Christmas is .....Hope

This devotion was first published December 10, 2008, but has so much relevance to a hurting world today with a struggling economy and so many people who have lost their jobs. Be blessed!


How do you feel this Christmas?

Joyful?

Peaceful?

Happy?

or...

Sad....

Frustrated...

Worried...

The past two weeks I have talked to so many heartbroken people.

Mary......whose extended family lost eight homes during the flood of 2008. As I held her, she cried on my shoulder, telling me how difficult this Christmas is. Not only is she frustrated that so much of her family is displaced, but also that her mother has Alzheimer's and doesn't recognize her anymore.

Jamie.... a sweet Sister in Christ, a member of my small group bible study. She is in her early thirties with adorable 2 year old triplets. Jamie has bravely been fighting cancer for the past year and a half. It has spread to her liver. As I write this now, I am expecting news today or tomorrow that she has gone Home to be with Jesus. Talking to her mother yesterday, asking her what our group can do to help, she sighed, saying, "I don't know. I have never been through this before."

Linda...... called telling me that her father just passed away. He, too, lost a battle with cancer. My sweet sister- in- law, grieving the loss of her dad, was also worried because she has a ruptured disc in her back, with shooting pain down her leg. She doesn't know if she will be able to fly to her dad's state for services.

I am sure you have your own Mary, Jamie and Linda in your life.

As I prayed over these sweet souls, I became so aware of the hurting hearts all around me. I have heard the statistics of Christmas suicides. I wondered why this time of year can be so depressing for many.

When a hurting heart watches holiday TV programs and commercials, the families are smiling around a dinner table...everyone happy. She can think she is the only one who feels alone....the only one who feels sad...who feels...let down about Christmas.....who wonders, "Is this all there is?" She shops (but cannot afford to), trying to buy all of the items that are promised to bring happiness.

Have we forgotten what Christmas is about?

Christmas is HOPE because Christmas is the birth of Jesus Christ. Jesus came to bring hope. Immanuel, God is With Us. He knows our hearts. He knows our worries. He knows our loneliness. He wants to comfort, heal, and bring peace.

Jesus is the Light of the World. Jesus brings Light to this dark world. And, He wants us, as Christ followers, to share this Light with the world. He wants us to share this Hope to the hurting....to the confused....to the lonely.

Jesus never promised that we would live a pain free life here on earth. In fact, He tells us the opposite. "In this life, you will have trouble..." But, Jesus also gives hope because He continues by saying, "But take heart, I have overcome the world."

This world is not our home. We have an incredible, glorious inheritance that can never perish, a living hope, joy unspeakable, everlasting life when we return Home to live forever with our Savior. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him". We can't even imagine what God has stored up for us.

And, while we live our lives here on earth, we are promised LIFE and life to the full. We are promised that He is walking with us, bringing us comfort, peace, and joy....true joy that is not dependent on circumstances, but comes from the hope we have in Him.

This Christmas, be a Light. This Christmas, extend your hand of hope to a hurting heart. This Christmas, like Mary, sit at the feet of Jesus, basking in His love, peace, and hope.

I wish you were the BEST Mommy!

"I wish you were the best mommy."

Ouch. Those words can sting- especially when you are in the middle of a crowded video store. What would bring such exasperated words from a four-year-old?

"Mommy, can I have cotton candy?"

No, honey.

"Can I rent THIS movie?"

No, not tonight.

"An ice cream sandwich would make me feel better. Can I have ice cream?"

No. It's too close to bedtime.

"I wish you were the BEST mommy."

Oh, how familiar those words sound to my heart.

"Lord, can I have this?"

No, Tracy. Not this time.

"Lord, can I do this?"

No, Tracy, it is not the right timing.

"Lord, if You just allowed THIS- I would feel better!"

No, Tracy.

Sigh......Lord, I wish YOU were the "BEST Daddy."

In other words, I wish You would let me have my way! I wish You would say "yes" to the things I want! I want what I WANT!

Do you ever feel like that four-year-old?

I know in my mind what the Truth is- "God's ways are not my ways" (Isaiah 55:8-9). I also know Matthew 7:11. "If you then, evil as you are, know how to give and advantageous gifts to your children, how much more will your Father Who is in heaven (perfect as He is) give good and advantageous things to those who keep on asking Him." AMP

And yet.....

