Let it Go – Forgiveness is Possible

Morning, friends!

A couple of days ago, something happened that triggered some old feelings of unforgiveness. I completely lost it and started crying, which doesn’t happen often.

Losing it like that made me question my decision to forgive in the first place. I became frustrated with myself for letting something that I’ve already dealt with have that impact on me again.

Ugh. Forgiving is hard, but forgetting is even harder.

I started Lysa TerKeurst’s The Forgiving Journal this week. It’s a companion to her new book Forgiving What You Can’t Forget. I was supposed to do a Bible study on it last month, but wasn’t able to. But now I see why. God knew that I would need it this week more than I did last month. God’s timing. It’s always perfect.

I want to share one of the points that she makes about forgiveness in her introduction because it encouraged me.

She writes that forgiveness is a choice, but it’s also a process and healing is a long journey. Did you catch the last part? Healing isn’t instant. It takes time. There will be triggers that remind us of our pain. And that doesn’t mean that our decision to forgive was fake…it just means that there’s more to be done. Forgiving the facts of what happened is done in a moment. But the process of working though all of the emotions from the impact of what happened will take time (Lysa TerKeurst).

I don’t know where you are in your journey to forgive. But I want to encourage you today to take that first step towards forgiveness.

Forgiving someone doesn’t make what they did to you right. But what forgiving does do is set you free. You are causing yourself more anguish and pain by holding on to all the bitterness and pain.

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” Ephesians 4: 31-32

I know right now it may seem nearly impossible to forgive. And in our own strength, it sure is. But with God, it is more than possible.

The healing journey will not be easy. And at times it may be a very lonely season, but with God we are never fully alone. We may feel like we are being set aside during those times of loneliness when actually, God is setting us apart for a greater purpose. During those hard times, He is molding you and challenging you so that you may grow more fully into the person that He has created you to be.

Stop holding on. Release your hand and let go.

Forgiveness is possible. And it’s is good. Your heart is much too beautiful a place for I healed pain. Your soul is much too deserving of new possibilities to stay stuck here. And today is the perfect day to start taking steps on this unexpected, miraculous pathway to healing.” Lysa TerKeurst

This journey has been long and hard. But it’s been rewarding and full of blessings. I’ve been able to see God’s love for me and depend on Him for my significance and acceptance. Forgiveness doesn’t always mean that things will go back to the way they were. It doesn’t mean reconciliation will happen, but I’ve learned that there’s a reason for that. There’s a reason why God isn’t allowing that relationship back into your life. And when you accept that and move forward, you will be able to freely walk right where God has you.

There may be moments when it’s just you and Him. And that’s ok. He wants you to learn to depend on Him like you’ve never done before. He is enough for you and He wants you to believe that for yourself.

He is enough.

In His time, He will bring new relationships and friendships into your life. And you will see that his love for you is indeed unfailing. You will experience His love that reaches to the heavens and His faithfulness that stretches to the sky.

My journey has made such a mark in my life that I decided to make sure I never forget it.

But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love for ever and ever.
Psalms 52:8

I wanted a constant reminder that I have a choice to extend the olive branch. I have the choice to forgive.

But my olive branch tattoo is also a reminder that like that olive in its natural state, I can be hard and bitter. That olive goes through a process of washing, breaking, grinding, soaking, mixing and pressing. But in the end, it is able to be used for its intended purpose.

We are like that olive. We are hard and bitter and the journey to become the person God created us to be will take time. God washes us of our sins, breaks every chain and soaks us in His Word. The process doesn’t take place overnight. It takes time. But rest assured that even though we are being pressed and broken from all sides, it’s all part of the process. He is refining us and preparing us. It’s all part of His perfect plan.

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed… Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:8-9,16-18

This verse reminds me of the song that says, We are pressed but not crushed. Persecuted but not abandoned. Struck down but not destroy. We are blessed beyond the curse. For His promise will endure. And His joy will be our strength.

You may feel like you can’t take anymore pain. Rest in Him. Give Him your pain. You will not be crushed or destroyed.

You are not alone in this journey. I’ve been there. I am still going through it. But through it all, God is showing me more of Himself and is my constant comfort and friend. And He can be the same for you.

Forgive, friend. Let go of the bitterness and grudge. Let God work in your life, today.

I love you, friends. And I hope today encourages you and challenges you.

