If You’re Free, Prove It!

“Either sin is lying on your shoulders, or it is lying on Christ, The Lamb of God- and if it is resting on Christ, you are free.” – Martin Luther


Do you consider yourself gullible? Will you believe anything and everything out of someone’s mouth? You are someone who trusts easily, and you take people at their word always! Or are you more of a sceptic? You want proof! You’ve been fooled one too many times and it’s not happening this time. You don’t believe it unless you see it for yourself. To be honest, I’m kinda both. It really depends more on the person and/or the situation for me. I wanna believe everyone, but sometimes what others are claiming well, it’s just too far-fetched for me.

But, there is definitely one thing I am hopeful people believe about me personally. I hope that I daily prove it through my actions and through my words. What is that one thing you might ask? Well, it’s that I’m free. You see, I have found freedom in Christ Jesus. And I know that I am no longer a slave to fear. That my true identity lies in the freedom He has given me and that I no longer need to carry the weight of all my sins. I am Free! And, man what an awesome feeling that is. When you truly believe you are free it changes you. And you can’t deny the difference it makes in your daily life. So, today lets talk about what freedom looks like to me. I want us to all see what it really looks like to live a life that proves you are free indeed. My hope is that this weeks blog helps you see ways to live a life where others don’t have to ask you for proof because they can see it with their own eyes.

Walking In Freedom

“Freedom is being so in love with Christ that you do exactly what you want to do and it accords with Christ.” (John Piper) I love that quote!! So many times when you hear people speaking of Christianity all you hear is talk of “rules” or “laws” as if you never get to do anything! That is sooo wrong. What most don’t realize is, to live in obedience for God is actually to know freedom. As backwards as that may sound to some, it’s true. Christ came to set us free. Not to set up a bunch of rules and regulations we must follow to be free. But, it is up to us to decide we want to walk in that freedom. And truthfully, we are often our own roadblock because we get caught up in the “rules”, the do’s and don’ts.

Freedom isn’t found in following rules. It’s found in Him. In truly seeking to know Him. Jesus isn’t concerned about religion, He is concerned about the relationship. He wants to walk in freedom along side you. 2 Corinthians 3:17 says, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of The Lord is, there is freedom.” That same Spirit lives in you! Do you understand the power of that? I hope you do. Listen, religion sets rules. Jesus sets free. Know the difference!

Repeat After Me

Repeat after me: I Am Free!!! Did you believe it, or just say the words? There is a big difference. Saying you are free and actually believing it (and acting like it) are very different things. If I were to ask your co-workers or 5 of your closest friends, what would they say? Do they know you are a Jesus follower? How about your Facebook page. Do the things you write, share, or post show your freedom found in Christ? People around are always watching. And as the old saying goes, actions speak louder than words.

“The freedom of the Christian is not the freedom to do whatever he or she wants, but freedom to obey God-willingly, joyfully, naturally.” (John MacArthur) This freedom we claim to have should be evident to all around us. Now, that doesn’t mean we don’t have off or bad days, come on! we are still human! But, it does mean that we try our best to be obedient. To daily say we will willingly pick up our cross and follow Him publicly, on social media, in our workplace and where ever we may go. Not just on Sunday mornings when it’s easy. Christians should be the best employees, parents, friends, etc. Why? Because we are called to stand out. To live a life that points to Him. That leads others to say: I Am Free!

Called To Live In Freedom

“You my brothers and sisters, were called to be free.” (Galatians 5:13) Alright, so you believe it, live it and are walking in freedom. Others know it and you are working hard on building your relationship with Him. And then boom! Out of nowhere your past comes creeping in. You let the devil in your head and you start doubting your freedom. This is exactly what the devil wants. He is trying to keep you from living the life you’ve been called to live.

Look, I’ve been there. I get it. It is so easy to fall back into believing you aren’t forgiven, you aren’t free and that your past defines you. I was that person. But here’s the deal. Christ came. He died. And His resurrection set us free no matter what the Devil wants us to think. There is nothing so big or so bad in your past that He can’t forgive. Christ has set you free from your past and He has called you to live in freedom from bondage, from fear, from addiction, from lies, etc. Don’t pick up what He has already handled. It’s done. Its forgiven. And you are free of your old self. Listen, you will know you’ve made the right decision when there is peace in your heart and freedom in your soul. That’s what freedom in Christ will do. Don’t be so busy holding on to your past that you miss out on the freedom right in front of you! Even if that means looking in the mirror every single day and saying to yourself, “I am not broken. I am not hopeless. I am not forgotten. I am not bound by sin. I am a new creation. I am Free.”.

Final Thoughts

I really do hope you’ve found freedom in Him. It’s so amazing! And it never gets old. Sharing my story with you all has really meant stepping out of my comfort zone but I’m so thankful that I have the freedom to do so. And I tell my story not so that I get fame, but so that others may know Him. That they may seek to know Him better and more freely. Because ultimately, that’s all life is about. Growing the kingdom of God one person at a time. Thank you so much for reading and I do hope you will share my blog with others who may need to find the freedom He offers to all! You are loved.

“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand Firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.” – Galatians 5:1



A Forgotten Identity

“I am the daughter of a King who forgot my name.” – L.L. Tyrrell

All to often you hear on the news or from a friend about stolen identity. Someone pretends to be you, opens up a credit card, bank account, or something along those lines and it creates this nightmare of a situation for you to deal with. Or maybe you have a loved one who has dementia and is slowly starting to forget their name, or even their identity all together. Both of these situations are awful to live through. One causes you a major headache, while the other horrendous heartache. But, that’s not the situation I’m talking about. You see, there is another situation I’d like to talk about today. One, unlike the other two, that we tend to create ourselves. I’m talking about forgetting our true identity. The one we are given at birth.

Our heavenly Father calls us chosen, His children, forgiven and free. So why is it we aren’t able to always look in the mirror and see ourselves that way? Why do we seem to struggle to get past our past? Our failures don’t define us, yet we all to often seem to camp out there. We allow the world or people in to tell us our worth. We let our bank account define if we are successful. We let our size define if we are pretty. I could go on and on! The Bible doesn’t say anywhere we must be perfect, a certain stature, wealthy or specific size to deserve to be called a Child of God, so why do we add that in there? Today I want to discuss what it looks like to have a case of forgotten identity. To show you who He says you are to Him, and why that matters so much.


I am not the girl with tons of friends. Never have been. I don’t have a busy social calendar, or host tons of people over at my house. I’m not typically what most would consider popular. And to be perfectly honest, that used to bother me. Like, a lot! I would often (especially in my younger years) sit and wonder what is it about me that doesn’t attract people? Why do I often get left out? Why don’t I have more friends? Now obviously the older you get, the smaller your circle tends to become but for me, my circle was never really big anyway. I was often the “tag along” friend, or at least that’s what I labeled myself. I struggled to really find where I belonged and it didn’t help that I was over weight even in to my mid 20’s. So, yet another label I created for myself was the “fat friend”. Both of these labels affected my relationships with others. As the tag along friend I never really let myself feel appreciated by others. I assumed they just let me tag along. Not that they chose to be my friend. And by labeling myself the fat friend, I assumed people only saw my weight and not the real me inside. Lies. All Lies! I was letting these lies I made up about myself control me. For many years I lived this way. And I honestly feel I missed out on some great relationships due to these labels I placed on myself.

