Made for Me (A Dress-Shopping Adventure)

Made for Me (A Dress-Shopping Adventure)

Just before Mother’s Day, my daughter turned 7. We celebrated with a trip to Baskin Robbins.

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The next night, we took her gift card to a clothing store so she could buy some dresses.
I decided that for Mother’s Day this year I wanted to buy a new dress.
After 11 dresses, I left the store empty-handed and not feeling great about myself.
You see, before children, I was pretty body-confident. I’d gone up in weight during college, but worked at getting fit before getting married.
After two children, my body returned to the illusion of normal. After my third daughter, my abs never fully connected.
And, in the right outfits, you can’t tell.

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This is my belly button. Color blocking is supposed to give me curves, but the waist hit too high with this dress.

But, given the wrong fit, well, the preschoolers aren’t afraid to ask eagerly if I have “a baby in my tummy”??

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Side-ruching is supposed to give you an hourglass figure. This dress was not too tight, but the fabric gathered at the most unfortunate place for me. (see next photo)

 

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This dress makes me look pregnant. Or reveals that I was pregnant-three times over. So much for side-gathers.

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This was actually the closest to a “yes” all night, but the flowers? Too big.

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It was SO cute on the hanger!

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I wanted to say “yes” to the dress, but this was another “no”.

 

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Modest is hottest, right?

 

By the time I got to that last dress, I just wanted to cover myself up. Why was everything in so many different colors and styles still so wrong?!!

I googled my body type at home that night. It turns out, those dresses I tried on? Not made for me. My body type is not an apple or a pear. (Or any form of triangle or hourglass). I’m a banana.
Or as they now say, “rectangle”. That means that my middle is pretty much the same as my hips and shoulders. It’s nicer than calling me a hot dog. Or an eggplant.
But, the point here is that if something isn’t made for us, it’s not going to fit.
We’re not going to feel comfortable and we’re not going to be confident.

I do have dresses that fit me and that I feel great in.
Maybe I don’t need anything new. Maybe I need to remember what I have. And maybe in my heart, I need to remember who made me.

Healthy eating and working out can be wonderful, but if we’re obsessed with them, they become idols. We are worshiping our bodies instead of the One who made our bodies.
Raising our kids and doing a good job are noble goals, but even our children can become an idol if they become more important than God.
There’s only one throne in our life. It’s up to us to choose who’s on the seat. Is it me and my ability to be “supermom”? Is it my husband? Is it my kids?
I want to surrender that throne to God, and He’s so gentle to remind me when I’m crowding the seat.

The song “Have it All” by Bethel has really ministered to me lately. I’m not the all-Perfect One. I’m not the all-Holy One.
But, if I’m trying to live up to that, then I am trying to be God. No wonder I’m tired and constantly failing to meet my expectations!

God has placed you and I on the Earth right now to minister to people around us. We don’t have to change to be useful. We just have to be willing to be used.

How about you? Have you been discouraged by something lately? How can we pray for you?

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We Love You Already!

We Love You Already!

Can you love somebody you’ve never met?
Ask any mother and she will tell you “yes”. Before that baby was born, she already loved him or her.
In this digital age, we are networking and connecting to people in different cities, counties, even countries!
When we realize we have shared experiences, we form invisible bonds. The chance to meet these new friends face-to-face is a great reward. And when we find that our new friends are friends with other friends, we grow into a community!

I love some women I have never met face-to-face. They are my sisters. We share one common love. We love because He first loved us. I read their stories and jump up and down shouting “me too!”
I cry at the pain in their stories because I’ve had that same pain. Maybe God loved us first because we really aren’t so different. All of these friends are willing to tell me their shortcomings—and yet that’s the thing that makes them so appealing to me. (And it works the other way too)
Just like me, they are not enough by themselves.
Perhaps you are out there feeling lonely and unloved.
Maybe someone hurt you with their ill-timed good intentions. Maybe someone hurt you on purpose.
I want you to know, this is your place.

Here, we’re all a group of real girls, brave not because we’re special, but because we are loved.
We are wrapped in the purpose that God chose for us for His glory.  2 Corinthians 12:9 says that our weaknesses exist that the Power of Christ may rest on us, so come on in!

We’ll laugh together, cry together, and most importantly, battle the real enemy together.

You matter. How you feel is important.

So is truth.

Let the lies fall flat. We approach the throne of grace with CONFIDENCE.

God is working through you. Declare it!

