In Acts 19, we are told that the Lord was doing great things through Paul. Particularly that God gave Paul the power to do extraordinary or unusual miracles ( Acts 19:11).
How was he doing this? I find the answer fascinating....
Through aprons and handkerchiefs!
Yes! When the handkerchiefs or aprons that had touched Paul's skin were placed on sick people, they were healed (See Acts 19:12). So why aprons and handkerchiefs? Acts doesn't tell us anymore than this, but if we dig a little deeper, I think the message is quite clear.
What were handkerchiefs used for back in Paul's time?
To wipe the sweat off your brow. Most likely when a person is working hard.
And aprons? What are they used for?
They are worn to do work or acts of service.
They both are symbols of service.
As Paul served and did what God called him to do, these aprons and handkerchiefs were an extension of Paul's work, service and ministry.
What healing can God do through our own service? Our aprons and handkerchiefs may not perform miracles such as this (and we may not even use any in our work) but that DOESN'T mean that when we serve, God cannot touch others.
Let the apron, the handkerchief be a symbol of the serving WE can do.
Let's put the apron on, tie the strings, step forward and say "here am I". Then wipe the sweat off our brows, serve with full hearts and watch what God CAN and WILL do!
How are you currently serving others? I would love to hear how God has worked through your personal acts of service!
You can find more Mini Mondays right here....
I would guess that most of us have played 'follow the leader' at some point and time in our childhood. We chose a leader and marched around;following the leader wherever he or she went. Perhaps even imitating their actions.
We may feel that this is just a game from our childhood. But to an extent, we still play the game don't we? It may look a little different, but we still 'follow' a lot of things.
We follow fads.
We follow news stories.
We follow trends.
We follow gossip.
We follow people on social media.
We follow who and what the world says we should be.
In the first few chapters of Mark, Jesus says to Peter, Andrew, John, James, and Matthew-"Follow me." He wasn't asking them to hit a 'like' or a 'follow' button. He wasn't asking them to just listen to stories He would tell or the rumors that would spread about Him. He was asking "follow ME". He was asking them to step away from everything else and follow HIM.
The Greek word used in Mark 1:17 for 'follow' is 'akoloutheo'. What it literally means is to walk the same road or to accompany. It is an active word. A word that calls for a choice to be made. It calls for a choice to go down a road that is a mission path, that may be hard sometimes, that leaves your old self behind. But it is also a road that is good. One that brings comfort and peace, new life, and wisdom. It touches the lives of others, and abides with Christ.
So will you follow Him and not just click the like button?
Will you choose to walk the road with Jesus?
To accompany Him as He accompanies you?
When Jesus calls for you to follow Him...will you walk His way?
With the holiday season approaching next week, you may possibly be getting your house ready for guests. Perhaps even, those guests will be staying awhile and you are preparing a room for them to stay in.
Jesus is preparing a room for you as well!
So read on for one of the promises, that when I first read it, brought me great comfort. I hope it will do the same for you!
And....one of the things that always started off the holiday season in my family growing up was...that's right, egg nog! I am sharing below, this delicious Egg Nog Hot Chocolate Recipe, for you to enjoy during some quiet time with Jesus this morning or to share with family and friends as they come over this holiday season. Either way, I hope it reminds you of the beautiful promise in John 14:2-3!
"My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am."
I find such comfort knowing that Jesus is preparing a room for me.
Do we prepare a room for those who are not welcome? No! We prepare a room for those we have invited into our home. For those who will not fleetingly stay a moment.
We prepare for those who will be staying awhile.
We clean, put fresh sheets on, tidy up, fluff pillows, maybe light a candle or place some fresh flowers there. We make sure our guest will have enough pillows and blankets. We plan meals and pick up extra groceries. We prepare.
And Jesus prepares a room for us. We do not prepare our own place.
He prepares for those who He has invited. For those whom He takes with Him to be where He is. For those who love Him. It is not a last minute decision. He knows who He is preparing rooms for. "Preparing" is not a future term but a present and past term. The son of the ever-living God, takes care in preparing a place for US!
I don't know what that room will look like. But if Jesus is preparing it, I can only imagine how wonderful it will be! Someday, we will walk into the kingdom of God, and for those who love Him, Jesus will say "I have a room prepared for you". And there will be a room, intentionally and loving prepared just for YOU.