I can become focused on MY way. I can be stubborn, immature, and self-centered. I can lose sight of the fact that God is Sovereign. He is good. He answers prayer. HE knows what is best for me.

Cotton candy, although tasty is not good for me- especially at 7 PM. "THAT" movie would not be appropriate for my little eyes. And....alas....ice cream is wonderful, but I will not always be allowed to have it- especially right before bed when I have a difficult time going to sleep anyway! Because I love my daughter, I say no at times. Our Father in Heaven, who loves us infinitely more than we could ever love anyone, loves us too much to always say "yes."

We have to remember, God always, always "answers our prayers," but not always the way we want or understand. Sometimes, when God answers, the answer is “No.” Sometimes the answer is “not yet.” And it may not seem “right” or fair to us. We have to remember two important things- God’s ways are not our ways and God’s timing is not our timing. But, God’s ways are perfect and His timing is perfect. We can’t see things the way God can. God has your WHOLE life planned, not just this season of it. Remember, life on earth is just a snapshot of our eternal life. God sees the end from the beginning.

God is your FATHER. He has a plan for you. He knit you together in your mother’s womb. He created you. He has counted the number of hairs on your head. He takes care of you, better than you ever could. Again, He knows what is best for you, or how you will grow from your life experiences. He can see “the big picture of your life.”

So, although we may not always get "the cotton candy," we can be assured that our Father loves us so much and ALWAYS does what is best for us.

"The Lord your God is with you. He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you. He will quiet you with His love. He will rejoice over you with singing." Zephaniah 3:17

And, as a mother, I have to make the hard choices that don't always make me the most "popular" with my children. I have to "do the hard thing" of telling them "no", even when my daughter tells the whole video store that I'm not the "best Mommy"!

Father, thank You for loving me so much. Lord, thank You that You sometimes say "no." Thank You that You are the best parent I could ever have. I love You, Lord. In Jesus' Name. Amen.

What a BEAUTIFUL DAY!


We were very busy this past weekend. Our church sponsored a “Beautiful Day” - a day set aside to serve the community through different projects to spread the love of Jesus. Our family went in different directions, working on everything from Habitat for Humanity homes to tie blankets for homeless shelters to letters to military families to visiting a nursing home. It was an amazing day.

Even though it was awesome serving the community and loving others through doing it, God showed me something equally amazing once the day was “finished”. After having a wonderful visit with the residents of a nursing home, we decided to stop at a nearby park and play. It was a very warm and sunny day and the kids had been indoors for most of the day. I sat on a bench next to a mom as we watched our kids frolic in a splash pad.

As we sat and chatted, I learned that she is a single mom caring for three autistic children without any help. Her parents live several states away and only sees them a couple of times a year. Well, I “just happen” to have a very good friend who does “respite care.” She has a heart for autistic and special needs children. She will spend several hours taking care of the children so that the parents can have a rest- go out for dinner, take a walk, or even take a much needed nap! Before I left the park that day, I had gotten this mom’s name and phone number and promised to have my friend call her to set up respite services for her. I just “happened” to sit next to her? No way! God had His fingerprints all over that encounter!

I had to laugh because God showed me that following Him doesn’t just mean “signing up” for service projects to serve Him, but being open to His leading everywhere. Our family wants to make a difference, so we are excited about many service projects we have lined up over the next few months, but the most important “project” is the people God places in our path every day- the woman next to you on the park bench, the check out person at Target, your neighbor, your coworker….. We, as the Church, must be ready and willing to share the love of Christ everywhere and anywhere! We have to be open and “watching” for opportunities. When I slow down and just listen, I am amazed by the opportunities to love others God places in my path everyday.

“Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.” Titus 3:14 NLT


The NIV says, “our people must DEVOTE themselves to doing good”! Lord, I have devoted myself to lots of things in my life, but not always to doing good!

Let’s make everyday a “beautiful day”!

Father God, thank You for Your love. Thank You that You allow us to reflect Your love to those around us. What a privilege for us and a responsibility. Thank You for entrusting Your Church with this amazing gift and blessing. Forgive us Lord, forgive ME, Lord, for the times that I “missed it”- either because I was too busy to even notice the hurting person in front of me or because I lacked the love and grace to help or that I was afraid and didn’t trust You. Help me to shine Your Light to those You place all around me. Help me to devote myself to loving and helping others. Help me to truly FOLLOW YOU by my loving actions. In Jesus Name I pray. Amen.