XO

Our Big Pop, A Man After God’s Own Heart

On Sunday, our Big Pop went home to be with Jesus.

Big Pop was a man of God. He loved the Lord with all of His heart, mind and soul and loved His family so very much.

The way that he lived and was loved by everyone is a true testament of who Big Pop was. He was kind, selfless, patient, joyful, giving, a hard worker, a true servant who loved everyone no matter who they were.

I am so thankful for his example. And I am blessed to have been a part of his life. It’s an honor to call him my Big Pop.

During the viewing yesterday, they had his Bible out on one of the table displays. I wasn’t prepared for the way that God would speak to me as I picked up his Bible and held it in my hands.

You see, this was no ordinary Bible. It was Big Pop’s Bible and there was no denying that.

It’s engraved with his name and clearly it was used. You wouldn’t think an old Bible that is falling apart would be beautiful, but it sure is.

Inside of the Bible, there were notes written by Big Pop. These notes included dates which I assume are dates where he read certain passages. They also included things like when he had surgery or when he was diagnosed with cancer. He also wrote the date when Joseph preached his first sermon years ago.

If someone was sick, he wrote it in the margin with the date. He also included dates of wars, doctor’s appointments, presidential election results and who was playing in that year’s Super Bowl. He even wrote the date when Uncle Donnie got a new truck and when our nephew was saved. He was so very proud of his family.

He wrote it all down. The good, the bad, the highs and the lows.

It was all written down in his Bible. And I have no doubt that not only did he sit and read God’s Word, but as he wrote things down he talked to God about them.

This Bible sat on the table beside his chair and he read it every single day. There are even notes written from just a couple of weeks ago. He was so very sick and didn’t have much strength, but up until the end of his life he stayed in God’s Word.

As I held his Bible, I could feel God’s presence. I could feel the prayers and the love in Big Pop’s heart. And it challenged me. It made me ask myself the question, “what will my Bible look like when I’m gone?”

Will my children hold it in their hands as they share it with their grandchildren? Will they see that God was my priority? Will they see that I thought of them and prayed for them every single day?

Is my Bible on my table collecting dust or is it being read every single day?

Most importantly, will my Bible give them comfort knowing that I am in heaven? Because as I read Big Pop’s writing, there is no doubt of where he is now. And that bring me comfort. This Bible brings me joy knowing that Big Pop is right where he knew he would be.

When Jesus Comes, We Will Go Home

Big Pop knew God and He knew what His future held. He strived each day to know God more that day than he did the day before. There’s no telling how many times he read certain passages.

This morning in my reading, I read Micah 6:6-8 and it made me think of Big Pop.

With what shall I come before the LORD and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

So often, we want to work our way to salvation and God’s love. We think, only if we could do more or be better that God would love us more. But in this passage, God answers what is required of us. And it’s a simple message.

Do Justice. Love kindness. Walk humbly with God.

“These qualities of the heart that lead to a God-pleasing life have stood the test of time because they reflect the heart of God Himself.” (Louie Giglio)

Big pops walked a life that was pleasing to God. His heart reflected God’s heart. He did justice, loved kindness and walked humbly with His God every single day.

At the front of the Bible, this is what he wrote, “When I die, will I have made a difference? What will I leave behind?”

Oh Big pop, what a BIG difference you made in the lives of everyone that you encountered. You are leaving behind a beautiful legacy of love, strength and faith that we are all so very thankful for. We are honored to have been your grandchildren and we are so thankful for the life you lived.

God’s word is a comfort to us during the best of times and during the worst of times. Big Pop believed that.

I encourage you to start reading your Bible daily. Even if it’s one verse. Open the Word and allow God to speak to you each day. God’s Word is powerful. His Word is alive and active. Hebrews 4:12 says,

“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

I hope you can be encouraged today by Big Pop to seek God during the good and bad times. To sit and spend time in His Word daily and allow God’s Word to work in your heart.

In one of the pages Big Pop wrote, “Love God. Love People.” And without a doubt, that’s what Big Pop did.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:36-39

We love you, Big Pop!

God’s Heart is Set on You

What is man, that you make so much of him, and that you set your heart on him, (Job 7:17)

A couple of weeks ago we read through the book of Job. This book has always scared me. I’m always afraid to read it in fear that the awful things that happened to Job would somehow happen to me. Am I the only one who feels this way? It feels weird to actually admit that!

