Throwback Thursday {10.4.2017}

Morning! It’s Friday Eve and the weekend is almost here. I hope y’all have had a great week.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a special encouragement for my momma friends. I can’t believe it’s been over three years since I wrote this. Time sure flies.

No matter what season of raising your kids you are in, embrace it! The days are long, but the years are short. I’m realizing this more and more every single day.

I love y’all! I hope this post encourages you, today.

🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹🔹

Embracing Every Season

We finally spent some time at the beach yesterday. The wind was bearable and it was a beautiful day. We loaded our wagon with a couple of beach chairs and our cooler with a couple of drinks and snacks. I brought my big beach bag with some towels, sunscreen and a book.

We walked down to the beach, set up our chairs and the kids took off into the ocean.

I couldn’t help but sit and reminisce about our past years at HHI.  The first time we came, Mackenzie was only five months old.  Oh my goodness at the stuff we needed to pack before heading to the beach.  From diapers to bottles and formula, snacks, a change of clothes for the baby.  The jogging stroller you have to push through the sand, a tent, chairs, sand toys and a cooler….you get my drift.  So.  Much.  Stuff.  I was exhausted before we even made it out the door.

I sat there holding my book and watched my kiddos play in the ocean and build sand castles.  It made me think of the saying, “the days are long but the years are short.”

When we are deep into the baby years of motherhood this saying doesn’t seem true.  All we focus on are the long days and oh how long those days are.  Diaper changes, feedings, teething babies, the terrible threes, potty training.  We are always trying to remember when the last time we showered was and if we even brushed our teeth that day.

We are exhausted both physically and mentally.  Not to mention the mamas working outside the home.  Praise you mamas.  When we are at home still in our pajamas you are working it in the career world.  All us moms, we work so hard.  We are stay at home moms, work from home moms, work outside of the home moms.  It doesn’t matter what we do I think we can all agree that being a mom is exhausting.

But with the hard days come the good days.  The moment our little one holds their head up on their own, takes their first steps, says mommy or daddy.  So many wonderful milestones that make those long days worth every minute.  A sweet embrace, kiss on the check and a “I love you mommy” is enough to forget how rough the day was.

As I sat there and watched my kids play, I began thinking towards the future.  Life will be so different then.  As we approach the teenage years (help us Lord), I know life will once again change.

So many seasons of life, each different, but perfect.  Each season is meant to mold us and make us into the moms we are today.  And today’s season will do the same for the future seasons.

With every season there are new hardships, challenges, frustrations.  But there are also those beautiful moments filled with love and memories.

I began to thank God for his sweet grace as I sat there on the beach.  So many times I’ve messed up, wondered if I was doing this mom thing right, yelled at my kids for no reason or had a nasty attitude.  But today was a sweet reminder that I am doing my best and my best is enough.

A friend of mind recently shared that she had a hard mom day and it reminded me of God’s word that I would repeat almost daily through those hard momma years,

“Because of the Lord’s faithful love we do not perish, for His mercies never end.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness!” Lamentations 3:22-23

Oh sweet friend.  Momma out there having a hard day.  Give yourself some grace.  Take a deep breath in and release.  Look at those sweet babies the Lord has given you and take a moment to thank God that His mercies are new every morning.  He loves you and He is right there with you.  Through every diaper blowout, temper tantrum, talk backing, whining and rude attitudes.  He is there.  Giving us grace.

Rest in Him.  Take all thoughts captive to Him.  Don’t live life full of regrets and wish I would’ve moments.  Embrace every moment, every season.  Because no matter what season you find yourself in, His mercies are new every morning.

You are doing a wonderful job.

XO

Throwback Thursday {9.15.17}

Good morning, friends! I overslept!! Not sure what happened… I guess my body needed the sleep. Thankfully, me oversleeping is waking up at 6 am so we are still on schedule to get the kiddos to school on time.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is from 2017. It’s a post I wrote during my grieving journey after losing dad. Grief is hard. It’s messy and honestly I still feel like I’m grieving some days.

If you’re knee deep in grief, stay close to Jesus. I hope this post

Choosing to Trust in God’s Love for Me

Y’all.  Time for some hard truth.  Since dad passed, I have not been consistent with my quiet time.  I took dad’s death hard.  Harder than I expected.  And the frustrating part is that even two years later I am still struggling.  There are days when I think I’m finally coming out of this hole and then there are days where I feel so deep in the pit that I can’t see the light.

