The Word Alive

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This weekend my friends and I attended our first ever Word Alive Women’s Conference with Lysa TerKeurst and what a weekend it was!  These past 2 days have been nothing short of life changing.  There is something to be said about sitting alongside women with similar stories and with the same hunger to hear the truth that only God’s word provides.

Lysa TerKeurst was full of wisdom and love.  She showed much humility when she shared some personal struggles she experienced the past three years and I felt a connection. I believe we all did!

First day of the conference we were handed a small interactive booklet where we wrote our own personal notes as Lysa made the bible come alive.  And as she quoted scripture, she also provided beautiful stories and healing words that penetrated our souls.  So, I’d like to end this post with an encouraging story she shared with all of us.  I pray it encourages all of you as well.

Let me set the stage for you.  In Mark 14: 32-36 Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane located at the base of the mount of olives among the olive trees.  In this verse, Jesus had been betrayed by Peter and in verse 34 Jesus says, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death.”  Back then, Jesus was experiencing the same sorrow we experience here on earth today.

So, what is it about the olive tree?

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First, the olive tree must have both the brutal winds from the east and the refreshing winds from the west in order to produce its fruit.  In other words, it must have both good (refreshing winds) and bad (brutal winds).

And the same is true with us.

Next, once the fruit emerges, you can’t instantly pluck the fruit because at that point the fruit is bitter and hard. It needs time.

And the same is true with us.

Lastly, what’s most valuable about the olive tree is not the fruit, but rather it’s the oil it produces.  The interesting thing is that in order to extract the oil, the olive must first be pressed and crushed, and pressed and crushed until finally the oil is produced.

And the same is true with us.

Could it be that much like the olive tree, we too can be pressed and crushed on all sides by life’s circumstances?  And much like the olive tree, when we endure the pressure, when we endure the pressing and the crushing, something so much more beautiful and valuable will emerge.

Friends, don’t be discouraged by life’s pressing and crushing forces, for if you endure, in time, a new and beautiful “you” will emerge!

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He Doesn’t Need A Vote

When God gets ready to promote you, He doesn’t need a vote.  He doesn’t need your friends, he doesn’t need your neighbors, your co-workers, or your boss.  When God gets ready to promote you, He will simply do it.

Keep looking up waiting with expectancy!  You will rise to new levels and go higher than you ever dreamed.

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Matthew 19:26

Wisdom Is Built From the Ground Up

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I awoke to 2019 with new insight.  This awareness wasn’t reached overnight however, but rather it’s a culmination of many deep conversations, reflections, sorrow, laughter, and in some instances weeping until sleep took over.

As it’s often the case, one doesn’t become wiser with a snap of the finger, although I so wish that to be the case. Attaining wisdom is a slow process that is built from the ground up. It is learned in small digestible bites oftentimes out of very difficult experiences.  And although it can be an arduous road, I can say I am finally embracing it with open arms.

This morning it hit me, as I reflected on a brand new year, that my growth has been in part because I’ve done things wrong.  Because many times, I really didn’t know better and because in my quest to help others, I often forgot to help myself.

As I see it now, the road that led me to this moment is irrelevant, since what’s ahead is so much more important than what’s behind.

So as I move forward into today, I am braver and stronger than ever before. Peace is finally entering my heart and soul, because I’ve learned that I must trust without seeing. I have finally let go of second guessing myself and worry since I now know that doing my personal best is and always has been enough.

Yes, today I can say I am wiser.  But I’m also acutely aware that I have so much work to still do and so much more to learn.

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And so, for the next 364 days, if God allows, I will run my race, in my own lane.

Asking God to lead the way.

 

 

 

Come As Is

 

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We all have irritating habits. No one is perfect, but oftentimes we tend to focus on others’ faults more than our own.  Why is that?   First, it’s much easier to see faults in someone else rather than admit to our own faults.  It’s much easier to point the finger at someone else rather than to reflect on our own shortcomings.

But the beautiful thing is THIS . . . That is NOT how God sees us.  God accepts us just as we are, expecting nothing in return.  He knows our deepest self and has knowledge of our worst thoughts, and yet He still loves us!

So why can’t we learn to get along?  Why can’t we accept others just as they are?  Because we need to see people thru the eyes of God, with love and acceptance.  When dealing with difficult people, we need to pray for discernment so that when they “hurt” us, we can focus not on WHAT they did, but rather on WHY they did it. Keep in mind that hurt people, hurt people.

Starting today, let’s begin to humble ourselves so that we can be more accepting of others, knowing we ourselves are flawed. Open your mind and your heart.  Have a “come as is” attitude when meeting people or dealing with the people God has placed in our lives.  Learn to love them for who they are today, not who we think they should be.

After all, many of us are trying to do the best that we can, with the trials that we face, in an oftentimes chaotic and uncertain world.

 

Thankful for Unseen Blessings

 

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If you look around my home, my neighborhood, and within my circle you will notice that I have many things to be grateful for. I live in a beautiful home with a neatly manicured lawn.  On the inside, my home is nicely furnished and decorated with many things.  It is evident that I have much, I believe many of us do. But growing up in a humble home with parents that worked long hours just to put food on the table for the three of us, I am acutely aware of what I have, and trust me when I say none of it has ever been taken for granted.

My life however, has never been about what I possess, as I know for certain that my value comes from who I am and not by what I own. My life’s purpose is focused on being fully present in the small, yet significant moments where God’s favor shines through. These moments are my unseen blessings touching my heart in such a way that allows me to feel God’s love.

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When my children share a smile or a loving look, although no words are exchanged, I know in that moment they are saying, “Thank you for being my mom and I love you.”  When a friend offers a listening ear when I desperately need someone to hear me, it is in those moments I feel cared for, validated and that I matter. Then there are those mornings when I first open my eyes and watch the sun rise, in those moments I feel humbled because I am reminded of God’s provision, his beautiful promises, and that His mercies are new every day.

One of the most blessed experiences we can enjoy are the blessings we receive that cannot be seen with our physical eyes. God is always blessing us even if we don’t realize it. Every day he sends us good and perfect gifts.

This Thanksgiving, open your heart to your unseen blessings.  Look all around you, they are there waiting to bless you.

 

 

God Fights For Us

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Just the other day as I was talking to a close friend the subject of fighting came up.  To clarify, she wasn’t referring to truly fighting as in an actual physical fight, but rather she was referring to having an argument with someone.  So she began to share how someone that was very dear to her had done something unforgivable and unimaginable.  They had lied, cheated and had been extremely manipulative.  She was feeling hurt and betrayed and truthfully wanted to give them a piece of her mind.  So, she proceeds to share details about all the things she was going to say.  A play by play on how she was going to fight her battle.

And as I sat there actively listening to how she was planning on defending herself I heard the holy spirit say, “Allow God to fight your battles.”

Later that night I thought about how much better this world would be if we did just that; Allow God to fight our every battle.  You see friends, God can do a much better job at defending us.   When we handle matters on our own accord you know as well as I do, that we can, and oftentimes do, make a big mess of things.  We complicate matters by allowing our injured egos to speak for us.  But the truth is at some point in our lives someone will hurt us and unfair things will happen.  Life is not fair, but God is a God of justice.  And when we allow Him, he will make wrong things right.

We are never alone to fight for ourselves, not ever!  Seek God first and He will fight our battles.

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Stay strong!  He loves you. He fights for you. He is with you.

 

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still”

Exodus 14:14