Have a beautiful day!Link

Empty cups?

Today I am Laced with Grace talking about God filling our cups....won't you join me?

Link


Are you a September 12th person?

Visit me at Laced with Grace where I will be pondering living as a "September 12th" person....

Sometimes surgery is needed for healing!


Join me today at Laced with Grace where I will be talking about surgery!

Everday Miracles...and Perseverance?

Join me at Laced With Grace today where I will be sharing about this peculiar petunia....and PERSEVERANCE!

Restoration

Restore.

Restoration.

Sometimes we don't know we even need it....or just how badly we do.

For those of you who walk with me may have known this has been a year of spiritual dryness....




Dry devotions time.

Dry prayer life.

Dry small group time.

Dry writing.

In fact, when I had to write a devotion for the Cafe, Laced with Grace, or At the Well(forget my own blog!), I would sit feeling completely empty....like I had nothing to "give." I often pulled from my archives just to post something.....anything. I had even taken a break from the Cafe and the Well.

I was dry.

Then we went to Family Camp last week.

This was a LIFE CHANGING experience for the whole family.....

But, for me- I have been completely RESTORED.

God healed my heart....I was able to honestly share and "deal with" things I have pushed down- with God, Brian, and ME...my fears.....my year with homeschooling.....the pressure I have felt this year trying to DO IT ALL and be everything.....Brian's dad passing away....strife at our ELCA church....friends divorcing....taking care of parents...

We arrived Sunday evening and went to worship right after dinner. From the first song, the tears flowed down and I released all that had been pent up for so long.

I worshiped the Lord.

I let go.

He began His restoration in me.

The next morning Pastor Mike taught on Mary and Martha. OK, for any of you who have been following me for any amount of time, you know I have TAUGHT on this passage! See here and here.

Their story is precious to me. And, to have God remind me of all He had taught me about Mary and Martha the very first morning pierced my heart immediately! OK, I sat and cried through that lesson. I know He was whispering, "OK, Tracy....let's hear it again."

I realized for the past year I had become Martha.

I had lost Mary.....who I REALLY am.....the disciple at His feet soaking up His Presence....hanging on every word....face upturned to RECEIVE Him....

Restoration.

We then went to break time. Brian and I took a walk back to our cabin where I was able to spill out all that has been on my heart. Through tears, I shared my feelings of inadequacy, failure, distraction..... I rested in his strong arms.

Restoration.

We went back for more teaching. Pastor Mike began to teach about the woman from John 8.

OK, again, if you know me, you know this story is also PRECIOUS to me. See here and here. God brought a whole women's retreat, "Walking in the Light" with this teaching! For goodness' sake, I even used the same clip from the Passion!

But, I had forgotten.

Again, God spoke to me, reminding me I had forgotten the things from "at first" (Rev. 2:1-7). I had forgotten my first love.

Restoration.

Witnessing a group of young people honestly bare their souls with "cardboard testimonies."

Restoration.

Watching my husband walk in his calling as spiritual leader of our home....for the first time.

Restoration.

Taking communion as a family.

Restoration.

Watching my teenage son experience Jesus and be WASHED in the Holy Spirit.

Restoration.

Worshiping the Lord, fully, passionately, completely, openly, honestly...

Restoration.

I am so full.

Thank You, Jesus.

Blind man sat by the road and cried.....

I shared this today on Laced with Grace:

Have you ever been BLIND? Have you had such an intense desire to see?

I love the story of blind Bartimaeus from 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. 47 When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”

I love that he SHOUTED. He is not afraid to cry out to Jesus. How many times have I failed to CRY OUT….to shout with passion….with everything I have.

Listen to what happens next…

48 Many rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!

It seems like there is always someone there ready to quiet us…..telling us “don’t bother Jesus”….He is too busy…..He isn’t concerned with our problems….we are insignificant to such a powerful God.

49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.”

Jesus STOPPED…..stopped what He was doing….stopped where He was going. This reminds me that Jesus always has time to LISTEN to the cries of my heart.

So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.

51 “What do you want me to do for you?” Jesus asked him.

Don’t you love that? Jesus could have simply healed the man. Jesus wants to do more than physical healing. He gets down to the HEART issue: WHAT TO YOU WANT ME TO DO FOR YOU? Jesus asks each of us, “What do you want Me to do for YOU?”

Are you lonely?

Are you sick?

Are you empty?