When we read the verse above, i couldn’t seem to get it out of my head.

When I searched the verse on google, I was reminded that David also said this in Psalm 8:3-4 which says,

“When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?”

When David looked up at the heavens, he felt so insignificant. He wondered why God, a magnificent creator would care about man.

Job felt the same. And it makes me think about this: Job’s life was destroyed. He lost his kids, his wife, his home, his health….everything. He lost everything. But he still asked the question, “what is man that you make so much of him…..?” He was going through the worst season of his life, yet he still felt that God “made so much of man”. Job’s suffering was worthy of the notice of God.

Job’s trials had a purpose. I mean look at us today still learning from Job. In our seasons of trial and suffering, there is always a purpose. And that may not comfort you right now, but let me remind you that God takes notice, God is with you and He strengthens you-let that comfort you.

You are not alone in the battles of life. God is there.

The second part of the verse says “you set your heart on him.”

Our mighty God. The creator of heaven and earth. His heart is set on you. Our God steps down from His throne to be intimate with mankind. I love the way Tara-Leigh Cobble puts it, “God created and is in charge of everything, but His heart isn’t set on the mountains or on Orion or the Pleiades; it’s set on humanity.”

Friend, you may feel insignificant and unworthy. You may be wondering if God even takes notice of you in your suffering and pain. I want to remind you today that the Almighty God, for sure sees you. He is El-Roi, the God who sees us right where we are. In our anguish, loss and anxiety, He takes notice of us. His heart is set on us.

Gosh, that just leaves me in awe of God. Doesn’t it do the same to you? God makes us worthy, He gives us a purpose and an identity. We are His children and He loves us more than we’ll ever be able to comprehend. His love for us reaches to the highest mountain and His faithfulness to the skies. God is faithful. He is faithful when things are going great and He is faithful when they are not.

Trust in Him. Get to know who He is. His heart is set on you and He wants to have a relationship with you. And not just a surfaced relationship, He wants a deep and meaningful relationship.

He sees you, He knows you and He loves you just the way you are.

How can I pray for you today? Comment below or email me at maggieeterno@gmail.com.

I hope you have a great Thursday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow for Friday Favorites!

XO

Love is a Choice

Good morning, friends!

Yesterday was a day, let me tell ya! You know those days when you drop everything, bump into everything, run late to everything, forget to put on deodorant? Yeah, it was one of those, ha!

But we survived (woohoo) and here we are…hello, Tuesday. So glad you are here!

So with it being the week of Valentines… I know, unpopular opinion, but I love Valentines Day. Pink is my favorite color and flowers are my favorite thing to buy for myself. There’s just something about fresh flowers sitting on my kitchen counter that makes me happy.

But like I was saying, with it being the week of LOVE (oooooo), I wanted to share something pretty personal with you.

It’s easy to assume that we all have it all together, right? Social media is a place where, for the most part, is filled with pretty and filtered pictures. I always try to spread joy in my posts and I don’t want to come at you with all of my frustrations every single day because let’s be real, that would not be fun.

But every now and then, I feel like I need to show you that my life isn’t perfect and that I have so much that I need and I’m working on.

Joseph and I have been together since high school. We’ve been friends since middle school. We have grown up together, we were best friends before we were dating and we have a very special relationship. But like all marriages, we have our hard seasons. We disagree and we get on each other’s nerves. We are human.

We’ve had a really busy season of life with work and kids. We’ve also added more projects and have expanded our real estate investment business so we have something going on constantly. We are thankful for the work, but sometimes the busyness can make things a little tense around the home.

When busyness strikes or a new project takes up our time, we can become very short with each other and quick to bicker over the smallest of things, ugh.

I know that we are not alone in these struggles so I wanted to share some of the things that help us get back on track.

First and foremost, we acknowledge and admit that we are being short with each other. Now, this doesn’t always happen right away. Throughout the years, we’ve been able to shorten the time it takes to acknowledge it, but it still takes us a day or so. And sometimes our stubborn selves just don’t want to acknowledge it, ha!

We can all feel when we’re at odds with our partner. We are short with each other, easily annoyed, we probably don’t say much to each other and we lay in the bed as far from each other as possible.

At times, we even find ourselves being quick to snap at our kiddos, because placing our frustration on them just seems easier. Ugh, I hate when I do this.

