Sunday, July 14, 2013

Writing Your Own Story of JOY and Learning To Be STILL

If you were to write your story of the life you want or desire, how would it start and end and does your life represent the true desires of your heart.

More importantly, is your life the one that God has designed and planned for you?

Are you filled with JOY daily?

Do you look forward to each day and jump out of bed ready to go?

Does your story include pictures with those things that bring you happiness?  

How do you know if you are living with passion when everyday is filled with all the things that come with being married, having children, going to work and then doing it all over again?

Is your village filled with family and friends that complete your circle?

How often do you sit STILL so that you can hear from your Heavenly Father and do you have an honest relationship with Him?

Is church a place you feel like you can fall safely and truly be yourself without being judged?

I can honestly say that I did not picture myself where I am today but know that God has a plan and vision for my life and the one I am creating and living with my daughter.  I have learned to trust and have faith in the small things and know that He works all things for my good.

I am excited about the next season in my life and am passionate about sharing His LOVE where He places me.  In whatever capacity I can and building up those I encounter daily.  That is one of the reasons I love teaching.  Everyday is an opportunity to love and encourage them.

Here is an article that I found on Faith, Hope, and Love tonight and wanted to share it with you in case you have a lot of the same questions.

When God is Silent or Delays

Written by Anita Carman at Today's Christian Woman
God's delays have often perplexed me. It seems to me that since his goal is to reach the world for him, when I ask him, "What do you want me to do with my life?," he should answer quickly and immediately so I can get on with whatever it is he wants me to do. Instead, there is often silence. But why would God be silent if he desires me to do his will?
I kept thinking the problem was God, but one day God opened my eyes to see that the problem was me.
I realized that God often was waiting to answer because I was not ready. I "surrendered all" without understanding the cost. I said I would go wherever he led, but my willingness to go was really based on my own ideas about where I was going. My intention wasn't for God to tell me what he wanted me to do, but for him to bless my plans. It hadn't occurred to me that God had plans of his own and that I existed for his purpose. To my total shock, I realized that God was silent because he was showing grace. He was silent because I was still in preparation for the call. He knew I wasn't ready.
We know that God is the perfect steward of his resources—and those resources include us. He doesn't waste our gifts and talents, but he might wait to use them until we are perfectly prepared for the task he has for us. So if God hasn't spoken, it must be because it's not time.He is still in preparation, and we are part of that preparation.

Understanding God's call on your life

God orchestrates the events of our lives to lead us to his calling for us. But still so many of us miss the boat or shrink back from what he wants us to do. He leads us to what he wants, and then he waits for us to understand and accept it. Through my own experiences, God has shown me that there are three stages to understanding and accepting our calling:.

Stage One: Declare That You Will Follow

This stage may sound obvious. After all, if we don't plan to follow God's call, why would we want to understand it? However, it is not as easy as it might seem. When initially confronted with God's plan, we may feel overwhelmed and immediately shrink back from it. We might not want to respond for various reasons.
Luke 9:57-62 tells of several situations where those who professed their desire to follow Jesus immediately came up with all kinds of reasons to justify delaying their obedience (which, in fact, is disobedience).
As they were walking along the road, a man said to him, "I will follow you wherever you go." Jesus replied, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head." He said to another man, "Follow me." But the man replied, "Lord, first let me go and bury my father." Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God." Still another said, "I will follow you, Lord; but first let me go back and say good-bye to my family." Jesus replied, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God."
God wants us to respond to him with obedience, regardless of the cost. So the first step in understanding and accepting his call is just that—declaring you will accept it.

