“I don’t think you should marry me because I’m not sure I want to go to Ethiopia with you.”
Words said by me to my future husband Tim, about 9 months before we got married back in 2005. He had felt called to missions for as long as I’d known him, and I was pretty sure I didn't.
Now that we’ve announced our intentions to move to Ethiopia long-term as medical missionaries, many people say, “Wow, I could never do that.” Well, for a long time I didn’t think I could either.
We got married believing that if God wanted us to serve Him overseas, He would work in both of hearts, not just Tim's. And during Tim’s 11 years of training to become a general surgeon, God did just that—worked in my heart to make me want to follow Him to Ethiopia. #31daysofcalling, a series I wrote to tell that story—here’s an excerpt from the intro:
God didn’t slam me with books about marriage that told me to get in line, and He didn’t lay guilt on me for not wholeheartedly following whatever my husband wanted to do. Instead, He did a thousand little things to open my heart to people who are suffering in Ethiopia, showing me how He’s crafted my personality and gifts to fit there, to give me a vision for what my life would be like there, and to make me literally WANT to go.
Here’s a peek into two of those thousand little things that I highlighted in #31daysofcalling:
Day 2: A Red Tin Roof
As a kid, there was a little house on our highway that I was in love with—white siding and a red tin roof (top picture.) That house made me fall in love with the idea of a red tin roof. If I ever daydreamed about my life as an adult, it was always with a red tin roof over my head. Fast forward to life as an adult, considering moving to Ethiopia, considering working at a rural missions hospital.
What do the missionary houses there have? Red tin roofs! (bottom picture) God cares about the details. ❤️
Day 19: Radical Generosity
A tap on my shoulder before church…the wife whispers, “I know Tim won’t always have summers off during med school, but does he have this one off?” It was his first year of medical school, and we had gotten married a few months before. I say that he does, and she excitedly says, “Can you all come over for lunch after church? We need to talk to you about something.”
We go, and these dear friends (whom we met just a few months earlier) explain that the husband received a big bonus at work, and they had been praying about what to do with it. They wanted us to consider returning to Ethiopia that summer to experience serving together as a married couple—at their expense.
Fast forward a few months, and we are making plans to go back to Ethiopia and help the Mission to the World (our sending organization) missionaries there with a big medical team that was coming to conduct clinics in a poor community. We worked up a budget for the trip, sent it to them at their insistence, and they then donated the WHOLE amount to MTW (have you checked ticket prices to Ethiopia? It’s not cheap).
Before we go, the wife tells me that she’s been thinking about how Tim’s future work in Ethiopia as a doctor is clear, but she has specifically been praying that God would give me a vision for MY life in Ethiopia.
The trip DID give me that vision—I worked with social workers, helped in medical clinics, and saw a lot about what home life could be like with the missionaries we worked with. Our interest in returning to Ethiopia solidified, which had a significant impact on the way we thought about our lives during the rest of Tim’s training.
And all of that, when we had had no plans of our own to return there any time soon.
- It was they who dreamed up our going that summer,
- they who wrote the enormous check instead of dreaming up what they could do for themselves with it (WOW),
- they who prayed for my vision.
God continued to work in my heart for years to make to me truly want to do this, but that summer was a pivotal start for me…thanks to God, and friends who listened to Him even when it meant great expense. Whoa.
On Day 31, here is part of my reflection:
So if you look back over the last 30 days with me, how can we not just give this a shot? How can we sit pretty as a surgeon and his wife in America when God has done ALL. THESE. THINGS. to pull us toward Ethiopia over and over and over again?
If we fight to believe what we say we believe, we need to meditate on what’s true:
- nothing can separate us from God’s love,
- God will lead us and hold us no matter where we are
- He doesn’t sleep (different time zone—no problem).
- He is near,
- He is good,
- He is faithful.
- He says not to fear,
- He says not to worry.
- He says you have to give up your life to truly find it.
At the beginning of #31daysofcalling, I was trying to answer the question “why?”. Why are we doing this, why do we think God is calling us to it?
But now that we’ve been through all these days together, the question I hope we’re asking is “why not?”.
After seeing time after time after time of God preparing, providing, protecting, and teaching us, why not do this? Why not take the gifts He’s given us and uses them in Ethiopia? Why not try to be faithful to follow Him when He’s obviously been so faithful to us?
Thanks SO MUCH for taking the time to read a bit of our story, and you can find the whole story at www.loveethiopia.org/31daysofcalling. And don’t be like me when I told Tim he shouldn’t marry me—believing the lie that things about you can never change.
Because God is in the business of change, in the most beautiful and unexpected ways.
Merry Christmas! What a priviledge we have to celebrate the birth of our Messiah, Jesus! We see the word "Joy" so much around Christmastime, so I felt led to re-share a post I wrote this time last year. It's a great reminder that it IS possible to have JOY in our lives despite our circumstances because true JOY only comes through salvation.
I'll never forget the day that I was sitting on the front steps of my first home talking with a friend that was not a believer at the time. One of her questions to me was, "Why are you always happy?" That conversation ultimately led to us praying over the phone together and her asking Jesus to be the Lord of her life! I think about her often and that pondering question she had for me. The one thing I told her is that happiness is fleeting, but JOY is everlasting and only comes from a relationship with the Lord.
Life has not always been kind to me. I have had my share of heartache; I began dealing with death at a young age with losing grandparents that I adored, my dad became sick when I was fifteen and life for my family was lived in and out of hospitals, my aunt was murdered and my uncle was sent to prison for conspiracy of murder, my dad lost his battle with cancer when I was nineteen, I lost one of my biggest cheerleaders (my dad's mom) several years ago, and another grandfather soon after our youngest was born.
Now I realize many have gone through much worse and I am sure not trying to have a pity party. Scripture is very clear in John 16:33, "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world". If we are followers of Christ, we know Satan is going to fight us and try to defeat us. What I pray you see in this post today is that JOY is not determined by our circumstances, but only through salvation and that He is enough for whatever comes our way.
How can we live a life filled with JOY when we look at the world and see such darkness? We see that word JOY so much at Christmas, but is it really possible to have? The cause of joy is JESUS!
Depending on the translation you use, the word JOY is mentioned around 200 times in the Bible. So that tells me, there is something to living a joy-filled life....it IS possible!
1. JOY at the Manger: Luke 2:10"Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great JOY that will be for all the people."