But you know, just as when we come to Jesus and admit and acknowledge our sins, we have to do the same within our marriage. Acknowledge that there’s something going on that seems to be rocking our world.

Once you’ve acknowledged it, you need to work on yourself. Yes, you, on yourself. Don’t think about all of the things that your spouse should and could be doing. Take a moment and check yourself. What are you doing that’s making things worse? Pray and ask God to reveal that to you I promise, He will. Ask Him to soften your heart towards your spouse and to help you love them as He loves us. Also pray for God to give you wisdom and words to sit and talk things out with your spouse. Because you need to talk it out. Don’t just sweep it under the rug.

Next, talk it out. I am someone who needs to talk things out right then and there. Joseph, not so much. So this has always caused some issues in our marriage. But now that we know that we are different on this, we compromise.

I give him time or I try to anyways ha! And he tries his best, to talk things out.

You may need to give each other space before coming together to talk and that’s ok. Allow each other time to cool down so that you can both be in a good mindset when you discuss whatever it is that’s bothering you.

Sometimes it’s a quick chat and sometimes it takes time.

Communication is key. Your spouse may not know that something they are doing is hurting your feelings or frustrating you.

A good way to approach your spouse is to say,

“Hey babe, yesterday when you snapped at me it made me feel ________.”

Many times they have no idea! Now if you are on the receiving end of this, take a minute to put yourself in their shoes and acknowledge that what you did, hurt them. Maybe you didn’t intend to. Surely you didn’t. Apologize and tell them.

Find ways to help you understand each other and promise each other to do and be better.

Forgive each other and move forward. Don’t keep bringing up the past. Just as God doesn’t bring up our past mistakes, don’t do it to your spouse.

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

Always, always assume the best of your spouse. This is a big one. After God, they are the most important relationship in your life. When the enemy tries to come at you with lies about your spouse, don’t let him. You know your spouse. You know they love you. Don’t fall in that trap.

Show your spouse love. Love is action. Figure out their love language and speak it frequently.

“If you truly want to love someone begin in small ways.” (Gary Chapman)

I know that there are bigger issues in a marriage that may require professional help. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for it. Find a marriage counselor. It’s ok to need help.

We can’t be at peace within ourselves without first, seeking God. We can’t acknowledge and admit and work on ourselves without God’s help. We can’t assume the best without God. But with God, nothing is imposible. Nothing is too far gone.

You may feel frustrated in your marriage right now. I encourage you to seek Jesus. Understand that only He can fill the void in your heart. Our spouses will fail us, but Jesus never will. We can not except our spouse to fill our every need. Only Jesus can do that.

And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:19

Be willing to be unhappy while working things out. Our pastor said this on Sunday and it made so much sense. We can be joyful in all circumstances even when we aren’t happy about them.

Ask God to give you joy amidst the hard times. Choose to be ok with the fact that things aren’t great right now, but if you keep fighting and working things out, they will get better. You will experience happiness in your marriage again.

You may think that your marriage is too far gone. Or that there is no hope left. I will say it again, Nothing is too far gone for God. Choose today to fight.

Love is not a feeling. Love is a choice. A choice that we make to love one another no matter what. For better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do us part.

Choose love, today.

“Life is not over until it is over. Today is the day to turn your life in a positive direction.” (Gary Chapman)

I hope this encouraged you today.

Have a great Tuesday!

XO

Speaking Life Over Our Children

Hi, friends! I hope y’all are having a great week. We are halfway there and the weekend is in sight.

Today, I wanted to share something that is near and dear to my heart. It’s something that I write about often and share every chance I get because it truly changed our lives.

A couple of years ago, a friend of mine shared on social media how they do affirmations with their kids every day. I asked her about it and she shared some of the affirmations that they repeat. She talked about how it had made such a difference in her kids’ lives. I also had another friend that shared on a podcast that they do affirmations with their kids every night.

It’s like God was trying to tell me that I needed to do this.

During that time, I began to notice that my kids were struggling with self-confidence. One of our kiddos was going through some hard things and my heart hurt for them. There’s nothing like watching your child struggle emotionally. It makes you feel so helpless because you are fighting with all the noise around them. Especially as they get older. There’s so much fighting for their attention.

I’ve learned that as a parent we can’t keep troubles away . Just as we struggle and go through hard things, they are going to do the same. And although there may be situations where I feel like I can’t do anything to help them , I’ve learned that I can pray. And that’s one of the most powerful things that I can do.

