Full of Thanks

I think it’s so great when we all come together & discuss the same thing. I’ve been really enjoying everyone’s Facebook statuses & Tweets about what they are thankful for. I’ve read everything from, “I’m so thankful for my family” to “I’m thankful for our soldiers”, all the way to “I’m thankful for chocolate…of any kind”. I’m thankful for all of the above! And sure, that last one may have been mine, but I am. No really.

I have so much to be thankful for. This year has been amazing. Not without it’s challenges, but amazing. As I write this, my sweet little 3 month old is cooing away in her little swing, just telling me all sorts of stories. Her face lights up when our dog walks by or she hears something familiar. Oh Jesus, thank you for her. She is my heart.

Every thanksgiving season I always see Philippians 4:6 at some point. Whether it’s in an email, on Facebook or in a card. I love it. It always reminds me of how my husband & I began learning what true thankfulness looks like during the first year we were married. What an awesome verse. And what a gift it’s been to learn this with my best friend.

Philippians 4:6&7 says,

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

We went from being thankful for the good days, to being thankful for the good in every day. And there sure is a very big difference between the two! Even in times of pain, uncertainty or confusion, there is always something greater & good to be thankful for. This is not always easy to do & the Lord knows it doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’m thankful that my God is patient with me as I continue to learn & practice this truth. I’m in awe of how He continues to show me what this looks like on a grander scale. There are those of you in my life that have had major tragedy happen and remain thankful for God’s goodness & faithfulness. You bless me & everyone around you. And I’m thankful for the examples you are! I’m thankful for the women who have & continued to pour into my life!

I’m also so very grateful for the sweet, peaceful seasons of rest & renewal too! Our God is a good God. He is just as present & in control on our sad days as He is on our happy ones.

Above all, I am thankful that God loves us! And I am thankful that His love for us is so great that He offers us the gift of salvation. Freely. No strings attached. Ours forever. All we have to do is accept it! That’s a pretty good deal, right?

My God is good. He is my Salvation. And I declare my God as faithful!

Rejoicing in Noes

I find it interesting that when I ask God for a clear answer about something, I usually get discouraged when I hear “No”. Or what’s even harder to hear is, “You have to wait.” I usually try to add a little gray into the black and white answer I eagerly asked for. “So Lord, does ‘no’ mean just not at this second? Are you going to change your mind this afternoon? Because I have to tell ya, I need an answer on this soon.” Since when did receiving the answer I don’t want to hear become an irrelevant answer? Do I really mean what I’m asking for in my prayers? This little fact about myself has been eye opening to say the least!
My husband & I are currently considering buying a house. We have seen numerous houses. In each house, I always love to envision where I would put our dining room table, which room the baby’s room would be & think about the barbecue parties we would have with friends in the back yard. We put an offer on a house about 2 weeks ago. After we submitted all the paperwork we needed to, there seemed to be one hold up after the other on the broker’s side. But I still had this overwhelming peace that I’ve had many times before. I knew God was in control & that He would work out every last detail. I grabbed a rock from beside the driveway of this house & decided I would put it on our countertop at home. I told my husband that whenever we looked at that rock, we were going to claim our house & thank God for it. I don’t think he was necessarily on the same page as I was, because his response was, “Whether or not we get this house, this rock represents that God knows what’s best for us.” What was he thinking!? I had a peace & confidence that God knew what He was doing, so obviously that meant this house was my house. A few days later, he called me from work & told me that we didn’t get the house. I could have just passed out on the floor from shock. All I could think was, “But my rock…it’s right here.” After my initial shock & a few tears, my husband reminded me what that rock really represented & that we had been praying for God’s answer about the house…not a yes. He’s very smart sometimes.
So this past week I’ve been more aware as I pray & ask God for His answer or direction about anything. And I’m keenly aware of the words I’m praying when I say “Your will be done.” That’s a very full statement & I know praying those words means I am willingly submitting my plans, thoughts & objective & asking Him to direct me where HE wants me to go. 
So I’ve decided I will no longer pray for God’s will when I know I’m just trying to hear the answer I want. Instead, I will first readjust my view, refocus my heart & realize that His best for my life is not always what I want at that moment. I have many, many, many examples of that in the past. Yet, I still need reminding. Thank you, Lord for reminding me…again. So all of this to say, I am so grateful for my “noes” in life. They are just as beautiful as my “yeses”. If I truly want to be plugged into God’s will, I will be thankful for each guided step & rejoice in every answer He gives me. He is always good to His children & I declare my God as faithful! 

