Day 30: Life is a Vapor!

30 days ago, I set out on a journey to pray and seek God more intentionally. I am so thankful for all of you who have followed along and joined me on this journey. I really appreciate the time you took to read my blog posts every day.

Today as I’ve tried to write, my words fail me. The only words that come to mind are “LIFE IS A VAPOR.”

Today, many of us were reminded how short life is and how quickly we are here one day and how quickly we can be gone the next. And it makes me realize that I don’t want to waste the time that I’m given here on earth. I want to live it in a way that honors God. I want to love Him with my entire being and love those around me. I want to live at peace with others as far as it depends on me. I want to love hard and forgive quickly. Because when my time comes to see Jesus, I want to leave a legacy that my husband and my kids are proud of. Just like my daddy did for me. He loved God with his entire soul, mind and body and loved those around him just the same.

Our lives are short, fragile and final. We are not guaranteed tomorrow. Life is barely a breath and we need to spend it on the things that never go away.
How can we love more? How can we serve those in need more? How can we live a life that when we stand in front of Jesus, He will say…. well done my good and faithful servant? We all mess up. We make mistakes. But if we wake up each day and place our life in God’s hands and try to do better….we will make this world a better place.

“Life is short. Eternity is long. Live like it.” – John Piper

Day 28 & 29: Let Go Of The Old And Receive The New!

I am struggling to find the words, y’all.  The last two mornings have been a bit of a challenge and I haven’t had time to sit and really dig into God’s Word.  I don’t like writing just to write so I took the day off.  But I wanted to share something that I’ve thought a lot about the last two days.

On Sunday, we listened to Steven Furtick’s message about letting go and I’ve been thinking a lot about it.  He said,

“Certain changes are not embraced, they must be forced.”

Our natural reaction when something is being taken away from us is to fight to keep it. Or when change comes, we don’t welcome it and instead wish for things to go back to the way they were.  I know I’ve had times in my life where I made myself miserable trying to resist change.  You probably have too.  But won’t you agree that on the other side of change, when we finally surrender, we are better for it?

Many of us are frustrated and ready to go back to our “normal lives.”  But what if God has something so much better for us than our “old normal lives?”  What if we are so stuck on our past that we can’t see what God is trying to do for our future?

I used to struggle with my past.  I allowed my failures and mistakes to keep me from walking in the freedom that Jesus gave me when I chose to follow Him.  I allowed my past to keep me from truly experiencing His mercy, His grace and His love.

But I think we can all do that.  We can be so hard on ourselves and live life offering all the grace and forgiveness to everyone else, but when it comes to us, we crucify ourselves for the mistakes we made.

But 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!”

We are a new creation!  We can’t receive the new if we keep holding on to the old.  Read that again.

WE CAN’T RECEIVE THE NEW IF WE KEEP HOLDING ON TO THE OLD.

God wants to set you free today, but you have to do your part and let go.  Let go of the hurts, the past mistakes, anger, resentment, bitterness, defeat, worry and anything that is keeping you from walking in the freedom that Jesus has given you.

You may be reading this and have never experienced this freedom.  Maybe you’ve never given your life to Christ.  If this is you, I would love the opportunity to share Jesus with you.  God sent Him to take our place.  He took our sin and all of our brokenness and He died on a cross so that we may have eternal life.  Life forever with Him.  You can experience this freedom by simply acknowledging your brokenness and admitting that you are a sinner.  Your sin has separated you from Christ and you are in need of a Savior.  And that Savior is Jesus Christ.  He stands with open arms ready to fully accept you just as you are.  He loves you so very much.  If you want to experience that freedom and choose Jesus today simply pray the following prayer,

Dear Jesus, I know that I am a sinner in need of forgiveness.  I know that you are the son of God sent to die on the cross to save me from my sins.  Lord Jesus, I choose you today and everyday.  Forgive me of my sins and save me today.

If you prayed this today, please let me know.  I would love to pray for you.  You’ve made the best decision you could ever make.

