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

Are You Looking For A Bible Study?

Good morning, babes!

Today’s post is all about bible studies! I often get asked what bible study I recommend and honestly it depends. When I get asked this question, I always try to see what the person is looking for and what season in life they are in. I feel like there are certain studies that just speak more to someone when they are going through something specific.

I love so many, but I’ve narrowed my list down to four of my favorites. I’ll also share what study I am starting next week in case you’d like to join me!

Finding I Am by Lysa Terkeurst

Y’all. This one is a special one to me. My daddy died five years ago and it absolutely wrecked me to the core. I am actually working on a post about grief that I hope to share next month. For a season after dad passed away, I completely turned away from God. I looked to ease my pain with alcohol and refused to open my Bible. I was so mad at God because in my mind, He didn’t answer my prayer of healing for my dad (my daddy died of prostate cancer).

This Bible study came at the perfect time for me. A new friend in town invited a couple of girls and I into her home to meet once a week and go through it and it changed my life. Going through Finding I am softened my heart and reminded me of who God is.

The study is broken down into seven I AM statements of Jesus found in the Gospel of John. Below I’ve included a couple of bullet points describing the study that are found on the back of the book.

  • Trade feelings of emptiness and depletion for a more personal fulfillment of knowing who Jesus is.
  • Stop living like a slave to your circumstances by training your heart to embrace the life-giving freedom God wants for you.
  • Gain a better understanding of how Jesus’ words 2,000 years ago are so very applicable to the answers we are searching for today.

You are Free by Rebekah Lyons

Oh my goodness this one is also so so good. I didn’t know who Rebekah Lyons was until my friend gave us her book. You can either read the book and/or do the six week study that goes along with the book.

Jesus gave His life to set us free. He gave us a purpose and called us to live in freedom in that purpose. Christ doesn’t say you can be free, He says you ARE free. Here are a couple of bullet points from the book.

  • Overcome the exhaustion of trying to meet the expectations of others and rest in the joy God’s freedom brings.
  • Release stress, anxiety, and worry to uncover the peace that comes from abiding in God’s presence.
  • Find permission to grieve past experiences, confess areas of brokeness, and receive strength in your journey toward healing.
  • Throw off self-condemnation, discard the masks you wear, and step boldly into what our good God has for you.
  • Discover the courage to begin again and use your newfound freedom to set others free.

Oh my goodness, reviewing this one makes me want to pick up the book and read it again! It’s so good, y’all!

Made for This by Jennie Allen

If you’ve followed for a while, then you know my love for Jennie Allen. She is one of my absolute favorite bible teachers. I’ve read so many of her books and have learned so much from her. If you don’t know who she is, you should definitely check her out!

This bible study is set up in one of my favorite formats. It’s a 40 day interactive journey. I don’t know why, but I love the studies that are broken up into 40 days.

This bible study is all about answering the question, Why am I here? Here are a couple of bullet points from the book.

  • Abandon insecurities and discover how God can use your dreams and passions for a greater purpose.
  • Learn how your struggles can produce the very thing you want to give back to the world.
  • Trade control and safety for a life of God-honoring adventure by praying one prayer.
  • Continue to reaffirm your purpose and calling in every season of life.

If you find yourself in a struggle trying to figure out what your purpose is, this is the study for you! She also has a podcast called Made for This and one of the seasons follows along with this book.

Take Back Your Life by Levi Lusko

A couple of years ago, I read a book called I Declare War and loved it. I had never heard of Levi Lusko and really enjoyed his book. Last year, as I was looking for a study, I came across this one and decided to buy it. It was exactly what I needed during that season of my life.

This is also a 40-day interactive journey. And here are a couple of the bullet points.

  • Get out of your own way by learning to think right so you can live right.
  • Find purpose by discovering that God will do great things with imperfect progress.
  • Learn that your pain is not an obstacle to being used by God but an opportunity to be used like never before.

Levi and his wife, Jennie lost their daughter Lenya about 13 years ago. Their journey through grief and healing is a beautiful one. Jennie talks about it in her book, The Fight to Flourish which I also recommend!