Can you imagine being Mary and Joseph and all that they endured getting to Bethlehem? Do you think anything about it seemed joyful in the moment? I know myself and I am sure there would have been much grumbling through the process! The one thing that Mary and Joseph clung to was the promise that God was doing something mighty! Jesus' birth did not occur like most people would have imagined; a cave, amongst animals, shepherds, a trough. A King to come as a humble servant, born into this world amongst the lowly. WOW! We are broken, dirty, sinful people that He came to this earth for. Let that sink in for a minute! He didn't come wearing a robe and a crown to rule above everyone. He came to serve, to walk amongst the people, to have love and compassion. We can learn so much from that today!
REFLECTION: Take some time and really focus in on Jesus and His birth; nothing about it made sense to the human mind! He came to serve, to walk beside us and to be our ultimate sacrifice! There is no greater love!
2. JOY in Suffering: Philippians 2:14-16 "Do everything without grumbling or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation. Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain."
Oh this is a hard one, but it is Biblical! It feels so right and natural to complain when hard times come, but knowing that Christ has a greater plan should give us JOY in the suffering. Can you imagine being Paul and writing this letter from prison? Philippians is Paul's joy letter. Although he had faced excruciating poverty, abundant wealth and everything in between, he was still able to write with great joy because he focused his attention on knowing Christ and obeying Him. Joy doesn't mean that you are "happy" all the time, let me make that clear! Joy doesn't mean that we can't hurt or cry. Our life is just a snap shot of what eternity will be like, so our suffering is not lasting and we have hope because of Jesus! That should bring us great JOY!
Isaiah 55:8-9 is one of my favorite verses, because when I begin to doubt God's goodness or question how things are transpiring, I am quickly reminded that He is God and I am not. His knowledge and wisdom is far greater than we can ever comprehend.
REFLECTION: Suffering is hard and doesn't seem fair. We tend to run to Jesus last, when He should be the first one we rest in. Get into God's Word and spend time in prayer with Him. Ask Him the hard questions that you are dealing with! What is it that you need to lay at His feet? He is working in each of us and we can trust what He says, He will do!
3. JOY in Salvation:1 Peter 1:8-9 "Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls."
Peter heard Jesus say these same words when Thomas was doubting Jesus' resurrection in John 20:29, so Peter is repeating them here in 1 Peter 1:8-9 as he encourages Christians who are suffering. Because we believe in Jesus, we have inexpressible and glorious joy! Galatians 5:22 lists the fruits of the Spirit and joy is listed right after love. This is the work of the Holy Spirit in us and these are character traits found in the nature of Christ. It's not possible to "earn" or "try" to get any of the fruits in our lives, we must join our lives with Him to receive them. Although we know the end result and heaven is our eternity, we must still work diligently now to serve Him and point others to Him.
REFLECTION: Jesus is our joy! Thank Him for your salvation and all the beauty that you experience because you have His character traits in you! There may be some things that are defeating your joy right now. Pray and ask the Lord to show you if there are some areas in your life that you need to work on. Maybe you need to resolve conflict, be more faithful in your job, mend a marriage, or maybe you are just in a waiting period...do it all with JOY! If you do not know the JOY that Jesus brings, please reach out to us, we would love to talk with you!
Laura is a pastor's wife, mom to two crazy fun kids and a part-time marketing director. The Lord continues to teach and stretch her through ways she would have never imagined, all by saying "YES" to whatever the Lord has for her. She loves being involved in her community and building relationships...oh and she loves to laugh!
Christmastime provides us a wonderful opportunity to share our faith with lost or unchurched family members. But, what is supposed to be Good News can become difficult to share for many reasons. Maybe we fear our loved one will reject this Good News. Maybe we feel inadequate. Maybe we have tried before and it seemed to fail.
How do we shine the light of Christ brightly for those we love most and desperately want to see come to know Christ? What are some ways to share our faith with them?
Invitation - Audra’s Pick
With all of the Christmas performances, kids choirs, Christmas Eve services, as well as your regular church services, we have plenty of opportunities to invite friends, family, neighbors... to join us. Offer to give pick them up, have a meal together, or just save them a seat!
Living it Out - Laura's pick
Since we are in ministry, conversations about what the Lord is doing in our lives come up often when we are around family. We love that we get to share about God's faithfulness as we are obedient to His calling on our life. No matter if you are in the ministry or not, as believers we can all say God has been so good to us. So find ways to share that with your loved ones. So, my pick would be just living the Gospel out in front of them and take full advantage of the time you are given with those you love.
Read the Christmas Story - Rebecca's pick
Reading the Christmas story from Matthew or Luke during family get togethers is a beautiful way to express our faith. Psalm 119:130 says, "The unfolding of your words gives light." This verse tells us that Scripture illuminates darkness. What a promise! We can trust that as we read about the birth of Christ, His light will be reflected to all those who are in the room and potentially create a spark from within.
Candy Canes - Tammy's pick
Every December 1st, I love to stuff my pockets and purse with these Scripture Candy Canes to hand out to one and all. Whether it's a cashier at a store or a fast food window or a waitress or waiter, I smile and say, "Thank you!" as I hand them one of these little gems.
The front is clear cellophane so you can see the candy cane. The back has the Candy Cane story pointing to the glory and honor of Christ. I honestly don't know how many have been opened and eaten or thrown away. But it is my prayer that at least one precious soul has read the back and a seed has been planted and watered.
Faith-based Gifts - Tricia's pick
I like to give little presents to my friends and neighbors who may be doubting God... or may not truly know Christ as their Savior. And the presents are usually notecards that have writing on them and also my tote bags (they have a quote or verse along with a painting on each one). It's not preachy but it shines out God. I love to have art and verses and quotes mix together for gift giving. It is a natural way to just show love and fun. As I like to say, "It's mixing the holy and fun together!"
For me, picking a word or phrase of the year has been a powerful way to keep myself focused on areas where the Lord is desiring to grow me. In 2013, my phrase was “Press On” (Philippians 3:14) and it became a dominant theme in my life as the Lord called me to lead a Bible study in which we capped off the 10-month study by running our first half marathon. Prior to this, I was not a runner nor a teacher. And, I cannot tell you how many times I wanted to throw in the towel and quit. This same attitude permeated other areas of my life as well and it had to go.
That year, I learned how to strain every physical, mental, and spiritual muscle and rely solely on the Lord to supply what I needed to finish the task. And, He did. It was a lesson that I will never forget and one that He continually brings to mind when the going gets tough and the temptation to quit or to doubt loom in the air.
Other words such as “Thankful” in 2016 (1 Thessalonians 5:18) helped me overcome a recurring anxiety that I was wrestling with. In 2017, the year of our blog launch, the word “Persist” (1 Samuel 17:34) emboldened me to stand toe-to-toe and look my giant named Insecurity in the eye and knock him out. He’s nothing but an occasional powerless whisper in my ear now.