Day 25, 26 & 27: Enjoying The Little Things

Boredom struck yesterday and I spent the day working out and making Tik Tok videos ha!  Before I knew it, the day had come and gone.  We truly enjoyed the beautiful day and ended the night with a fire.  We are so thankful that even in the midst of chaos, God gives us such beautiful days and allows us to enjoy ourselves.  Don’t let this time pass by without enjoying the world right under your nose.  Embrace it, enjoy it and live each day to the fullest.  Not every day is going to be great, I can promise you that.  We’ve had some rough ones around here.  But aren’t you glad that every day is a new day?!

This morning I found myself in the book of Psalms.  After reading a couple, I went back to Psalm 91.  It talks about God being our refuge and our fortress, our God in whom we trust.  This chapter has such a comforting message and it reminds us that God protects us from harm.

(You can read Chapter 91 here)

When we make the Lord our dwelling place we can have peace and comfort in knowing that He is our protector.  Verses 10-11 say,

“no evil shall be allowed to befall you, no plague come near your tent.  For He will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.” 

This season is teaching me to depend on God for everything in my life right now.  Every morning when I wake up, I place the day in His hands.  I trust that He will provide for us each day and that in His time, all this will be over.

I am believing that we will all come out of this better than we were before.  What will that look like?  We don’t know, but I know that He does.  And I force myself to rest in that truth.  God truly holds our future, why do we fear?  Why do we worry?

I know that is easier said than done, but I want to encourage you this weekend to rest in God by enjoying the little things around you.  Go for a walk or run, talk to your neighbors, facetime a friend, read a book, let your kids run wild (haha…jk…maybe) and enjoy yourself.  God wants us to live life to the fullest by resting in His promises that He has our life in His hands.  Why should we fear?

I love how chapter 91 ends.  Verses 14-16 say,

“Because he holds fast to me in love, I will deliver him; I will protect him, because he knows my name.  When he calls to me, I will answer him.  I will rescue him and honor him.  With long life I will satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

Holding fast means to hold your position or hold your gaze.  It makes me think of God saying, “stay with me, don’t take your eyes off of me.  I’ve got you.” 

This life is hard even when we aren’t in quarantine!  But we aren’t in this life alone.  Don’t take your eyes off of Him.  When life feels too much to bear, remind yourself of this Psalm and dwell in the shelter of the Most High.

Day 24: See a Victory!

The morning was busy and I didn’t get my normal quiet time in, so I thought it would be a good day to share one of the songs getting me through this season.

You can listen to it by clicking here.

I encourage you to listen to it today and listen to the powerful words.  The battle belongs to the Lord and we will see a Victory!  He takes what the enemy meant for evil and He turns it for good.  I know you may be struggling right now, but rest in the one who has conquered death.  He’s already won this battle.  And because of Him we can live victoriously!

“As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good…”

Genesis 50:20

Day 23: God Sees You

This morning I woke up with a heavy heart.  We are all experiencing life differently these days.  We are in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.  I’ve heard that a lot and it makes so much sense.

This morning, I remembered the story of Hagar in Genesis 16:1-15.

She was Sarai’s servant who was given to Abram so that she would give him a child.  Sarai had borne Abram no children so she took it upon herself to make it happen in her own way.  And boy is that another lesson for another day!  But today, we will focus on Hagar.

When Hagar became pregnant, she began to despise Sarai.  The Bible says in verse 6,

But Abram said to Sarai, “Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.” Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her.”

Hagar left.  She literally said forget this, I’m out of here.

An angel of the Lord found her in the wilderness by a spring of water in the desert.  She was pregnant, alone and feeling hopeless.  But the visit from the angel was life changing for her.  Despite him telling her to go back to Sarai and that her son would not be the son of promise and that he would experience hostility in all of his relationships and would be like a wild donkey.  She still obeyed and she returned.