And know that your story matters. We’d love to hear it!

If you missed it last week, please read BraveGirl Martha’s post, “#NoFilter“! It’s all about community and being real. 🙂

Bella Babes on the Beach

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Tammy

#NoFilter

#NoFilter

Oh, the laborious task of editing a selfie before posting to Instagram. Am I right, ladies? Blemish remover, add a tan, maybe a little makeup. Air brush and adjust shadowing. I’ve been known to even slenderize an arm or two. Heck, just for kicks you can even do a little face swap with a pretty friend or celebrity. Surely I’m not the only one who’s ever wondered what my hair looks like on Kris Jenner’s face?

The reliance on filters to create a better version of ourselves is an epidemic, and it goes way past the finishing touches we put on a photo. The “I woke up like this” facade carries over into our relationships and how we present ourselves.

We walk into a room full of other women and not only begin immediately critiquing ourselves against everyone else, but we have a way of putting on our best face and instantly transforming into someone who can fit in and be liked. How quickly we can go from the frazzled woman who was yelling at our husband on the phone one minute before, to the social butterfly who can cheerfully compliment a stranger’s highlights, while in the next breath volunteering to set up a meal train for another lady who just had a baby. Heaven forbid anyone know we are already maxed out or just really want to be at home in bed.

There is no room for insecurities, shortcomings and honesty about our sin when we are in the company of other women. Or at least that’s how we behave.IMG_4646

What if at our next girls’ night out or bible study, we resolved to use no filter? That is, we take the messy woman that God created us to be (and loves so dearly, I might add) and laid her out on the table. Be honest about our struggles. Be real. Be relatable.

I have never felt a stronger connection to someone than when they are sharing their testimony with me. I admire the woman who is brave enough to stand up in front of a room and talk about her brokenness and God’s redeeming power over her life. The woman who resolves to use the hard and the ugly in her life to help someone else understand they aren’t alone in theirs. The woman who’s walked through drug abuse, an eating disorder or bitterness over a loss, and is willing to stand up and say, “I’ve struggled with this; now whom can I walk alongside on their path?”

Here’s the thing: we all struggle. No matter how perfect our makeup is, how on trend our outfits are, or how big our smile is, we are all imperfect beings dwelling together on an imperfect earth. All a filter does is mask the imperfections that we all have and create a false projection of perfection, which no one can relate to. So why do we continue to isolate ourselves from genuine community by wearing our masks? Since we all wear them, why don’t we all agree to take them off at the same time? I’ll take mine off first if it means it will give you the courage to follow suit.

It’s scary taking that first step, but the rewards are unifying, and, sister, they are freeing.

I encourage you to take off the mask, erase the filters, and embrace the fearfully, wonderfully created YOU. Be a trailblazer for other strong, confident women.

And while you’re at it, delete the slenderize app.

BraveGirl Martha

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Jesus Loves You

Jesus Loves You

There are some of you who will read this post who “get it”. You get this Love. You know this unconditional, rich, no strings attached, everlasting, never leave you, beautiful, grace-filled, sacrificial Love of Jesus. If this is you, then you know that there is NOTHING like it and you know it to your very core. And I can bet that if you know the Love of Jesus like this, You cannot wait to share it with everyone! Can I just say AMEN?!

But what about those that don’t “get it”?
Amazing, godly people, who love Jesus, are wandering aimlessly wounded, feeling unworthy, unloved and not good enough in the hopes that God “might” love them. We like to tell about His love to others, but when asked the question, “Do you believe God loves you?” overwhelmingly there is a pause and the answer is…”No.” I hear and see it ALL the time and I have personally experienced it.

So my post today is for the person who doesn’t know that Love, but who longs to understand. The person who doesn’t “get it”, but is desperate to know it in their heart. The person who has gone to “church” all his/her life, but doesn’t know the all encompassing LOVE of the Father. That’s who I am writing this to…YOU. Jesus’ love is FREELY given and available to you and me. Sometimes its not a matter of us not believing he loves us….but RECEIVING this unbelievable gift.

Jesus Loves you.