So as you prepare rooms in your own house, do it with a willing and loving heart-just like Jesus.
Throughout your preparations this seasons, may each task remind you of the room that is being prepared for you...
*Read on for the Egg Nog Hot Chocolate recipe!
Egg Nog Hot Chocolate
3 cups Egg Nog (your choice of brand/type-I love vanilla spice egg nog)
1 cup of milk (your choice of milk)
8 ounces of white chocolate chips (may substitute with semi sweet chocolate chips if desired)
1 tsp vanilla
whip cream (if desired)
Sprinkles (if desired)
*if you would like less of an egg nog taste, use 2 cups of milk and 2 cups of egg nog
*double up the recipe and place in a crock pot if you are having family and friends over for the holidays!
1. Mix all the ingredients except the whip cream and sprinkles
2. Heat via your preferred method-stove top or microwave.
3. Mix well.
4. Add whip cream and sprinkles to each individual mug if desired.
*If doubled-put in crock pot on warm if already heated or on low until hot chocolate is heated and chocolate chips are melted (then turn to warm)
"I would go to the deeps a hundred times to cheer a downcast spirit. It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in a season to one that is weary." - Charles Spurgeon
There was a pile of notebooks on my dresser, and as I looked at them one day they reminded me of my own life in a way. Like those notebooks, my life has been filled with many chapters and a large amount of them have been chapters of affliction....
There have been days I have asked the question, "why?" and "why so many difficult seasons?" If your asking yourself the same questions, I do not have all the answers. But what I do know is this:
* I am grateful for every one.
*Grateful for where they ultimately brought me.
*Grateful for what some of them steered me from.
*Grateful that they filled my heart with a compassion and an understanding that I would not be so in tune with had I not been afflicted in these ways.
*Grateful that had it not been for these things, I would not know the difference between walking through a storm relying on myself vs walking through a storm relying on Christ.
A million times over I would choose the latter.
Christ, alive in me, after such great affliction that He Himself suffered, comforts and strengthens me in a way which only pain knows pain.
So a hundred times over, I would walk through the deep again. To meet Christ in the deep waters ahead of me, and to meet you, my friend, in the waters of affliction that are perhaps surrounding you.
Yes, Jesus knew pain.
He knew sorrow. (Matthew 26:38)
He knew ridicule. (Mark 15:19, Luke 22:63)
He knew loneliness. (Matthew 27:46)
He knew rejection. (John 6:66)
He knew weariness. (John 4:6)
He knew poverty. (Matthew 8:20)
He knew physical pain. (Isaiah 53:7-8)
He knew abuse. (Mark 14:65, Luke 22:63)
He knew suffering. (Hebrews 2:18)
He knew temptation. (Hebrews 2:18)
Whatever you are going through-Jesus understands. He knows. He is there for you and will help you if you go to Him.
So run to Him who knows your pain, He who knows pain. Run into his arms and be strengthened and comforted. Run into His arms....and be KNOWN.
"For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are -yet was without sin. "
I would love to pray for you! I am always open for you to send a prayer request!. Blessings ❤️
It was a crisp morning when I stood in this sunflower field last year at sunrise.
The darkness was lifting with a slight rustling of the wind.
There was a wild, breathless feeling in my lungs as the darkness vanished completely and the sun shone, peeking up from the rounded earth, scattering it's warmth and light over the thousands of sunflowers surrounding me.
And the sunflowers?
They faced that beautiful light.
It was if they knew...trusted...the light that beckoned them to it. As if they had no doubt the light would overcome the darkness. They turned to it as if, not only did they need the warmth of the light at the very base of their being, they desired to follow it.
The blind beggar, too (as we will explore), in his own darkness recognized and desired to trust the light he could not see but knew was there. Trusted that JESUS was that light. And the light would overcome his darkness.
Whatever darkness we are currently in, or may find ourselves in down the road, we too, can trust that the light always overcomes the darkness. We can turn our faces to the light that is Jesus, and step toward Him. Sometimes blindly at first, but assuradly, and then following exhuberantly and expectantly.
As always, I like to share Day One, of each FREE devotional series, here on the blog. I love the story of Bartimaeus. I hope Day one inspires you to read more about him and his story. It may be a short passage in the Bible, but there is so much we can learn about ourselves and about Jesus through this profound story....