But she didn’t return before an encounter with the Lord.  One of my favorite verses of the Bible is Genesis 17:13,

“She gave this name to the Lord who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me.”

This verse gives me chill bumps everytime.  I put myself in Hagar’s sandals and I remember all the times when I felt alone and abandoned.  All the times that I found myself in a hard situation and all I could do is think to run away from it.  And there in my misery, sadness, grief and loss….He saw me.  He saw me just as I was.  He is El Roi– the God who sees me.

And He does the same to you.  He sees you right where you are.

I followed this story a little more this morning because I wondered why God would send her back to her mistress.  Why wouldn’t He scoop her up and place her somewhere else where she could be free?

I continued to read and came to chapter 17 verse 20 where the Lord says to Abraham,

“As for Ishmael (Hagar’s son), I have heard you; behold, I have blessed him and will make him fruitful and multiply him greatly.  He shall father twelve princes, and I will make him into a great nation.”

Then in chapter 21, Sarah asks Abraham to cast Hagar and Ishmael out because she didn’t want Ishmael to be heir with their son Isaac.  God tells Abraham to do as Sarah says and so he gives them bread and a skin of water and sends them away.

They go into the wilderness, all the water is gone and I can imagine it is very, very hot.  She has Ishmael sit under a bush for some shade and she goes to sit down opposite him.  The Bible says she sits about the distance of a bowshot.  And then what she says next at the end of verse 16 gave me chills,

“Let me not look on the death of the child.”

Y’all.  She was preparing to lose her child.  She was preparing for him to die and she couldn’t stand to watch it.  I don’t know that I’ve ever really realized that.  Here she was in the desert again, feeling abandoned, hopeless and alone.  The bible said that she lifted up her voice and wept.  She was done.  She was completely done.  Could you imagine?  She had just lived through hell.  She was shamed and rejected and here she was again in the desert about to lose her son.

As this is going on, the boy is crying and the Bible says that God heard him.  In Genesis 21:17-19 it says,

“God heard the boy crying, and the angel of God called to Hagar from heaven and said to her, “What is the matter, Hagar? Do not be afraid; God has heard the boy crying as he lies there. Lift the boy up and take him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation.” Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.”

God made a promise back in chapter 17 verse 20 and He was not about to break that promise.  Who is like our God?  He is faithful and does not break His promises.  He shows up in our hardest moments and He saves us.

Hagar had to go back to a difficult situation.  Her and Ishmael endured suffering, shame and rejection, but God did not forget them.  His promise for their life was fulfilled.

There are seasons in our lives where we are going to have to endure hard things.  Many of us are going through very difficult situations right now.  But God hasn’t forgotten us.  He sees us right where we are. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives and you better believe they will be fulfilled.  God does not break His promises to you.  He never has and He doesn’t intend to start now.

Cry out to Him today.  Wherever you are, whatever your situation may be.  Call out to Him.  He is there.  He is waiting.

And to all of my mommas out there struggling with their kiddos.  Stay the course.  Pray for your kids and speak life to them.  God hears them and He hears us.  God has a plan and purpose for your child and it will be fulfilled.

I love you all and I pray that you are encouraged today by El Roi-the God who sees you.

Day 22: Don’t Get Distracted With Arguing…Stop, Trust and Pray!

The news from our Governor caused a lot of different reactions yesterday.  I too have my opinion, but have chosen to keep it to myself.  Now let me tell you, keeping my opinion to myself is not something I’ve always done.

If you know me, then you know I am a passionate little thing who is loyal to the death.  I defend myself and those I love and as Joseph says I will die on the hill before admitting I am wrong.  But the truth is, I’ve been so wrong about this.  God has been teaching me and correcting me on this issue during the last couple of months.  It has been a bittersweet lesson.  Bitter because it’s hard to admit when I am wrong, but sweet because He loves me no matter what and forgives all of my crazy mistakes.  But He teaches me, molds me and helps me see how I should live.  I have been so thankful for His Word the last few days.  It’s been speaking to me like never before.