Are you broken?

Jesus asks each one of us: “What do you want Me to do for YOU?

The blind man said, “Rabbi, I want to see.”

That is the cry of my heart- Jesus, I want to SEE. I may have 20/20 vision, but I want to see SPIRITUALLY. I want to “live by faith, not by sight.” Lord, give me eyes to see You.

Give me spiritual eyes. Like the words to “Amazing Grace,” I was blind, but now I see.” Look what happens next.

52 “Go,” said Jesus, “your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus along the road.

Notice that the man’s FAITH healed him. Lord, may I have faith like that! And, what does he do next?

He FOLLOWS Jesus.

That is my favorite part of the passage! He is able to see…..and follows Jesus.

May I always follow You, Jesus. May I always follow You.

Father, thank You that You are ever ready to heal me….but I have to remember to have the faith to ask. May I always seek hard after you, no matter who or how many are telling me to “shut up.” May I be like the man and SHOUT LOUDER! Lord, may I have that kind of faith! Lord, thank You for Your compassion. Thank You that You open wide my eyes to see You. Thank You that, although I was blind, now I see. Thank You, Jesus. Praise You.



Not just a "beauty pageant"!

National American Miss....here we come!

Ashley and Aly were both selected to be finalists in our Iowa state National American Miss Pageant- in the Pre-Teen division. They are really excited! It is not an ordinary "beauty pageant." NAM focuses on "poise, self-confidence, and valuable communication skills." They also emphasize community service. Their mission is "dedicated to celebrating America’s greatness and encouraging its future leaders." Also, in their age division, make-up is not allowed. And, the only swimsuit needed will be the one to swim in the hotel pool!

Go here to learn more about this awesome program.

Both girls see this as an opportunity to share their faith and be "lights" shining for God. Ashley is planning to sing "In Christ Alone."

As part of the program, Ashely and Aly need to find donors to raise the individual sponsor fee. No donation is too small or too large! :) If you would like to help them, you may make a donation conveniently online- it only takes a minute! They have page here with more information.

The state finals are July 23 and 24 in Waterloo, IA. If you are free we'd love to see you!

We really appreciate your support. Prayer support is very much appreciated! Thanks so much!

Again, visit NAM for more details.

The Good Ole' Days......

"I want to go back to the good ole' days, God!"

Back to slavery.

Back to hardship.

Back to death.

Can you believe the Israelites would even consider this????!!!!

These are accounts of the Israelites in the wilderness from Numbers 16. It is fascinating....and boy, can I see MYSELF in these accounts!

Even though God delivered them with signs and miracles from BONDAGE and cruel slavery, every time they would come up against hardship in the desert (or "wilderness"), they would grumble and complain to Moses. They would ask Moses, "Why did you bring us out of Egypt? We should go back to Egypt!" This was the one that REALLY got me, "Isn't is enough that you have brought us up OUT OF A LAND FLOWING WITH MILK HONEY (EGYPT), to kill us in the desert? Morever, you haven't brought us into a land flowing with milk and honey or given us an inheritance of fields and vineyards."

Can you believe that?! Yes, Egypt was a land flowing with "milk and honey", but not for them! They were slaves! They did not even get to experience the bounty and prosperity!

Isn't that just like us, at times? When times get hard, as God is leading me through my own personal wilderness, I cry out for the way things WERE. I would rather grumble and complain about the "good ole' days", even when they weren't in truth so good, instead of digging my heals in, taking God's hand and walking with Him in the desert. I willingly trade freedom for bondage.

What REALLY blew me away, though, is that a group of priests get really mad and rebel against Moses and Aaron (Moses' brother and "top" priest). A priest named Korah (remember this name!) got his family and 250 other leaders to rise up against Moses. He wants some of Moses' power. He says, "The whole community is holy (yea, right!), and the LORD is with all of them. Why do you put yourselves above them?"

You see, in Korah's eyes, "holy" meant following all of the laws and rituals. But, God looks beyond following the law....He looks at the heart. Yes, they were following and obeying God's directions, but with what kind of attitude? And, didn't God Himself place Moses in charge? Wasn't it Moses who led them out of Egypt? And, this is most important, who talked to God? Who continually was in the presence of God? It was Moses.


Moses had a HEART for God, a relationship with Him, a hunger for His presence.