The Passage:Mark 10:46
"Then they came to Jericho. As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means "son of Timaeus"), was sitting by the roadside begging.”
Did you know that to farmers who don't grow them, when sunflowers pop up in their fields, they are considered weeds?
Weeds....undesirable, "in the wrong place", according to humans- those things we need to "pluck" out of sight and that don't belong to the environment we want to create.
Sunflower "weeds" are somewhat similar to beggars in New Testament times. During the time of Bartimaeus, begging may have been prevalent due to a lack of medical science and impoverishment, but that doesn't mean it was accepted by society's standards. In fact, not only were beggars looked down on, they were despised by the other social classes. They were undesirable, and didn't fit in to the environment society wanted to create. Essentially, they were like the weeds of society.
Often, those who were blind, diseased, or crippled sat begging at places with high traffic such as corners of streets, gates of temples, city entrances, or even near houses of the rich.
And that's right where we find Bartimaeus.
On the roadside, near the exit of Jericho.
Probably in a fixed spot he was accustomed to and most likely not alone. In a city such as Jericho, I am sure he was not the only one begging as people came into and left the city.
I imagine him sitting there on the ground...in the dirt...dishevelved...in rags, unclean, smelly.
And in darkness despite the time of day.
Waiting until someone gave him what he needed....food, money.
He waited for people to fill his belly or his hands.
He waited for perhaps a coin or trinket to be tossed his way.
Sometimes this is us too, isn't it? We sit at the gates of life, or wait on a corner in the middle of our journey. Maybe not dishelved in our clothing, but dishelved in our hearts or our lives. Maybe looking well dressed and perfumed, but inside feeling unclean and dirty. Perhaps feeling like an outcast ourselves, unwanted, unloved.
And maybe just waiting for that one thing that will "fill" us up. That "coin" or piece of "bread" or jackpot, that we think will make everything better.... we wait for that job, that child, that spouse, that weight loss, that degree, that wardrobe, that house, that prestige, that popularity (the list goes on). And we wait. Hoping it will be tossed our way as we sit at the gates of life.
Waiting for that "thing" to make us acceptable to others, or that "thing" will make us satisfied; whole.
Often it is the root of these things we are truly seeking, waiting and begging for. Because the root most often is love, peace, provision.
All those that pass by and toss coins our way will never feed or fill the root of our begging and waiting.
But there is One who can fill us and give more than we could imagine, just like he did, as you will see, with Bartimaeus...
If you are feeling like an outcast today or have ever felt this way,
let me remind you.....
WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST
You are loved (John 3:16, Rom. 5:8)
You are forgiven (Col. 1:14)
You are a child of light (1 Thes. 5:5)
You are chosen (Col. 3:12)
You are Christ's friend (John 15:5)
You are a branch of the vine (John 15:1,5)
You are free (John 8:36)
You are God's coworker (2 Cor. 6:1)
You are God's workmanship (Eph. 2:10)
You are redeemed (Eph 1:7)
And you cannot be separated from the love of God (Rom. 8:35)
Looking to dig a little deeper? Study the following passages on the compassion that Jesus and the disciples had for other beggars/blind men:
Choose one of the following verses. Write it down on a note card. Memorize it. Study it. Place it somewhere you will see it often.
1 John 2:11
God's Word is powerful. Watch how he will strengthen, lead, and convict you through this verse as you meditate on and memorize it!
I'd love to hear your thoughts or questions regarding today's devotional/study and welcome any prayer requests!
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The next devotional series, another Preparing Our Hearts for Christmas series, "Compass in the Sky" (a 5 day series) will be sent out in December!
A while ago on instagram, I shared my favorite Charles Spurgeon quotes. The one below is a quote I find inspiring and I hope you are encouraged as well to bloom in those abandoned places....
"No flowers wear so lovely a blue as those which grow at the foot of a glacier; no stars gleam so brightly as those which glisten in the polar sky; no water tastes so sweet as that which springs amid the desert sand; and no faith is so precious as that which lives and triumphs in adversity." - Charles Spurgeon
I am not going to lie. This past summer was one of adversity. I am truly exhausted. But I am alive in these trials and triumphant.
Because of Jesus.