For 2018, I went in a new direction. Instead of a word or phrase of the year, I asked the Lord to give me a word for the decade because it was the year of my 40th birthday. The word He gave me was “Fruitful” (John 15:8) and the emphasis in 2018 was not to be on the fruit but on the pruning required in order to bear the fruit. Ouch.
It has indeed been a year of pruning for me. And, I can testify to two things: 1. The pruning shears are not pleasant and 2. Every snip has been necessary. But, it is because of this pruning–the rebuke of a carelessly spoken word here, the chastisement of a bad attitude there–that I have discovered the Father’s tender love and mercy towards me. He desires much growth in me yet knows that the parts that do not reflect Him must go. In every situation, I know that He is pruning me out of love so I have allowed myself (most of the time) to bend to His Hand and learn the needed lesson.
That brings us to this coming new year and the word that the Lord has chosen to represent it. I have thought long and hard, prayed continually, meditated on, and researched this word. I wanted to make sure that I understood exactly what it meant and what context the Lord is wanting to use it. And, I think it is all very clear now.
My word for 2019 is “Cultivate”:
1. (v. t.) To bestow attention, care, and labor upon, with a view to valuable returns; to till; to fertilize; as, to cultivate soil.
2. (v. t.) To direct special attention to; to devote time and thought to; to foster; to cherish.
3. (v. t.) To seek the society of; to court intimacy with.
4. (v. t.) To improve by labor, care, or study; to impart culture to; to civilize; to refine.
5. (v. t.) To raise or produce by tillage; to care for while growing.
More specifically, in the coming year, the Lord is calling me to cultivate relationships. First, my relationship with Him. Second, my relationship with my husband. Third, my relationship with my children. And fourth, my relationships with the women that He has placed in my life.
Cultivation is a gardening term that we see all the way back in Genesis when God commanded Adam to cultivate the land. Planting seeds then lovingly tending to and nourishing the soil requires a lot of time and attention. It’s a task that cannot be neglected or else the potential inside of the seed hidden under the soil will not come to bud or bloom.
Such is the same with our relationships. Time and attention yield a great return when they are invested in people. Jesus demonstrated this best as He walked through the streets of Jerusalem and over the hills of Israel. Again and again, he stopped to sow into those who came near to Him. It was never inconvenient, never rushed. What some would view as interruptions became moments of great impact where Jesus intentionally met their needs with a word or a touch. As a result, each person felt loved by Him. I want to do the same.
In 2019, I want to cultivate my relationships so that those whom the Lord has placed in my life will thrive from the time and attention, love and affection, that I sow into them. I want to see friendships blossom. I want to see intimacy with my husband grow. I want to see roots of faith become stronger. Each one is the potential yield of diligent cultivation.
Do I know how to do this on my own? No, because I understand the limitations of my green thumb or lack thereof. But, the Master Gardener is already teaching me how and I trust Him with the task.
First, I am a child of God. And, like a child, I am always learning and growing. The more I know Him, the more I love Him. Second, I am a wife to a good man. Missions is his thing while teaching women to love God’s Word is mine. Third, I am a mama to three plus a sweet cockapoo who thinks he’s #4. My children are my ongoing sanctification. Fourth, I am a dreamer/designer. Old friends call me Becky, newer ones call me Rebecca, and the most intimate ones call me Beck. You can just call me friend.
To be honest, I have not been one to set goals or have a clear vision of what the coming years may hold. There are times I love to have a plan, but I fly by the seat of my pants most of the time. I realize that is not the best characteristic to have, but there are times I just love to be spontaneous. Thanks to my By Faith She friends, they have challenged me to be more intentional on what my life looks like as I walk hand in hand with the Lord daily.
Several years ago, Tammy asked me, “What’s your word for the new year?” I had no clue what she was even talking about! I quickly learned that she has been asking the Lord to give her a word to focus on throughout the year, you can read about it here. She prays for a word that can be a barometer for the many things this life throws at her.
I began that year to pray for a word. The Lord has given me words such as Simplicity and Intentional.
2018 brought change to our family with a new church and a new town. For the past several months I have been asking the Lord to show me my place, my purpose in this new season. That's when the Lord clearly showed me through Scripture and in my quiet time with Him my word for the year...PURPOSE. I am praying that the Lord shows me how His purpose for my life can be maximized this year.
It's so easy to let little, mundane tasks dominate all of my time. So this year, I want to focus in on specific areas of my life and how I can stay on track to the purpose God has called me to in each of them.
1. What is my PURPOSE as a Child of God?
“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20
“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.”
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
God’s Word is very clear on what my purpose is. Therefore, go and make disciples and be my witnesses to the ends of the earth!
2. What is my PURPOSE as a wife?
“A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies. Her husband has full confidence in her and lacks nothing of value. She brings him good, not harm, all the days of her life. She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. She is like the merchant ships, bringing her food from afar. She gets up while it is still dark; she provides food for her family and portions for her servant girls. She considers a field and buys it; out of her earnings she plants a vineyard. She sets about her work vigorously; her arms are strong for her tasks. She sees that her trading is profitable, and her lamp does not go out at night. In her hand she holds the distaff and grasps the spindle with her fingers. She opens her arms to the poor and extends her hands to the needy. When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for all of them are clothed in scarlet. She makes coverings for her bed; she is clothed in fine linen and purple. Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. She makes linen garments and sells them, and supplies the merchants with sashes. She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: ‘Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.’ Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised. Give her the reward she has earned, and let her works bring her praise at the city gate” (Proverbs 31:10-31).
3. What is my PURPOSE as a mother?
“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.” Proverbs 31:26-27
4. What is my PURPOSE as a Pastor’s Wife?
"Teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.” Titus 2:3-5
Ladies, we are called to help lead and guide the younger women. There is always someone younger than us, no matter what our age!
Now that I have a plan and Scripture to focus on, my prayer is when decisions and times of chaos come my way this year, I will filter every decision through these questions.
I am living my life in vain if I am not living with the purpose the Lord has given me. Nothing else matters except making an eternal impact while here on earth.
You can also read Audra's post about spending time with the Lord here. She includes a free calendar download.
For the past few years I have picked a (WOTY) word of the year, that will help set my focus for the coming year. Tammy wrote a post in late 2017 that explains it well. She has actually challenged our By Faith She Team to do this for a while now, and this year is no different.
As I’ve been thinking and praying about what my new word would be, I couldn’t help but reflect on the past year. For me, the past has a lot to do with the word I will pick for the upcoming year. I look at where I’ve been falling short, or where I myself am in need.