And now for the study that I am starting next week…..

Forgiving What You Can’t Forget by Lysa Terkeurst

I am so excited. I need this study more than you know. A couple of years I went through something that rocked my world and I ended up in this terrible place of unforgiveness and bitterness. God has brought me out of this after years of fighting it, but I still struggle. So I am excited to go through this and see what God has in store for my heart.

I bought the book, the journal and the study. You do not have to buy all of them! Just buy the book if you have to pick one. I am doing the bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries and if you want to join, you can do that by clicking here. It starts on January 19th.

And that’s it, friends! My top four favorite bible studies.

I do want to end with one thing. Bible studies are great, but they don’t replace The Word of God. It’s so important to continue to read your bible. And to also know that these teachers/pastors are human. Just as with everyone, it’s important to always be aware of what The Word says so that you can test what you hear and read. 1 John 4:1-6 says,

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God, and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God. This is the spirit of the antichrist, which you heard was coming and now is in the world already. Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

I hope you all have a terrific Tuesday! Tomorrow is Let’s Look Wednesday AND it’s my Bug’s TENTH birthday!

XO

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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)

We are deep in the middle of the book of Job in The Bible Recap. 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!

Last week we read the verse above and y’all, I have not been able to get this verse out of my mind. I’ve repeated it over and over in my head all week.

When I searched the verse on google, I was reminded that you see something similarly said by David 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”. His 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 the fact 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. Let that sink in for a minute. Or better yet, let it sink in all day long. 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 right now. 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-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 Monday and I’ll see you back here tomorrow!

XO

Throwback Thursday {4.21.20}

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

It’s YOUR Journey

Good morning, girls! Can you believe it’s already Wednesday?! We are halfway to the weekend. Woohoo!

I am slowly getting back to normal after being sick. I ended up taking a full two weeks off from the gym and as much as I hated that, honestly I believe it was the best thing for my body.

My body needed the rest and now that I’m feeling better, jumping back in hasn’t been too terrible. Other than being super duper sore, which is normal, I have survived, ha!

When I went back on Monday, slow and steady was the goal. And slow and steady will be my goal until my body tells me to push a little more. Listening to your body is so so important! Especially with this virus.

On Tuesdays, I have my weekly check-ins with my coach and ugh. That’s all I have to say about that.

After not working out for two weeks and not eating on my nutrition plan, I felt so gross and defeated. I started to tell myself that I should’ve tried harder to work out. I should’ve eaten better. My gosh, I had a freaking virus and I was beating myself up!!

I am one to sulk in my failures. I set these unrealistic expectations and then I’m so hard on myself when things don’t go the way I planned them. But I am slowly learning to change this about myself. It’s taken a lot of time, work and effort. But I’m getting better at it. And today I want to encourage you to stop beating yourself up.

Yesterday as soon as all the negative thoughts entered my mind I chose to not sulk. I chose to give myself grace and made myself stop thinking those negative and awful things about myself. Because they are not true.

Why do we do that? Why are we so quick to beat ourselves up?! We are our own worst critics. We are terrible to ourselves.

No more, friends!! Let’s give ourselves grace and realize that this journey is not a sprint. It is a marathon.

It is a daily battle to be the best version of ourselves. Baby steps. One step at a time. With lots and lots of grace.

I don’t know where you find yourself today, but I want to encourage you to take one step forward towards that goal or dream that you have.

Stop thinking about it and just do it. This is your journey. And it’s a beautiful journey that God has set out for you. He has given you all the tools you need to accomplish your dreams. All you need to do is put in the work.

The truth is we are not strong enough. We are not capable. We are weak most days and can get so so tired. But through Him we are strong, we are capable and He alone gives our souls the rest we need.

Realize today that the enemy wants your thoughts to defeat you. But Jesus wants you to take those thoughts captive to Him as soon as they enter your mind. He wants to set you free.

My journey is my journey. Yours is yours. And they are both equally beautiful. Stop looking to others to set the standard and start looking to Jesus because He is THE standard.