Because of my friend and the podcast, I learned that not only can I pray for them…I can also speak life over them. And I can teach them to speak it over themselves, too.

My friend sent me some examples of affirmations that she found on the internet. I started with those and then added specific affirmations for each of my children based on their current struggle.

For example, we had one of our kiddos that was dealing with the loss of some friendships and was feeling lonely. This kid also struggled with being happy for others. So we would make this child repeat, “I am a good friend. I am happy for others.”

Another one of our kids struggled with being afraid and anxious so we added to their list, “I am not anxious. I am not afraid. I can do hard things.”

And one of the Eterno kiddos struggles with being slow to anger. So their affirmations included, “I am slow to anger. I think before I speak.”

Here are some that we began to say every single night:

I am strong. I am not afraid. I am not anxious. I am healthy. I can do hard things. I am a good brother/sister. I am a good friend. I loved God. I am a child of God. I am brave. I am smart. I am focused. I am a good student. I love my mom and dad. I am fearfully and wonderfully made. God loves me. I am a conqueror in Christ. I am happy for others. I work hard. I am a good team player. I am slow to speak and slow to anger. I am God’s masterpiece.

And we always, always ended with, “I am an Eterno.”

When we first started, I realized how low their self-confidence was. They felt weird saying these statements to describe themselves. And honestly the first nights were hard because they thought it was silly and they didn’t want to do it.

One of our kids struggled and almost refused to say “I am happy for others.” They had so much bitterness and hate in their heart over this and God used this statement to breakthrough in their life.

I underestimated the power of speaking life over ourselves and our children and the Lord used these affirmations to work powerfully in all of our lives.

When Joseph and I would go out of town, they would call us individually and ask us to please say their affirmations with them. We would say them and they would repeat them.

I won’t forget when Jojo came home one day telling us about being afraid and nervous while he waited to find out if he made the sports team. He told us all he kept saying to himself was, “I am not afraid. I am not anxious.”

When Mary tried out for the cheerleading team, she told us that she kept repeating, “I can do hard things.”

And Mackenzie has told us that when she wants to get mad she repeats, “ I am slow to speak. I am slow to anger.”

It makes my momma heart happy and proud and thankful that my friend shared this with me.

God moved in the lives of my children through the power of our words and I will never stop thanking Him and telling others about it.

Proverbs 18:21 says,

“The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.”

Our words have power. And as parents, Joseph and I realized that our words towards our children were not life-giving. We weren’t building our kids up and that had to change.

We began to change our words even when disciplining our kids.

When they get in trouble we reiterate that that is not who they are. If they lied, we tell them “that is not who you are. You are not a liar. You just made a bad choice. You are a good kid.”

It’s truly amazing to watch your kids grow in confidence before your very eyes.

Here are a couple of examples that I found on Pinterest.

And y’all, don’t just do this with your children. Do it with yourself. Speak life over your life. Quit telling yourself that you are dumb and can never do anything right. 1 Peter 2:9 says,

“But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.”

You are His special possession. I love that. Believe it for yourself and speak it over your children.

I hope this helps! If you want to know more, send me an email or message. I’m always happy to share.

I hope y’all have a wonderful Wednesday, friends!

XO

Five in February Challenge

Happy Monday, friends!! Can you believe it’s February 1st? I feel like January flew by.

I am staying in today and getting caught up on laundry. The chore that never ends, ha!

I wanted to invite y’all to do a challenge with me this month. I’m calling it the Five in February Challenge.

I’m thinking of five habits that I want to work on this month.

It’s so easy to become overwhelmed with everything we want to work on or get better at. Choosing five habits helps you narrow it down to what’s most important.

Some of these habits, I’ve mastered before but over the last couple of months, I’ve struggled to get back to doing them.

For instance, I am a bed-maker. I make my bed every single day, but for the last few months I haven’t done it. Also, I have a great laundry system to keep me caught up but I haven’t followed it the last couple of months.

Sometimes we just need a restart. Something to get us back on track and I am choosing this month to get my habits back!

It takes 21 days to form a habit and February has 28 days so that is perfect.

Let’s do this, girls! Let’s get our habits back or create new ones that will help us be more productive with our days.

Here are my Five for February:

1. Make my bed everyday.

2. 1-2 loads of Laundry 6/7 days each week. Fold and put away immediately.