After dad died, I quit church.  I quit reading the bible.  I quit listening to worship music.  I quit all things God.  I cringe as I write this.  I mean isn’t a follower of Christ supposed to cling to Christ during the hard times?  Shouldn’t we read the bible more, seek him more and rely on Him?  That wasn’t the case for me.  I put up a wall and turned my back.  I was mad.  Upset at God because I felt that He didn’t answer my prayer.

It was hard to finally admit that I was mad at Him. But after I did I began to feel like a cloud was lifting. A friend invited me to join a bible study group in her home. I almost passed on the opportunity, but I felt that something was telling me it was the right time. God used this bible study to remind me of His truths and most importantly His love for me. I quit Him, but He NEVER quit me. I was angry at Him, but His love never wavered for me. He gave me time, He let me grieve, but I knew in my heart He was calling me back. Back to Him. Back to His Word.

Joseph and I decided it was time to get back in church.  Not only for us, but for our children.  It was also time for us as a family to put Christ first in our lives and to seek Him each day.

She Reads Truth was introduced to me by that same friend who invited me to the bible study.  I love it because I can go to the website and read the devotion of the day.  It’s been a great transition to get back in the Word.  They also have He Reads Truth for the guys.

Am I consistent?  I’m trying to be.  I fail just like you.  But the desire is there and after over a year of not having the desire-I am thankful for it.

On Sunday at church I was reminded of God’s love and how His love for me and for you is never-ending.  We don’t have to do anything to earn His love.  He loves us just as we are and nothing we do can separate us from His love.  Y’all.  Nothing we do.  Nothing.  Let that sink in.  Can you even begin to comprehend how great His love is for us?  I know I can’t!

Is my heart still broken?  Yes.  Am I still angry?  No.  I am choosing to trust in God’s love for me.  I’m choosing to trust just like my dad did until he took his last breath.  And I’m choosing to embrace God’s grace and His love for me.

I hope you can do the same today because God loves you too my sweet friend.

Thank You Lord for Grace!

-Maggie

Throwback Thursday

Morning, friends!! Joseph and I are headed down with our partners to our house in HHI. It is basically all finished, just waiting on glass for windows we are replacing and the glass doors for the showers. They should be finishing the back deck in the next couple of days.

We can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I can’t wait to see it all finished.

Today’s Throwback Thursday is from October 2019. If you are in a waiting season in your life, this is for you.

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

Alright, here we go…

Wait.

Something I am not good at.  But today, God has made it clear that I am to wait.

The last couple of months have been life-changing for me. If you read my previous post written in March, you read I was in a frustrating season. I was praying and asking God to fix something and trusting that He was going to do it. But let me let you in on something. God did not fix it. God did not do what I asked Him to do and what I completely trusted that He was going to do. And as the months went on, it became more and more apparent that my greatest fear was going to become my reality. I tried my hardest to fix it myself and probably made things a lot worse than they were. I may have and probably did behave in ways that were not honorable to God. No, I did not do anything crazy, but I definitely did not honor God with my words, actions, attitudes and thoughts.

Towards the end of the summer, I was tired.  I was exhausted and had nothing left.  This inner battle that has tormented me for over a year had taken away my peace, my joy, my life.  It caused disagreements in my marriage and led me to begin pulling away from everything.  That is my defense mechanism…to tuck and run.  And normally I try not to run, but this time I felt like God clearly said “I want you to run.  But I want you to run towards me.”

So I did.  I took some time to block out the noise and I consumed my mind, heart and soul with Jesus.  For weeks I felt He was calling me to be deliberate about spending time with Him so I set out time after dropping off the kids to do my quiet time.  I began to notice that this time would get interrupted with the daily tasks in my life so I began to feel God pressing me to wake up before everyone and spend time with Him.  5am was the time that He set in my heart.  It took about two weeks to fully adjust.  I would stay in bed too long and then some days I would not get out of bed until 5:30am.  But I kept at it and decided to make this time a priority.  Before too long, I began to crave this time and ever since then, it has become my favorite time of the day.

In August I began to sense God placing different areas of my life in front of me to be evaluated if you want to call it that.  First, it was my prayer life.  Then I began to feel like He was wanting me to look at my relationship with my kids and the way that I spoke to them.  We began positive affirmations and prayer at night.  Oh the stories I could tell you about how this has changed our lives!  After this, I felt God telling me there were areas in my marriage that I needed to look at closer. So He placed a book in my life that challenged me to see the way that I love and respect Joseph.