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)

We can do this, friends! I hope you have a GREAT Wednesday!!

XO

Resting in Him

Good morning, babes! If you’re local, then I’m sure you were up and at ‘em early today getting kids ready for school.

It was a rough night at our house. My littlest struggled to go to sleep thinking about going back to school today. After lots of tears, tossing and turning, I finally got in the bed with her around 1:30 this morning.

I noticed that at some point she had gotten up to get her teddy bear that I had made from my dad’s dress shirts. I almost lost it. To think that my sweet bug found comfort in that teddy bear, made my heart both happy and sad.

I immediately thought of my dad and how he would comfort me during thunderstorms when I was a little girl. So I prayed with her, turned the worship music on and ran my fingers through her hair until she finally fell asleep.

I am praying for our children, teachers, administrators and staff today as they start a new semester. I don’t know what this year holds for all of us, but I do know that my trust is in God.

And He hasn’t failed us yet.

As much as my flesh wants to worry, I can’t give into it. I have to choose every day, every hour, every minute to trust that God is in control.

Friend, I don’t know what your worries are today, but I encourage you to turn them over to God. I know that’s easier said than done. I wish that I could tell you that it’s easy to trust. It takes everything we have to fully rely on Him. It’s a daily choice. An important choice.

But when we make this choice, we will experience joy no matter what is going on around us

Luke 12:25-26 says, “Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to your life? Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

Today, spend some time talking with God. Tell Him your worries, doubts and fears. Release them to Him today and experience His peace. Peace that only can come from Him. Peace that overwhelms our souls and allows us to trust that He has it all under control.

As soon as the worries and fears creep into your mind, take them captive to the Lord. Cry out to Him. Turn on the praise and worship music and fill your mind with all things Jesus. The one thing that can satisfy our soul.

I hope you all are having a great Tuesday!

XO

Merry Christmas from the Eternos!

Christmas 2020 definitely threw us a curve ball. We could throw a fit, get mad or sulk, but instead we are trying our hardest to make the best out of a crappy situation.

Please know, I’m not making light of our circumstance. I know the severity of the virus and how it can affect everyone so differently. I’ve had family members who’ve had it and said it was like a sinus infection and family members and friends that have ended up in the hospital with it.

I am currently sitting in front of my beautiful tree with all of the gifts wrapped and ready for my kids and honestly, I feel like absolute crap. But I’m trying so hard to stay positive.

I keep repeating 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18 over and over realizing that as sucky of a hand as we’ve been dealt, I have to choose joy.

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

We choose joy by praying and giving thanks. And not just when life is going great, but also when you’re quarantined at home fighting this terrible virus.

So today, I am thankful for the strength to wrap all of the gifts even if it took me hours because I had to take multiple breaks. I’m grateful for the ability to cook Christmas Eve dinner for our family and enjoy a movie night with the kids even if I slept through half of it. I’m thankful that we are under one roof together. I’m thankful that we showed symptoms prior to gathering with our families and potentially exposing them. I’m thankful that so far, we seem to have mild symptoms. Not sure if it will stay that way, but we are hopeful and praying.

So we rallied the crew, put on our masks and took our traditional Christmas Eve pictures. Well…sort of traditional. The masks are definitely so 2020.

I hope and pray this finds you healthy. And if you or a loved one are fighting this virus, I pray for healing. Above all, I pray for God’s comfort to bring you peace and that you may experience His love this Christmas regardless of your situation.

I’m going to take the week off blogging to try to rest, get better and enjoy this final week with my family before the kids go back to school. I’ll be back on Monday, January 4th ready to tackle 2021!

But before I go, I want to invite you to read through the Bible with me. This has been a goal of mine for years, but I always quit a week or so in. I’m determined to do it this year and would love for you to join me. I am using The Bible Recap Plan on my Bible app and have started a group. You can join me by clicking here. I’ve also bought the book on Amazon and I’m so excited to get started!

I’ll also follow along on their podcast. You can see all of the details here. They’ll start their episodes on January 1st.