This sort of reflecting tends to bring up a slew of emotions these days. Happiness from fun family time. Gratefulness for the ministry the Lord has allowed us to be a part of. Joy for the time spent with good friends and the new friends we’ve made. Sadness from missed opportunities. Pain from loss. Embarrassment from bad choices...
All of these emotions bring to mind Ecclesiastes 3, where Solomon reminds us that each season has its set time.
1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2 a time to be born and a time to die,
a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3 a time to kill and a time to heal,
a time to tear down and a time to build,
4 a time to weep and a time to laugh,
a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6 a time to search and a time to give up,
a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7 a time to tear and a time to mend,
a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8 a time to love and a time to hate,
a time for war and a time for peace.
To this I say,
“Mommas, like Mary, treasure up this time in your hearts, because they are only little for the blink of an eye.” (Luke 2:19)
“Mourners, take heart, your time of dancing is coming.”
“Joyful, bask in your joy and give thanks to The Lord! It likely won’t last forever.”
“Sufferer, persist in prayer for your season of healing.”
Seasons come and seasons go. Some are joyful and some are full of agony No matter what we are walking through or have walked through, we must recognize that God our Creator knows the seasons of our past, He knows where we stand right now, and he knows what is to come. We must give Him praise as Lord over each and every season.
So after spending some time reflecting, here’s what I’m taking away from the past year:
For the positive, this has been a year of faith building, excitement, and blessings.
For the hard, it has also been a year of battle, uncertainty, and change.
Although 2019 is of now a mystery, The Lord has continued to put the word Peace in my heart and mind. So, I will claim Peace as my word of the year. I will take on this word, and I will strive to rest in The One who offers true peace.
I will plug in to Him often and allow Him to fill me with this Peace that I so desperately need in the chaos of everyday life. And with that peace that He provides for me, I will in turn aim to create an environment of peace for my family. I will strive to offer a refuge of peace to friends and loved ones as well.
My prayer is that this WOTY will be the theme that surrounds our lives this season! And I will do my best to remember that it is just that, a season.
Just a few short months ago I found myself so deeply depressed. It was all I could do to get out of bed and go to work. On my days off, I stayed in bed because I couldn’t face life. The anxiety I had fought for years had surfaced and it was winning. I had tried to find happiness and contentment in one addiction or another, but they just left me empty.
I had given up on life and so desperately wanted to end it all when I came across a blog that I had been following for a few months. Normally, I would just scroll right on past anything faith-based because, as much as I wanted a way out, I was sure God was not the answer.
I was sure that there was no way God could love me after all I had done. I would never be pure enough to deserve God’s love. I was convinced that there was no hope for me.
I needed a way out!
I needed to be rescued from a life of addiction, depression, anxiety, guilt, shame and all the other things that had defined me for so long.
Then, on September 3, 2018, I came across a By Faith She blog post titled Love and Truth.
I was feeling so unloved and just downright unlovable.
When I read:
“If you are a sinner, I accept and love you! Do you drink, do you curse, are you gay, are you ________? Just know - no matter what you struggle with, no matter what sin you may face... We are all sinners saved by grace and we will love you exactly where you are.”
I remember saying to myself, “They will love me where I am? Surely not!“
I commented on the post something like, “I wish I could love myself.” And after a few comments back and forth I just left it at that (in complete disbelief that I even sort of made an effort to reach out). The next morning I woke up to a message in my Messenger inbox from By Faith She wanting to follow up from our conversation.
As we messaged back and forth that day I realized there was something missing in my life. A genuine, authentic relationship with Jesus! I realized that I needed a Savior! So, I asked about salvation and how to get it. They never hesitated to give me Scripture on how to come to know Jesus and about how He loves us.
How much He loves me...
John 3:16 - “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.” (It’s a big deal!!)
On September 5, 2018 my life completely changed! I was given the new life I so desperately needed when I went all in with Jesus. I asked Him to be the Lord of my life and to be my Savior. He met me right where I was (while sitting at my desk at work to be exact)!
I was broken and defeated, and Jesus reached me through a blog post and a few women who are willing to be obedient to His calling and who truly love others.
It has been a life changing journey and I know I will never be the same! I can now look back and see how my brokenness led me to reach out and ask for help. God has placed some really special women in my life who I can learn from and who I can reach out to when life just doesn’t make sense. I also have the privilege of attending church with Audra and Laura and even though I may not get to see them every week, it is comforting to know they are near.
God has given me the desire to know Him more intimately and the desire to study His word. He is healing me from the inside out and revealing His love for me over and over. He is showing me that I am a new creation in Him.
2 Corinthians 5:17 - “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”
"Healthy parents don’t find family time, they make time."
Make time. Ha! How does one do that in this day and age? Even though we all have the same number of hours in a day, some of us are just a little more intentional with those hours.
I want to be one of those people. So as I started brainstorming ways to be more intentional, I remembered three of my friends who gave neat Christmas gifts last year centered around making time together!
Below you'll find their explanation of why they did their activity and how. "The Why" will touch a familiar chord in your own precious heart. "The How" will make your job easy. Choosing which one you want to implement will be the hardest part.
Adventure Box - by Darlene Howell Waller.
The Why - If we looked back on our years, we don't remember the gifts that were given or WHO gave them. But for me, time spent together are some of my sweetest childhood memories. I remember the family vacations, the Saturday trips to the grocery store, the lake and camping adventures with my family, the fun we had in the tree house that my dad built for me.
But I couldn't tell you a single gift that was a "thing" that I remember receiving.
I love my grandchildren so much. One day I will be gone. I want them to have wonderful memories of their time spent with me, their Nonna. They have every toy imaginable! I just want to give them the gift of my time.
The How - Every year I try to figure out how to creatively give gift cards. This year, I found some ideas on Pinterest.
- I found a husband's letter he wrote as a gift to his wife. I just changed some words. This introduced me to the idea of "a monthly adventure for the year".
- I went to Hobby Lobby to purchase a shoe box, stickers and envelopes, but then I saw this trunk!! It was perfect!
- I found stickers that said, "Adventure Awaits". I loved the idea!
- Every month's envelope has a different experience that is pre-planned and pre-paid (mostly). The gift cards are places we go anyway: Movies, picnics, laser tag, go carts, the beach and Redneck Island, Christmas lights, pumpkin patch...etc.....I added some extra adventures, like horseback riding that I think they will absolutely love. (I can't believe I hadn't thought of that sooner.)
- We will take pictures at every outing and those pictures will go back into this box. In years to come they will have a trunk full of memories with their Nonna to fondly look back on.