Every couple of weeks, He placed something new in my heart and revealed an area in my life that I needed to test and examine. Last month, I began listening to a podcast by Jennie Allen called Made For This and the entire season was on building deep relationships.  It was powerful!  It made me see so much through God’s eyes and made me desire deep, real and raw relationships.

During this time, I began to read a book also by Jennie Allen called Anything.  I’ve had this book for almost eight years.  When I first bought the book, I could not bring myself to read it.  I read the first couple of chapters and I became afraid.  I really thought God was going to tell me to go be a missionary somewhere.  I wasn’t willing to give up my life.  You see, this book is about choosing to pray the anything prayer.  Which means, God whatever you want for my life, that is what I want.  I will give up and do anything if it will make you known to the world and glorify your name.  So eight years ago, I tucked this book in my bookshelf and left it there.  During the course of listening to the podcast, this book kept popping up in conversation until I finally felt God telling me I needed to get it out and read it.  And I am so glad that I did.  Because my heart was ready.  My soul was ready.  I was ready to pray the anything prayer.  Reading this book was part of the process and journey that the Lord has me on.

So why am I sharing all of this with you.  Honestly, when I first set out to start typing I had no idea what I was going to share.  Lately I have felt that my words have left me.  I have struggled to pray and write.  My prayer is that God release my words, so here I am typing.  And I am praying that what I am about to share will be God-inspired and will encourage and bless someone today.

After reading the book, Anything and firmly believing that I was ready to do anything for Jesus, I asked God to show me my next step.  I was excited and I could feel it.  He was going to do something soon!  For the last couple of weeks I have begged God to give me a sign and to show me how I am going to fulfill this purpose that He’s placed in my heart.  I am not going to lie, I have began to get a little discouraged.  I started to battle some feelings of insecurity and wondering if any of this is real.  Even Though I wanted to doubt God, He used my time in His word to remind me to keep pressing on.  To keep believing and trusting Him.  So I did.  I refused to let the negative thoughts take hold of my mind and continued to press on.

This morning I read about the story of Joseph.  God gave Joseph a dream.  He shared that dream with his older brothers and they didn’t like it too much.  I mean if your younger brother came to you saying that you were going to bow down to him how would that make you feel?  So they sold him and told their father that he was dead.  I’ve heard this story referenced twice during the last two months and this time, I got it.  You see, Joseph had this huge dream but instead of trusting God’s timing, He decided to go spill the beans to his brothers.  I wonder now what would have happened if he would’ve waited on God to make the dream come true instead of prematurely sharing it.

It took twenty years of waiting on this vision.  And those years were not peachy.  You can find the story in Genesis 37-50.  During those years, Joseph had to choose to trust God.  He had to….wait.

So as I sat there this morning I realized that God’s message for me today was that I am to wait.  And as if I didn’t hear Him clearly the first time, I was listening to a new song a friend recommended and when that song was over, guess what the name of the next song was…. Wait for you.  And!  Do you want to know what the name of the next song was?  Wait Upon the Lord!!  I literally said, I get it now.  I gotcha God.  I will wait.

I will wait and trust that this dream that I have will come to fruition.  I will wait and trust that even when I don’t see Him or feel Him He is certainly working.  I will wait and trust that everything that I have gone through has been for a purpose and that there will be good that comes from it.

My frustrating season didn’t end the way I wanted it to end.  But I can tell you today that it ended the way it was supposed to.  It began a refining process in me and ultimately brought me to a place in my life where I could pray… anything.  I could confidently tell the Lord that I was willing to do anything for Him.  This refining season was a little overwhelming.  Well who am I kidding, it was very overwhelming.  Every couple weeks, feeling like something else came up began to make me feel a little bit like I was trying to overachieve at the “christian life.”  So I asked God to check my spirit and asked God to show me if I was doing this for the wrong reasons.  In a podcast that day, they were talking about this very thing.  We wonder when we will feel like there’s nothing in our lives that needs work, but the truth is we won’t experience that on this side of heaven.  This is called sanctification.  Becoming more like Jesus.  And then I knew right then that I was on the right track.

Friend, I don’t know what you are facing today.  I am not sure what your past, present or future hold, but I can tell you that if you run to Jesus with your whole heart He will embrace you in His arms.  The process will not be easy.  It will hurt some days and other days it will break you down to tears.  But if you are willing to go there.  If you are willing to tell Jesus that you are willing to do anything….He will bless your socks off.  And I am not talking about material blessings either.  I am talking about a life so in love with Him that your heart just aches to spend every minute with Him.  Whatever your burden, let it go and let God take it from you.  You may not see it today, but good will come from your hurt.  Joseph’s dream was fulfilled.  God did it.  But he had to wait.  And in that wait, God changed Him and molded Him into who He wanted Joseph to be.  And He is doing the same with you and with me.  He is preparing us.