The Time Is Now

I long to encouraging you in any way that I can, because you encourage me so greatly. In my transition into the new & unknown, I’ve had some thoughts about what really matters. And I’d like to share them with you.

What would we do differently if we REALLY became eternity-minded? It is so, so easy for me to get caught up in the day-to-day routine of life. Laundry, dishes, errands, remembering to put deodorant on BOTH armpits. But what would happen if we grabbed hold of the truth that what we’re doing (or not doing) at this moment, will change the Kingdom of God? Would we be eager to share Jesus with the person we’ve been meaning to? Would we show more abundant love & grace to others? Would we mend our broken relationships with people? Would we ask someone for forgiveness for the hurtful things said and done on our part, even if we feel that we were greatly wronged by the other person? Would we not take offense so easily? Would this kind of mindset bring passion & meaning back into our lives?

I feel like we’re on the edge of something big; something that can’t be stopped. And today is a time of preparation. Preparation of our hearts. Preparation of our minds. Preparation of our bodies. I feel like we should be clothing ourselves not with fashions of this world, but with the armor of God. Oh friend, the time is here. We are mighty warriors and it’s time to take our place & stand on the battleground. Make no mistake, regardless of whether or not we want to be a part of it, we are. It’s happening with or without our permission or participation. The difference is the impact we’ll make. Will we close our eyes & just hope to pass through life unaware or un-phased of the dangers around us? That’s not going to happen. Or will we stand up and boldly claim roles? We are daughters & sons of the Most High! God does not call us to something that He’s not also equipped us for. It’s all there. All we have to do is do it. The calling is there. The armor is there. The favor & anointing is there. 

Romans 13:11&12 says, “And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”

God’s Kingdom is real. His promises are true. This battle is crucial. And we’re a part of it all.

1 Timothy 6:12, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Stand up & hold strong to your calling. The enemy will try to beat us down, shut us up & tempt us with comfortable routine. But we will not be defeated. We CAN NOT be defeated. We will not bury our heads in the sand. We will not take the path of least resistance.

May you boldly fight & stay passionate about the vital position you are assigned. I pray daily renewal and refreshment over your body, heart & mind.

1 Peter 2:9, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

God be with you, my fellow warrior & friend. I declare our God faithful!

Do You See Me

I’m so excited to share this with you. My heart is experiencing something very intimate this week. 

I’ve been having a very special conversation with Jesus. It’s lasted a few days so far. I have a feeling it will last a while longer. I have needed it so badly. All I had to do was talk and start the conversation, then listen; and share truthfully what’s on my heart, but I haven’t. I don’t think I’ve been a very good listener lately. I’ve been talking way too much. Anyways, it’s been one of those conversations that a little girl has with her daddy. “Do you like my dress? Do I look beautiful? Am I important?” So let me tell you how this conversation started.

Last Sunday at church, while singing some worship songs with my beautiful church family, I also began to pray. “With so many wonderful people in this world who truly love You, do I stand out? Are the things I’m doing really making a difference to You? Do you see me?”

I knew what the answer was. I know that I’m so precious to Jesus that He died for me. There’s no doubt in my mind about that. But I guess I wasn’t really asking those questions. I think my heart just needed some affirmation from its Creator. But this is what my Savior does; He doesn’t just pour His comfort and love into me which would have been more than enough. Oh, no. He did something incredible.

As I opened my eyes from praying, I realized the light coming in from a nearby window was casting a shadow on the row in front of me. My shadow. It seemed strange because I had my husband to my close left & a friend to my right. But it was only casting my shadow. I could so clearly hear in my heart, “I see you.” I couldn’t help but to cry. I knew God was showing me this. He didn’t just tell me, He showed me. A minute or so went by and the light began pouring through all the colors of the stained glass window & a rainbow began to frame my shadow. He whispered to by heart, “And I delight in you.” My heart was overwhelmed. My Lord cares so much that I know how unique & beautiful I am to Him, that He specifically showed me.