Thankfully I no longer allow those lies to control me. At the stage of life I’m in currently, and after many shed tears (and lost pounds), I no longer see myself as those labels. Sure, I still don’t have many friends and I still carry some weight on my hips but you know what? That’s ok. Wanna know why? Because God. Because Scripture tells me different. Because I learned that who I am in Christ matters more than what I think or even what others think or tell me about myself. Only He is allowed to label me. And that label reads CHOSEN. It doesn’t read bad mom, unforgiven, over weight, friendless, lost or dumb. So who am I to add to the list of who He says I am? Do I still struggle from time to time? Of course! Who doesn’t? But, I now know where to turn and who to turn to when I have bad days. Because He will always find a way to remind me of my true identity which can only be found in Him.

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.

His Children

While my story isn’t the norm so to speak, I also know I am not the only person out there who has lost both parents early in life. I know there are also those who have parents that are simply uninvolved or not in the picture. It’s a tough way to go through life either way. You feel a sense of abandonment. As if the world has dealt you a crappy hand. Trust me, I get it. I felt that way for many years. Angry at God for leaving me an orphan in my 20’s. But the truth of the matter is, I was never alone or an orphan. I just simply chose to see it that way. I needed a healthy dose of perspective which He gladly gave me.

While some of us have lost our earthly parent or parents, that does not automatically equal orphan. It is an awful thing to experience and I wish daily I still had my parents here. That will never change. But I still have a Father. One who loves me unconditionally. Who cares for me far more than gold. One who sets the example that I am to follow. Someone who leads, guides and directs my every step. Sounds a lot like a parent, right? Your Heavenly Father will never leave you, never forsake you and loves you more than you will ever comprehend. You are His. And he calls you His child. So no matter the hand life has dealt you when it comes to parents, please know you are not alone and you are not an orphan. He gives your orphan heart a name, and that name is Child of God.

 John 1:12-13

 Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God  children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.


Free and Forgiven

Out of all the identities found in Him, this is my favorite! Mostly because this is probably the area I struggled in the most. For a long time I decided I was unworthy of forgiveness. That I could never be free of the mistakes of my past. That the choices I had made, the consequences of my actions well, they defined me. Some of this logic came from what I thought of myself, but a lot of it came from what others had said or thought of me. And I let that in. I let the thoughts and opinions of others make me feel unloved and unworthy. As people chose to walk away, judge me and talk down to me I decided they must know more about me than I do. They must see the me I refuse to see. The unlovable, unforgivable me. As I started to believe this about myself, I quickly spiraled downhill and turned into a person I’m ashamed of. Angry, bitter and full of hate. Not qualities I’m proud of at all. I took it out on anyone around me, anyone and everyone. I built up walls and refused to let anyone in ever again. I turned to things like alcohol to make me fun, to make me numb. But at the end of the day, none of that fixed the root problem. It really only added to it.

Over the last few years, God slowly started tearing those walls down. In order to heal, He knew we needed to deal with this one layer at a time. I had wounds buried so deep that I had honestly forgotten how they even got there. Things I had been called, lies that had been told, all twisted words that had taken such control over my life that I believed they were who I was. For awhile I wore a mask, I didn’t want people to see the ugly truth..that I was a mess! That I had issues that for years had gone unresolved. But, Jesus told me it was time to take off that mask. It was time to reveal the real me. The me that was lost, the one who was broken. Because I couldn’t heal with that mask on. And healing was what I desperately needed. So today, as I write this blog I am free. Free from my past, free from the judgment of others. And forgiven of the choices I made. Yet, I am also beautifully broken and that’s ok too. I had to learn that God can use broken people to do His work and that’s why I write. To show others what He can do when we let Him have complete control. I’m so incredibly thankful for the freedom I have found in Him and that He forgave this broken mess.

Galatians 5:13 

You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.


Final Thoughts

I hope that you read this blog and find encouragement. I hope that you see that God can use anyone no matter where they are in life. And most of all I hope you see how loved you are. Gods love, His forgiveness and His acceptance is for all. Don’t believe the devils lies. He will use people, situations or anything He can to make you think you are unworthy. For years I let Him win. But no more! I took a stand and I will not back down. I am so thankful for the people God placed along the path to who I am now. The ones that got me here. People who spoke truth into my life. People who could help me see who I am really am. People who prayed for me and for my family. I hope you have those people in your life. If not, I pray God sends them your way. As always, thanks so much for reading. I’d love for you to share my post with someone who you feel may need to read it. Have a blessed day, friend!

Face the Facts

“Denying the truth doesn’t change the facts.”

Facts are facts. There is no changing that truth. For example, you can’t argue with someone about the fact that we will all die one day. No matter what you do, how much you exercise, how well you watch what you eat, etc. you will still die one day. Depressing for some of you to hear, I know. But sorry, it’s true. Sometimes though, we face some things in life that we often like to pretend we can change when in reality we know that’s not really the case. I mean, who wouldn’t like to change the fact that money doesn’t actually grow on trees? Or that eating an entire bag of chips isn’t in fact good for you?

This is true as well when it comes to our faith. There are so many facts throughout the Bible that all to often we think either don’t apply to us, or that if we try hard enough we can even change. Oh! And lets not forget to mention, we also sometimes just simply struggle to understand how to apply what we read. But… you may be siting there thinking, “Well actually isn’t Christianity more based on blind faith, and less on facts?”. Truthfully, my answer to that is yes and no. It does take an aspect of blind faith to call yourself a Christian. You’re deciding to believe in something and someone you can’t actually see yes, but I also believe the Word of God is written truth full of facts about Jesus and about what He has in mind for believers. I’d like to talk about a few things I believe are true facts about Christianity. Facts that some people either struggle with accepting, think they can change, or simply don’t feel applies to them. I know sometimes it’s hard to face the facts, but we don’t grow when things are easy. We grow when we face challenges.


Fact 1. God never said that weapons would not form. He said they would not prosper. All to often I feel some people come to Christianity with this idea that if I “Believe” or when I “follow” I will become invincible. Nothing bad will happen anymore. No one will come against me any longer. Well I’m sorry, but that just isn’t true. That’s not how this works. I mean really, don’t you think if that were the case churches would have lines of people wrapped around the building waiting to get in?

In this life, you will face troubles. You will experience hardships that seem to knock you down. We all will, believers and non-believers. That my friend is a fact. But, the difference is as believers, you never have to face it alone! Why? Because He has overcome the world. (John 16:33) What ever comes against you in this life will not prosper nor will it keep you down. God will give you the strength to fight and He will see you through. That is His promise to you. So stop trying to change the fact that He isn’t some magical fix it all genie, but instead celebrate the fact that He is on your side working day in and day out. Oh, and here’s an extra piece of advice. God doesn’t give us the strength to get back on our feet after an attack for us to simply run back to the very thing that knocked us down in the first place. It’s never a good idea to pick up something God helped you put away.