We go through struggles and have a hard time trusting that God has a plan and that all things will work out for the good of those who love Him.  But I believe that with the innermost parts of my soul.  When I lost my dad, it hurt to say that something good would come from it.  But oh how much good has come.  It has shown me the importance of leaving a legacy for my children.  It has taught me the importance of praying.  And it has ignited a fire in my soul to fulfill the purpose that my dad saw in me.  This purpose that God has placed in my heart.  But I didn’t see that good until I surrendered and trusted Him fully.

You may be in a waiting season, too.  I know the waiting can get exhausting and lead us to possibly questioning if this is all worth it.  But I want to encourage you to press on.  Keep trusting God during this season.  There is something He wants to show you.  He wants to teach you something.  In my season of waiting, He has opened my eyes to areas in my life that I had not surrendered to Him. He has began to free me of many things that were holding me captive and keeping me from living free.  Even in the waiting, we are fulfilling our purpose and that is to love God with all of our heart, soul and mind.

So let go today.  Surrender to Him and choose to trust and wait.

“But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” Is. 40:31

Dear Lord, thank you for your word today. Even though at first, it wasn’t a word that I really liked. You have shown me that even in my waiting you are working. I pray for anyone today that is struggling with their current season of life. Life is hard and everyone is going through their own battles. I pray that you will draw them close to you and comfort them with your overwhelming peace. May they feel your love today Lord. May you use this season to refine them and make them more like you. Thank you for loving us so much that you are willing to let us find our way back to you. And when we do, you accept us with open arms. May we run to you, Lord. May we surrender and depend on you to renew our strength. Thank you Jesus! And it’s in your name I pray, Amen

Throwback Thursday {9.24.20}

Hi, babes!! I hope y’all are having a great week so far. I have a good Throwback Thursday for you. It’s from September 2020.

But first, I want to encourage you to follow me on Instagram if you don’t already. There’s something fun coming at 1:00 PM EST and you don’t want to miss it!

Alright, Throwback Thursday…here we go!

Embracing Every Season

Every morning this week I’ve been sharing a picture of my coffee mug with a quote from something I read during my quiet time. I started the week determined to get my morning routine back and be more productive with my days. I’ve been so convicted about my habits and how I spend a lot of time on my phone. I am a very disciplined person, but I am also a huge procrastinator. When you mix that with my all or nothing attitude, it can be a recipe for disaster. I really have felt God teaching me during this season that I need to be more productive with my time.

The last couple of weeks, I’ve been working with my trainer on not being so hard on myself when I am not at a 100%. Life happens and we can’t always have those perfect days. I’ve had a lot going on since I started working with her and at times I’ve almost told her we will try again at a later time when life isn’t crazy. But seriously….when isn’t life going to be crazy?! She reminded me that being consistently good enough is better than doing absolutely nothing. I’ve really taken that to heart and have practiced giving myself lots and lots of grace.

As I started the week, I decided to go back to list making. This keeps me on track and helps me be more productive. Not to mention the success I feel to mark things of my list feels so good ha! It’s helped so much and I have found myself getting things done this week. But let me tell you, I’ve been so tired by the end of the day. I even told Joseph yesterday how being productive is great, but gosh it’s exhausting.

This morning I didn’t have to do a my “Blaire Strength” as I call my workouts from my trainer lol! So I knew that I could sleep in a little longer. Of course, I slept in a lot longer than I hoped and found myself rushing to get downstairs to get in a little bit of my quiet time before having to wake Mackenzie up. As I went to take the picture of my mug, I noticed the background full of the dishes I couldn’t bring myself to put away last night and the dishes from this morning in the sink. I almost moved my mug to a more “picture perfect” location, but then I thought about my reading for the day and chose to post the real instead of the staged.

In The Fight to Flourish by Jennie Lusko she wrote about being present in the moment and immersing ourselves in the season that we’re in right now. You know, it got me thinking about how exhausted I’ve been at the end of each day and how hard it can be to adult some times. Life is crazy at our house right now with three kids in three different sports going three different directions. Some days I wonder if this season will ever end, but this morning I realized I needed to embrace this season. I can’t be perfect, the dishes will still be there some days and that’s ok. Grace, grace right?!