Stage Two: Fully Appreciate the Cost and Be Willing to Pay It

It might seem as if you should fully appreciate the cost of God's calling before accepting it. But the experience has shown me that no matter how long I take to assess the cost of obedience, I don't fully appreciate it until I make my unwavering declaration to follow.
So what will compel us to not only declare our commitment to Christ, but also to actually pay the cost of following him? God has shown me that often my delay in following Jesus boils down to the question Jesus asked Peter three times in John 21: "Do you love me?"
Could it really be that simple? Is accepting the cost really just about settling in our hearts if we love him? God showed me the answer to this through my own personal life. If my husband or sons were ill, would I not spare any expense to help them recover? Would I reprioritize my schedule to get them to the hospital? Would I not cut expenses wherever I could to be able to pay for their care? Would I spend one second analyzing whether I would pay for the cost? In my answers to those questions, I answer the question of whether or not I love them. I would do what I needed to do, no matter the cost, because I love them.
Few people question how much of themselves, their time, and their resources they will give their children or grandchildren. Few parents would hesitate to give a kidney to their dying child. Yet when it comes to giving God what he longs for, we often find ourselves setting a ceiling on our affections, which effectually tell him that we don't really love him—our Father and King. We must be willing to pay the cost in order to follow God's call.

Stage Three: Acknowledge God's Power

After we declare our commitment to God and decide that we are willing to pay the cost no matter what, we need to realize that the only way we can give God what he desires is through leaning on him and trusting in his power. If we try to do it on our own, we will surely fail. It is through his strength that we can actually pay the cost of our calling.
I knew a woman who wrestled with God when he first called her to serve in the ministry. She accepted the call. She understood clearly how much her calling would cost her, and she took a leap of faith in accepting it. She felt comfortable until she got to stage three: Part of the cost was leaving corporate America to serve God full-time in ministry.
She asked God to part the Red Sea by providing for her financially before she cut the umbilical cord from her corporate job. As I watched her wrestle with her decision, I knew from observing God's patterns that he was not going to provide for her until she stopped trying to solve challenges in her own power. Using her own human logic, she determined she did not know anyone who could support her, and tried to make ends meet through her own savings. She ran short. Meanwhile, God had connections for her throughout the city, but she never once asked God to lead her to these connections. As a result, she stayed in corporate America, and missed God's divine appointment.
In her human capability, she was not able to trust God with new ways to provide for her future finances. It is when we humble ourselves before God and acknowledge his power over all things that he will then carry us to a level beyond our wildest imagination. Let's look at an example of this in the life of a member of our royal family tree. When Jesus asked Peter if he loved him, he asked the question three times. The first time, Jesus said, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me more than these?" (John 21:15). The word Jesus used for "love" in this question was the Greek word agapao, which is a decision to love—the same kind of love that led Jesus to finish his work on the cross. There are times when we do not feel like loving, but we do so as an act of our choice and will. That is agapao love. Peter's answer to this questions was, "Yes Lord … you know that I love you" (John 21:15). But the Greek word for love that Peter used was phileo, which is a friendship type of love, clearly not one as intense as what Jesus was asking for.
In John 21:16, Jesus asked Peter a second time, "Simon son of John, do you truly love me?" Again, he used the word agapao. And Peter again answered with phileo. Then an incredible thing happened. Jesus asked Peter the question a third time, but this time he used the word phileo instead of agapao. He confirmed Peter's admission that he could not, in his own power, do what was asked of him. So God went to where Peter was. It is the same with us. When we humble ourselves before him and acknowledge our human weaknesses, he meets us where we are, and then he grows us into what he is asking of us.
I wish I could tell you that God speaks clearly and consistently, but there are many days when I can't hear him. Yet that doesn't mean I should just give up. I believe that often that doesn't mean I should just give it up. I believe that often God uses those times of silence to see if I will trust him more. When I know that I am on the path God has called me to, yet he is silent, I simply proceed through any open door I can find. I don't stop because he isn't speaking. Even when no doors seem to be open, I can't give up on his dream.
As I look back over the years at Inspire Women, I remember many times I just wanted to crawl into bed and never wake up because of God's silence during the storms. Yet all the while, I felt a strong conviction that I was doing exactly what God wanted. I knew that God was watching over me and that he wanted to know if he could trust me to keep going even when he was silent.
I have learned that the more we walk with God, the more faith he expects for us. As God conforms us to Jesus' image, he will walk us into times when he is intentionally silent, and he will watch to see if we stay on course and keep doing the last thing we heard him tell us to do.
Adapted from Transforming for a Purpose: Fulfulling God's Mission as Daughters of the King. Copyright © 2009 by Anita Carman. Used by permission of Moody Publishers.

