Be encouraged

As I sat in prayer a few mornings ago, I felt God impress the following words upon my heart. For anyone who might be struggling with condemnation, maybe these words are for you…..

Be persistent. My mercies are new everyday. My grace never runs out. My love never runs out. Get back up. No condemnation here… Only hope, forgiveness and grace. Come to the throne in confidence where you’ll find the help that you need. You’re making progress. Lean into me. Keep praying. Don’t let your past mistakes derail you. Don’t let them define you.
Don’t worry about what others think. I say you’re forgiven. You are a work in progress. You’ve come a long way. Don’t stop, don’t give up, don’t become discouraged. Be ALERT. The enemy waits around for opportunities to side sweep you. But I am always in front of you, fighting your battles for you … If only you will let Me. Let go…. Surrender each new day to Me for I know exactly what you need. Everything you’ll ever need,I have it. And I give freely.

It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. (‭Lamentations‬ ‭3‬:‭22-23‬ KJV)

There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. (‭Romans‬ ‭8‬:‭1-2‬ KJV)

Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith. Remember that your family of believers all over the world is going through the same kind of suffering you are. In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus. So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭5‬:‭8-10‬ NLT)

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Bella’s Journey- It’s too early

IMG_0036_2It started off like any other normal day…. I hit snooze 3 times before I rolled out of bed. Bathroom, feed the dog, turn on the coffee machine, let the dog out, greet my 3 year old early riser at the bottom of the stairs….  pretty normal morning.

I proceeded to let the dog in, started to make my lunch for work that day, toast down in the toaster, coffee brewing. And then….

My water broke. Dread filled the pit of my stomach.

The next words out of my mouth were ‘No. It’s too early. It’s way too soon.’ That morning I had just turned 34 weeks pregnant. It was too early for this little girl to be born. I ran up the stairs and knocked on the bathroom door where my  husband was trying to get ready for his day as well. Trying to stay calm, I pressed my forehead up to the closed bathroom door, my heart racing and said “Dave, my water broke.”

The mundane morning routine soon turned disorganized and panicked. Our oldest who was turning 5 on this very morning, woke up to let me know that someone’s toast had popped out of the toaster and me responding with “Noah, your baby sister might be born today on your birthday. Mommy has to go to the hospital just to get checked.” Even he knew it was too early as he looked at me inquisitively and said “But mom, she’s not supposed to come until October!”

My mom showed up at our house expecting to carry on with her normal routine of getting Noah on the school bus and watching the girls for the morning..but when she came in she could tell by the look on Dave’s face that something wasn’t right.  I quickly told her what was going on, packed a hospital bag as quickly as I could and within 10 minutes  we were out the door on our way to the hospital. My lunch sitting on the counter, dry cold toast in the toaster, coffee in my mug that I never even took a sip of……..

 

 

Be Quiet and Pray

Just be quiet and pray…..

oops….I knew I’d heard from the Lord. I saw the words written on the forefront of my mind and I felt those words impressed upon my heart. ‘Just be quiet and pray.’

I also felt a panic in my gut and an urgency to do the exact opposite! My flesh was wanting SO BADLY to speak up! “Speak up, hurry up and say something or else how in THE WORLD will change ever come? Who will say something to help change these circumstances? Tara, hurry up and say something, speak your mind, and make sure you’re loud and passionate!”

And oops… I was loud, I was passionate. I spoke my mind (with good intentions mind you) but OOooo did it ever back fire. The situation blew up into an exaggerated, unnecessary and very hurtful argument. 

What made me speak up when I’d heard clearly to be quiet? FEAR. Fear is what made me speak up. Fear of ‘what if’s’. If I keep quiet, I’ll be ignoring the problem. Fear, fear, fear…. 

Fear that is all consuming is not good for anyone. 

The enemy wants us to fear. It’s his plan to get us to turn our backs on trusting the One we should be trusting. It’s the enemy’s plan to get us to try and take control of situations instead of letting God fight the battles for us and that’s exactly what I did. I thought I knew best…but I didn’t. What resulted in my ‘speaking up’, was a whole lot of tension and hurt…

Once I made the decision to drop the fear and surrender the control, I received peace and clarity. (Letting go and surrendering is a daily battle for me still.)