 “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6


Fact 2. The devil doesn’t care if you go to church or read your Bible, as long as you don’t apply it. Being a Christian is about more than sitting in a chair, or reading a book. Unfortunately, we live in a society where some truly think that’s a fact they can change. A generation of Christians are out there who believe it’s actually possible to accept Christ without forsaking the world. Beware of this type of Faith. Christians whom have a faith-based on their own feelings and not on Gods word alone is dangerous. That my friends is what I call going blind! You have gone blind when you can see NOTHING wrong with something that God has clearly called a sin. There are consequence’s for actions, good or bad. You can not change that. Billy Graham puts it like this, “Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion. It’s a DAILY process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.” It takes action. It takes work. It takes dedication.

I don’t know where you stand, but I know I wasn’t forced to follow Christ, I decided. I don’t worship to hear my voice, I worship because He deserves it. I don’t read His word because it’s a good story, I read because I want better understanding of Him. And I can promise you this, I won’t deny any of that to anyone, for any reason. Titus 1:16 says, “They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny Him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good”. What do your actions say about your faith? What do your Facebook post say about your walk? What do your conversations with others say about you? Remember: you are free to choose, but you are not free from the consequence of your choice. Fact is, God is looking for more than chair warmers in a building. He is looking for true followers whose actions match their words.

 “In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.” James 2:17


Fact 3. Too many people don’t hear Gods voice because they have already decided they aren’t willing to do what He says. They aren’t willing to change. Change is hard. That’s a fact. But, another fact I’d like you to think about is this, the sinner will not convert the sinner. The ungodly man will not convert the ungodly man; and, what is more to the point, the worldly Christian will not convert the world. We have to be different. We have to be changed. To truly walk out our faith daily, we have to accept that there are things about our lives we must change in order to reach the lost. Think about how sad it would be to live an “almost” Christian life only to find out you “almost” made it to heaven. I don’t want that for you or for me! All because I wouldn’t let God have complete control? No way!

Kirk Cameron says, “Put your nose into the Bible everyday. It is your spiritual food. And then share it. Make a vow to be more than a lukewarm Christian”. Everyday, everyday we should be seeking to change from our old ways of thinking, our old ways of living. Why? So that we are in turn able to do the work God has called us to. To fulfill what we were created for. To share the love of Christ with others. Because ultimately, that is what it is all about. The fact is until we are fully changed we are unable to change others. Believe in who He says you are. And if you call Him Lord and Savior, then He calls you His Child. He says you are changed. The old is gone, the new is here. You were formed by Gods hands, dreamed up in His heart and placed on this earth for a purpose. That is a fact! So be changed and go change others. And listen for His direction.

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2

Final Thoughts

How sad it would be to miss out on all God has planned for your life simply because you didn’t like the facts. Simply because we didn’t face the facts. Don’t be a lukewarm Christian. Instead, be changed. Show love. Let your actions speak. And know that the Lord your God is fighting your battles. It won’t be easy. And you may lose friends or even family because of your choice to be who God is calling you to be, but I promise you it will be worth it in the end when you hear Him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your masters happiness!” (Matthew 25:21) Isn’t that an awesome fact? To know that He is waiting for you and preparing a place for you. I personally can’t wait to hear those words. And that my friends is a fact!

I hope you enjoyed this weeks post. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to comment. And I’d love for you to hit the share button as well if you feel someone else could benefit from this post. Thanks so much for reading! You are loved.

Fan or Follower?

“If our lives do not reflect the fruit of following Jesus, then we are foolish to think that we are actually followers of Jesus in the first place.” David Platt

Man, what a game! That will definitely go down in the books as one of my all time favorite football games for sure. The Georgia bulldogs winning The Rose Bowl in double over time with a score of 54 to 48. I am a big fan of college football, and have been a dawg fan for as long as I can remember. Growing up if the dawgs were playing you can bet it was on the TV in my house. My dad lived and breathed Bulldog football! And now, as an adult, I rarely miss a game. There is just something about watching the dawgs play that is embedded in my blood. It’s tradition. It’s memories. It’s who I am.

When it comes to football, it’s no doubt I am a fan. I enjoy the game and all the fun that comes along with watching. But to be honest, I don’t really follow the game. Does that make sense? I don’t wake up every morning to check stats. I don’t have books I read about the game. I couldn’t tell you every players name. I don’t always even know all the rules of the game. I’m just an everyday dawg loving fan.

But what about my Faith. What about when it comes to Jesus, am I a fan or a follower? Do I just enjoy faith or do I actually work at it? Do I wake up every morning and check in with God or do I just wait to hear from Him? Do I read my Bible regularly or do I just wait to hear what the preacher reads to me on Sunday? These are real questions we should be regularly asking ourselves. You see, it’s very easy to be a fan of Christianity. The real work comes when you decide to be a true follower of Jesus. So, which one are you? Not sure? Well, today I’d like to cover a few basics of being a true follower as well as what it looks like to simply be a fan. I hope this weeks blog will help you decide which category you fall into as well as challenge you to become the follower you are meant to be.

Fan of Jesus

“What has the Church gained if it is popular but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?” A.W. Tozer. That’s a pretty loaded question, huh? But, really think about it. If the church is full of people who simply come because it’s the “right thing” to do, is the church really going to be effective? Francis Chan wrote a book titled Not a Fan, which I highly recommend by the way, all about this very subject. And in it he talks about the fact that we can never grow closer to God if all we are doing is living life. It takes genuine attentiveness and pursuit. It takes work! There are many people sitting in rows in Church’s who give no real evidence of being saved, yet they remain quite confident that Christ has saved them because they are a good people. I hate to break it to you, but there is no amount of Christian activities that will ever add up to an authentic relationship with Jesus Christ.

So what does a fan look like you may ask? Let me start with this quote from Kyle Idleman, “He is looking for more than words of belief; He is looking to see how those words are lived out in your life. When we decide to believe in Jesus without making a commitment to follow Him, we become nothing more than fans.” The way I see it, being a fan of Jesus means you are happy to follow Jesus as long as following Him doesn’t require any significant changes or as long as it doesn’t have any kind of negative implications. It’s as if you are saying, “Listen God, I will follow you but…”. I’m sorry to break it to you friends, but there can be no BUT at the end of that sentence! You are a fan if you have not surrendered EVERY aspect of your life to Him.

If I’m going to be completely honest with you, this was me for many years. I went through the motions, occasionally picked up my Bible, rarely missed church and was a pretty good person for the most part. But, that was it. I still did what I wanted and really only turned over the parts of my life that I wanted to. I was following on my terms, not His. I was a fan. But last year all of that really changed for me. It finally clicked. I began seeking Him out, reading more often and asking God what He wanted of me. That is what opened my eyes to the fact that even though I believed, even though I confessed to be His, I really wasn’t. I was missing the point. After a few months of searching for answers and Him speaking into my life, I decided if I am going to do this Christianity thing, it was past time that I do it right. He showed me that I can’t truly call myself “Christian, followers of Christ” if I’m not willing to follow Him completely.