I love how Jennie puts it in her book,

“If you’re in a season that feels insignificant or especially long, look up. Set your gaze on who Jesus is. Ask God to help you see this season differently. Remember, you’re already living from the finish line, but you’re still in the middle of the process right now. This time in your life is part of the soil that is enriching your life and your future. Be here now.

When we engage in the daily fight and embrace the present moment, we will flourish. It’s the little wins that change the course of our lives. We can live and love in the small moments of our everyday lives, knowing that there’s an eternal significance to whatever God has called us to. So, when you’re feeding your baby in the middle of the night and feeling run down by sleep deprivation. Take a mental Instagram photo of that moment. Your baby is not going to eat like that at night forever. Or, if you’re tired of being single and want to find your soulmate, remember you won’t always have the kind of time you do currently. Savor where you are right now.”

Yes, some days are long but it’s true that the days are short. This season isn’t going to last forever and I find myself thinking about that a lot lately. Having two in middle school with one going to high school next year has really made me realize how fast time flies. So I will embrace this season and the exhaustion that it brings. I will celebrate those little wins and live and love in the small moments of my everyday life because there is an eternal significance to what I’m doing. And the same goes for you! You may not be 100% everyday, but that doesn’t mean you get to give up! Look up, look to Jesus! Find your strength in Him and ask Him to help you see your current season in a different way. It’s not going to last forever and it’s preparing you for the next season of life!

So here’s a picture of my coffee mug with my mess in the background to prove to you that I don’t always have it all together, but I am going to choose to embrace it and enjoy it!

I hope you have a terrific Thursday!

-Maggie

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

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

Throwback Thursday {4.28.20}

Good morning! I hope you all are having a great week. We are two days away from Christmas break!! One more wake up and we are done. We got this!

Today’s Throwback Thursday is a post from April of this year. I hope it encourages you this morning!

Let Go of the Old and Receive the New

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But 2 Corinthians 5:17 says,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rest: Throwback Thursday {1.9.14}

Y’all! I found my old blog! It goes back 10 years!! So crazy and so much fun to go back and see all the memories. Today’s Throwback is from 2014! You can see the original post here, but I’ve also copied and pasted it below. I hope y’all have a GREAT Thursday!

“When I obsess over things out of my control, it makes me act out of control. A much better place to park my mind is to look for God’s protection, provision, and lessons on perseverance in the midst of whatever I’m facing.”

-Lysa Terkeurst

This quote could not have come at a better time in my life. As 2014 began, Joseph and I were faced with some hard decisions. Decisions that I don’t want to make because they are not exactly what I had planned for MY life.

On Friday as Joseph and I talked, I found myself becoming more and more bitter. I was angry and upset and didn’t want to look at the “bright side.” I wanted to drown my sorrows and cry “woe is me.” What I really wanted to do was soaked in a hot bath, close the door and stay there. Instead, I spent most of the day angry and wanting to cry.

I knew all of the right answers. I knew what the Bible says and what God’s promises are. Trust in God, He is faithful, He will never leave you or forsake you, He is an ever-present help…. Yes I knew all that, but at that moment I did not want to hear those answers. I wanted to be mad.

As Joseph and I talked he reminded me of a Beth Moore quote that a couple of months ago I had shared with him. She said that people aren’t looking to see how we act when we have it all together. People are looking to see how we act when we don’t have it all together. I politely told him that people were going to have to look away, because at the moment I didn’t care. Ouch, thinking back on that hurts my heart.

I spent most of the weekend trying to be angry with God. Asking the “why me” questions and telling him this wasn’t fair. I wanted so hard to be mad and give him the silent treatment. But it was hard, it was as if my soul wouldn’t let me be mad at God. So I quietly told Him, “I wasn’t ready to “talk” about it yet.”

On Sunday we went to church and the Sunday school lesson was so appropriate for what we are going through. It was harder to hear because of course Joseph was teaching, but even he was comforted with the fact that God knew we would need this that day. I tried my best to not let the lesson touch my heart. I wasn’t ready to “deal” with it yet, but I couldn’t fight it. Outside I was fighting, but inside I could feel my heart changing.

As we sang “How Great Thou Art” my heart could not refuse to worship. It was in my soul, in my innermost being…that desire to worship Him because He is great. The message went right along as Dr. Bob talked on prayer and I felt my heart soften more.