Not going to lie. There was a moment when I almost chose to turn back to self-reliance, to fear, a hardened heart. Had I done that I would be a heaping mess right now on the floor.
Instead, I chose to dig my roots deeper in faith and rely on Jesus. I chose to not give in to fear but give the fear over. Over to the One who destroys it.
And in those abandoned, hollow places that trials and adversity can create? Jesus filled them. He stood me up inside their walls. He took those spaces and decorated them with Grace and comfort. And placed a light that illuminated the shadows.
So I am grateful for the glacier. The polar sky. The desert. Because it reminded me that our God is ever-present. Ever-loving. Ever- providing. Ever-good.
And He created in the depths of my soul:
That bluest flower.
That gleaming star.
That sweet water.
If your heaped on the floor like a big mess... if your relying on yourself solely to get through a difficult time.... I understand. I have been there.
But your not alone. And Jesus will meet you in that mess if you let Him. He is waiting for you to lean on Him. It's never too late. The glacier may not be moving, but you my friend, are just at the beginning of being that bluest, most beautiful flower.
Start to bloom.
Bloom in those trials and abandoned places!
If you would like to read more mini devotionals click on Mini Mondays or follow me on Instagram!
I am so glad you are to join me for another Morning with Jesus!
This week I am sharing one of my favorite hot chocolate recipes-Salted Caramel. Just as good? The promise we are given in Luke 6:21! This one has brought me great comfort and I hope the promise and this mini devotional do the same for you.
So go make that cup of hot chocolate, and then sit back with a warm blanket and spend some time with Jesus! Happy sipping!
"Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now for you will laugh."
Doesn't this promise just speak to your heart?
We can be hungry for so many things other that just food to fill our bellies.
So, whether your physically hungry, emotionally hungry, or spiritually hungry-this promise is for YOU! We are promised to be satisfied! This isn't a promise that says we will be given whatever we want, rather we will be given what we need.
There is a popular quote that I see floating around quite a bit and it goes something like this: There is only ONE who can satisfy the human heart...the ONE who made it."
Jesus is the bread of life.
He is the satisfier of human hearts.
If you hunger for love, He will love you.
If you hunger for peace, He will give you peace.
If you hunger for purpose, He has a purpose for you.
If you hunger to stop weeping...He promises laughter.
Whatever the base need is for what you are hungry for, Jesus will fill it if you ask Him to!
Read on for this week's Hot Chocolate Recipe: Salted Caramel.
(Simple one cup serving)
1 cup milk (skim, 1%, 2%)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt (more or less to taste)
pinch of brown sugar
2 caramel squares
hot chocolate mix of your choice
mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional)
whip cream (optional)
caramel topping (optional)
1.Make your standard hot chocolate with you choice type of milk as you normally would do (stovetop or in the microwave) but add the following: sugars, mini chocolate chips if desired, salt, and two caramels if microwaving and 1 caramel if making on the stove.
2. Mix well, caramels in microwave will not melt completely.
3. Top with whip cream and caramel topping if desired.
4. Sip and enjoy!!
I can't wait to share with the next couple Mornings With Jesus! They are some of my favorites as well!
It is that time of year again for some delicious hot chocolate recipes and a little Jesus! Join me here twice a month during the fall and winter season for some mini devotionals on the promises each of us are given in the New Testament, and my favorite hot chocolate to sip in the morning!
1 John 5:14
Do you ever feel like God does not hear you?
Let me remind you and encourage you of this promise we are given in 1 John 5:14, "This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us."
God hears us. God hears YOU.
Alone in your room.
Down on your knees.
Driving your car.
Crying into your pillow.
Wherever and however you are....God hears you.
When we approach Him and bring our prayers, our hearts desires and sorrows -the very cries from the pits of our souls or the small things....God hears. This is a promise we are given. This is the confidence we can have because of this promise:that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.
So approach Him. Expectantly and confidently approach Him, knowing that He will hear and He will listen.
Keep reading for the White Pumpkin Hot Chocolate Recipe!
1 cup milk (skim or whole)
1/3 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
4 ounces white chocolate chips
pinch of salt
Mix all ingredients except whipped cream either on the stove top or in the microwave until white chocolate chips are melted. Mix well. Pour into your favorite mug. Top with whipped cream. Enjoy!