I wrote out some things I was feeling because I wanted to hear God’s voice in them. That’s the great thing about being in a relationship with God. When I talk, He answers. When I listen, He’s talking to me as well. Here are some of the things I’ve been crying out to my God, and also the things He’s sharing with me. I pray you are encouraged and find hope & excitement in it. This is a conversation He’s having with you too.

“Do you see me in this crowd, Lord? Am I beautiful to You? Does my heart please You? The darkness sometimes feels so heavy. I want to see Your light pierce through this prison. The enemy is persistent. My strength is feeling depleted.”

And here is His reply:

“My daughter whom I died for,

Oh yes, I see you. I saw you before any other eyes were captured by your beauty. I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). And even before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations (Jeremiah 1:5).

There is not a part of you that I don’t understand. There is not a piece of you that I do not love. There is not a hurt you have that I will not heal. I think about you; I’m with you every moment of every day. You are my masterpiece. I created you anew in Christ Jesus, so you can do the good things I planned for you long ago (Ephesians 2:10). I take delight in you with gladness. With my love, I will calm all your fears. I rejoice over you with joyful songs (Zephaniah 3:17).

I am so pleased with you when you do what you know is right (1 Peter 2:19). I don’t ask for perfection, I ask for willingness and obedience. Our relationship is an ongoing, always deepening one. It’s a journey. And I’m so pleased that you’re chasing Me.

When you laugh, My heart leaps. And when you cry, I want only to comfort you. I know there are times when your heart aches. I give you My true joy and peace. I am ever so close to you when you are brokenhearted and I will save you when you feel your spirit is crushed (Psalm 34:18). There is not a hole deep enough, or a darkness strong enough to keep Me from you. You are always in the palm of My hand. Nothing can change that. No one can take you from Me.

My light shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome Me (John 1:5). You, dear daughter, are from Me and have overcome them, because I am in you and I am greater than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Don’t rely on your own limited strength. You are not meant to. It is I who arm you with strength and keep your way secure (2 Samuel 22:33). Look to Me for My strength; seek My face always (1 Chronicles 16:11). I have already overcome the enemy. The victory is already yours.”

Talk to your Savior about everything that’s going on in your heart. The pretty stuff, the ugly stuff, & everything in between. He’s listening & does not judge you when you’re having a bad day. He has incredible things He wants to tell you & show you! You never have to wonder if He’s listening. He is. I declare Him faithful.


I was thinking the other day (I do that from time to time). I started to drift off into a nice, little, mental vacation as I stared out the window. There’s a cute little park across the street and I like to people-watch as they walk their dogs & don’t pick up after them.

Anyways, as I was daydreaming, I began to pray & ask God for some encouragement. I didn’t need anything life-altering, just a word of encouragement from someone. Or perhaps a love note in the mail. Those are always fun. So as I started to go on with my day, I felt God move in my heart. As much as I had desired encouragement for myself, I began to feel the need to encourage someone else. So as I started to think of all the lovely ladies in my life that I would just love to encourage, I knew that God wanted me to encourage someone who wasn’t in my “best friend circle”. You know who I’m talking about. The girl that you’re not necessarily close to; or perhaps, the one that you’d prefer to say hi to & that’s all. Anything above that, would just be…awkward. Besides, we don’t know about her life well enough to personally take the time to pray for & encourage her, right?

Oh, how wrong I can be. She is loved! Just as you are. Just as I am. We are all equally precious in His sight. So guess what? As daughters of the Most High, it is our responsibility to love on her, encourage her, but most importantly, show His love to her. His unconditional, pure, passionate love.

Romans 12:6-9 says, “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement”. 

I began to feel a little anxiety set in as I was typing out the note to her. How was she going to respond to this? Was she going to think I was weird? I hadn’t talked to her in literally a year. After about line 5 of this note, I realized how ridiculous I was being. Whenever someone encourages me, I don’t respond like, “What? Why would you tell me how great you think I am? You think I’m…what!? Amazing?? And you love me?? Gosh. Keep those thoughts to yourself next time!” That would be ridiculous, right? If anyone speaks encouragement into my life, I’m literally floating on a cloud the rest of the day. It feels my heart to overflowing! The more I wrote, the more I began to really admire and love her. Which resulted in me wanting to write more. Which made me love her more. Which…ya know.