As we went home, I apologized to Joseph for my attitude over the past few days. God reminded me that no matter how hard I try to push Him away, I can’t because He lives in me. His Spirit dwells in my soul and I can not bear the thought of life without Him. My mind was flooded with memories of the past. Memories of God’s provision in our lives. Memories of times when I didn’t know how I would get through, but God brought me through. Times that were painful, full of heartache, but God was ever so constant. Why should now be any different? Why, after living all those memories, should I doubt or not want to trust and believe that He has a plan?

I’ll tell you why. Because it’s not the way I planned it. You read that right. I didn’t plan this, I didn’t see this coming, I didn’t want this. But does this make me less blessed? Does this change the fact that God is faithful and worthy of my trust? Absolutely not.

I am thankful that He gave me the time I needed to be mad. To be angry and to try my best to ignore Him. Because it reminded me that life without Him makes no sense. Without Him, there is no hope.

On our way home, I told Joseph that my soul couldn’t bear being mad at God. And that no matter how much I tried, my soul ached for His comfort. This reminded me of Mary, in Luke 1:46-49

And Mary said: “My soul magnifies the Lord,

And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior.

For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant;

For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed.

For He who is mighty has done great things for me,

And holy is His name.”

You see, Mary had hopes and dreams. Those hopes and dreams I can assure you were not what God had in store for her. Yet she put aside her own desires and chose to join God on an unforgettable journey.

Her soul magnified the Lord and her spirit rejoiced. My favorite part of the passage is when she says, “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and Holy is His name.” Mary’s dreams were changed, but I would bet you she has no regrets. She has no regrets because she chose to take on God’s promises and trust in God, her Savior.

Maybe you are going through a time where your hopes and dreams seem to be put on hold. Or you are standing in pieces of those hopes and dreams that have shattered before your very eyes. Maybe it seems as if you will never achieve what you set out to do. Or maybe you feel that God has you on this rollercoaster and is completely changing the direction you were travelling on. Your head and your mind are spinning and your heart is aching because you just want to shout. “BUT Lord, this is not what I had planned! This is not the way I wanted my life to be! Yes I love you, yes I trust you, yes I know you are faithful, but I am just not ready for this Lord!!” And He whispers, “I will carry you. You don’t have to do a thing but trust and I will carry you.”

God has taken Joseph and I on a crazy journey over the past year. And from the looks of it, we are only beginning. These decisions I speak of are private at the moment. But they will change what we call “normal” right now. These decisions make me want to throw a huge tantrum and act a fool, but instead I am choosing to come back to the only ONE who has never failed me, who will always be there and never leave me.

Are you running? Are you so mad you can’t stand it? All I can say is stop. Stop running, stop trying to stay mad at God and just REST and place your hope in Him. Stop obsessing over what is out of your control and start relying on Him. Remind yourself of every single time He has come through for you. I promise you, you will never run out of memories of those times. Stop running and hand it over to the One who loves you more than anyone else in this world. And when you do, you will quit trying to do everything in your power to control the situation and you will be able to rest. He will bring you rest.

XO

Throwback Thursday {3.5.2019}

Today’s post is a throwback from 2019. It’s a reminder that God goes before us. And when we are afraid, we can put our trust in him.

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He Goes Before Us

I think it’s safe to say that we have all found ourselves in a frustrating state of mind at one point or another.  Maybe you are in a season of waiting, a season of heartbreak, a season of dealing with a three-year old toddler or a rebellious teenager.  In every season, there are ups and there are downs.

During this particular season of my life, I found myself frustrated and running out of patience with my situation.  I began praying for something months before and tried my best to keep a positive outlook, but everything seemed to be against me.  There was no light at the end of the tunnel, there was no glimmer of hope and this situation seemed to get worse and worse by the day.

I was tired, frustrated and ready to give up, but I wasn’t going to do that without a fight.  Let’s just say my Latina, as my husband calls it, was about to come out.  I was about to take matters into my own hands and handle the situation my way.  The enemy was trying hard to convince me that my situation wasn’t at the top of God’s list and I was entitled to take matters into my own hands.  I needed a quick fix and God wasn’t giving me the quick fix I needed.

I was bombarded by my thoughts, insecurities, feelings and frustrations.  As I sat there about to lose it, I looked over at my devotional book and picked it up.  I turned to the reading for the day and read the following:

“Dear Lord, Don’t let me give into my fears.  Instead, stand in front of me and let me see the peace I crave.  Amen.”