For a thicker, creamier hot chocolate, use 1/2 cup milk and 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream. Add sprinkles if desired!
What's your apple?
You might answer gala, cortland, macintosh....but that's not what I'm really asking.
I love fall and one of my favorite things about it is apple picking. It's an annual outing for my family and a time to build tradition and memories. I can't help, as I look for that perfect apple to add to the basket, but think of Eve in the garden. So let's talk about Eve and that fruit tree. I imagine her walking amongst a forest full of fruit trees. Pears. Oranges. Lemons. Peaches. Apples. All delightfully tasteful. All available to pluck off the tree and eat whenever she wishes. But her eyes are drawn to that one tree, the one God said not to eat from. The Tree of the knowledge of good and evil. I imagine Eve taking a bite out of the tastiest apple, and while doing so, looking at the juicy fruit dangling from the tree of knowledge. Now satan, in that sly form of a snake, was watching her. He took notice of where her eyes lingered. And of course, he jumped at the chance to tempt her. But temptation wasn't Eve's downfall.
We all are tempted.
Temptation is an invitation to a fork in the road. The choice we make is the downfall. Do we choose obedience to God or do we choose our feelings of discontentment, entitlement, doubt, fear or pride? Eve was tempted....and she chose discontentment and doubt. She chose to think there was something more she needed. She doubted God knew what was best for her and thought her way was better. She bought the lie that if she ate that fruit she would have all she desired and life would be better. But we all know the story and we know that her way wasn't the right way (if you don't know the story, I encourage to read Genesis 3).
That piece of fruit probably tasted really good while she was eating it, but it came with a price.
We don't really know what kind of fruit was hanging from the tree of knowledge, but let's picture it as an apple for the moment.
So let me ask again.
What is your apple?
What are you looking at, that is not God, that you believe will bring you contentment?
What apple is placing doubt of God's goodness in your heart?
Is there an apple of disobedience in your life that you haven't realized you have taken a bite out of?
The good news?
We can say no to the apple. We can say no by being honest to ourselves and admitting that the temptation, the idol, the discontent, the doubt, the pride, is there. We can strengthen our resistance with prayer and reading the word. Recall your blessings and all that He has given you. And remember God has provided a way out of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13). When we do these things, the apple is more likely to remain on the tree.
The next time you grab an apple for a snack, or perhaps go apple picking as my family does, I hope you are reminded of Eve. I hope you are reminded to think about the "apples" in your own life, and perhaps you will be encouraged to leave that fruit on the tree.
For more reflection questions, discussion, and freebies regarding this post...join the "Blue Jean Gypsy Tribe" private facebook group!
There are a lot of things I wish I had known when I was a single mom years ago. And there are a few I wish I had remembered.
These things, though, aren't just for single moms. They are for anyone going through a difficult time. For me, single parenthood was just the icing on top of many other trials that had piled up in this thing called "my life".
You need a little encouragement today...
Your walking through a valley or climbing a mountain...
Chains are binding you, or the road ahead seems daunting...
Pain is swallowing you up, or if hope seems fading...
Your wounds are deep, or if you feel lost....
...then this is for YOU...
I hadn't been to church in ages, except on holidays. And God? He didn't feel very close by. If I'm being brutally honest, I was angry with Him. I had been for years. I had deep wounds; layers I buried beneath more layers. And I had put God under them all.
That is where I was at when in a single day I was left sole caretaker of my two young children.
Physically, emotionally, financially.
Being thrown into single parenthood in a single day only added to the multitude of hurt, anxiety, anger, and hopelessness that already overwhelmed me.
But despite all of the layers of "mess" in my heart, I felt a nudge. An urge to try attending church. There was something deep inside that kept saying despite my anger with God, maybe I actually needed Him to get through this.
Desperate to just be able to breathe, I chose one Sunday morning to get the kids ready and go to a local church I heard great things about.
And I actually went.
I don't remember much of that service. I couldn't tell you what that sermon was about or what songs were sung. I do, however, remember what happened after...
Have you ever had a pair?
Well that is what I was wearing that Sunday. And after leaving the service, I took a route down the back (empty) stairwell. I was holding my three-year-old daughter's hand and carrying my baby boy in my arms...
And I misstepped.
My foot then slipped off of the side of my clogs. I let go of my daughter's hand and fell. All the way down the stairs. Cradling my son's head so he wouldn't get injured; taking the brunt of the fall.