So, the next day they go to appear before God, to let Him judge between them. God tells Moses and Aaron to seperate themselves from these men (Korah, his family, and 250 leaders) so that He can "put an end to them at once." Moses and Aaron fell facedown and cried out, "O God, God of the spirits of mankind, will you be angry with the entire assembly when only one man sins?" Moses does what He has continually done through grumbling and complaining of the Israelites- He falls face down and cries out for God's mercy. When you read the story, the people grumble and blame Moses. It strikes me that Moses is forgiving and merciful even when He is the brunt of all their bad behavior. Anyway, God has everyone move away from Korah, Datham, and Abiram (family). He warned the assembly, "Move away from their tents or you will be swept away because of their sins."

God opened the earth and swallowed up the families of these men (women and children, too), then a" fire came out of the LORD and consumed the 250 men who followed Korah."


God was MAD! He was angry at their rebellion, their lack of reverence, complaining, and pride. Now you would think that would have been the end of it, wouldn't you? I mean, if it would have been me, if I saw the earth open up and swallow people and then a fire consume 250 more, I would have been doing some big time repenting! For us, it obvious that they had sinned and offended the LORD greatly. But, can you believe this, the next morning, " the WHOLE (YES, WHOLE!) community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. 'You have killed the LORD'S people' they say."


What rebellion! And, blaming! WHO killed the community???? MOSES????? We never want to take responsiblity of our own actions when it much easier to blame someone else! Notice, again, that it is against Moses that grumble and blame. Even though they saw with their own eyes the earth open up and fire come from the LORD.

Well, you can guess that the LORD was ANGRY! He was going to "put an end to them at once." Again, Moses and Aaron fall facedown on behalf of the people. Moses tells Aaron to put incence in his censer to make atonement for the people. "The wrath came out of the LORD and the plague had started." But, Aaron runs over to the people with his censer and made atonement for the people." The plague had already started, so Aaron was a dividing line between the living and the dead. The plague stopped where he stood. 14,700 people died from the plague.

OK, this so amazed me. I wondered how could the people have been so obstinate, rebellious, stubborn? How could they have witnessed with their own eyes God's anger the day before as He dealt with the rebellious Korah and his followers, and still not be humble and repentant? Instead, they go and do the same thing? Didn't they see how angry God was? I began asking God how could this be? How can people see with their own eyes the will of God, and still rebel against Him? Wouldn't what they witnessed the day before nipped any grumbling in the bud? Stopped it cold? Obviously not. But, how, why?

And, God showed me that these people, although they follwed Him, did not have a "relationship" with the Living God. They foll0wed His commands and rules, but didn't know His heart. They didn't seek after the presence of God ("you go, Moses, and talk to God for us"). They didn't spend time with Him, getting to know HIM. They wanted His blessings and the promised land, but they didn't want to get to know Him.

And, how many of us are like that today? We want all the benefits of God, His blessings, answered prayer, our "promised land", but are not willing to get to know HIM, to spend time with Him, to get to know His heart. Do we hunger after His presence? Do we seek HIM above all else? Not just praying because we need something, but praying and reading His Word because we want Him more and more. We long for Him because life without His presence is NOTHING!

Nothing compares to the joy and the passion we fill when we are walking with Him.

Moses was amazing. Do you know that when God got fed up with the Israelites at one point, He told Moses, "OK, go into the promised land. I will send an angel to go in before you to clear the way. BUT, I am not going in with you. You will not have my presence." But, Moses refuses! He knows that life in the desert WITH God is better than any promised land full of blessing and prosperity WITHOUT God.

Oh, God, may that always be MY prayer, the cry of MY heart! May I say I don't want the thing (no matter how wonderful) if You are not going to be with me! I don't want the job promotion if I won't have Your presence with us. I don't want any speaking opportunity if Your Spirit is not there! I don't want ____ without YOUR presence!

Oh, God, may we hunger and thirst for Your presence above all! May we continue to seek You with all of heart, our soul, our mind, our strength. May Your love be better than life!

"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."

Rejoicing in His amazing love!

One thing at Laced with Grace

Oh, I hope you can join me today at Laced with Grace! I will be chatting about ONE THING!

Come on over! Click here.

Come sit awhile....