I put my book down and went on with my day.  Later in the afternoon, something happened that allowed me to experience a glimmer of hope and see a little light at the end of the tunnel.  God didn’t answer my prayer that day, but He did give me hope through the means of a conversation.  This conversation allowed me to see that I was about to make a huge mistake.  And God knew this.  He knew that I was about to possibly make my situation much worse than it was and He stood in front of me and reminded me that I needed to trust in Him.

When we grow weary we begin to take our focus off God.  As for me, I realized that I was letting fear rule my heart and my life.  I feared what could be.  Feared that the end result would not be what I wanted.  I was fixated on my situation and I imagined all of the worst case scenarios.

God made me see that day that He is still at work around me.  He is working all things for good no matter how hopeless a situation may feel.  I took this as His response to continue to wait and so that day, I backed off.  I thanked God for standing in front of me and letting me see the peace I needed.

Dear friend, I don’t know what your situation is.  I don’t know what season you find yourself in.  But I get it.  I may not be going through what you are going through, but I’ve experienced my share of pain, regret, loss, financial hardship, rejection and so much more.  I know how it feels to beg and plead God to answer, only to feel like He isn’t listening.

I think of the story of Hannah.  As she poured out her heart to God, Eli watched her and thought she was drunk.  In 1 Samuel 1:15-16 she replies,

“I haven’t been drinking wine or anything stronger. But I am very discouraged, and I was pouring out my heart to the Lord.  Don’t think I am a wicked woman! For I have been praying out of great anguish and sorrow.” 

I’m not sure the exact number of years that Hannah prayed for a son, but God did grant her request.  He answered at the right time.  And He will do the same for you and for me.  I know we are human and if you are like me, I can be very impatient.  But instead of taking matters into our own hands we need to stop and ask ourselves, “what is my focus on?”  Turn on the worship music, read the Bible, pray and give Him thanks!  Surround yourself with Jesus and ask Him to bring you the peace you crave.  Don’t look at your situation as the end.  Look at it as the means that God is using to make you an incredible woman.

As my devotional said, “choosing to trust God changes my perspective and gives me the strength to persevere.” Choose to trust Him, friend. Even when the odds are stacked against you, even in the pit you find yourself in, even in the regret, heartbreak and loss, choose Him. He is there for you. He will turn your mourning into dancing and lift you up again.

Dear Lord.  Thank you for standing in front of us and keeping us from making some of the greatest mistakes.  But also, thank you for loving us when we end up making the wrong decision and find ourselves living out the consequences.  You are so good to us.  You are faithful in your promises and gracious to forgive us time and time again.  I pray for my sisters who find themselves in situations that may seem hopeless.  I pray that you will stand in front of them and go before them.  I pray that they will turn their eyes back to you and ignore all of the whispers from the enemy.  Help their unbelief and allow them to see you in every situation.  In Jesus name, Amen.

“When I am afraid, I will put my trust in you.” Psalm 56:3

Throwback Thursday: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly {10.13.17}

Morning, babes! It’s been a crazy morning in North Georgia. Hurricane Zeta is causing all kinds of crazy wind and rain. Our lights keep flickering, but still hanging on!

Today I wanted to share a post from 2017 about choosing to trust that no matter what, God is good.

*************************************************************

You know those moments when you feel like you have it all together?  When you look around and your house is picked up, laundry is caught up, the sink is clean, the kids are getting along and you’ve cooked dinner every single night?  That was me a couple of days ago.  I felt like I was finally getting my you know what together and winning at this mom thing.  I was wearing my supermom cape proudly that’s for sure.

<Insert hormones here>

We all know the drill.  Once a month those pesky hormones come in and completely ruin everything.  Am I right?  We are crying one minute and then raging mad the next.  Our pants are a little snug because bloating and all we want to do is sleep and eat chocolate all day long.  Sorry boys.  If there are any guys reading this post you may want to go ahead and click on the x button.

You have been warned ha!

I had a hysterectomy a couple of years ago, but because I still have my ovaries I still experience the hormones.  Some months are pretty good, but every now and then there is a month where I turn into an evil monster.

<Insert evil monster here>

I’m not even going to lie.  The last couple of days have been hard y’all.  I’m taking the mask off and I’m just going to be real.  My kids were awful.  I was awful.  I was angry for no reason and so unbelievably tired.

Jojo completely broke down on me because he didn’t want to go to basketball lessons which in turn made me break down.  I was crying y’all.  Crying.  Both of us in the car crying!  And then Mackenzie gets upset telling Jojo to stop stressing Mommy out because she is going to end up in the hospital.  What in the world?  Where does she get this stuff?

I almost skipped out on small groups that night because I had nothing left.  I was exhausted physically and mentally.