Let me say that again (in all caps)…JESUS LOVES YOU.
I come to you with a humble heart to say, I have been there. I have sung or talked about these three words over and over, pouring them into others, but not realizing I needed to know it for myself. I accepted Christ over 20 years ago and have had an amazing and precious journey with God. I have seen him move in ways I could never explain. I have seen him heal and breathe new life into my own wounds and hurts. I have seen his Word transform me and become alive and active… and yet… somehow I had not fully understood the simple Truth… He Loves me.cherylpicohhowhelovesus

It wasn’t until after a service at church last fall that I began to see that something was missing.
We sang the lyrics “He LOVES us…oh how he loves us”. I spoke right before this song about His love, praying that you/they could “get it”. Everything I said that day was absolutely my heart and what I believe…but I didnt fully comprehend it for myself. I had a lot of head knowledge, but my heart wasn’t quite there. I didn’t need more wisdom or information on God’s Love for me, but a transforming revelation in my spirit.

I got in my car after the service with tears in my eyes and said “God, please don’t ever let me speak on your love without knowing it myself. I want to be the real deal.” It was sometime shortly after that day that I heard a sermon specifically on the love of Jesus, with scriptures on His love and how some of us don’t feel worthy to RECEIVE that love-but God gives it FREELY. The pastor spoke on the simplicity of the song we all know, “Jesus Loves me this I know..for the bible tells me so…” and he even began to sing those lyrics… I began to cry. Truth had just collided with my heart… HE LOVES ME.

“I have LOVED YOU with an everlasting LOVE; I have drawn YOU with unfailing kindness…”-Jeremiah 31:3

From that day forward, something changed. I focused the next few weeks on His Love to the point of telling God (not that he needed me to) “I receive your love.” Saying that out loud was helpful for me to declare it whether I felt it or not! And you know what, I started to “get it”…I believed it! I realized that His love has ALWAYS been there-I just didn’t see my self worthy to receive it because of my failures and my flaws. I thought if I can just do or be enough and love God enough…then maybe I will be worthy. But that’s “conditional” love….not Jesus’ Love.

The song isn’t just familiar lyrics anymore-” JESUS LOVES ME this I know”…it is truth! And I want you to know that this is TRUTH for YOU as well.

HE LOVES YOU.
HE LOVES YOU beyond anything you can comprehend.
HE LOVES YOU in the midst of every flaw, every failure, every sin.
HE LOVES YOU even as you run in the opposite direction from His open arms.
HE LOVES YOU when you silence your ears to hear his voice.
HE LOVES YOU even when you pick up that bottle, that drug or gamble that last penny.
HE LOVES YOU when you are doubled over a toilet because you feel unworthy.
HE LOVES YOU when you doubt His goodness, doubt that He is who He says He is, doubt that He can and will fulfill his promises.
HE LOVES YOU even when you don’t choose him….because HE. CHOSE. YOU.

His love was displayed on the cross before you were ever even born. He knew you would arrive on this earth one day, because He chose YOU, He planned YOU and He created YOU. His love was poured out on the cross, so that in return it could be poured in to you. His horrific death was to show you he deems you WORTHY of HIS LOVE. This kind of Love can melt the hardest hearts, restore a broken marriage, cover and heal lies that you have believed all your life, expose fear that has gripped you to no end (1 John 4:19-His perfect LOVE casts out all fear)….but even if these things never change(and I believe they can) He simply LOVES YOU and that is ENOUGH. It is unconditional, radical, incomprehesible, unfathomable, everlasting, grace filled Love. Our minds cannot grasp this kind of love, but guess what, our heart’s can and….it’s FREE!

I pray that YOU, being rooted and established in LOVE, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the LOVE of CHRIST, and to know this LOVE that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of ALL the fullness of God.-Ephesians 3: 17-19

This is my prayer for you and I today! That we know, to our core, the Love that has lavishly been poured out on us. That we come to Him with open hands and open hearts to say “I receive your LOVE.” Let’s freely receive so that we can freely give(Matthew 10:8) and overflow with the love of Christ! Let there be a rise within the church to LOVE extravagantly because we cannot contain something that is so AMAZING!

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Not Forgotten

Not Forgotten

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The laughter and celebration rivals any wedding you’ve ever seen. So much joy and anticipation has led to this day and finally, the groom will take his bride home and they will become man and wife for the first time.

But there’s a twist. You see, the father of the bride switches his daughters at the last moment. A web of deception leads to a dismal honeymoon morning. There was great deceit so that the groom would not discover the swap until it was already binding.

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Imagine now, being that wife. Your father orders your new husband to “complete this one week”, and then your husband is allowed to marry your sister. And for seven more years, your husband disdains and despises you while he works for your father and is married now to sisters.
Leah was described as “having weak eyes”, “but Rachel was beautiful in form and appearance.”
Jacob loved Rachel more than Leah.