There is a story found in Luke 6:46-49 of two men building houses, one with a solid foundation and the other without. The Lord compares the foundations as examples of those who hear His words and puts them into action and those who hear and do nothing. Which one are you?  Are you going to just sit and Listen like a fan of His words, or are you going to decide to follow the teachings and put them into practice?

“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not what I say?” Luke 6:46

Follower of Jesus

Let me start off with this, “Following Christ is not a casual or occasional practice, but a continuous commitment and way of life that is applied at ALL times and in ALL places.” (Elder Oaks). Does what you do and what you say on a daily basis represent that of a follower of Christ? Are you acting in such a manner that you are living proof of a loving God? I really pray your answer is yes to both questions. Being a true follower of Christ is rarely the popular choice, even at times amongst other Christians. But, Jesus didn’t say follow Christians. He said follow Me. When being obedient to Christ contradicts what you think will be popular, you have to stop and ask yourself, “Do I really love Him, or do I merely seek acceptance?”. Because truthfully there are already plenty of people around the world who identify themselves as Christians, yet biblically are not followers.

The God of the universe created you with one purpose in mind. You are created in His image, and created to worship Him. He Created you intending to have a loving, lasting relationship with you. He doesn’t need fans. He needs true devoted followers. People who are willing to get out of the driver seat and say wherever you want me, there will I be Lord ready to do your work. He loves you with a radical, unconditional, self-sacrificing love. What is your response to that love? Is it Church going? A few songs of praise on Sunday? The occasional prayer or Bible reading? Don’t you feel He deserve more than that? Maybe it’s time you examine where you are in this area. Maybe it’s time you take the next step and truly decide to follow Him.

Final Thoughts

Look, I get it! Life is busy. There never seems to be enough hours in a day to accomplish all you need or want to get done. But, have you ever stopped to think about the fact that if not for Him you wouldn’t even have those hours in the first place? So, do you not think He deserves some of the time back that He so graciously gifted you? You don’t want to wake up one day and realize it’s too late to have a meaningful relationship with Him. Find time for Him today. Make the choice to change today. Spend time developing a real relationship with Him. Don’t just be a fan. Be a Follower of the God who created you.

“They will wage war against The Lamb, but The Lamb will triumph over them because He is The Lord of lords and King of kings-and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers.” Revelation 17:14

Fill in The Blank

Dear 2017,

Well here we are! The end of another year. Ready to tackle what 2018 has in store. This has been quite the year, huh? As always, we’ve had some ups and downs, good times and bad, but all in all I think it’s safe to say it was a good one. I overcame some pretty big hurdles, made a few new friends, said goodbye to a few old friends and challenged myself to try something new. So, what now? What’s in store for 2018? Time for me to set new goals, try some new adventures and find new ways to be the best version of me possible. Time to fill in some new blanks. Thanks for the memories, 2017…and the lessons.



This year I’m going to______________. Ahhhhh, Goals. How many have you set over the years? Isn’t it funny how the years seem to pass so fast the older we get. I mean, wasn’t it just New Years Eve 1999 and I was pumped to graduate high school that May? Yikes! Crazy how fast it goes. And while it does pass faster than I’d like I must say there are times I do like to reflect on how much I’ve changed over the years. To think back on the lessons I’ve learned, (often the hard way), the memories made and the fun times had. Time is a funny thing ya know. We wake up on Monday wishing for Friday, and yet are guilty of wishing time would slow down when we see our growing children.

Every New Years Eve I try to slow down and reflect on what I did with the 365 days God gave me. Of course as we all know, there is always room for improvement and that’s really why so many people set goals for the coming New Year. Goals to lose weight, read more, make more money, etc. But the older I get, and the more I grow in my faith, those goals seem to be changing. Do I want to be in shape? Sure! Who doesn’t. Read? Yep, I even got 3 new books for Christmas. Those aren’t bad goals to set. BUT, I’d like to take it a step further and challenge you to set more personal goals. Goals that will have you looking back on 2018 as the year you saw true change, real growth and hopefully, you will see it as the year you became a version of yourself to be proud of.

So, set goals, sit down and write out what you’d like to see in 2018. Not just for yourself, but what you’d like to see in your friendships, your marriage, how you parent, your church involvement, and most of all in your relationship with God. Set big goals! Don’t be afraid to challenge yourself this year. I’m not going to go into great detail about how this should look simply because I feel it should be unique to you and where you are, but there are a few basics to cover to ensure a great 2018! So, I hope you’ll take a few minutes to read what I have to say and then sit down and fill in your 2018 blanks.

Be Realistic

As kids, many of us set huge, crazy goals. Things like, “When I grow up I’m going to be the President”, or “I’m going to play professional football”, or maybe you said, “I’m going to live in a mansion”. Now I’m not saying those goals never come true, I mean hello! We do have a President, Pro ball is on every Sunday during football season and there are many mansions people currently live in. But, the reality is not very many of us meet that goal. It’s unrealistic. If every kid who said they were going to play Pro ball did in fact play well, lets just say there would be some pretty crappy football teams over crowded with players! (Wait, maybe that did happen lol)

Goal setting is important at any age. And while we typically tell our kids they can be and do anything they set their minds to, as adults we know that’s not really always the case. I say that to you because I want you to succeed. I want you to set realistic goals in 2018 that will challenge you yes, but more so ones that you can and will see through. It’s not likely you will read the entire Bible in 6 months and retain anything you learned. It’s not likely you will drop 40 pounds in a month and keep it off. And it’s not likely you will completely change your habits in mere days. Take some serious time to think about what you want to change in the coming year. And find a way to see those goals through. One day at a time, one step at a time.

Don’t Give Up

So, you’ve been there done that. You set goals every New Years Eve and six months in you mess up. You forget to read for a week. You eat 5 donuts. You slip up and go back to whatever it is you are trying to walk away from. Which in turn makes you feel like a failure, like this is pointless. Wrong. Goals aren’t easy. You will mess up. Why? Because you aren’t perfect. Because change is hard. But you know what? Nothing worth changing is ever easy. And it most definitely doesn’t happen overnight.

Don’t let one or two little slip ups here or there make you quit. You can and will accomplish your goals. Sure, it might take longer than you thought. Or it might take some adjusting along the way, but that’s ok. Have accountability partners. Get advice on how to handle what it is your facing. Prepare for the bad days and reward yourself for the good ones. Just don’t give up. In the end you’ll be so glad you pressed on even though you wanted to give up. And you’ll be so much stronger because you didn’t.

Keep God in The Center

Whatever goals you do decide to make one thing is for sure, if God isn’t apart of them they probably aren’t the right ones. God has a plan, a perfect wonderful plan for all of us. And that plan includes Him. It includes a relationship with Him. Time spent seeking Him daily through scripture and through prayer. I promise if you seek Him whole heartedly He will help those goals become your reality. Trust His guidance.