Have a blessed week and I pray you will take the time to make a difference in the lives that cross your path in the week to come.



Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day 2013 and the Hope of Creating True Freedom ~

As I am reading the blog I am realizing how my lifestyle of clutter and disorganization in my bedroom/home is keeping me from the things that are really important to me such as relaxing in my own space and where I call home until my situation changes and I have a new full time position.  I have been surviving the last 2 years and working an average of 4 days of 15 hours with another 3 days of work which have easily added up to more than 60 plus hours of work with no vacation.  I am so ready for my life to change and at some point, will come back to share my story, the challenges and triumphs which have been many over the last 4 years when the economy took a turn in a direction I never saw coming as a self employed single mom raising my daughter completely on my own.

I am posting another blog here that I am interested in reading further in hopes that I can continue to take steps in the direction of clearing a path for the AMAZING things God has planned for my life:

Don't be surprised to find a few more posts soon relating to these ideas and again, if you have any to share that would help please feel free to post and link them here.  Love women helping women <3 p="">

Happy 4th of July Today ~

I am so grateful for all those who have served and continue to serve in our military so that we may all enjoy our freedom here in the US and abroad.

I am having fun tonight while Demi is away celebrating the holiday with family friends and the Tice's today searching Pinterest and new blogs.  I want to share a few of them here so that I can come back here to enjoy them while trying to redo and organize my small space.

So here goes:


A few months ago I shared that our family’s theme word for the year is contentment.  After an entire lifetime of wanting to trying to fill my life with beautiful things in the hope that it would bring fulfillment, learning to simply be content with what I have is a huge shift in paradigm. I backslide sometimes–too often, really–and I find myself getting caught up in the pursuit of wanting something new, in the trap of thinking that there is better than here, of telling myself the reason I’m not satisfied is because I don’t have X or because I haven’t achieved Y.  They are the familiar lies that keep creeping back over and over again. Even so, slowly and painfully, through much prayer and reflection, I can still feel myself being changed, transformed, renewed.  As this process continues, and as I continue to delve deeper into God’s Word, I am finding that these seven strategies are helping me to be much more content right where I am: 

1. Set your priorities Take the time to actually write down what is most important to you, and to determine what it is you want most out of life.  Is having a bigger house, better clothes, a nicer car or the latest iPhone your ultimate goal?  If you were to die tomorrow, what would you want people to remember you for?   It is much easier to be content with what we have when we truly consider where our priorities lie.  Jesus, in Matthew 6:20-21, put it simpler still: “Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven….for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” 

2. Stop comparing This is so easy to say and yet, unless you live in a bubble, so hard to do.  No matter what we do or who we are or how much we have, it is so tempting to see what someone else does or is or has and suddenly want that for ourselves. As a blogger, my own biggest temptation is comparing myself to other bloggers.  I’ll see another blog that has more subscribers or Facebook fans or blog comments and think, “why are they so much bigger or better than me?”  Then I’ll read an amazingly insightful post or see a super-creative DiY project or delicious-looking recipe on another blog and think “Why couldn’t I think of that.”  But I don’t stop there.  I start questioning everything I am doing, I begin second-guessing my own path, my own content, my own worth.  Suddenly everything I do is complete crap and I might as well just quit altogether. I am learning, slowly, that another person’s success or talent doesn’t negate my own.  I remind myself over and over of the message found in Romans 12:6:  ”We have different gifts, according to the grace given us.”  No two people will walk the same path, and nothing someone else has will fulfill me if I’m not already filled.  My only job is to walk my own path to the best of my abilities. 