There I was in that stairway...alone.
I wanted to cry.
No, I wanted to sob. From every type of pain I was feeling.
But I couldn't. And didn't.
Instead, I got up and put on the mask I knew so well. A mask I had worn long before I stepped into that church. A mask that showed a girl who was just fine.
But I wasn't.
I was bruised.
My pants were torn at the knees and I was bleeding.
Every part of me hurt.
And I am not just talking about my physical self and appearance.
I gathered my children close and walked out of that church tattered, bruised and bleeding. Just like I had walked in.
I walked out, didn't look back, and never returned.
He is so good! (with tears in my eyes I exclaim this)
He didn't give up on me. He didn't let a fall end his pursuing of me. He didn't care how tattered I was, how much "stuff" was oozing from my heart, how many bruises I wore that had become a wall to keep Him and everyone else out. He loved me anyway.
And He didn't stop calling me until the day I was ready to listen to what He had to say.
I'd like to say that time came soon. But it didn't. And its all the more reason I love my faithful Father.
We all have fallen.
We all have bruises.
Some of us are more tattered than others.
We all have pain.
We all have hearts that bleed.
And many of us put up walls around those hearts.
My hope is whoever reads this today, whoever is a little tattered, bruised and bleeding from any kind of "fall" like I was - is ready to listen.
Ready to hear the things I wish I had known.
What I wish I had heard.
What I wish I had been told.
I have prayed that the following words stir your heart to embrace them and if you already know them....to remember and stand firm in them.
5 Things I wish I had known
1. Trust God
The heaviest chain I ever wore was one of self-reliance.
I relied on me for strength, for peace, to build up walls to keep any more hurt out.
I relied on me to provide food, a roof, clothing for my children.
I relied on me to be their champion and my own.
I relied on me to fix whatever needed "fixing".
I relied on myself to hold up our little family.
Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I failed. But every night and every day the weight was heavy upon my shoulders.
Our God is a God who provides. Provides comfort, peace, joy, strength and our most basic needs. And He provides these far greater than we will ever do ourselves.
Those difficult times still would not have been easy (and we aren't guaranteed a life without trials-John 16:33), but they could have been faced with the sweet release of such a heavy burden - had I just trusted in the Lord instead. Had I only cast my fears and worries on Him, instead of solely relying on myself, how much lighter the journey would have been! What freedom I could have found from that heavy chain!
My friend, if your in a hard place, a struggle, a difficult season...reach out to Him.
Trust Him. Let Him provide.
It will not make the struggle disappear, but He WILL strengthen you. He WILL give you comfort and peace. He will ease the burden and lighten your load.
"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15:13
"Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you." Psalm 84:12
2. I do not need to be the warrior
Need Jesus? I thought I didn't need anyone but me. Or so I told myself. I don't think I ever truly believed it. But I pretended to. Fed myself that delusion that I didn't need anyone. Even God.
I was my own warrior.
I would stand up and fight my own fights, I would use my own strength, my own skills and determination.
One of the greatest lessons the Lord has taught me, is that I don't have to be the warrior anymore. Why? Because He will fight for me.
Now that doesn't mean I don't have work to do, that I don't need to move, or that I do not have to prepare myself at all for battle.
But it does mean that the battle isn't mine.
It does mean that the giants before are for Him to face head on and destroy.
It does mean that I stand behind His mighty shield instead of in front of it.
It does mean the victory is already His.
He is fighting battles I do not know even exist. He battles the seen and unseen and no matter what type of warrior I think I am, I certainly can not fight what I can't see or know exists. And I can't have the type of victory that is only accomplished when God is the warrior and not me.
Because Jesus has overcome the world. And not one of us has or will ever do that. But we can be part of the victory when we stand behind God's shield and let Him be the warrior in the front line.
"The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still." Exodus 14:14.
"The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves." Zephaniah 3:17
3. He Redeems
The world will tell us we are not enough. That we are too broken. Unredeemable.
I stayed tattered and bruised for too long. For many reasons, but one of them is because I believed I was too broken. I believed the lie that had been told to me over and over again that I was not enough.