But I am so glad that I went because I needed that time more than I realized.  Through our leader’s story I was reminded of God’s goodness and how he takes us where we are and restores us.

I’ve mentioned that we lost my daddy two years ago.  My daddy was the patriarch of our family.  He was an amazing man.  As I left small groups I cried.  I realized that on top of the hormones I really missed my dad.  I longed for a hug from him that night like I’ve never longed before.

Death Sucks.  Cancer sucks.

The night was a little better, but I let my feelings of defeat as a mom take over.  I started to feel guilt over the way I behaved towards my kids and my husband and then those feelings ruled the following day.  Instead of waking up renewed and restored, I woke up feeling guilty and exhausted.

Hormones are inevitable but my actions are not and I let my emotions of anger, bitterness, exhaustion, defeat and guilt take over my mind.

Why do I do that?  Why do I allow my circumstances to dictate my day?  I laid in bed wanting to feel angry for no reason.  I wanted to wallow and pout.  There was a struggle in my heart and I was fighting it as hard as I could.

Since my dad passed away, I’ve had to work hard at believing God is good.  I know that may sound awful, but when you lose a parent it crushes something inside of you.  Especially to see my dad, a faithful servant of God who fought to glorify Him until his last breath.  A man who worked tirelessly for the Lord through sickness and health.  Why isn’t he still here?

Brick by brick.  The wall was going up.  What was I thinking trusting God again?

As I drove home I began to listen to the words to the song that was playing in the background…

“And His heart is good
He is always kind
With a cross He proved
He is on our side

We are the sons we are the daughters of God
No matter where we go
We’re close to the Father’s heart
And though we stumble He will not let us fall
We are the Lord’s and He will never forsake His own
We are the sons we are the daughters of God

When the lies speak louder than the truth
Remind me I belong to You
When I can’t see past the dark of night
Remind me You’re always by my side”

And then I lost it.  I was allowing the lies to speak louder than God’s truth.  I was shutting him out, closing up my heart and building my wall.

But the song is true.  God is on my side.  I am His daughter.  My dad is no longer here, but God is.  And the painful truth is that God is enough.  As much as I wish my dad was here, God should be enough.  And I prayed and cried and asked God to heal my heart.  To forgive me for doubting His goodness once again.

As women we are stressed, tired and busy.  Between making sure the laundry is done, dishes are clean, dinner is cooked, field trip is paid, homework is done, everyone is where they need to be, uniforms are set out, lunches are packed and kids are wearing the right thing for spirit week.  The house running in order falls on our shoulders and if something doesn’t go right, we blame ourselves.  Insert mother nature and hormones and then add in some hard circumstances and we have a formula for disaster.

It’s during those moments of feeling completely overwhelmed when we begin to doubt.  We doubt His goodness because nothing seems to be going right.  We let the lies take over our mind and we forget about God’s truth.

Girlfriend, you may not think He cares about you being overwhelmed about the laundry, but He does!  The bible says that even the hairs on our head are numbered.  You are so important to Him and He wants you to bring to Him the good, the bad and the ugly.

Whatever your burden is, take it to Him.

We are not alone in this crazy world.  He is with us.  The Holy Spirit is a gift to us.  It is the seal of God upon us to help, comfort, encourage, strengthen and empower.  It is God living in us.

He is the source of joy.  All we need to do is ask for it.  He carries our burdens and turns our sorrow to song.  He proved His love to us when He sent His son to take our place.  He loves us with a love we can’t understand.

Maybe those pesky hormones have wreaked havoc over you this week.  Maybe you are going through a difficult time of grief over the loss of a loved one or someone you love is fighting a sickness and you are so close to giving up.  I urge you to cling on to Him.  Remind yourself of His promises.  God didn’t promise us a life free of the hard stuff, but He did promise to be with us every step of the way.

We can live a life of freedom because He has overcome the world.

Stop bottling up those feelings of fear, guilt, unworthiness and confess them to Him.  Take every thought captive, the Bible says.  Find a girlfriend you can share with and ask her to pray for you.  Don’t fight this battle alone.  That’s where the enemy wants us.  Alone in the dark completely giving up on everything.

 Choose to trust God.  Choose to love and choose to believe in His goodness.  Because He is good.  He is.  And if we have a hard time believing it we can ask Him to help us believe.

Rest in Him today sweet friend.  Give Him the good, the bad and the ugly because He doesn’t care.  He loves you anyway.

For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.” – Psalm 100:5

XO