Maybe one day I can share in more detail, but today I wanted to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to refuse to argue and choose to pray and love.

This morning I was reading 1 Peter 4:7-11 and came across some notes I had written on the margin of my bible that were perfect for today.

(Click here to read 1 Peter 4:7-11)

Do This.  Be Like This.

1. Be self-controlled.

2.  Be sober-minded for the sake of our prayers.

3.  Love one another.

4. Show genuine hospitality.

5. Serve one another using our gifts.

We must be self-controlled.  Psalm 115:3 says,Our God is in the heavens, He does all that He pleases.”and then in verse 9 it says, “O Israel, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield?” God is in control so we can be self-controlled.  We can fully rely on His strength and know that His ways are not our ways.  He does do as He pleases, but what that means is that He acts in a way that pleases Him.  He’s not going to do something he despises.  He is going to do what’s best for us.  Things may look crazy right now, but God is not finished.  He is still working.  Trust that He is our help and our shield and that everything is in His hands.

As we say no to ourselves and learn to control our reactions to our emotions we are being sober-minded.  Sober is translated from the greek word that means calm, collected, to have good sense, good judgment and level-headed in times of stress.  If we are out of control and not sober minded, we can not cultivate a spirit of prayer.  The enemy wants to distract us because he knows that when our minds are distracted, we are more than likely not praying.  The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing.  It tells us to not be anxious, but instead to pray about everything.  Instead of trying to prove someone wrong, let’s scroll past their post and pray.  What do we have to prove when God has it all under control?  For the sake of our prayers, we must be sober-minded.

The passage continues and tells us to love one another.  I shared about this in a previous post that you can read here.  When we are practicing self-control and being sober-minded for the sake of our prayers, we will love those around us.

The passage also encourages us to show genuine hospitality.  We may not be able to welcome people in our homes right now, but we can still choose to be kind and to treat strangers and friends alike.

And finally, serve one another using our gifts.  I love the end of verse 11 that says,

“whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies – in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ.”

How can we serve someone in need today?  What are your gifts?  How can you bless someone with them today?  Instead of scrolling through social media and adding our two cents into an argument, let’s stop and ask God to help us find someone who needs love today.  God supplies us with the ability to serve others so let’s focus on serving those who need us most right now.

It may not be the popular choice, but it’s the best choice.  James 4:1 asks the question,

“Who causes quarrels and fights among us? Our passions that are at war within us.” 

Not always, but a lot of times we can cause the fights among us because of  the war that’s inside of us.  Set those passions aside for the sake of love.  For the sake of being sober-minded and for the sake of our prayers.  Because right now, this nation needs prayer more than anything else.

Hebrews 12:14 says,

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.”

Let’s live a life that screams Jesus.  The enemy wants nothing more than to stop us from praying so he lures us into quarrels and disagreements.  Let’s choose to be calm and collected, trusting that God is in control, showing love and hospitality to everyone while serving those in our community.  And most importantly, let us continue to pray.  Pray for our nation and its leaders.  Pray for those around us and pray for ourselves.  It’s the most powerful weapon we have so let’s actually use it.

“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.”

John Piper

Day 21: God Can Restore Our Brokenness

Wow!!!  Day 21!  Thank you for following along with me.

On Easter Sunday, Elevation Church sang a song called Rattle.  Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about the story of the dry bones in Ezekiel.  This morning I went to the passage in Ezekiel 37:1-14.

God takes Ezekiel down to the middle of a valley where it was full of bones.  Very dry bones.  God then tells Ezekiel to prophesy over the bones and when Ezekiel does as the Lord says, the bones begin to rattle and come together.  Not only do the bones come together, tendons and skin begin to appear.  Then God tells Ezekiel to prophesy again in verse 9 which says,

“Then He said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to the breath, Thus says the Lord God: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe on these slain, that they may live.”

So Ezekiel did as God said, and breath came into them and they lived and stood on their feet, an exceedingly great army (vs.10)!!