As I typed out the last line of the note, I was so excited to send it to her. It wasn’t anything super-deep, I just typed what flowed out. I signed it and hit ‘send’.

Within the hour, I received a message back from her. Her reply started, “You’re not going to believe this, but I was just praying that God would encourage me today.” Oh, sister. I believe it.

Our God is so incredible like that. He’s not only holding the entire universe together, He loves to encourage you. You are His treasure and the “little things” in your life are so important to Him. I was more encouraged that day by giving out encouragement. As great as a love note would have been, her response made my heart leap in my chest. It showed me how personal God is. And how loving and caring He is.

I love this verse. Philemon 1:7, “Your love has given me great joy and encouragement, because you, brother, have refreshed the hearts of the Lord’s people.” 

So if I may, could I suggest we intentionally refresh the heart of at least one woman this week? And make it interesting; encourage a woman that you haven’t talk to in a while or someone you don’t know that well. They are going to be so surprised & blessed. Let’s pray for guidance on how to encourage her & just do it! Whether it’s a note in the mail, an email, a flower, a coffee date or a verse written out & given to her; let’s lift up that woman & show her how passionate God is about her. Don’t worry about wording everything perfectly. Just go for it.

You are fantastic. You sincerely bless me & have touched my heart. I’m absolutely positive that you’re beautiful heart is going to greatly impact the people in your life this week! Let me know how it goes!

I am praying for you. And I declare Him faithful!

Source of Life

During my college years, I would hear my sister & some of my friends say, “I just can’t imagine going a day without being in God’s Word!” They would describe to me how they could tell if they went through their day without being filled with His Word first. I didn’t really understand this because by the time they had their “quiet time”, I had already washed the dishes (turned the dishwasher on), ironed my clothes for the next day (threw my outfit in the dryer on the “scorch” setting) & pretended to finish my history paper. How would praying & sitting there help me in my day?

And then, my Savior, after relentlessly pursuing me for years & loving me before I was even born, CHANGED MY LIFE. Slowly, but surely, I began to understand what my sister & friends had tried to express to me before. After experiencing uninterrupted, personal one-on-one time with God on a daily basis, sometimes multiple times a day, I just knew that I’d never be able to go a day without setting time aside to share my heart with Him. But just as I was sure that I’d keep it up…I didn’t. At first I thought that maybe I’d just pray while I was being “productive” around the house. And then, I’d get so sidetracked with changing the toilet paper rolls in the bathrooms & scrubbing the tub, that praying went right out the window. And my favorite laughable reasoning was, “Sure, I WANT to spend time with my Savior. But I have too much to do. Plus, I don’t feel ‘needy’ today, so I’ll just spend extra time with Him tomorrow. Won’t He be happy about that.” Then 24 hours later, “I’ll just wait until tomorrow. I’m still doing good. I hardly cried over anything today.” Another day or two goes by and I realize that I’m really…just…in a funk for some reason. In fact, I’m feeling a little overwhelmed & empty. My faith is feeling a little shaky.

It’s written out crystal clear in Romans 10:17. It says: “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”

So this is where you think I’d connect those dots and say to myself, “Hello! You know what you need. You need to plug into your life source! Easy fix. Now go do it.” But instead, like a broken record, I repeat to myself, “I’m way too busy; and really, I just don’t feel like it. I’m not feeling happy and I don’t want to come to a perfect God when I’m not feeling happy. I’ll try to perk myself up with some chocolate or something and then I’ll spend some interrupted time with Him. Tomorrow.” This mindset is not right! Why do I think it’s ok to fellowship with the Lord only when I need to get something out of it? The God of the universe wants desperately to spend time with me; listen to me pour out my heart to Him; comfort me. John 4:23 expresses how God loves our worship & longs for fellowship with us! Umm, WOW.

God-is-our-source-of-life. He is our joy giver, grace giver, abundant life giver. Without staying plugged into that source, we cannot & will not live each day to the fullest. We need to realize that we are not self sufficient & can not navigate our lives without Him. And praise God that we don’t have to! I declare Him faithful!