Friends, if you hear the Lord commanding you to be quiet and pray- do it. He would never ask us to do anything that was not for our benefit. He would never ask us to do something that would not bring glory to His name.  

Don’t fear. Trust God. Pray. 

Trying to take things into our own hands will result in nothing but disappointment and discontentment. 

What ever situation you may be facing today that is out of your control, do not be discouraged. Do not carry the weight of trying to come up with a solution. Trust that God will see you through. Surrender, and let him fight this battle for you.

Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Blessings Xo

It’s Not You, It’s Me

Yes God, I trust you. Yes God, I KNOW that You can do great and mighty things. Yes God, I know you are who You say You are. You are the great I AM, The Creator of the universe- of all things good. You are the Miracle maker and The One who turns the impossible into the possible. You are are holy and worthy to be praised.

You are able.

 

You are awesome.

 

You are God and You are good…

 

It’s not You that I doubt God……..It’s me. I doubt myself. I doubt my abilities. I doubt my strength. 

 

And so as I started reading “Limitless Life” By Derwin L. Gray for an upcoming bible study, I start to realize the negative labels I’ve allowed to attach to myself throughout out my life…not good enough, not smart enough, not emotionally stable enough. Not, not, not….. All the things that I am not…

 

But God….all the things that YOU ARE. It’s not my strength that makes me strong- It’s YOURS. It’s not my knowledge that makes me smart- it’s Your wisdom that guides me. It’s not my feelings that need to determine my reactions- It’s Your truths that sets me free.

 

It’s YOU. Not me. And so I have it all backwards. It’s not supposed to be all about all that I am not but it’s supposed to be about all that YOU are. And so Lord I pray this simply but profound prayer:

 

Lord, MORE of YOU and LESS of ME ~ John 3:30

Beneath The Surface

Have you ever prayed, “Lord, I want to go deeper with You….I want don’t want to stay where I am. I want to grow and move forward and run after You with a heart abandoned to You and You alone. I want to go deeper……”

I’ve prayed that many times…but I have to wonder if I really knew what I was  praying? Let’s have a look at the word DEEP.

DEEP: 1. Extending far down from the top or the surface

So when I look at this definition, I have to ask myself these questions….Have I really even left the surface yet? What does it really mean to go deeper with Christ?

When I think about going deeper and leaving the surface, I can’t help but think about all that I could be missing when I stay at the surface.

Picture yourself in the ocean. You can’t see much at the surface of the water. You can’t experience much if your just floating that the top…now dive down, dive in. I’m sure it’s scary at first because of the unknown. What will I encounter beneath the surface? And sure it’s even uncomfortable for a little while because the further you go down into the ocean, the more pressure you feel in your ears and in your head. But wow….what a whole new world. Look around, see all the beauty that lies beneath the surface that you never would have seen if you didn’t dive in and go deeper.

Just like diving down into the ocean, we need to dive down into  Christ’s unfailing , unconditional love. We need to dive down past the surface of just reading His Word and start to really live out His Word.

Friends, this message is for me and I just really wanted to share it with you. I know that I need to move past the surface of what I see in this world and dive in and really explore Jesus to the fullest. I have a feeling I’m missing so much. I’m ready to move forward. I’m ready to dive in.

Who’s with me?? Let’s go!

tropical-ocean-underwater-cnnuyn56

 

❤ Blessings ❤

Press On

Life can change so quickly. Determination can fade to hesitation. Enthusiasm can fade to lukewarmness. Confidence can fade to doubt or confusion. This doesn’t happen over night friends. It doesn’t come with warning. It’s the plan of the enemy to have you (and me) slowly fade into a place of ‘going through the motions’. The devil is VERY patient and will try and do what ever it takes to get us to become distracted with everything around us so that we pay less attention to others and Jesus.