Could you imagine???  Stop and think for a minute.  Dry bones, turned into flesh and came to life!  And not only that, God used a mortal to do it.  Ezekiel obeyed and did as God said and watched this unfold right in front of him.

God told Ezekiel that this army, these bones, represented the people of Israel.  They were dry, feeling cut off from God and without hope.  He promised that He would bring them back to the land of Israel and that He would put His Spirit within them so that they could live.

I began to think about how all of this happened in the middle of the valley.  Many of us find ourselves in a valley right now.  We are going through struggles, hardships and tough circumstances.  We are trying our best to hold on to our faith, but each week as life gets harder we can feel our faith weaken.  We are like those dry bones.  We feel cut off from God, dry and parched and have began to lose our hope.

In verse 4, God tells Ezekiel to prophesy over those bones by telling them, “O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord.”  And I believe that God wants us to do the same.  He wants us to Hear the word of the Lord and to declare it over our lives.  God wants you to live.  If you are a follower of Christ, His Holy Spirit is within you and He says live.  1 Peter 2:16 says that the will of God is for us to live as people who are free.  He’s brought you back to life and has placed His spirit within you.  You can be free of whatever is holding you down.  You can live and be filled with hope.  And that hope is Jesus.

Just as God took those bones and put them back together and gave them life, He can do the same with you and your situation.  He can restore and redeem the broken areas in your life.  I love the saying, “there’s nothing too far gone for God.”  I’ve lived far from God and I’ve experienced His embrace and love when I came back to Him.  He will not turn His back on you, He will love you and accept you just as you are.

Whatever is broken in your life right now whether it’s your finances, relationships, or your heart- God can restore it.  He is faithful and He will do it.  Hear His Word today and declare life over your situation.

Dear Lord, help us live a life fully surrendered to you.  Help us continue to trust that you are working in our lives even when we don’t feel you or see you.  Lord, help us live the way you’ve called us to live.  Help us walk in the freedom that you’ve given us.  Thank you Jesus for coming to save us so that we could live a life to the fullest in you.  I pray that you will restore the areas in our life that are broken.  Lord I believe that you can pick up the pieces and create something even more beautiful than what was there before.

Day 19 & 20: A Lesson From My Daddy

***I wrote this a couple of years ago while dad was in hospice.  I went back this morning and read through it and thought of so many of my friends going through hard times. My dad was such an amazing man who could always see the good in every single situation.  Even on his deathbed, he saw good.  Oh how I miss him, but I am so thankful for his legacy and all of the lessons he taught me.**