Leah felt plain, overlooked, forgotten. But God? God chose Leah.

31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren.  And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben, for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”  She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon. Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.  And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah. Then she ceased bearing. (Genesis 29:31-35)

Out of poor Leah came the priestly tribe of Levi and the kingly tribe of Judah. From this overlooked sister who never had a chance with Jacob (he met Rachel first and kissed her after watering her flocks), God provided a Savior for the entire world that was and is and is yet to come.

Perhaps you feel like a Leah. Forgotten, “less-than”, inferior.
Our enemy would love to convince you that you’re right.
But he is wrong. He’s a liar. And it’s time to know the truth.

For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
    intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
    the days that were formed for me,
    when as yet there was none of them. (Psalm 139:13-16)

Isaiah 43 states that we were created for God’s glory.

But now, this is what the Lord says—
    he who created you, Jacob,
    he who formed you, Israel:
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
    they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be burned;
    the flames will not set you ablaze.
 For I am the Lord your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
I give Egypt for your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your stead.
 Since you are precious and honored in my sight,
    and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,
    nations in exchange for your life.
 Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
    I will bring your children from the east
    and gather you from the west.
 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
Bring my sons from afar
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—
 everyone who is called by my name,
    whom I created for my glory,
    whom I formed and made.” (Isaiah 43:1-7)

I cannot convince you, but if you will allow the Holy Spirit to whisper truth and love, then you will perhaps have eyes to see and ears to hear. You are not forgotten.
You are loved.

BraveGirl Tammy

Photo Credit

Walk By Faith

Walk By Faith

What does it mean to walk by faith? What does it look like to you? Have you ever walked by faith? If so what happened? If you haven’t why not? Maybe we don’t because of the possibility of being exposed to ridicule or being drilled with multiple questions.  What about that ugly lurking pride that can’t risk being wrong—especially in front of others. Our words may say we believe, but do our actions reflect what we believe?

My dad recently found a new love in his life after the death of his wife four years ago.  This October I was blessed with the opportunity to spend some time with Marge and my dad when they came to Oregon for a visit.  She had also suffered the loss of her spouse three years ago.  During their visit they shared with the family that they were planning on getting married.  The wedding would be in Tulsa, Oklahoma in six weeks!

My family lives a simple life—either we have the money or we don’t.  You won’t find any credit cards in our wallets. The savings account was low on funds, the holidays would be here before you know it, and our six month car insurance bill would be in our mailbox soon.  For three weeks I prayed, asking God to provide the means for me to go to the wedding.  One day, as I was praying, a question came to me. Did I believe that God would provide for me to go? My answer was, of course! If I did believe, then what was I sitting around for?  I had a wedding to get ready to go to!  As I thought about the preparations I would have to make for the care of my children, it occurred to me that I could share with people that I believed God can and would provide for me to go to Tulsa for my dad’s wedding—which was only three weeks away now.

For we walk by faith, not by sight 2 Corinthians 5:7  

The first person I invited on my journey with God was my husband.  I asked if he had any objections about me going to Oklahoma if God provided the funds. (Since he would be out of town hunting, our boys would have to stay with friends.)  He didn’t have any objections.  I opened up to two Christian friends who offered encouragement and prayer support through this.

For the next two weeks there were moments where it was easy to share with others and other times when I couldn’t get the words out.  This was definitely exposing my weaknesses and fears.  The clock was ticking and I still had no way of getting to the wedding.  I felt discouraged when people would say “Oh you’re still doing that?” or “Don’t you think you should start asking people for the money?” and “How are you going to get the money?” There were times when I was tempted to ask a Christian friend who is financially secure for the money. I didn’t want my friend to provide, though. I wanted God to provide. I valued my friend’s wisdom more than her money. What seemed like a simple walk of faith was more challenging than I had anticipated.  Countless times my eyes instantly flooded with tears at the thought of not being able to go.  One night I found myself sitting in a parking lot with a foul attitude. Not wanting to go home and expose my family to it, I prayed asking God for help and to take my ugly disposition.  The truth was that the gift was becoming more important than the giver.  My prayer changed as I began thanking God for everything in my life.

Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Make thankfulness your sacrifice to God, and keep the vows you made to the Most High. Then call on me when you are in trouble and I will rescue you and you will give me the glory.  Psalm 50:14-15.