3. Clean up the kitchen every evening.

4. Make my to do lists each night.

5. Eat at home as much as possible.

I’m not going to feel sorry for myself as you shouldn’t either. Life is busy!

But I also know that for me, I can’t be productive in chaos. I need order. And routine helps me stay productive. These five habits will help me get back on track and help me begin and end my days well.

What are you working towards this month? Your habits may be geared towards your health goals or maybe towards your financial goals. Whatever it may be, let’s do it together! Every Monday I will give you an update on how mine are going and I would love to hear from you, too!

Now doing five at once may be overwhelming to you. List all five, but start with one. Do only one for a couple of days and then add a second for a couple of more days and then a third and so on and so on. This will help you baby step it through February. You can do this!

Let’s keep each other accountable while encouraging one another.

We can do this!

Let’s take back our life, babes! One habit at a time!

Here’s an old post I wrote that may help you get started!

Have a fabulous Monday, friends!!

XO

Monday Musings

Hi, friends!!

I hope y’all had an amazing weekend. Ours was busy, but good!

Friday night we went out with friends, Saturday we watched Mackenzie and Jojo in their last basketball games of the season. Yesterday we went to church, did loads of laundry and had everyone clean their rooms to get ready for the week.

Joseph and I left around 4:00 PM to head down to Hilton Head for a couple of days to work on the beach house.

Y’all, I can’t wait to see it. We came in late last night so we didn’t go by. But let me just show you a quick before and after of one of the bathrooms. You ready???

This is one of the smaller bathrooms off the living room.

And here’s a sneak peek!

Ahhh…isn’t it beautiful?!!

We still have to install the pedestal sink, glass door and mirror, but it’s still gorgeous!

I’m going to try and share more on my stories on Instagram so make sure you are following me there for more sneak peeks!

So you all know how I’ve been reading through the Bible this year. I’ve really enjoyed it. We finished Job and came back to Genesis.

God has been showing me so much through stories that’s I’ve read all of my life. But one of the biggest things is that all of these people we read about in the Bible. They are just like you and I.

They are all human. They fail, mess up, do the very thing God tells them not to do. Hello Adam and Eve. Yet God still fulfills His purpose through them. God doesn’t turn His back on them. He’s patient and still sees them as worthy.

And y’all, He feels the same way about us. The same way. He loves us more than we can even imagine. He forgives us before we even mess up. He sees us as worthy.

So many times, we get stuck in our past. We keep looking back when God has already forgiven us. We allow mistakes and failures to weigh us down and keep us from moving forward.

We are so stuck in our past. We walk around with our heads down, ashamed and embarrassed. When God says this in Psalm 103:6-12

The LORD works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; as far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.

Did you read how great his steadfast love is for you??? Did you read how far He removes our transgressions from us?

Yes, there are sins and mistakes that we make where we will experience consequences. But you know what, those experiences, those lessons we learn will only help us. They will propel us forward.

These mistakes will be used by God. Isn’t that amazing? Even our sins, our failures and mistakes will be used by God. Goodness will come from those bad things.

This just fires me up! And if you follow me on Instagram, you can go to my highlights under musings and hear me talk more about this.

Y’all. If you are living in your past. Move on. I’ll say it again. Move. On. Girlfriend.

Ask for forgiveness and receive that forgiveness and don’t look back.

God wants to use your past to not only help you but to help others. Quit walking around with your head down and walk upright in God’s promise to you.

If you’ve never confessed your sin, do it now. Proverbs 28:14 says,

Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.

And Psalm 32:5 says,

Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.

And 1 John 1:9,

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Acknowledge, confess, repent. He is faithful and just.

And once you do that, move on. Walk forward with your head high because you are forgiven. You are a new creation. Nothing you can do will separate you from His love. Walk in that freedom, today.

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

2 Corinthians 5:17

I love y’all! I hope you have a GREAT day!

xoxo

Stop Apologizing, Babe!

Hi guys! Happy a Wednesday! I hope your week is off to a great start.

Does anyone else feel like it should be Friday? I feel like this has been the longest week ever.

A couple of months ago, we were in Hilton Head with our partners and friends. As we pulled up to the restaurant for dinner, Joseph’s phone rang. It was an important call so he took it. He ended up being on the phone for a while so we ordered his drink for him and an appetizer for all of us.