Date Cards - by Denise Slater
The Why - A few years ago, my husband and I wanted to find a way to give more individual time to our kids. We live multiple states away from our families. This means we do most everything as a family, except for our date nights when we pay for a sitter.
We have triplet boys, so we don’t have different times to spend when a younger child is napping, or an older child is in school. To solve this, we came up with “date cards”.
They are given to them in their stockings. It is always one of their favorite gifts!
We currently give them three “dates with Daddy”, three “dates with Mommy”, and three “stay up late” cards to be used for the next year. The categories for this year are “Kid’s Choice”, “Parent’s Choice” and “Both Choose”.
The How - The first year we gave choices on the cards for different dates. The next year we gave less specific choices because we learned that some are weather related. The third year we learned to give date ranges on the cards to keep us accountable.
We have done different activities such as an escape room, the movies, disk golf, hiking, Skyzone, Chuck-e-Cheese, painting party, crafting, etc. (My husband now has a “no Chuck-e-Cheese clause for his dates. Haha!) Our “stay up late” cards are just that. Individually they get to stay up 30 min later than their brothers and pick something to do with both Daddy and Mommy. Most times it ends up being a board game or card game.
We have found that three dates per child, per parent works best for us. That is 18 different times a year that we schedule to go out, while the other two kids and parent are home. This would work easier for those parents of two kids to two dates in one night. While my parents were visiting from Michigan this past spring, we were able to do three dates in three nights while they had individual time with each of our kids also!
This has been an amazing experience to spend individual time with our boys. Giving them our undivided attention, without them competing with their brothers, brings out different sides to them. Our quiet child talks nonstop. Our boisterous child tends to be more reflective. Our creative child shows more insight. We are giving them the gift of time.
Our boys are tweens. Oh, that is hard to write the word “tween”! We are praying that these individual times invested will help us roll easier into the teen years to spend time with each of our boys. This gift of individual time has not only been great for our boys, but a blessing for my husband and me. I hope this will be a blessing to your family.
A Day to Remember - by Lesley Guilaran
The Why - The idea for our family Christmas gift ironically began in the toy aisle at Target. It was a hot August day, and I remarked to my husband that this was the time of year I started to look for gifts for the kids for Christmas, since Target clearanced toys in August.
He looked at me and said, “I think I’m done getting them toys for Christmas.
Every year they open them, play with them for a little bit, and then they are finished. It’s just silly.” Inside, my heart was rejoicing! I had been wanting to give our kids experiences as gifts for awhile, so we began talking about that idea on that day.
At first, we thought of some grand plan to go to a different city, almost like a mini-vacation. However, our oldest son has autism, and this past fall was a difficult season. Traveling to another city seemed to be a bit too much for him to handle, so we sat on the idea for a few months.
About three weeks before Christmas, I was listening to a blog post from “The Lazy Genius”. She was discussing this very topic and the idea of giving experiences, like a family movie box filled with pajamas, special snacks, and a movie for the family to watch together. I thought, “YES!!!” This is the family gift I have been looking for! Not some grand plan, but something simple; creating a beautiful memory out of something not so fancy.
One very important lesson that autism has taught our family, is to see the beautiful in the ordinary. So, ideas began churning in my head, and the one we landed on was to have a day in the small city we live in with our family.
The How - Each person in the family could pick one place they wanted to go. We would pile in the car and go to each place one afternoon. The funny thing was, we didn’t really go anywhere new! I chose the Old Town Spaghetti Store, my youngest chose SkyZone, my oldest chose The Green Frog Cafe (for coffee, of course!), and my husband chose to watch the sunset from a high point in our city, which just happens to be the Dairy Queen parking lot overlooking Wal-Mart!
We made a schedule for my oldest so he could handle all the transitions and off we went! At the end of the day, everyone said their favorite part was drinking our coffee or eating ice cream (depending on what they chose) and watching the sunset in the car. Our youngest LOVED it and said, “Can we do this again next year, Mom?”
It was really the best; we all felt it.
The gift of time is the best gift we could have given our kids. We have all loved it. They have not missed the tangible gifts at all, and honestly, that makes my Momma heart full!
Make time. These three friends have been intentional to make family time happen. I hope these ideas have gotten your wheels spinning.
What better gift can you give your family this year than the gift of being intenional to spend time with them?
May this be more than just a spark in your "want to"; may it ignite a fire in your soul to make time with those you love.
**If you want a copy of the downloadable to go along with this post, please share your email and we'll zip it over to you! <3
How about you? Do you have any neat ways you "make time" for family time? Please share as we'd love to hear about it!
Tammy Valdivia - Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
Find us on Facebook here.
Countless babies have been born into this world, and yet only one has the biggest holiday set to celebrate its birth. But why? What’s so special about a baby? About this baby?
The Bible tells us that from the beginning of creation, God had been in contact with His people in some way. But when Jesus was born into the world it was an interesting time, because for the previous 400 years leading up to His birth, God had been silent. This silence was broken only shortly before Jesus birth, proclaiming the coming Messiah!
The Jewish people (also called Israelites) had been completely disobedient to God and consequently, had been handed over to their enemies. Upon their return to their homeland they wanted to get it right with God this time. This caused them to go in the completely opposite direction. Instead of worshiping idols, like they had in the past, it was no longer tolerated. In fact, they made up a number of their own new religious rules leaving them with over 600 regulations for daily conduct.
Even for a rule follower such as myself who thrives from knowing what is right and wrong, this is more than overwhelming!
Then came Jesus.
The Bible says that His young mother was a virgin and that Jesus was placed in her by the Holy Spirit, therefore Jesus would be called, ‘The Son of God’. Luke 2:52 tells us that Jesus grew in “Wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man”. (Just as a side note, this is a great scripture to pray over your children. Who more do we want our kids to be like than Jesus?)
Long before Jesus was born, God spoke to His people through prophets. Many prophecies had been made about how people could recognize the Savior when he came. In fact, 456 predictions were made about Jesus in the Old Testament (the first part of the Bible). Mathematicians and some people much smarter than me, concluded that if Jesus was able to fulfill just 48 of these predictions it would be a miracle because it was an absolute improbability. Not only did Jesus fulfill more than 48 of these predictions, He fulfilled every single one of them! All 456! Outside of the power of God this could not have been done. Because of this we know that Jesus really is the Son of God.
As He grew, Jesus lived a sinless life. We see Him stand strong when Satan tempts Him. This again is impossible for any human being. There are days when, with God’s help, we are able to fight against Satan’s tactics to draw us in to sin, but not one person alive today or that has ever lived, or ever will live, is able to go their entire lives without messing up, making mistakes, sinning. But Jesus did.