Well, until next year friends! Thank y’all for reading and following my blog. I am so thankful for y’all!

Merry Christmas and Happy New year from my family to yours!!

XO

Merry Christmas Eve {Family Pictures 2020}

Christmas is looking a lot different for the Eterno Crew this year as we’ll be celebrating a QUARANTINED Christmas at home. Two from our crew started feeling under the weather this week so needless to say, we are staying home and keeping our germs to ourselves 🤪. This isn’t how we wanted to spend the holidays and we will miss our family terribly, but we are choosing to focus on the positive. I think that’s what 2020 has taught us, don’t you?

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)

As I tucked Mackenzie into bed last night she was so worried about what we were going to do for Christmas. I assured her that we would make the most of it! It may look a lot different this year, but it will definitely be a Christmas we won’t forget.

We had our family pictures taken last month and I wanted to share a couple of my favorites with you!

Merry Christmas Eve, friends!!!

XO

Advent Bible Study Review Week 4: LOVE

It’s been a super crazy day! Thank y’all for being patient with me in getting the post up!

Today we are reviewing our final week of Advent! I can’t believe we have come to the end of our bible study. I don’t know about you, but I really have loved doing this and I know that I will definitely do it again next year.

Day one, God Loved, God Gave.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17

God loved us so much that He sent His son to die for our sins. We all are so familiar with verse 16, but like our book said, “many people would find greater comfort if they read John 3:16-17 together. Jesus is reassuring us that God’s motives are good. His motive isn’t to judge, but to save us through His son. After Adam and Eve sinned, God could’ve said, “oh well” and went about His ways. But instead, He made a way for us to be saved. All because of His great love for you and me.

Day two, Love Was God’s Idea.

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us. (1 John 4:7-12)

“God is the author of order, not chaos, and the sending of His Son into the world was not an act of random happenstance. God planned it from the beginning of time; it is rooted in His loving and unchanging character.”

On page 112 it talked about the two reasons that God sent His Son. He sent His Son for the purpose of satisfying the penalty for sin, but in 1 John 4:9-10 it says that it was also because He loved us.

I also loved how it reminded us that God’s love isn’t passive love. We don’t receive it once and that’s it. His love is forever.

Day three, Love is Action.

God’s love was shown through the action of sending his Son, Jesus. He laid his life for us so that we could be saved. There is. no action greater than that.

Day four, Christ’s Love Compels Us.

Once we accept Jesus as Savior and Lord of our lives, the Holy Spirit lives in us and we are made new. Also, Jesus dying on the cross gave us direct access to Him. We don’t have to go through a priest to talk to Him. We can talk to Him wherever we are and whenever we want.

As a new creation, we are told to go out and make disciples. Because we have received His love, we are to share it with others. This week was big on this. Ask God to place someone on your heart that needs to hear the good news.

Day five, The Wonder of His Love.

See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.” (1 John 3:1)

What if we saw Jesus’ birth with the same sense of wonder as the shepherds and wisem men did? The last couple of weeks, Advent has helped me really think about that moment and how amazing it must have been. Can you imagine?

I’m just speechless and in awe thinking about it. And it gives me chills to think that all of that happened because of God’s love for us.

I don’t know if you’ve ever received Jesus as Lord and Savior of your life, but I can’t end this study without sharing this with you. God sent His son to die on the cross for you. He loved you that much. You, too, can have eternal life with Him by receiving Him as your savior. We all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. We are lost without Him and destined for a life apart from Him. Heaven is real and He wants you there. But He’s not going to make you. He gives you the choice.

If you want to know more or if you would like to receive Jesus today, contact me. You can comment below or email me at don’tlookbackbabe@gmail.com. I would love to talk to you more about it.

The last four weeks have been so good for me. It has truly been exactly what I’ve needed. I shared that Christmas, for me, is always a time of stress and dread. I focus on all the things that the world offers instead of focusing on the ultimate gift which is Jesus. I hope these weeks have also helped you and encouraged you.

Thank y’all for doing this with me!

XO