But here is the truth I want all of us to not only hear each and every day, but stand firm in:
There is nothing we have done or will ever do that He can not redeem us from, cleanse us from, forgive us for if we are repentant. There is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. And each one of us is enough that Christ died for us.
We are not too broken.
And through Christ, we are MORE than enough.
"and all are justified freely by his grace throught the redemption that came by Christ Jesus." Romans 3:24.
Cry out to Jesus.
I spent years creating a formittable dam to keep every tear in. What I created was not a wellspring of strength, but rather rather a cold, damp place where I felt nothing.
There is an explainable sweet release when we cry out to our Heavenly Father. We have a choice to keep the pain bandaged under layers of our own "doctoring" or we can uncover with a cry out to Him. The baring of our soul to Him, is an open wound that lays available for Him to begin healing.
Don't wait another day to cry out to Him.
"Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress." Psalm 107:6
"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds." Psalm 147:3
5. I am not alone
Back then, I didn't know what it meant to have a relationship with Jesus. I had never even heard of that. It is no surprise then, that in these most difficult times, I felt alone. Even though I was not.
I can look back now and see the numerous ways God was working in my life all those years ago. But, now, as I cling to Jesus in trials of the present, it is bitter sweet, as I feel the beautiful embrace of my Redeemer that was available to me then but that I could not see.
So, if today, you are feeling like you are walking through this difficulty by yourself...may I just say...Jesus never leaves your side. He will lift you and carry you through this. Just call out His name. He is a forever friend.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Isaiah 41:10.
....And a few things I wish I had remembered
1. God is good
This seems like such a simple statement, but oh, how I forgot this so easily! I now see how He took these hurtful things and has worked them for good! I see the lessons I needed to learn in order to grow and become who I am today. I see His beautiful faithfulness. And I know that even in the shadows of those trials, His love shined upon me. We will not always know or understand His plans or His ultimate purpose, but we can remember that through it all, God is still good.
"The Lord is good to all, and his mercies are over all His works." Psalm 145:9
"For you, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive, and abundant in loving kindness to all who call upon You." Psalm 86:5
2. I am loved.
Perhaps you're feeling like I did, how could He love me in spite of my mistakes? How could He love me when all these painful things have happened in my life? How could He love me when I called out to Him and there was no answer?
Fear. Lies. Heartache. These 3 things made me forget this simple truth:
Jesus died for me.
And He died for you. What greater love is there than this?
"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16
"But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
3. He can do the impossible
I forgot just how big our God is.
When the mountains in front of me seemed insurmountable and I felt as though I would crumble, I wish I would have held on to the truth that nothing is impossible with God. If the mightiness of his hand had been brought to my mind in each impossible moment, if I had known he shut the mouths of lions, if I had remembered He overcame the world, if I had believed He has moved mountains, if I had remembered He is a God of impossible possibilities, I just may have had hope that my seemingly high mountain was not impassable at all. That to Him, it was a seed easily scattered in the wind.
If I had remembered how big our God is, I would have had hope in days that sometimes seemed hopeless.
"For with God nothing will be impossible." Luke 1:37
4. He hears us
For a long time I forgot that God hears our call, my call. That there is NOTHING He does not hear.
So remember, your cries are not unheard. Let Him hear them. He can handle every tear, every lament, every question.
They fall on the almighty ears of the One who loves you, who is good, and who can do the impossible.
"You, Lord, hear the desire of the afflicted; you encourage them, and you listen to their cry." Psalm 10:17.
"And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us." 1 John 5:14.
You may not be a single mom, but there are a thousand other reasons that we can feel alone, broken, abandoned, overwhelmed, discouraged, tattered, or bruised....
Today, embrace the unchanging fact that God does LOVE YOU. In an ever-changing world His care for you remains the same.
Step towards Him; lean into and cling to Him.
Trust in Him to provide all you need.
Let Him, the one who redeems you, fight for you.
Remember He is good, and loving and that with Him nothing is impossible!
Cry out to Him, for you are not alone and He hears you.
It is in these truths that we grow towards a peace we never thought possible.
Read more on these truths in God's Word. Below I have listed several verses that relate to the above "5 things". I encourage you to dig deeper in these encouraging truths:
Psalm 37:5Philippians 4:6-7
Wife. Mother. Writer. Photographer. Child of God. Encouraging others in faith through a lens of grace and seeing beauty in the ashes.
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