God wants nothing more than for us to love Him, and for us to live a life with Him at the center of it all. He so loves you, and wants to know you. He delights in our joy! So of course He wants to see us succeed. But only if He is included. Don’t push Him out. Make 2018 the year you draw near to God so He can draw near to you. That my friend will be the best goal you will make in 2018!

Final Thoughts

I hope that you have had a wonderful 2017 filled with love and joy. And I also hope 2018 is your best year yet! I truly think with God nothing is impossible, so set those goals and make Him the center of it all and see what happens. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed one bit! Thank you all so very much for the support you’ve shown me by sharing and reading along each week. This blog was one of my goals in 2017 and without you reading it wouldn’t have been an accomplished one. Happy New Year! I pray the Lord blesses you and your family in the coming year.

I’d love to hear a few of your 2018 goals! Feel free to share in the comments so that I can be praying He helps you accomplish them.

I’ve Got a Favorite, Do You?

“But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Isaiah 40:31

I’ve got a favorite, do you? There are many different areas of life where we get to pick a favorite. Things like our favorite food, color, season, car, band, song, etc. Like for example, I love Elevation worship! In fact, I just went to their concert not too long ago and it was ah-mazing. I also love to eat raw cookie dough (I know, I know you aren’t supposed to eat it!). Favorite place? That’s easy, the beach. There is something so relaxing about having my toes in the sand and the sun on my face. I just love it.

There is one favorite thing that stands out above the rest. Something much more important than the beach, a band or cookie dough. It is my favorite verse. Isaiah 40:31 has been “my verse” since high school. Of course there are SEVERAL other verses that I love or that speak to my heart but this verse, well it has meaning and depth behind it that has been crucial to getting me to where I am today. In today’s blog, I’d like to spend some time talking about this verse and why it is so important to me. I hope that this part of my story might encourage you to share yours…you never know who may need to hear what you’ve experienced, and how Gods word has changed your life.

About My Verse

So before I explain my why, I want to back up and talk about the passage itself. Isaiah 40:31 is found in the old testament and was written by Isaiah (shocker I know!). In my opinion, the book of Isaiah shows God as both a loving and just God, as well as a shepherd and a warrior. Isaiah’s writings have also been described as a condensed version of the Bible, a combo so to speak of the old and new testament. The people of Israel were not doing as they were told and had begun worshipping false gods. In a sense, they had turned their back on Him. Isaiah’s words show us that God, no matter what, loves His people and will go to any lengths to redeem them.

To really understand the verse in its entirety, I want to go back a few verses and look at  what Isaiah wrote in verses 28-31. “Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”

Why This Verse

So now lets talk about the why. With hundreds and hundreds of verses, why did this one speak to me? To be completely honest, I used to wonder that exact same thing! What was so special about this particular passage. Many, many times I read over these verses and thought to myself, maybe I’m weak and that’s why. Other times I thought, maybe it’s because I doubt who God is or what He can do. Or could it be that God was simply trying to tell me who I am? It took me a long time but eventually, I realized it was all those things and so much more.

My life has not always gone as planned. I spent the majority of it trying to figure out my purpose and what I wanted out of life. After I lost my mom at age 12, I spent many years confused. Confused about who I was, why this had to happen, and really just life in general. I knew I was loved by God, but I honestly didn’t have much of a relationship with Him. I don’t think I fully understood why I even needed a relationship with Him. And as time went on, truthfully I didn’t really care to know Him. I began making poor choices and never made time for God. He wasn’t a priority throughout my teen years at all. I still went to church though, and I came across this verse one night while in youth group and thought, hey, I kind of like this verse.

At the Christian school I went to we had to pick a verse for our senior page, so I thought to myself why not this one? I decided to use it for the yearbook not knowing what it would later mean to me. As life went on, I continued doing things how I wanted and didn’t really leave any room for God. But, in the back of my mind, this verse always remained. Why?

As life went on, I continued down a path that God wasn’t apart of. I met a great guy and got married at age 22 and things seemed pretty good for me after a pretty rocky few years full of bad choices. I was happy, or so I thought I was anyway. And then as it often does, life happened. I lost my dad when I was 27 very unexpectedly. My daughter had just turned 3 ten days before and I had only been married 5 years. All I could think was, “I’m an orphan. I have no parents. What if my marriage doesn’t work out? Whose going to help me with my children? I can’t do this. Why God, why?”. Abandonment, confusion, anger, frustration, resentment…those are just some of the feelings I had. You see, I had never really dealt with the loss of my mom either, so all of that came crashing down on me as well. I felt more distant from God than ever! In fact, I wanted nothing to do with Him. I was angry with Him. So why did this verse still keep popping into my head yet again?

But God. You see in every story, there is always a but God. God had plans for me. Plans that included Him. Plans that would take me places where I would see Him, encounter Him and get to know Him. Places where I would hit rock bottom and have no choice but to seek Him for answers. I am so thankful for the struggles that made me realize how desperately I needed Him in my life. I look back on those tough years and realize I had to go through it all to get to where I am today.

What This Verse Means To Me 

So, back to the verse. It wasn’t until about 2 years ago that I finally got it. My why. The answer to a question I had wrested with for over 16 years. What was so important about this verse? And why did God put it on my heart all those years ago. God used this verse so many times to try to draw me to Him, but I was not ready to listen. He wanted me to see I wasn’t alone. I wasn’t weak. And it was ok that I had stumbled in my faith. That He loved me despite my faults. But in my selfishness I was unable to hear His voice.

So, what was it? What was the reason? Well, it was Him all along. He was my why! Why had I survived all those bad choices? Because He was there. Why was I able to keep going when I felt I couldn’t go on anymore? Because of His strength. Why did He never leave? Because of His everlasting love. Look, It wasn’t until I decided to put all my hope in the Lord that I was able to look back and see all the times He had carried me, saved me and strengthened me. I was never alone, He was there. I was never an orphan, He is my Father. I was never meant to understand why I had to go through so much, that’s His job. He had promised to take care of me, and He never breaks His promises. I had His strength all along and didn’t see it for what it was. He has completely renewed my faith and has shown me things over the last 2 years I never could have imagined. He is my strength, I am renewed through Him and I am where I am today because He didn’t leave.

Final Thoughts

This verse, well it’s my life. And that’s why it’s always been on my heart. My life has not been easy. My journey to this point has been a very long hard one, full of ups and downs. I have gone through more in 35 years than most go through in a lifetime. But, I now know I am stronger because of it. Because of Him. Because my Hope is renewed in the Lord. He has carried me though so much. And He continually shows me who I am through my weaknesses, through my daily walk and through my running to Him in the hard times. On the days I feel like I can’t hold on, He is my strength to carry on.

So my takeaway from this verse is this, I will soar on wings like eagles, I will run and not grow weary, I will walk and not grow faint because I know my why. I know my God. And I know who I am. That’s what this verse means to me.

What’s your favorite verse? I d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below and tell me your why!