On a Wednesday morning I made the final arrangement by asking our teenage neighbor to watch our dogs.  There were only nine days until the wedding.  That night as I sat in the car waiting for my son’s basketball practice to finish, I received a call from my dad.  He was calling to find out if I was going to the wedding because I hadn’t responded to his text.  What text?  The text that he sent on Saturday to all of his children offering to help pay if any of us wanted to go to the wedding.  A text that I never received but all my siblings did.  My response to my dad was YES! YES! I want to go the the wedding! That night I had my airline tickets to Tulsa!

The next couple days were amazing as I shared with others how God had provided. Even the dreaded “what to wear to the wedding” was a humbling and praiseworthy experience.  Instead of complaining that I had nothing to wear and no money to buy something, I shared what God was doing with a coworker. My generous coworker lent me a dress.

I was scrambling to finish all the loose ends at work on a Tuesday when I received a message from Marge’s son. He asked if I would like to say a few words to represent my dad’s family at the wedding. Marge’s grandson would be speaking for their side of the family.  My first reaction when I first read it was “No. Someone else can do it better.”

But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before the Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?” God answered, “I will be with you.” Exodus 3:11-12

I decided to take my break and call my Christian friend who just happens to be the same one in this story who is financially secure.  She immediately said Yes I should do it, because it’s a wonderful opportunity to honor my father.  With no clue of what I would say, I responded in obedience and said “Yes, I’ll do it.”  My future step-brother and I decided that this part of the wedding would be a surprise for his mom and my dad.

Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you what to say. Exodus 4:12

Wednesday morning, less than 24 hours before my flight would leave, my husband arrived home from a successful hunt.  All the preparations that took me three weeks to plan only took three minutes to undo. I was amazed that my pride didn’t take over.  I usually don’t take it very well when all my planning and organizing is undone. We celebrated God’s provision of food from his hunt. I was also grateful to spend time with my husband and our boys before I left.

It was Thursday and I was finally in Tulsa! The next twenty four hours were filled with meeting the new family members and friends. I spent quality time getting acquainted with all my aunts and uncles who I hadn’t seen in years.

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Friday evening we all entered the church for the wedding.  It was beautifully decorated in an autumn theme.  The centerpieces had lit lanterns surrounded by fall leaves, branches and pheasant feathers.  There were brightly lit candles on and around the stage.  A slideshow of pictures representing both families was presented on the large screen. Instead of your standard wedding cake, they had a magnificent tower of assorted gourmet cupcakes.  With the guests seated, the music began and the ceremony started.  Within a few minutes, our surprise was in motion as Marge’s grandson was the first to speak on behalf of her family.  When he was finished, he handed me the microphone.  Here is what I said to honor my dad…

Daughter’s Prayer

Dear Heavenly Father,

I sing glorious praises of joy to You for bringing all of us here to be a witness to this precious covenant. My heart overflows with gratitude because You have united my Dad and Marge.  The presence of Your peace rests in me when I see the two of them together.  Thank you Father, for graciously giving my Dad and our family a kind, loving, woman of faith.  Please watch over them and protect them. I pray that this covenant radiates the love of Christ and glorifies You.

With all of my love,
Amen

I handed back the microphone and returned to my seat. As the ceremony progressed something wonderful happened. I was filled with overwhelming joy! Not just because I was at the wedding, not because I finished speaking, but because my dad was TRULY HAPPY NOW!  He wasn’t alone—he had someone who would be by his side and would take care of him. The agony of losing his spouse to cancer and the years of loneliness following were finally over.  My dad was not only marrying a loving woman of faith, but he was graciously accepted by her family, church and friends. A new season in my dad’s life had begun. Knowing all this was a precious gift from God.

I will praise you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all the marvelous things you have done. Psalm 9:1

May your faith be strengthened and blessings be bountiful as you walk by faith in 2016!

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Shelly

Dad's Visit

Photo Credit for Cover Photo  

No Longer Slaves

No Longer Slaves

What comes to mind when you hear the word “slaves”? Do you know that all of us can become enslaved?
We become enslaved to ideals that we can never achieve. We become enslaved to pressures that deteriorate our health. We lose our identity.

Whose are you? To whom do you belong? When you cease to carry all your titles and simply “are”…who are you?

“I’m no longer a slave to fear, I am a child of God.”