When he was done with the phone call, the waitress came over to ask if we were ready to order. Joseph immediately apologized for being on the phone.

Her response was awesome and eye opening for all of us. She told Joseph that there was no need to apologize because it was obviously an important call. She said that instead of “I’m sorry I was on the phone” to say “thank you for your patience.” She gave us other examples of switching your apology to gratitude and we all left amazed!

Saying “I’m sorry” has become something that we all say too often. It’s become an automatic response that is almost used with very little weight.

And yes, there are legitimate moments and circumstances when a genuine and sincere apology is the correct response. Like when we bump into someone or when we are expressing our sympathy and empathy or regret for a mistake.

But then there are situations where we are actually lowering our self-worth and damaging our self-confidence by saying “I’m sorry” for actions and circumstances.

For example, how many times have you apologized to someone for taking up their time while you unloaded some of your struggles to them? By saying “I’m sorry for rambling on or taking up your time” you are making it seem like you are wasting their time.

Instead of “I’m sorry” try saying “thank you for listening to me.” This shows them the value you have for their friendship and time rather than diminishing your self-worth.

There is power in gratitude and appreciation. It creates a positive and warm environment and takes away from ourselves.

So today, I want to encourage you to stop apologizing for every little thing and give yourself the value you are worth.

It’s all about mindset. Here are some simple shifts that you can make each day. I found this on the internet and thought it was perfect!

Make these simple changes and see how much better you feel!

I hope y’all have a GREAT day!

XO

The God Who Sees You

Hey, babes!! Happy Monday! I hope you’ve had a great weekend so far.

As you know, I am reading through the Bible this year and using The Bible Recap as my guide. We finished up the book of Job (praise, Jesus!) and now we are back in Genesis.

I was a day behind so I had to catch up this morning. We were in Genesis 16, one of my favorite passages in the Bible. I wrote a short devotional about this story last year and I wanted to share it with you this morning.

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The God Who Sees You {4.22.20}

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.

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.

XO

Throwback Thursday: {11.20.17}

Hey, hey, hey!! It’s Throwback Thursday!

I needed this Throwback Thursday. It’s all about friendships! Throughout the years, I’ve learned that there are friends for a reason, a season or a lifetime. The quicker I realized and learned this, the quicker I let go of my unrealistic expectations when it came to friendships.

I hope this throwback speaks to you like it did to me!

Be A Good Friend, Mags

Good morning ladies!

I normally try to kick off the week with a video post, but that is not going to happen. Let me give you five words….Kids are out of school. Ha! Everytime I tried to start the video there was a scream or a fight beginning between the kids and then I would hear a “MOMMMMMMM!!!!!!” So I gave in and decided to write a post instead. The screaming and “Moooommmmmms!” are still happening, but at least now you can’t hear them. Let’s just say all electronics have been taken away and they are in their rooms indefinitely!

I really do enjoy my kiddos being home.  This morning was so amazing.  We turned the fireplace on and the girls played nicely while I read and watched session five’s video.  But then they turned into evil monsters and decided they were going to hate each other for a couple of hours.

But such is life with kids right?

Enough about that, let’s kick off session five!

I am so excited for this week.  I always struggled in the friendship department.  For years, I would beg God to give me a friend.  A person who I could hang out with, be close with, do life with.  I went through a very lonely season a couple of years ago.  I didn’t really have any close friends and I remember dropping Mary off at Pre-K one morning and crying the whole way home.  I specifically remember asking God to help me be ok with being alone in the girlfriend department.  I remember repeating through my tears, all the way home, “You are enough, You are enough for me God.”

And that season lasted a couple of years, but God truly worked in my life, teaching me to enjoy my husband and my children.

But as women, we all need our girlfriends.

In the last couple of years, God has brought some pretty amazing women into my life.  For years I tried to force friendships.  I would put up a front and pretend like I loved everything you loved because then I felt like you would think I was the best person in the world ha!  If you loved pink, I loved pink.  If you loved to craft, I loved to craft.  Newsflash…..Maggie IS NOT crafty!

During that lonely season, God taught me to be ok with me.  He taught me to be happy with the life He blessed me with and be content with what I had.  It took many years, many tough lessons, but I finally learned to be content.  Now that doesn’t mean I don’t struggle with contentment, because one of my biggest struggles is comparison and jealousy.