And then comes the most important part of all. If we go all the way back to the beginning of the Bible, we see that every time someone sinned God required them to make an offering to cover their sin. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God and realized they were naked, they were ashamed and hid from God. In order to cover their nakedness and their sin, God used the skin of animals to make them clothing. This required the blood shed of the innocent animal. The Bible goes on to explain, how God established a process for His people, which required the sacrifice of a spotless animal to cover their sin.
As we come to the end of Jesus’ short life, we see Him become that final, spotless, innocent, blood sacrifice. He doesn’t fight back when the officials torture Him and nail His hands and feet to a cross. Although just hours before, we see Him praying and asking God if there could be another way, He knows this is God’s will and His plan to save the world. And He willingly gives His life as a sacrifice.
The Bible tells us that those who choose to believe in Jesus and accept His sacrifice to cover their sins are saved. If we are saved, our sins are forgiven. Every sin I have ever committed and every sin I will ever commit is covered by Jesus blood and it is forgiven when I choose Him. If we are saved, we are also free from the law. Remember the 600 plus religious regulations the Jewish people had to fulfill each day? Not anymore. They were free! And we can be, too. Choosing Jesus means that I have God’s Holy Spirit to walk with me and direct me through this life.If we are saved,then when wedie, we get to live eternally with God in heaven. I can do none of these things on my own. I cannot pay for my sin with money. I cannot earn credit toward my sin by being good, giving, or helping others. In fact, the Bible says Jesus is absolutely the only way and there is no other!
So why do we celebrate this baby at Christmas? This is why. We celebrate His birth, but also the life He lived and the sacrifice He made. My prayer for you today is that you have chosen Him as your sacrifice and your Savior. If not, then let today be that day!
Helpful Resources in learning more about God’s plan for us through Jesus:
Helpful resources in learning more about God's plan through Jesus:
1. Read the Old Testament and learn about the sacrifices the people had to make to cover their sin? Do you want to see for yourself all of the prophecies that were predicted and fulfilled? Check out this easy to read and understand Bible called The Story. There is also a Kids Edition, and a Student Edition.
2. Want to know more about choosing Jesus for yourself? Click here to check out our What We Believe Page! Plus click the mail icon below to email us at ByFaithSheGirls@ByFaithShe.com to ask questions or tell us about your decision! We'd love to hear.
Compassion is a funny thing. I really believe you either have it or you don’t. I don’t. Isn’t God hilarious putting me with a person who is completely compassionate and who has a debilitating disease?
Twenty six years ago I was six months pregnant and in the front yard with my compassionate husband. We bought a live Christmas tree; the one with the bulb of dirt on it that weighs a ton. We had this tree in the back of the pickup truck; Steve grabbed it and took it off the truck to the ground. He looked at me with a funny face, not a haha-funny but weird funny.and said, “I can’t feel my hand touching this tree.”
Over the next few months, he lost the feeling in both hands, feet and throat, all totally numb. He began to have trouble with his vision and with tingling in his face. Over the next few years he lost the ability to walk for four months, he had lots of vision problems, and his legs went numb up to his knees.
We went to every doctor that we felt would be able to identify the problem. We visited Vanderbilt, Emory, The Multiple Sclerosis Center of Atlanta, The Shepherd Center, and several local neurologists. One of the neurologists suggested that Steve was having these problems because he was depressed due to his grandmother’s recent death. He wasn’t depressed and these symptoms had been going on for a number of years. I really would rather the doctor just said, “I don’t know what is wrong.” That was the beginning of a very long journey with no diagnosis.
The first doctor to say the words multiple sclerosis was Dr. Eddie Duncan. It was early in the process, and he was doing an examination of Steve’s eyes. He backed away from him for a moment and said, “Steve I think you have MS.”
This all began in 1993; in August of 2005 Steve had a major relapse. He lost the vision in his left eye which has never returned. The whole right eye lost its color and was blurred. The right eye got much better over the next few months, and he was able to drive to and from work. Christmas 2005 we went to Washington, D.C. to my sister’s house. Steve began to have a relapse while we were there, so we headed home knowing that we would need our local doctors to give him proper care. On the way home he pulled over the car for gas around Jellico Mountain. He quietly came to me away from our children and said words that still make me cry. “You’re going to have to drive the rest of the way home. I can’t see well enough to drive.” That was the last time he drove a car… unless you count the times he gets into our car with his cane hanging out the window, but that is another story.
Over the next few days the darkness in his eye slowly closed and on January 1, 2006, no vision at all. My husband has not seen me, our children, three new cars, renovations to our house, many of our friends, babies born into our families, and many, many other things since that day. Sara was twelve and Molly was nine when he went blind. I don’t know if you know my family, but they have changed a lot since then. I am really not trying to be dramatic, but these are the things that still sting.
On day two of blindness, my husband made a big decision. He was afraid, he did not have independence, and he was in darkness. He took God’s hand and said, “I will not stop; You are in control of everything, take control of my life. Help me be who I need to be for my family and myself.” (Do you hear the Rocky music in your head?) That was the beginning of miracle after miracle in our lives.
God showed up in a BIG way for us. He allowed Steve to be sifted and broken, but it has been a journey of God’s excellence. One of my favorite pastors has a motto: “Excellence is our best, and God’s expectation.” That embodies what our family has experienced since blindness. We give God our best and He does the rest.
Often I feel like my best is not very much, then God will take it and multiply it. Some days we don’t like it, some days we don’t give God our best, but He is faithful and comforts us and usually brings someone into our paths that rejuvenates our spirit.
As I sit here today writing about this experience, I long for days that are easier. It has been thirteen years of blindness, and 26 years of sickness, financial ruin, and uncertainty about what tomorrow will bring. It brings sadness over me that a big part of our lives has been stolen. We loved to antique shop, but close your eyes and go shopping around priceless antiques- we don’t do that anymore. Close your eyes and try to walk through the grocery store or your house. I used to close my eyes and try to experience what my compassionate husband is experiencing; it would give me a panic attack. Once Steve caught me doing that, and he smacked me on the top of the head and said, “STOP THAT, God has not given you the grace to be blind, He has given you the grace to live with a blind person.” He is right.
To those of you who tell me, “I could not do it,” I say, “Yes, you could.” God has given me, Sara and Molly the grace to have compassion, strength, mercy, patience, and a multitude of other things that go along with loving a blind person. He gave Steve the grace to be blind. It is a beautiful thing too. Come live a day in my life sometime; it is not sad or gloomy. God does miracles every day in and through Steve Morgan. I may not be compassionate, but God overwhelms me with His compassion and His ability to turn something the world sees as bad into miraculous.