Waiting on the Wave

I stare at the blank page trying to find the words.  I type and delete, type and delete.  But the truth is, I have no words.  I try to put the situation out of my mind, but I can’t.  My dad is on my mind the second my eyes open in the morning and he is the last thing I think about before they close at night.
I want to thank all of our friends and family for your love and support.  Thank you for your prayers, encouraging words, texts, calls and financial support.
Dad’s health is deteriorating rapidly.  His hospice nurse has told us that based on his symptoms the cancer is now in his liver.  That’s not good.
Last night we watched some of the USA vs. Panama soccer game with dad.  He began to talk to us about seeing God’s miracles even in the worst situations.  As he spoke I watched how he wiped his forehead and pinched his nose.  This may seem like a weird observation, but it’s something that he’s always done.  Going through this has made me value even the things that may have seemed insignificant in the past.  His gestures, his mannerisms, his laugh.
Dad continued to tell us about God’s miracle for him that day.  He woke up in a lot of pain.  Pain so strong it scared him because he couldn’t figure out where the pain was coming from.  He begged my brother to not leave and to call the nurse.  Mom and Josh called the nurse and she instructed them on what to do.  It wasn’t working.  They called again and the nurse said she would be there within the hour.  She dropped everything and came to be with dad.  She helped mom get the pain under control and made him comfortable.  She did not leave until dad assured her that he was ok.  He said “That my children is the miracle from God.  That the nurse came when it wasn’t her day to come and she stayed with me until I was better.  Many in my situation would just look at the bad, but we can’t do that.  We have to see God’s miracles.”  He then told us that he feels hands on his shoulders and shared with us that they remind him of a song we used to sing at church.
“I feel His hand on my shoulder to let me know that he cares about me.  I feel His hand on my shoulder, letting me know that he is always with me.”
Even at his worst, my dad still looks for God’s miracles.  Even at his worst, my dad still quotes scripture.  Even at his worst, my dad still tells us how good God is.  Even at his worst, my dad encourages me.
He…the one literally living his final days… encourages me.
Dad has made me see what living for Christ looks like.  He has shown me that even through the worst of situations, God still loves us and God still cares for us.
I feel like I’m in the ocean staring at a huge wave that’s headed my way.  The sky is turning dark and the wind is picking up.  This wave is growing in size and strength and I know it’s coming, but there’s nothing I can do but brace myself for the hit.  I’m scared and I know this wave will take me under, but when it passes I know I will float back up to the top. Why?  Because I’m not in this storm alone.  I’m not swimming in the ocean by myself.  My God, My Lord is there and He will not fail me.  As the lyrics in the song Oceans say,
“Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You’ve never failed and You won’t start now
So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine”
As I brace myself for what’s to come, I rest in the fact that if my dad can see the good in everything then I can too.  If he can worship and praise God even on his deathbed then I can worship and praise God in the darkest of valleys.  Even when the hurt is more than I can stand, I can rest assured that God still performs miracles in our lives.  Miracles that I may miss if I’m not seeing the good in every situation.
So this morning I encourage you to choose to see the good in all situations.  Rest in His arms knowing that He will not fail you.  He never has and He never will.  As the storm gets scarier and the wave gets bigger don’t let go.  Hold onto the One who will bring you back to shore.

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”

Romans 8:28

Day 18

As I read my Bible today, God took me to Psalm 139.  I want to encourage you to read it and meditate on it throughout the day.

Verses 7-12 caught my attention this morning,

“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.”

God is with us wherever we go.  Let your mind dwell on that today.  Whatever you are going through, God is there with you.  His hand is guiding you and holding you.  I don’t know why, but I feel like someone needs to hear this today:

You are not alone.

Do not let the enemy convince you that God has left you.  Whatever you are struggling with, take it to the Lord in prayer.  In your struggle, in your grief, in your sadness, in your anger and pain…He is there. He will not leave you or forsake you.

I hope that you all are doing ok.  I’ve talked to a lot of my friends and we are all doing the same it seems…. and that’s taking it one day at a time.

Take the time each day to seek God first.  Read His Word and talk to Him.  Remember His words in Matthew 6:33-34,

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.  “Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

Don’t worry about tomorrow, just get through today.  Trust that He’s with you right where you are.

You are not alone.

“There are times you’ll have to yield to living through a difficult time, but not without the power of God to do it.”

Jill Briscoe

Day 17: Heal our Land

As I opened Facebook today I came across this post from President Trump:

“Major News Conference tonight, the White House at 6:00 P.M. (Eastern), to explain Guidelines for OPENING UP AMERICA AGAIN!”

And it made me feel a bit anxious about what this could mean.  We are all ready to resume to normal, but we know that normal is going to look very different.  As I continued to scroll through Facebook, I came across a post from Christine Caine with a video of her praying for our leaders and asking God to heal our land.  I am joining her in praying for this and hope you will join me as well.  Here’s what she posted and a link to her praying.

It is an honor to pray with leaders around
the world to #HealOurLand.
I hope you’ll join me in prayer today.
You can go to her page here and watch the video of her praying.

Please, please, please let’s pray for this today.  Heal our land,  Jesus.  All seems so uncertain and impossible but with you anything is possible.  Believe this with me today.

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

2 Chronicles 7:14