3. Change the message Do you ever feel like modern culture is just one big advertisement, constantly telling telling us what we need to be happy or successful?  Between television, books, online media, magazines, and even billboards, it is practically impossible to escape the pressure to have more, do more, or be more.  Much of  that message involves filling our lives with things, promoting the idea that stuff will make happy.  Sometimes it is just a “motivational” message, telling us that we should simply be better.  In any case, the idea that what we have and who we are is enough is rarely–if ever–promoted.  Contentment just doesn’t sell. I found for myself that the only real solution was to change the message, and to drastically reduce the amount of advertising and propaganda that I am exposed to.  I stopped reading blogs & magazines or watching television shows that made me feel like I what I have or who I am isn’t enough and instead focused on those that promote contentment, discipline, and other godly virtues.   “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.”  (Galatians 5:22).  It takes work to block out the rest. 

4. Count your blessings Discontentment can sneak up on us so quickly, often before we even know it is happening.  Something doesn’t go exactly our way, and suddenly we are wishing the whole world was different.   I especially see this with my kids!  I have found that it helps both them and me to have daily conversations about the blessings in our lives and the things we are grateful for. Philippians 4:4-7 reminds us to “rejoice in the Lord always, I will say it again: Rejoice!….Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.  And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” I am trying (yet often failing) in my own morning devotions, to be more intentional about thanking God for what He’s done, rather than constantly coming with my own petitions.  This is still hard for me.  To be perfectly honest, my prayers can often be very self-consumed.  There is a lot I still want, but remembering all that I have does make a difference. 

5. Live passionately Where is your passion?   What do you love to do most of all?  What makes you jump out of bed in the morning, or rush home from work just so that you can have a little extra time to do it?  Is it sewing?  Crafting?  Blogging?  Speaking?  Volunteering? Starting your own business?  Raising children?  Becoming a missionary?  Whatever it is, DO IT.  Do it with abandon, do it like your life depends on it. There is nothing in the Bible that says we should simply sit quietly by, trying not to make waves.  On the contrary, Jesus specifically said “I have come that they may have LIFE, and have it to the FULL.”  A full life is one filled with passion, and it is hard to feel discontented when you are following your dreams. 

6. Find positive friends Trying to “keep up with the Jones’” can become all-consuming if everyone you know is caught up in the same more-more-more mentality.  Unspoken competition among friends for the nicest house, most athletic kids, or biggest television (just to name a few!) not only breeds discontentment, but can cause true resentment among the people who should be your support system. The Bible is pretty clear on this topic, saying “do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.” (1 Corinthians 15:33).  A good way to make sure you’ll never be content is to surround yourself with discontented friends.  Instead, find people who are striving for the same goals. 

7. Pray for change It always, always, always comes down to prayer.  Pray for contentment, for God to truly transform your heart and satisfy your need for more, and he will.  

It is only through God’s grace we are redeemed.  ”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”  (Matthew 7:7)

I borrowed this from and so needed to read this even though I feel this way.  A good reminder is always good especially when things don't seem to be moving along quite the way I feel they should and or as fast.  Melanie has written a book called Sparkly Green Earrings and if you are a mom, you will enjoy her memoir of life and motherhood.  I believe she writes what a lot of us think.  I found myself laughing outloud and wanting to share this book with every mom I know.  I read and love this book and Bob Goff's outlook on life and accomplishing everything you want to in life.  His persistence on moving forward when he has been told no will inspire you to push ahead when all the odds are stacked up against you.   Lastly another book that has changed my life this year is The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson.  This book will teach you how to pray circles around the dreams you have and  the prayers that we can pray to a BOLD GOD that ANSWERS BOLD PRAYERS.  He also has written a book called Praying Circles Around Your Children which you can view on his website.

I hope you enjoy the blogs and books.  Also if you have read any great books lately, please let me know because I am always looking for books to read.  

I hope you enjoyed you InDependence Day with family and friends and or by yourself if you are like me today, all alone to do as you want today.  Now that is total FREEDOM as a mom and woman!!