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No Longer Slaves” is a song we have been singing a lot lately, and I wanted to share the lyrics with you.
V1.
You unravel me, with a melody

You surround me with a song
Of deliverance, from my enemies
Till all my fears are gone

Chorus
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

V2.
From my Mothers womb

You have chosen me
Love has called my name
I’ve been born again, into your family
Your blood flows through my veins

Chorus
I’m no longer a slave to fear
I am a child of God

Bridge: You split the sea, so I could walk right through it
All my fears were drowned in perfect love
You rescued me, so I could stand and sing
I am a child of God

Perhaps today you are weary. Perhaps today you are tired of fighting. You aren’t even sure what you’re fighting, but you are tired.
Psalm 54:4 is the answer.
“But God is my helper. The Lord keeps me alive!”

Another translation states, “the Lord is the one who sustains me.

He will carry us, if we allow Him. If we will no longer be enslaved to fear, but simply choose to be a servant in His kingdom. We are sons and daughters of God.
How do we do this??

“So prepare your minds for action and exercise self-control. Put all your hope in the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world.” 1 Peter 1:13

Our pastor challenged us with this verse yesterday, stating that we partially hope in ourselves, our skills, our gifts, our roles, our retirement account, and we partially hope in Jesus Christ.
The only way that God can be our helper is if we are putting ALL our hope in Him. If we are placing our security in other places, we will be slaves to fear when those places begin to crumble.

Friends, be encouraged today. You have a Maker. He knows your name. You have a purpose. You have a promise. Your life matters.
I’m facing _______________________”But God is my helper. The Lord will keep me alive.” Psalm 54:4
(And here’s a YouTube link if you can’t see the embedded video below: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8TkUMJtK5k )

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Worthy Of A Miracle

Worthy Of A Miracle

“You’re a miracle! Linda, you are a miracle!” my friend kept repeating it over and over.

What is she talking about? What happened to me? IMG_0734I frantically scanned the room and looked down to see my limp body with tubes coming out of every orifice of me.

I was diagnosed with cancer 5 months prior but I had no recollection of how I ended up in a hospital bed unable to move any part of my body.

I was terrified. I could not remember anything except that I had cancer.

On September 29, 2009 I became extremely ill while undergoing chemotherapy and was admitted to the hospital. Within days I was put into a medically induced coma to avoid going into cardiac arrest. I was asleep for almost a month. Doctors told my family I had less than 5% chance of survival and “if” there was a miracle and I survived I would never walk or breathe again on my own.

Exactly one year later from that horrific prediction, I ran my very first half marathon with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team In Training program.

While I was thrilled that I fully recovered from cancer and had 100% of my physical health back, I never really could accept the “miracle” label. Every time someone would call me a “miracle” it felt as though they were shining a bright floodlight in my face. I wanted to put my hands up to shield myself and hide. It was too much to comprehend.

I had struggled with not feeling “good enough” my entire life. I came from a broken home, was not the best student and felt insecure with just being me. Believing that I was worthy of a miracle was just too hard to comprehend. Instead of feeling elated, I felt defeated. For two years after my healing, I lived in limbo waiting to be found out that I did not deserve a second chance at life … worthy to be alive.

All of the doubt and insecurity wrecked havoc on my faith. I began to question God and his existence. One day I finally gave up and turned my back on God all together. I stopped going to church, reading my bible and even put my Christian life coaching business on hold, secretly hoping to never return to it.

I was in a spiritual crisis! I needed an even bigger miracle, to have faith to believe in God’s unimaginable love for me.

Several years later, I can confidently tell you that God did provide an even bigger MIRACLE in my life! This November I have my very first book coming out, Worthy of a Miracle, that takes you through an entire journey of not only one miracle, but multiple miracles. I want to encourage you today, that you too my friend are WORTHY OF A MIRALCE, worthy of all good things, and most importantly Worthy of God’s Love.

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Linda

www.lindakuhar.com
HeadshotLINDA KUHAR is a Board Certified Coach with the Center for Credentialing & Education, Certified Christian Life Coach with Christian Coach Institute and has led women worldwide through online Bible studies. Linda speaks to organizations such as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, churches, and women’s ministries throughout the United States. Click on the video below to see the trailer for Linda’s new book, Worthy Of A Miracle.

 

Remember

Remember

photo: wordswag image

Remind me God of who you are.
The one who speaks to the waters,
Who calms the storm.
A God who is gentle,
a good father and my friend.
A God who is my forever Savior until the end.