So many thing have been trying to take precedence over my time with Jesus. My pregnancy, work, children, my own desires….. so many things in this world can come before Jesus and before you know it, time spent with Jesus becomes a little less and less and the other things we focus on become more and more. Mind you-all of the things I listed above (pregnancy, children, work….) they all do need my time and attentions as God has entrusted those things to me- but they should never consume me to the point of putting Jesus last on the list.

As I look out side on this spring day- I see no signs of spring. I see snow…and lot’s of it. Sometimes we become so wearing with just everyday life- things never seems to change or we lack excitement for life. And that to can distract us from our sweet Jesus. We start to get down, and mope because our lives aren’t what we want them to be or they don’t look like what we thought they would look like. But I know that just like the snow outside on my deck…even though it’s been around for such a long period of time this winter, that spring is still going appear.

This is but a season and even when we don’t think God is moving in these times, HE IS. Our focus must remain on Him and it must remain steadfast every day. Even when life piles up on us with distractions…even when weariness tries to set it- make intentional to focus on Him each and everyday…even if it’s with one verse that you read out of your bible- put it up on your mirror on a post it. Put it on your desk at work. Put it over your children’s beds, the fridge, the door, anywhere that you will see it. Wake up a bit early to read that devotional and really focus on the scripture. Pray first thing in the morning. Pray with your children at breakfast time….the list goes on.

You might not have excitement each and everyday but God will reward you for pressing on EVEN when life is trying to press you down.

❤ Blessings  my sweet friends ❤

Are You Living off of Yesterdays Manna?

You know it’s so subtle…. that little shift in my thinking, my motivation, my intentions.

Let me explain.

I know in my heart that I need Jesus to fill me daily. I know in my heart that I need to read His Word daily to be filled up- to be fed spiritually. HE is the one that gives the desire TO desire more of Him. It’s a prayer that I pray continuously – “Lord, give me a desire to read  Your Word DAILY  and when I read Your Word, to then walk in obedience to it. Lord, show me what You want me to see and teach me YOUR ways.”

And so there I go, awake early each morning 5 am- in the Word, receiving NEW revelation from Him, getting filled up with His love so that I can walk in His love throughout the day. When I’m in His Word first thing in the morning, being intentional about loving on Him, seeking Him and learning from Him, my day is led by The Spirit and not by my flesh.

And here comes the subtle shift…..

I’m tired at 5 am- so just for today, I’ll role over in bed, grab my phone and I’ll read my devo app- skim through the outlined scripture and say a quick prayer that what I’ve just read will stick with me throughout the day….and as fast as I read it, it leaves my mind and my heart…I get up and go about my daily routine after laying in bed 20 minutes later then I had planned.

It’s my lunch break at work… I have time to dive into the Word and really pray and seek Him, but I chose to pop online and see what others are up to on Facebook and just enjoy my ‘break’….

I get home, do the diner thing, bath night for the kiddos, treadmill, kids tucked in to bed….ahhhhhh time to relax after all of that 🙂 So I get online and see what my Online Bible Study group has been up to. I pray for them, for my friends, for my family. I tell Jesus how much I love Him. I read a great spiritual growth book. I ask God to bless the works of my hands and before I know it, it’s bed time.

All of that dear friends, is an example of what my days become if I get lazy and unintentional about spending good quality time with The Lord daily.

I frequently need to pull myself back and refocus. I need to ask myself these questions- Am I spending more time serving The Lord- in other words, am I spending more time ‘doing for Jesus’ then just ‘being’ with Jesus. Am I spending more time praying for others then I am in the Word? Am I desiring to be in God’s plans, therefore asking Him what HE wants..or am I desiring Him to be in MY plans- telling Him what I want?

Bottom line- I can’t live off of what God showed me yesterday. I can’t live off of what He taught me yesterday. Just like I can’t live off of the food I ate yesterday and expect it to sustain me for 5 days before I eat again. Spiritually I need to eat daily and I am not going to get filled up by strictly  serving Jesus. I am not going to get filled up by praying for others. I  am  not going to get filled up by skipping my quiet time with Jesus. It’s in those quiet times, alone, with Jesus and in His Word that I am going to get filled up. NOTHING will replace that time with Jesus and nothing will substitute that time with Jesus-Nothing.

❤ Blessings ❤