Miracles are serious business. I am a self-proclaimed fliberty gibit, so I don’t get serious very often. But, here we go. Some of the miracles our family has witnessed first hand are deep and life changers. Let’s talk about that first, I got pretty mad at God for the hardships that MS and the obstacles that blindness brought to my young family. God gave me a promise during that anger discussion with Him that He has kept. “God what is the pain of a disability this drastic going to do to my children?” His answer and now reality is “I will make your children strong women of courage and strength for MY purposes”. Yes, they are.
“God why would you give me all of these obstacles to overcome when all I have done since nine years old is praise you and worship your name”. God put a fire in my belly that has been there for about fifteen years that is mighty. I’m not mighty, HE is mighty in me. I’m not afraid to step forward to pray with someone who is hurting or speak truth into someone who God puts on my heart. I know His strength and His plan is flawless, I’ve had a front row seat while He changed our hearts. Changed my heart. Gave us everything we need one day at a time. I can go forward after checking my heart with clarity. THAT my friend is a miracle..
On a lighter note, we left Steve standing at the car on our first outing with blindness, to a local restaurant. Yep, he just stood there until Molly noticed he was not with us. Determined to not let this or anything else stop us we went to the mall and to the restaurant on day three of blindness. You know when a dog gets tagged by a car and runs to a corner to lick his wounds… that was us when we got home. Silent and scared to death.
He also wound up alone on a subway in New York City. A mission group from our church changed plans at the last moment and everyone stepped off of the subway, but they forgot to tell the blind man. Sara almost had a stroke, but Steve found a woman who helped him find his way, in return he told her about Jesus, and she found her way.
I could write a book, no seriously, a book about the lives that my family has had the God-given privilege to minister to through the story of our challenges. If we are transparent, God will take our pain and turn it into ministry. Thank you God for that and for these loving things that we thought may silence us. Thank you God for loving us enough to give us your depth. Those words come from pain that I would not have chosen
My hope and prayer is that our story brings out your story and you start looking for the miracles that God has for your life.
Cheri Morgan is a third generation Christian. She lives in Cleveland TN with her husband of 31 years, Steve Morgan. She is a new Mimi to Emery Suits. Her children are all in Ministry; Sara and Mack Suits minister at 12 Stone Church in Lawrenceville, GA while Molly and David Benavides live in Cleveland working in retail and finishing college.
Cheri is an educator at Cleveland High School. Former Investigator for the State of Tennessee District Attorney’s General.
Click the book to order on Amazon
“Go tell it on the mountain“(office, playground, sidewalk, gym, phone –you get the picture)
When you think about Christmas carols, does “Go Tell it on the Mountain” make your list of favorites? It’s not always up there on mine but maybe it should be.
Consider this. We love to sing songs about Jesus’ birth, quiet nights, little towns where miracles happened and all the other feel good lyrics. BUT do we love to be challenged about our need to share Jesus with others? To tell people what a difference He can make in their lives if they will just choose to accept Him?
Get this. These next few weeks are the time in the year when t is most socially acceptable to talk about Jesus and yet so many of us believers are SO SO busy that we just don’t have time to have those Jesus conversations or start relationships with those who don’t know Him. I truly LOVE all the great ideas we share about keeping Christ in Christmas with our kids and families but could we agree to think outside the box a bit this year?
One of the best ways we can keep making Christmas all about Jesus for our families is to set the example of talking about Him to ALL the people we come in contact with. Even if the lines are long or the check out person is slow or rude, or someone cut in front of you or got the last whatever that was on sale….these and many others are all opportunities we have to speak Jesus and share Him.
Confession time. I may be writing about this but it’s not because I’m the best at it—rather it’s because I found that unless I’m intentional about this concept it is easy to let it slip by me. Over the years I have missed many, many opportunities to bring Jesus up in my conversations to the point that I developed a couple of resources to help keep me on track throughout the year. One is general themed and one is Christmas themed and then this year the Lord had me take this type of evangelism to a whole new level and I developed a resource called “Everything Summed Up” which is designed to help us be intentional about building relationships with people who don’t know Jesus and who are nothing like us.
I’m thinking that the Lord has called us to go tell it (HIM) on the mountain, at the school, at work, in the neighborhood and yes, even at Wal Mart. It’s not so much about the places we sing about but the attitude that is behind our actions. Do we love people enough to want to share with them the gift that keeps on giving? His Word tells us the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. If we love our neighbors then we will want them to know Jesus. How good of a job are we doing on that this year?
Amusement parks are not my forte. So when we decided to visit a popular amusement park, I knew I needed help planning. One of my friends is an expert of this particular park, so it made sense to ask her the best places to eat, what sites were a must see, and what rides were worth the 1-hour long wait.
Sure enough, she zipped over a detailed email outlining the best ways to get the most bang for our buck. I forwarded her info to each of my family members and saved it to the top of my email list for easy reference.
While we could’ve navigated the park with our own game plan, our visit was so much better because we chose to defer to her vast knowledge of a park we’ve never experienced resulting in a thrilling, fun packed adventure.
Unfortunately, most of life’s decisions aren’t even remotely related to navigating amusement parks.
Real life issues tend to focus more on:
Tricky job scenarios
Heart-wrenching health diagnosis
Financial gain or loss
"How could this have happened?” situations.
“What should I do?” scenerios?
Real life problems and situations require expert advice, sound counsel, and unwavering wisdom.
Thankfully, we have to look no further than Isaiah 9:6, which describes the character of God wrapped up in the gift of His Son, Jesus.
For a Child will be born to us,
A Son will be given to us,
And the government will rest on His shoulders:
And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.
Wonderful Counselor. My friend, His counsel is a wonder! It’s amazing! It’s awe-inspiring! It's miraculous!
And where better to look this season than at the Christmas story which shows us a glimpse of how His counsel is indeed wonderful, wrapped up in one of Christmas’s unsung heroes, Joseph.
Joseph’s world probably seemed all right and orderly until the woman he was engaged -- Mary, a godly woman, a virgin -- told him she was pregnant.
Not quite the news he would expect from her.
Being a righteous man though, he considered his options and elected to send her away secretly so as not to disgrace her in a day where a pregnancy before marriage usually resulted in being stoned to death.
Apparently, this secretly sending her away seemed the best course of action.
But God. God stepped in and suggested a different course of action setting him on the course of a life way better than he could have ever imagined!