Remind me of your faithfulness
because I cannot see.
My mind is covered by my enemy.
Your truth shields my thoughts,
Your word refreshes my soul.
Breathe Holy Spirit into these dry bones.

Remind me of your everlasting love
that runs as far as the east is from the west
A love that does not fail
But guides me through every test.

Remind me of your protection
Your legion of angels standing guard,
to defend me in all my ways
Even when the path seems hard.

Remind me of your grip
that you hold me so tight.
When I am weak and I fail,
You are there to fight.

Remind me of the power of your unbelievable name
Let it be the first word from my mouth
JESUS I will proclaim!
No other name
will silence the fear,
calm the chaos
and draw you near.

Remind me Lord,
Because I am drowning without you.
I need you desperately…
without you, I cannot move.

And you gently respond with a whisper to my soul….

REMEMBER my Truth.
I am the God who SAVES.
My love NEVER runs out
and is NEVER delayed.
My arms stretch out to ALL in need .
I am your GOOD FATHER and will ALWAYS be.
You can TRUST me in the deep
when your heart is overwhelmed.
Reach out for my hand,
I will NOT fail.
You can REST in my faithfulness,
you can TRUST in my love,
Let go sweet child…I will NEVER give up.
You have my PROMISE
that I will Never EVER leave.
I am right here with you,
open your EYES and see.
COME with me and see
what I have in store,
my plan for you EXCEEDS that
and even MORE.
Taste my Goodness
because it NEVER runs dry,
stretch out your WINGS
and prepare to FLY.

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Cheryl

cherl'sprofil picCheryl is passionate about Jesus and making Him known. She serves as a leader in women’s ministry and on the worship team of her church. She believes that by His stripes we are healed and we are nothing without Jesus, but EVERYTHING with Him. She believes there is freedom that awaits all our brokenness, all our mess, all our shame, and all our past if we turn our lives over to Him. She is married to her college sweetheart and they are blessed with three beautiful children.

You Matter

You Matter

As little girls, we long for affirmation and attention. We dress up in fancy dresses and twirl. “You are beautiful, you are worth pursuing, you are worthy of being loved.”

As little boys, we challenge each other and wrestle and race, longing for the thrill of victory. We want to be noticed and affirmed. “You are the champion, you are strong, you are brave, you are admirable, you are worthy of respect.”

As adults, we still have those desires. They run deep within our veins. But who is it we are really trying to please? To prove ourselves to? Whose attention are we really seeking?

I believe it is God. Deep down, we need to be valued. We need to know we matter. God has been speaking to me through the Bible and through books I’ve been reading recently. He sees you. He sees me. He loves us. We love Him because He loved us first. If we are looking for Him, for His approval, and hoping He’ll take notice? We’ll find Him.

You have a purpose. You DO matter. Jeremiah 29:11-14 says, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord.

What brings us true happiness? Doing what we were designed to do. For an introvert, that will look very different than for an extrovert. When God made you, He chose the time period, the country, and all the people you would meet and affect. He was intentional in His creation of you from the moment of conception.

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Ephesians chapter two spells out God’s reason for creating you. “So that He can show the incomparable riches of His grace.” He created you and me to be an extension of Him and His grace.

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)

It is our human nature to do good and call attention to it. “Pay it forward” is a frequent way to boast about our good with a hint at good intentions. Jesus said in Mark 10:43-45 that if you desire to be great, you must become a servant.

Have you ever tried to do things without taking credit for them? It’s more difficult than you would suppose. Still, it is when others call attention to your good deeds that people are moved.

You will find more satisfaction for your unsung deeds than the ones you post about.

This is what the Lord says: “Let not the wise boast of their wisdom or the strong boast of their strength or the rich boast of their riches, but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the Lord, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the Lord. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

He is leading me to pursue being a nobody on earth. To celebrate my smallness. To work for the Lord, not for men. (Colossians 3:23) To bring honor and glory to His name. For over 2,000 years, the name of Jesus Christ has continued to be known. That is the name that I want to honor and praise and bring attention to. Even if CNN and Fox News never know my name, He does. He spoke me into being. And my name is in His book of life. I don’t have to try so hard if I’m just trying to please Him. He will lead me right where I am designed to fit, and I will find joy. And so will you!

Here’s a song from Francesca Battistelli to encourage you. He knows Your name. 🙂 (Here’s the link if you’re reading in the email. https://youtu.be/ZtlDVleJBtA )

This post originally appeared first at http://oneword365.com/blog

For His Glory,

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