Walking in The Favor of God

“If you have Gods presence, you have favor. One minute of Gods presence can accomplish more than twenty minutes of your striving.” – Heidi Baker

For many, seeking approval from others can be a tricky thing. If we are honest we all, on some level, feel we need approval from people. But, we are also taught to seek not the approval of man but instead, the approval of God alone. So why do we all desire approval from our peers? What makes us want to be loved and liked by those around us? Well, to put it plainly, human nature! The definition of Favor is, the state of being approved or held in regard. We are people who were created to love and be loved. And while I honestly feel it is ok to seek love from others, the problem comes when we let the love and/or approval of others define us. That is not and never was Gods intentions for us when we were created.

When it comes to our spiritual life, how many of us earnestly seek the approval of God in the same manner we seek the approval of our peers? Do we desire the same of Him? I often think, Wow! What a gift it is to be favored by God. But, I also often wonder how many of us miss out on His favor because we aren’t properly seeking it out. Gods favor is for all, not just a select few. But, we have to open our hearts and minds to allow His favor into our lives. Lets spend some time today looking a little deeper into this subject and try to learn better ways to seek and accept the Lords favor in our lives.

You Can’t Earn Favor

“Grace is Gods favor shown to those of us who don’t deserve it, cannot earn it, and will never be able to repay it.” (Chuck Swindoll) God doesn’t look out over the crowd of faces each Sunday morning and begin waving His magic wand only over the chosen ones whom He feels deserves His favor because of their works. You receive the favor of God when and only when your everyday life, your words, and your heart aligns with the Word of God. Grace, simply put, is undeserved favor from God that offers forgiveness NOT because of who WE are, but because of what JESUS has done.

So often we forget we can never earn our way into heaven. We can never say or do enough to deserve the love and forgiveness He so freely offers. It’s about the relationship, not the religion. We do serve others, go to Church, read scripture, pray daily, and steer clear of worldly things, yes! But not to earn anything. We do those things because of the grace He has shown to us. You will never be able to repay Him, but you can strive to live a life worthy of His love and forgiveness. As Francis Chan puts it, “Salvation is all about the grace of God. There is absolutely nothing that you can do to save yourself or earn Gods favor.”

Approval from Others

“When God decides to bless you, He will cause situations to come together in your favor…no matter what others try to do”. (Christie Joyner) I don’t know where you are in your walk, but if you’ve not yet encountered opposition from those around you because of your choice to be a Jesus follower, warning! It’s coming. BUT, hear me when I say this, the work of the Devil WILL NOT win against the favor of God. Nothing and no one can stop His favor. If God has selected you, it doesn’t matter who else has rejected or neglected you. Gods favor ALWAYS outweighs all oppositions. Never forget that.

Maybe you are someone who feels unqualified compared to some of your peers. Maybe you feel like you don’t deserve His favor. Well, you couldn’t be more wrong. Sure, other people may be more educated or have more talents or even have more experience but, that doesn’t make you any less qualified or less deserving. Gods favor, His promises, His unfailing love, It’s all for you. If you will open up your heart and your mind, He will take you places you could never go on your own. So, even if you find yourself struggling to feel worthy of the favor of God, Keep declaring to yourself, “I’m blessed. I’m prosperous. I’m favored by God. I am His child.” Because in His eyes, you are blessed, you are prosperous, you are favored, and you are His child. Please remember, you serve a God who will never give up on you no matter who else already has.

Approval of God

So we have talked about the fact that we can’t earn His favor, and that we don’t need the favor or approval of others but, what about approval from Him? Galatians 1:10 says, “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ”. Scripture clearly tells us that we can not seek approval from people first and God second because if so, we are no longer a servant of Christ. Christie Caine puts it like this, “Until we care more about what God thinks than what other people think we are never truly free.” It will always, always be better to have His approval than the worlds applause.

My challenge to you is simply this, let your desire to live a life that’s pleasing to God become bigger than your desire to live a life that’s pleasing to people. The closer you get to Him, the more you will realize it’s okay to live a life others don’t understand, a life that aligns with His Word instead of the world. As a woman of faith, I know I am protected by God, strengthened by God, and victorious in God because I am favored by God! I know without a doubt He is fighting my battles, arranging things in my favor, and making a way even when I don’t always see a way. No matter what, I will always seek His approval in all that I do because before anyone else ever got a chance to disapprove, God had already approved. God offers this same reassurance to anyone, not just me. All you have to do is seek it, seek Him, and seek His approval in your life.

Final Thoughts

To be favored by God is such a blessing so many people miss out on. They chose to seek approval of man and miss out on all He has to offer. Don’t let any more time go by! Be transformed by the renewing of your mind, do not conform to the pattern of this world any longer. Gods will, His perfect will for your life is so much more rewarding than mans approval. Grace, undeserved, unmerited, unearned grace is waiting for you.

Future Strength

“Our anxiety does not come from thinking about the future, but from wanting to control it.”- Kahlil Gabrin

Does thinking about the future scare you, or excite you? Are you a planner or a fly by the seat of your pants kind of person? Are you more of a 401k planner or do you spend it all the minute it hits the bank account? For many of us, planning is a way of life. We plan everything out down to what is for dinner the entire week! While others find excitement in just letting things play out however. They tend to just take life one day at a time. I personally tend to be a little bit of both. I like to plan but, also find it fun sometimes to be spontaneous.

However, when it comes to faith, I have learned (somewhat the hard way I must say) that no matter how much we plan, sometimes those plans don’t pan out how we wanted. Life happens, curve balls come out of nowhere and boom! our hard pressed plans are way off track. But I will say this too, the more we study Gods word and the more we align our lives with His word, the easier it becomes to plan our lives in tune with what He desires for us. The future can seem scary and overwhelming at times, but when we truly know who holds the future, those fears tend to subside. He has given us all the tools we need to face anything the future may hold, good or bad. So today, I’d like to focus in on how we as Christians can remain confident and find our strength even when the future is unknown.

Hope > Fear

Hope is the only thing stronger than fear. So knowing that truth, my question to you is this, where do you find your hope? Fear can be so detrimental to our future. If we always fear the unknown we will never take chances, we will never fully trust in His guidance. God has not given us a spirit of fear, in fact in 2 Timothy 1:7 we read, “For the spirit God GAVE us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline”. That alone should give you hope! Hope that no matter what you face you have the power to overcome. Stop letting fear hold you back from taking chances! Believe big, dream big and take big steps.

Listen if you are rooted in His word, there is no reason to fear! Set goals. Goals that not only excite you, but challenge you too. Remember the words written in Psalm 23…I will fear NO EVIL, for you are with me. Think about how many things we would miss out on in life if someone somewhere didn’t find the strength to step out in faith and share the gospel. He is going to be with you every step of the way. Find hope in that, find encouragement in that, find STRENGTH in that promise.

Strength in the Journey

“She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come”… I don’t know about you, but there are some days I don’t feel like that verse is about me as a mom, a wife or even a friend! Some days, it’s more like she is clothed with a bad attitude and no dignity and has cried all day at the days to come. But you know what, that’s just apart of the journey. Taking the good with the bad. He knows our heart and He knows our struggles. And to be honest, it’s often in those hard days, the days I just don’t know if I can go on anymore, I feel God wrap His arms around me and say, “Come here my child, let me carry you for a while”.