Four times in Scripture (Matthew 1&2) we see Joseph choosing to follow God’s counsel over his own, starting with Mary.
1st time - God sent an angel to tell Joseph in a dream that it was all right to take Mary as his wife, for indeed his heart's greatest desire was wrapped as a gift in the womb of his betrothed.
By faith, Joseph obeyed God’s counsel — that went against his own — and chose Mary as his wife.
2nd time - Soon after he had made this decision, an order arrived from Rome commanding all citizens to return to their hometown for a census. Mary’s pregnancy had progressed to the point of nearing the delivery of This Christ child, but Joseph felt compelled to go to Bethlehem. Can you imagine him knowing she was so close to delivery and having to ask her to leave her home and family?
By faith, Joseph trusted God’s timing and traveled to Bethlehem with a very pregnant wife.
3rd time - Having settled in a dwelling place in Bethlehem in which to raise the Christ child, Joseph received an urgent message from the Lord to uproot his young family and flee to Egypt — a place so opposite of his own customs and language and food, etc. — to escape a mad ruler’s death edict.
By faith, Joseph followed God’s counsel and left the comforts of everything familiar to protect the Christ child.
4th time - When it was finally time to return to Israel, instead of returning to his hometown of Bethlehem, the Lord advised him to go to Nazareth.
By faith, Joseph followed God’s counsel, curtailing his desire to return to his hometown.
Like us, Joseph faced tough decisions; marriage, obeying the law of man, his family's safety, and where was the best place to raise his family. God, in His kindness, didn't leave Joseph to wonder and guess which way was right, but He was faithful to walk Joseph thru them victoriously.
Did you catch that? Victoriously!
God's counsel isn’t only wonderful in Joseph's story; it’s wonderful today with any issue you face! Dear one, just as it was true for Joseph, so it is for you, also!
Our minds cannot begin to comprehend the depth of His amazing, life-giving wisdom!
Why are we negligent to seek His counsel first and foremost? Better yet, why don’t we heed it when He does send it?
It all boils down to trust.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And lean not on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
And He will make your path straight.
Joseph lived as if he believed Proverbs 3:5-6. He humbled himself and followed God's counsel, entrusting the results to Him.
So should we!
Dear one, does your life illustrate an unwavering trust in the counsel of God thru thick and thin? Think about situations you are wrestling with. Like Joseph, allow God’s wonderful counsel to become part of your story, a story with a way better ending than the one you could ever imagine.
May your life's tagline declare, "By faith, ___________, trusted God's counsel over her own."
Father God, thank you for the gift of Your wonderful counsel. Forgive me for areas where I choose to follow my own or other's counsel over Yours. Change my heart. Increase my faith to trust Your counsel even when I don't understand and my flesh rebels. May my mind and heart embrace your counsel as wonderful and more desirable than any advice man can give. In the powerful name of Jesus, Amen!
For further reading:
The Gift that Keeps Giving
When God Doesn't Move Mountains
Is God Good When Life Isn't?
Tammy Valdivia - Jesus Girl. Wife. Momma. Student. Teacher. Lover of milky coffee, dark chocolate, lively laughter, deep talks and a front row seat on the beach at sunrise.
Follow us on Facebook here.
That title sounds ridiculous doesn’t it? Why would anyone work on being out of God’s will? But consider this, have you ever tried to make something happen that you really thought was for the best? You saw a clear vision of “God’s plan” and you pushed and worked and forced it to happen just the way you saw that it needed to be? Have you ever looked back at a situation like that and wondered, “Did God do that, or did I? Was that His will, or mine?”
I am a “Make it happen” “Get it done” kind of person myself. When the Lord calls me to something, I am full force ahead until the goal is accomplished. But recently, He has been calling me to something different. In multiple situations, He has called me to wait on Him and His timing.
In one example it happened like this. A couple of weeks ago, I became burdened over a friend’s tough situation. As I prayed over her dilemma, I felt The Lord put some things on my heart that would be an answer to her problems. I immediately reached for my phone and began typing a text that would fix everything!
Just as I was about to hit send, I heard in my spirit The Lord whisper the word “wait”. “Wait?” I thought! This can’t wait. Its urgent. She needs to take care of this problem right
As the conversation between The Lord and I played out, I realized He was calling me to do nothing. Well, not really nothing. He was calling me to pray! Pray for my friend. Pray for His will to be done in her situation. Pray that she would seek Him for herself.
Her Heavenly Father wanted to be the one to give her the answers she needed, not me. He wanted to be the Savior of her dilemma, not me. He wanted to work in a way that only He could take credit for the outcome, not me. And He wanted the end result to be one that only He could receive the glory from, not me.
1 John 5:14 says, “This is the confidence we have before him; If we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears whatever we ask, we know that we have what we have asked of Him.”
What more could I desire? God hears my prayer when I pray according to His will. So, if I continue to pray over this situation, that God’s will be done, then I can trust that it will!
Questions to Pray Over Before We Act:
In this situation, do I want my will or God’s will?
Is God calling me to play an active role in this situation, or is my role prayer and patience?
Is this my problem or is it someone else’s? If this is the problem of a friend, are they even asking for my help or input?
Am I reacting in my flesh, or am I being Spirit lead?
Am I consulting the God ordained authorities in my life, or am I pushing through, going around, or even behind them to make things happen?
Am I being consistent in praying God’s will over this situation, and allowing Him to lead?
Am I being sensitive and obedient to the “Waits” the Lord whispers to my Spirit?
For a go getter personality, waiting is one of the hardest things to do and patience does not come naturally. But, it is absolutely beautiful to sit back and watch God work out an issue in a way that only HE could! And more than anything, I want to be right in the center of HIS will!
I’m still praying over my friend. I am praying that she would cry out to God, and that He would reveal HIS plan to her. I am praying that I will be filled with His Spirit so that I can have patience and be persistent in my petitions on her behalf. And I am praying that some day soon, we will have a new God Sized Miracle Story to share!
Audra and her husband Jordan are called to ministry and he is the senior pastor at their church. They have two beautiful children who bring them tons of joy, lots of laughs, and on occasion new grey hair. She is a former teacher who still loves to teach, enjoys cooking and baking, and has a passion to lead other women to know Jesus and live out their faith in Him.
We all have our own style when it comes to raising our kids! But, its great to be able to share what works or doesn't work to advise and encourage each other. The funny thing is, the idea of this survey was actually born out of my own wondering, "What do other parents do in this situation." Having middle schoolers and teenagers is a new thing at our house, and I often find myself asking that question. So, whether you have littles, or bigger kids, or even if you don't have any children, we would love to know,"What would you do in the following situations?"