have been fully equipped to go lion hunting, are we ready? Have we gotten dressed and soaked in the directions? God only wants us to submit to Him and He will handle the rest. We are weak and uncertain, but He is not. That I find so comforting!

When the lion starts to roar in your life take heart in that the prey of lions are faster. We were given armor to wear and use in defense of any attacks, we only have to put it on and allow Him to direct our attack.

When the lion starts to roar in your life take heart in that the prey of lions are faster. We were given armor to wear and use in defense of any attacks, we only have to put it on.

Suit up Sisters, it is time to be the lion slayer of God you are called to be.

 

 

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Fervent Fear or Fervent Prayer

It is so easy to live tied up in fear, especially in the times we live in. Social media creates fear, being plugged in to every news, radio, and magazine perpetuates this fear. It can begin to consume us, even those secure in their faith of God’s protection.

We hear of missionary’s children being killed because they won’t denounce God. Police officers being slain for doing their jobs. Politicians encouraging racial division. Even some who call themselves men of God, encourage racial division. Babies being killed before they have a chance to be born. Girls being sold into a lifetime of slavery. This world is filled with evil.

Scary right.

Terrifying even.

What are we to do? Where has God gone?

I will not be shaken

 

Friday there was a call for prayer at noon. I cried out to God like never before. I asked WHY? I cried out for salvation of politicians, ISIS, and those who crave evil. I prayed for mercy on this land. I prayed for protection over His people.

Flat on my face, tears pouring down and words trapped in my throat as if the enemy didn’t want them to come out. Especially when I started praying for salvation of ISIS, the President and First Lady. The enemy knows who he needs on his side. He uses social media to paralyze us with fear. On the other side of that he uses social media to distract us from the evil.

If he can keep us complacent, satan’s job is easy. We are doing it for him. When I watched War Room last weekend the part that struck me so strongly was the moment Miss Clara served lukewarm coffee. We as a church have become lukewarm.

We don’t want to offend, ruffle feathers or move focus to an agenda so we stay still and silent. Do you realize that we don’t need to sound crazy. We don’t need to rent out a stage and scream. We don’t need to fill our friends newsfeeds with fear.

We NEED to pray.

We NEED to put action to prayer.

When I say pray, I mean PRAY. Pray fervently. With tears and words pouring out so fast your mind can’t keep up so your spirit takes over. Pray as if your life depends on it; because it does. Pray for what needs changed, but pray for hearts. Hearts are the issue, hearts will change policies. People need love, the love of Jesus. When we begin to pray for salvation of our enemies, there comes change. Our situation seems so hopeless. Our world is filled with evil and people think it is at it’s worst. Maybe it is, but I think the enemy has learned to use the technology we have created to hold us in a pattern of fear. We are the hope of breaking that by praying for what we would consider our worldly enemies.

I’ll be honest, so often I’m so busy praying for me. My situation, my finances, my children, my marriage. My job, my friends, my circle of influence, my friends and family who are sick. My wants, me, me, me.

How about you? I will be so bold to say yes, you are the same. Now we may pray for our federal/state politicians at election time. We pray for an issue when we are confronted over it.

But I think human nature is to focus on our community. God created us for community so I am not saying this is a terrible thing-please hear that!

 

Our prayers do make a difference.

I am saying that our action of prayer is we need to move beyond our immediate circle and we need to create a movement of prayer for our earthly nation.

We need to stop being complacent, lukewarm christians. We need prayer because nothing we do can influence and change the world like our prayers sent to the Heavenly Father.

Won’t you share this with your friends. Won’t you change your prayers for the next month and move them from me focused prayers to enemy focused prayers.

Pray for:

President Obama and Michelle –

That their hearts would be softened and that they would hear the gospel of Jesus. That they would come to know salvation in a personal way. Remember the Lord allowed them to be appointed over our nation.

ISIS –

Pray that they would be stopped in their battles and killings. That they would see love in those they try to kill. That they would come to know the Lord for the first time. That those they hate would be protected.

Senators and Representatives –

That those who know the Lord would stand up and be bold. That they would hear the directions that God has for them. That they would have assurance in God’s ability to re-elect them so they wouldn’t be focused on trading favors in disobedience. I pray for those that know Christ would have the strength to tell others about Him. Pray for opportunities for God’s love to be shared and hearts to softly bend to Him.

Police Officers –

Pray for protection for them as they risk their lives daily to protect us. Pray for strength for their families. Pray for peace over the areas they work. Send heavenly angels to watch over them. Give them ears that only hear your truth about the importance of their lives and not the lies that are spewed.

Racial division –

Pray against those who try to fracture our country. Pray for restored community because each of your children matter. Help all of us remember that. Pray for opportunities to arise that can bring reconnection of divided hearts.

Government function –

Pray for the voices of citizens to be heard. That the government will be restored to work as it was created. That no branch has the only say. That constituents would be listened to by those who have elected them.

Lukewarm neighbors –

This maybe the greatest of these enemies. This might find us praying for our own hearts and not our neighbor. Pray that lives will be ignited for love, peace and all that Christ can do. Pray that Christians can be strengthened.

 

Printable Prayer List

If it is overwhelming to pray these all at once, take one and pray for it one day, then the next day move to the next group. Feel free to print the above list.

I have read recently from “experts” that there is no saving this country. It’s going to hell in a hand basket. Well, it may be, and maybe we will see the return of Christ soon. But I think there is still much good in this world and there are hearts that need saved. I believe from my toes that this country can be changed. It can be changed by our God, because He is truly that great. In order for Him to change it though we can no longer sit complacent in a church pew but fall on our faces in fervent prayer.

 

You can find me at these amazing blogs!

 

 

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Lauren of Making Life Sweet wrote Holding Fast to the Word and reminds just how important clinging to the truths that are written in the Word.

Sarah wrote When There’s Too Much Hurt and Pain in the World sharing with us some practical ways to ministry to those in our life that are hurting.

 

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