God doesn’t expect us to just figure it all out. But, He has equipped us with the tools needed to make it easier. Time spent in prayer, scripture reading, and for me music, speaks to me in those hard times, those days when I am barely hanging on. He never once said anywhere in scripture that He won’t give us more than we can handle. Instead, scripture tells us He will help us handle what’s been given to us…But only if we let Him. Sometimes God will allow a Goliath in our lives in order to help us find the David within us. So, even when you may not feel like it know this, you ARE clothed with strength and dignity because you ARE filled with His spirit and He will be your strength on those days you don’t feel as if you have any. Strength is found in the journey.

Future in His Hands

I hope you know that you have within you, right now, everything you need to deal with whatever the world can throw at you. If you are daily spending time in His word and listening for His voice then He is daily renewing your strength. And THAT is what enables you to handle life. Your future is in His hands and your past is paid for, hold on to that truth. Everything He is preparing you for, He is also strengthening you for. And the only way to find out what it is He is preparing you for, is to trust in His timing. Trust in His plan for your life. Even the unknown parts. If He has put something on your heart, then it’s going to come to pass. You just have to believe and have faith that what He says is truth. Taking time to be with God is the best place we can find our strength!

You also have to remember, His time is not our time and just because it may take longer doesn’t mean it wont come to pass. He is always working on us, and for us. If you let Him be your guide, and if you truly trust He has something so great in store for you, then don’t let doubt or fear creep in. Just let Him be at work! Sure, you’ll face some hard times along the way, but He will be right there by your side helping you each step of the way. Don’t lose hope, don’t lose focus. Let Him be the one leading you into the future He has planned for you.

Final Thoughts

I want to leave you with a story of a man who knowingly faced a scary future out of pure love. This man walked the earth and shared love with all. He was kind, compassionate and didn’t judge others harshly. He was treated unkind by some and praised by others. He taught others many things and was a living, breathing example to all around him. And while he did no wrong, he was still treated as if he did. Many despised him, rejected him and even hated him for no reason. Yet, he loved anyway. He chose to go to a cross and die for all, even those who had treated him so poorly. This man, Jesus, faced a future he knew was scary. A future he could have easily walked away from. Do you not think he was scared?

All to often we get a glimpse of a scary future and we run away. We let fear keep us down, or hold us back. What if Jesus did that? What if He said, no way! I cant do this. Don’t be afraid to face whatever lies ahead. Because sometimes our greatest strengths are born out of our greatest trials. The greatest day in history came from Jesus’ greatest trial. Death on a cross gave way to a risen Savior on the third day! Thank God He didn’t run away! Thank God we have a risen savior who is working and planning a future for us. He has such great things in store for you. So, are you ready to see where He leads? I know I am!!

Fall for Jesus 

“This relationship with Jesus isn’t about following the rules, it’s about falling in love with the Guy who wrote the rules.”- Unknown

Oh fall, how do I love thee, let me count the ways! Crisp mornings, cozy sweaters, beautiful leaves on the trees, bonfires, pumpkins and everything pumpkin flavored. I mean really, what’s not to like? There is just something so beautiful about this time of year, a season full of thanksgiving, and full of gratefulness. A time to not only enjoy all things fall, but to also stop and reflect on our many blessings.

God gives us so much to be thankful for. Every single day there is something new to thank Him for. But the one thing that should stand out above everything else is His unconditional love for us. A love we don’t deserve, can never earn and can never repay. It’s because of that love that He lavishly pours out blessings! God loves to bless His children. Isn’t that so great? So knowing that, do you thank Him enough? Do you look for new ways to show your love for Him everyday? Let’s spend some time today learning how we can be more thankful, more in tune with His love and faithful to Him even in the many seasons of life. It’s time we “Fall for Jesus” the way He’s fallen for us.

Enter With Thanksgiving

“Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.”‭‭ Psalm‬ ‭100:4-5‬

‭‬When you pray, do you start off Thankful? Scripture reminds us to enter His gates with Thanksgiving. It doesn’t say to start off complaining or asking Him to give us things. Now, I’m not saying we can’t or shouldn’t ask of Him, we absolutely should but, we need to start out thankful and always give Him praise for what He has already done for us. We are so blessed in so many ways by Him. Doesn’t he deserve our praise?

Prayer is such a vital part of our relationship with our Heavenly Father. It’s important that we spend time in prayer daily. But, we can’t treat it as a time of getting our wishes granted as if He is just a genie. Talk to Him as if you were speaking with a close friend! I know sometimes it’s hard to find the “right” words, and maybe you struggle to even know where to start. Guess what? That’s ok! There is really no “right” words and we all had to start somewhere. A great prayer for beginners is the Lords prayer. Each day you can pray that prayer and add your own words until you’ve made it your own prayer. No matter how big or how small, just pray. It will change your walk tremendously. And He loves to hear from you, just like He has heard from so many before you.

The Word Endures

 ‭‬‬“A voice says, “Cry out.” And I said, “What shall I cry?” “All people are like grass, and all their faithfulness is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall, because the breath of the LORD blows on them. Surely the people are grass. The grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of our God endures forever.”” Isaiah‬ ‭40:6-8‬

Forever is a long time, right? Well I hope you hear me when I say that’s exactly how long He will love you. There is nothing, I mean nothing, that you can do or not do that will ever change His love for you. Yes, we will fail Him, we will make mistakes, we will fall down sometimes, but that doesn’t mean He will stop loving us. I wrote about this in last weeks blog, but I wanted to touch on it today as well because I feel like sometimes we let lies creep in and tell us we aren’t loveable. That is so far from the truth. You are so loved by Him! No matter what you’ve done in your past, no matter the bad choices you may have made, always know His love will never fail you.

Another thing that lasts forever is His never-failing word. His word is truth, His word is life. Let those words speak life into you. He has so much to show you through scripture if you will only open it up and read. Pray scripture into your life. And don’t just read, believe what it says. Live out those words! If you wonder why things aren’t changing or why you feel a disconnect, maybe you should think about how much time your spending in the word. God speaks to us through those pages, but if we aren’t opening our Bible we won’t hear from Him. ‭

Ever Changing Seasons

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:” Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1‬

Life is full of ups and down, highs and lows, good and bad. It’s what I like to refer to as “seasons of life”. And sometimes those seasons are just plain hard. I like to think of the harder days as winter. Winter is cold, it’s dark out early and it can seem somewhat bare and gloomy. Well, in life there are times when we feel alone and as if nothing seems to be going right. But, take heart! There is light ahead, Jesus is our light. And it’s in these hard times we are able to grow and strengthen our faith and our dependency on Him. While hard times are a lot to deal with, I also feel like it’s where the most character building takes place. God can turn your sorrows into joy, and your heartache into gladness if you’ll only just be patient and let Him work. So just hold on, don’t lose hope.