I loved Melanie’s video and I took a lot from it.  It is so important to have friends.  People in our lives who we can relate to and feel normal around.  People who know the real us and still love us.

God places people in our lives on purpose.  Just like He brought David and Jonathan together, He does the same in our friendships.  I loved how she made mention that Jonathan not only chose David over his father, He chose David over himself!  Wow!  In this season of life, God is really teaching me to be selfless in my relationships.  As a wife, mom and friend.

Being loyal and trustworthy is so important when it comes to friendships.  We’ve all been burned.  Even Jesus was hurt by one of His disciples.  He knew what it felt like to be betrayed.  I’ve been there too.  This is why I kept that wall up for years.  When I would feel myself getting close with someone, I would sabotage the friendship because I had been hurt so many times. In the last couple of years, God has challenged me to work past this and has allowed me to have some pretty amazing frienships.

Our friendships should be a safe place.  We should love our friends as we love ourself.  This being said, Melanie talked about comparison and jealousy.  We all are unique, we have our own gifts and we are walking our own journey. But with social media these days, it’s so hard to not compare our lives with others.  Melanie says, “And I know for me I never get more distracted than when I start looking at somebody else’s life and what they’re doing.”

Isn’t that the truth?  We can be going about our day so happy with life and what God has given us.  But then with a tap of our finger and a scroll through Facebook we can go from content and happy to thinking we are the worst wife, mom, friend ever.  Why?  Because we compare ourselves with the best version of others.  All while not knowing what they are battling because you better believe they have struggles.  The grass isn’t always greener on the other side…this is something that has taken me years to learn.  We are all human.  Life isn’t perfect no matter how perfect it appears.  We have struggles and hardships.  Every single one of us.

Theodore Roosevelt said it well when he said, Comparison is the thief of joy.

Ladies, do you want to know when I am the happiest?  When I am not worried about what everyone else is doing and I am focused on walking my road.  When I set a limit on my social media time. When I invest in the people around me.  When I try to bless others and make someone else’s day better.  When I focus on my home and getting things done. This is when I’m the happiest.

We all want to know the secret of being happy.  We are constantly reading books about being happy and not comparing ourselves with others but it is simple.  Look to what God gives you.  Walk your walk.  Be happy for others.  Realize that your friends’ successes take nothing away from yours.  You are you.  Focus on what God has given you and realize that the life you are living right now, is the life God intended you to live.  He wants you to be happy with what you have.  Look around, name your blessings, thank God for those blessings and be happy for others.

And lastly, our true friends should strengthen our grip on God.  Melanie says that friends are small everyday miracles that God gives us.  Every person in our life is in our life for a reason.  We need friends who are also walking close with God.  Friends who are like-minded and will encourage us and pray for us.  Friends we can do life with.  Girlfriends that will cry with us, laugh with us, rejoice with us.  Friends who will be there for us no matter the time of day.  Friends who show us the love of God through their actions.

You know…God has taught me so much in the last couple of weeks.  But one thing He is teaching me currently is that He restores.  We learned last week that nothing is too far gone for Him.  He heals us and uses the broken pieces of our life and makes us whole again.  He can do this for you and for that relationship you’ve given up on.

There is nothing more beautiful than letting God work in our lives and our relationships with others.  Nothing, absolutely nothing is too far gone for God.  Maybe you need Him to restore a relationship in your life.  Ask Him to help you.  You may find out that He wants you to work on you first.  This is what happened to me. Maybe there’s something in your life that prevents you from being a good friend.  Like me, you may struggle with comparison and jealousy.  Ask God to heal your heart.  Ask Him to help you be content with the life He has blessed you with.

What is God revealing to you about your friendships?

Dear God, I ask that you will be with us this week as we talk about friendships. You show us throughout the Bible how important it is to have people in our inner circle. People who will pray for us and encourage us, but that will also challenge us. Lord I ask that you will help us look at our frienships and reveal to us what you want us to see. Help us be better friends to those around us. Whatever our struggle may be that seems to sabotage our relationships, I pray that in Jesus name you take it out of our life. Help us focus on the race you have set before us. The journey you are having us walk. Help us stay focused on the blessings in our life so that we can be happy for others. Help us be genuine, intentional and happy for others’ successes. Thank you Jesus for being the perfect example of what it is to be a friend. There is no friend like you. Help us be more like you. In Jesus name… -Maggie