I was going through some old blog posts and "found" this. I say found, like it was an accident, but it wasn't.....God knew I needed to be encouraged by this post again and led me to it. My prayer is that it encourages you as well:

I was reading an old journal this morning during my very SHORT prayer time (got up late!) and Lord, as I read it, my heart cried out for You! Where is this girl who poured out her heart to You, who dove into the Word, hungry for more and more and more? Reading my commentary of several Old Testament passages, I was a little surprised by my wisdom and understanding of the scriptures which ONLY comes from the Holy Spirit. None of me- all of You, Lord. I do not want this to sound prideful at all because it is not TRACY, but You, God!

You had given me such depth of knowledge of what I was studying that it surprised me this morning. But, hasn't that been my prayer from the start? That You Lord would "give me a spirit of wisdom and understanding so that I may know You better?" And, when "you draw near to God, He will draw near to you." And, "Seek the Lord with all your heart and He will be found by you." Those have always been my prayers.....what I have been crying out for from the beginning. You answer prayer! I had forgotten the things I had written. That makes me sad.

I want to continue to grow in You, Lord. I want to continue to go deeper. I want to experience You more and more. I want Your Word to continue to open up to me and "blow me away."

Last week I was listening to Revelation (Audio Bible) and again, Revelation 2:2-5 hit me.

"I know your deeds, your hard work and your perseverance....Yet
I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the
height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at
first."

Oh, Lord, I repent! I do not want to forsake You! I want to draw nearer to You, not become distant! O, Lord, forgive me!

What is going on?

One thing that comes to mind is busyness. Oh, how the enemy loves to use this against me! And, it is not a new trick, but one that is "tried and true" that he brings back again and again to trip me.

Lord, I know I need to come and rest in You....to come and sit with You awhile. I love You so much, Lord. I want to grow in my relationship with You! I don't want to backslide! I don't want to forget my first love! I love You so much, Jesus!

Thank You for reminding me about these journals. Thank You for reminding me that "You pour out Your wisdom GENEROUSLY to anyone who asks." Thank You for slowing me down to rest in You. I know You are the most important thing in life. I know You are my first love. I rededicate myself to You. I ask You, Lord, to fill my cup to overflowing again. My heart and flesh cry out, for You the living God. You are life. You are life. I love You.


A Selah Season.....

Glad you stopped by! Join me at Laced With Grace today to read about a Selah season I am experiencing.....and discover why it has been so quiet around here lately!

Is Easter "OVER"???


Well… the eggs have been decorated, placed in baskets, found, and even eaten.

The church service is over and the songs have been sung.

The new dresses and suits have been neatly hung back in the closet.

And, at our house, all the chocolate has been eaten, leaving only jelly beans for a sweet tooth.

But…..is Easter “over”?

Maybe at Target, where aisles of baskets and candy have been replaced with gifts for mothers.

But, for us…..followers of Jesus Christ…..is Easter “finished” for another year….

Or, has it just begun?

Jesus is the Risen Lord.

He has conquered death.

He has overcome the grave.

Do you know what that means for you?

It means, if you choose Him, you, too have conquered death.

If He is your Lord, you, too, have overcome the grave.

You are seated with Christ in the Heavenlies.

Death has no power of you.

Addiction has no power of you.

Fear has no power of you.

He has given YOU new life.

YOU are a New Creation in Christ.

The OLD has gone.

The NEW has come.

You are clean.

You are forgiven.

You are FREE.

Hallelujah!

There is reason to sing!

There is reason to celebrate!

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” says the Lord God. “I am
the One who is, and who was, and who is to come. I am the Mighty One.” Revelation 1:8

We have HOPE. We have an inheritance. We have a future.

No, Easter is NOT over- it continues in us daily throughout eternity. And as we gather together and celebrate each year, we are reminded that we have a glorious inheritance- a “living hope”. Praise God!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you..” -1Peter 1:3-4

The Light of the world..


Visit me at Laced with Grace today where I will be talking about Light....

God uses everything.....


I See Love - Mercy Me - music video



Pushin' with you, girls....

Have you ever been desperate for God? Have you experienced a time when it seemed God had abandoned you? A time when you just couldn't "feel" God's Presence?

Most of you know that my father-in-law passed away right before Thanksgiving. Then....we went right into the holidays. I felt immense pressure being a first year homeschooling family. My church is going through HUGE struggles right now. We have been here since we moved to Iowa- for 13 years- this is my family. And of course, just "life" seemed to deal me a blow at every corner. Andrew has been asking tough questions about his faith and God (he is 14). Bills, laundry, the cares of home of family....