And then there are times of new. New life, new jobs, new joys. This reminds me of spring. So much beauty! He is making all thing new around and in us. This is a season of excitement and laughter, of fun and adventure. God delights in our joys and wants us to see the good He brings to our lives in this season. It’s a time to rejoice, and to store up wonderful memories. A time to look back on what you just faced, a time to see that He brought you through it. New is a wonderful place to be! Even if it seems a tad scary, just know He is there directing your steps.

And then there’s my favorite, Fall. A time to be thankful. While life does have its ups and it’s downs for sure, I still feel there is always, always something to be thankful for. Fall just reminds us to slow down and enjoy the beauty around us. Take it all in. Enjoy the little things, because sometimes they turn into the big things. And try your best to stop and say thank you to those who make a difference in your life. A small gesture can go a long way! And remember if it weren’t for the kindness of Jesus, you wouldn’t be who you are or where you are today. ‭

Final Thoughts

No matter what season of life you may find yourself in, I hope that you can still look around and see goodness and love, His love. And I hope you are able to find ways to show that love to others. Be thankful for this season, even if it’s a tough one. God is at work in your life even when life gets you down. Each day you spend in the word and in prayer will help you to fall more and more in love with the one who created you. Fall in love with Jesus today! It’s a wonderful way to walk through life, loved by Him.

“Faith” it til you make it

“Going to church doesn’t make you a Christian any more than standing in a garage makes you a car.” – Billy Sunday

When you first saw this weeks blog title, “Faith it til you make it”, you may have thought, doesn’t she mean fake it, or you could have even thought she just messed up that saying big time. Well both are wrong. In a world full of fake Facebook posts, fake fingernails and sometimes all together fake people I want to challenge those of us that call ourselves Christians to stop faking it through life and start faithing it instead! Why is it we struggle to just be real? We struggle to show our flaws and our imperfections to those around us. Life is hard, it’s messy and can be complicated sometimes. So why pretend it’s not?

Being a Christian in a sinful world is sometimes equally just as tough. Christians are often times put on display and people often watch closely to see if and when we mess up, which we do by the way! But that doesn’t mean we get a free pass to be fake. It doesn’t mean we should automatically always put on a smile, say all the right answers and never have a bad day in front of non-believers just to keep the “Christian” name safe. Look, people don’t want to see fake Christians anymore than they want to read about your fake perfect life on Facebook. They want real! Real people living out their faith in tangible ways. Real people showing others love and kindness on a daily basis. And real people who aren’t afraid to say, “Yes, sometimes I struggle too.”! So today my question to you is this, are you being real or just faking your way through it all? Because while you may be able to fool your friends, your pastor and even yourself, you will never be able to fool God.

Walk it Out

Do you remember the day you decided it was time to make a change? To give this faith thing a try. It was exciting, right? You wanted to learn all you could, to read, to share, to get involved, to grow. You were passionate about this new-found life.

Well, are you still that way? Do you still love learning, are you volunteering, are you sharing your faith, are you growing? Or have you lost it all? I’m not gonna lie, its hard sometimes to stay pumped, especially when life throws punches. All to often those who have decided to follow Jesus start out pumped up but when life happens and the excitement fades, well they just let it go and slowly fade back to old ways.

It’s in these moments our faith is tested. If your faith is not rooted in His word and if you are not daily walking out the love of Christ in your actions, when life hits you won’t be able to fight off the urge to walk away. If you are waking up each morning and running from God, you are not likely going to find Him in the rest of your day. In order to face our problems head on, we must remain faithful to the only one who can show us how to handle our problems. Don’t just say you believe. Truly walk it out daily. Read your Bible, go to church, serve. Get involved and stay involved. Learn to lean on Christ and not on the world. Listen, God created a void in your heart that only He can fill. When we find that life becomes meaningless, boring and just plain hard it’s because we are filling it with anything but Him. We are called to be world changers, not world chasers. Wake up every morning and decided you are going to walk out your faith.

Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. James 1:22-26

Be real

This is going to sound harsh, but I hope that you will hear it in love. If you would simply put as much effort into being a truly good person as you do pretending to be a good person, guess what? You could actually end up being a good person. I love the way Brendon Burchad puts it, “Do not imitate what is popular for acceptance, practice what is authentic for the sake of your soul”. Isn’t that great? Look, if you ask me, making mistakes is better than faking perfection. Shoot, own that mistake! Learn from it so next time you wont make it again. Being a good person means being real. Nobody is perfect. Well, except Jesus and that role is already taken, sorry guys.

The best thing you can do is just be you. The real, flawed, not perfect you. Don’t worry about what others think. God never told you that you had to impress people. He only said to love them. And that’s being real. When the enemy knows you are working towards becoming a better version of you, he will fight it in many different ways. He will use people. He will use circumstances. But remember this truth, the deeper into Gods heart you go, the more God will draw you in. The enemy may be strong, but he is limited. And Gods grace knows no limit.

We really only have two choices, we can trust popular opinions and let that define if we are “good enough”, or we can trust and believe when God says we already are “good enough”. The Lord alone knows who we really are, what we really think, what we really do and who we are really becoming. You don’t have to pretend, just be real.

Show the World

Some people will never come to church, listen to a minister, or read the Bible. So how do they end up coming to know Jesus? They are reading your life and watching how you live. So, are you being the light God called you to be? Kind of tough to think about it that way, huh? Remember though, people don’t want to see fake. They want to see authentic. Brennan Manning says, “The greatest single cause of atheism in the world today is Christians who acknowledge Jesus with their lips and then walk out the door and deny Him by their lifestyle. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” Yikes! That one really cuts to the core of it all. But, truth is, we will never change the world by only going to church. Change comes in our daily lives, in our actions, and in how we treat others. We will only change the world by being the church.

We can not claim to be Jesus following Christians if we are unkind and have to criticize and knock others down! Try and remember what Gods word says about looking at yourself and about being kind to others. If you are trying to reach the lost, being a finger-pointing fault finder who talks about being a church goer probably isn’t making the best impression. Listen, you can speak with spiritual eloquence, pray wonderfully in public, and present yourself in a holy manor but, it all comes down to your behavior. That’s what reveals true character. What would people outside the church say about how you behave? Would they be shocked to hear you consider yourself a Jesus follower? Because a spiritually mature person should be the first to do what is right, even if nobody else is doing so. We are called to live for God and not for man. We should be living to please the Lord and not people. I don’t want this to come across as me judging you or your actions, I simply want to make you take a look in the mirror and see if maybe there is some room for improvement. Because honestly, we should daily work towards being a better follower than we were yesterday!

To the pure, all things are pure, but to those who are corrupted and do not believe, nothing is pure. In fact, both their minds and consciences are corrupted.  They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. Titus 1:15-16

Final Thoughts

I really hope you found this weeks blog somewhat challenging and not judgmental. Sometimes we need to take a hard look in the mirror and ask ourselves the tough questions. If we aren’t changing and growing everyday well then what’s the point? I never want to come off as perfect, fake or as if I have all the answers. But I will say this, I serve a perfect God who loves me just as I am and He does have all the answers! And that’s as real as it gets. Don’t loose your drive simply because you aren’t doing it perfectly. Just be real, walk out your faith daily and show His love to the world.