I found myself avoiding God. Instead of crying out to Him, I ran away from Him. There were plenty of distractions to keep me busy....the Wii, the computer, the TV, activities....anything to avoid facing the "work" of allowing God to heal my heart.

Boy, the enemy LOVES when we do this. It is a perfect opportunity for him to kick us when we're down. He brings everything possible into our lives to further discourage us- a forgotten bill to pay, a cold, fighting kids- you name it. You know, "what ever CAN go wrong DOES go wrong!" And, then he whispers in your ear, "You're a failure. You are not good enough. You are unloved. No one appreciates you. God isn't there."

Sisters, know those are COMPLETE lies from the enemy!

I (you) are loved. Yes, I could never be "good" enough, but thanks be to God, I don't have to be! I am perfect in Christ! In Christ, I am MORE than good enough....in Christ I have everything I need and His grace is sufficient for me. I am NOT a failure, but "more than a conqueror" in Christ Jesus. God appreciates me. He has numbered the very hairs on my head. I am "precious and honored" in His sight. God is here. He has never left me. He calls to me. Whispers to me.

"I will never leave you. I will never forsake you. I am with you wherever you go."

So, as I walk through this wilderness, the Promised Land in my sight, I cry out like David, "O God, You are my God, earnestly I seek You. My soul thirsts for You, my body longs for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.

I have seen You in the sanctuary and beheld Your power and Your glory. Because Your love is better than life, my lips will glorify You. I will praise You as long as I live, and in Your name, I will lift up my hands."
I am at Laced with Grace today sharing about SPIRITUAL BATTLES and how I fought this latest one.... I hope you jump over there to read it!

Also, THANK YOU so much for all of your prayers as I have been walking this road. Many days they have truly gotten me through. Thank you, friends.

Worry, me????

"Don't Worry 'bout a thing...Cause every little thing will be all right..."
-Bob Marley from the song, "Three Little Birds"

I love this song from Bob Marley. As I ponder the words I am reminded of how easy it is for me to get caught in the trap of worry. There is so much to do- the house to be cleaned, mountains of laundry to wash and put away, errands to run, the monthly bills to be paid.....

There are so many "little things" of life to fill our minds with, not to mention any difficult trials that we may face. For me, it is all of the little, mundane, nit-picky things that are nagging at me....

Yes, I can get caught in worry.

But Jesus said, "Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, yet your Heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?"

God takes care of the birds. If He loves and cares for these simple creatures, won't He provide everything I need today? Won't He provide the time I need to take care of my family, my home, and my job? Won't He help me to prioritize my time? My worrying WON'T add any minutes to my busy day, but God can supernaturally help me accomplish all that HE CALLS ME TO DO (notice I said what HE CALLS ME TO DO)! After all, didn't He stop the sun for Joshua so that the battle would be won?

Jesus continued, "And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown in the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat, what shall we drink, what shall we wear?' For unbelievers run after these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough of worry of its own." (Matthew 7:25-34)

I don't need to worry about all of these "little things." When I first seek His Kingdom, when I get down on my knees, surrendering my time and my day and my details- the "little things," He is working it all out. If He takes such good care of the birds and the flowers, how much more will He take care of ME- His treasured possession, the apple of His eye, made in His image??????


The enemy would like for us to take our eyes off of the King, caught in a trap of worry, feeling depressed, fatigued, worn out, stressed out- but God says, "Let me take care of it!" Or, as Bob Marley says, "Don't worry about a thing...cause every LITTLE thing is gonna be all right..."

God cares about us! He cares for His Creation!
Many times, we can fret and worry and become distracted with our circumstances and discouraged with our troubles...
But Jesus tells us that our Father in Heaven is watching over us.
He cares about the birds of the air.
He cares about the flowers in the field.
And, if He cares for these "little" things-
how much more does He care for you-
His precious daughter-
made in His image?


So, today, give Him your worries.


Give Him your concerns.


Trust in Him~rest in Him.


He cares.


"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength."

-Corrie Ten Boom

Father God, thank you that you care for me. Thank you that I am precious to you. Thank you that you will give me everything I need! Today, I will "be anxious for nothing, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present my requests to you." Thank you God for your loving kindness and care. I present my laundry, my chores, my family's health, and whatever weighs upon my mind TO YOU. Thank you that you are taking care of it all. In Jesus' precious name I pray. Amen.


I loved this video....especially to remind myself in a new year!