For Better or For Worse…

I was talking with a friend the other day; the topic? Divorce. Both her and I came from together families and we recently had both experienced the ‘divorce is almost inevitable nowadays’ attitude. Both her and I didn’t understand this. I never once heard my parents use divorce as a threat. Matter of fact I can’t remember a time the word was ever said, in reference to each other, even as a joke. My Sunday school teacher always told us girls the ‘D’ word should never be allowed in our future homes. The divorce rate has increased with over 800,000 divorces annually (CDC, 2014). Marriage doesn’t quite seem to have the sanctity it once did. “For better or worse…. In sickness and health ’till death do us part,” anymore, are words that are merely repeated, not from the heart. Though, people don’t realize that whilst saying them. By no means am I degrading those who have gone through a divorce, as a spouse or child, but in order to fix a problem we have to address the issue. Here’s what I mean: it takes two people who are equally committed to each other to make things work. I’ve always been told it isn’t 50/50 it’s 100/100. There will be times one has to carry the other, but in the end, the effort should be the same. There will be bad times and struggles throughout life but the promise of “for better or for worse” should stand strong. What does this mean for those of us who are still dating? It means look for people who will uphold those values and put in the same amount of effort as you are. Are you and your relationship a priority to them? Do you communicate about the issues you experience or when they do something you don’t like? If they hurt your feelings, do they apologize or just wait until the smoke settles? Are they lazy or would they do whatever they had to to make ends meet and take care of their loved ones? I could go on but you got my point. In order to prevent divorce you not only have to put in equal effort and take your vows to heart but you have to look for values in a person that would make them a great spouse. If it’s bad now prior to marriage, odds are it will stay that way. What an awful life to lead. Do not go into a relationship with the expectation that they will change for you. Seldom does that occur. People do grow up, mature, and learn from their mistakes but MAJOR changes are unlikely to happen. This is my goal when dating: I want to build the foundation of our relationship on rock not sand and that starts with God. 
 “Anyone who listens to my teaching and follows it is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won’t collapse because it is built on bedrock. But anyone who hears my teaching and doesn’t obey it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will collapse with a mighty crash.” Matthew 7:24-27
So far for me, it’s only been sand and when the water rose the foundation washed away. Take the necessary steps when in the dating scene to find someone who is willing to put the extra effort required to build a rock foundation and if you find that the foundation was sand, be strong enough to let it wash away. 

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History Doesn’t Always Repeat Itself

So, dating after you’ve had your heart broke a time (or two) can be somewhat challenging. Fear, there is so much fear involved. They take one step that looks like your ex and you’re suspicious; like “Oh my heavens, the way you eat your food with a fork is exactly what my ex did so that must automatically mean you’re going to hurt me too!” It’s unhealthy and it’s toxic (speaking from experience as the girl who got spooked from someone eating with a fork, hypothetically speaking)! But here is the thing: they aren’t your ex, and in many scenarios in life, even those outside of dating, there is potential to get hurt. It’s a part of life. Though, fear isn’t supposed to control our choices or actions. 
“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” Psalms 56:3
I’ve been struggling lately at not being afraid. I have experienced so much hurt this year that I’ve lost that fire I had for Christ. I got to the point that I was in so much pain I didn’t know what to do. Praying wasn’t seeming to help. I couldn’t make myself go to church because I ended up in tears every sermon and I was so tired of crying. More than anything I wanted to call my aunt. I wanted to talk to her about how much I was struggling and how much I missed her. I knew that we could talk about God and sort through my pain and I’d be fine but she was part of my pain. Losing her was part of my heartache. Not having my go to person hurts. It hurts. When things in life would go wrong she knew what to say or how to help me handle my anxieties so everything was okay. 

Yesterday, my anxieties got the best of me. I lacked trust in the person I had begun to care for because I got scared that he would do the same thing that has been done to me in the past. History repeated itself twice now, why not a third time? But I learned the hard way that he isn’t “them”. He isn’t the person who hurt me before and my actions were unfair and uncalled for. I can see JoAnn now chewing my rear out for acting so selfishly. 

In the end, my attempt to protect myself got me hurt again by pushing away the person I cared for. But it did bring me to my knees in prayer and began to stir a fire in me for my Father once again. The only way to heal is through the Father’s hand and trust that my Father is looking out for me. I’m hoping I can be forgiven for my doubtfulness and that I learned to lean on my God for guidance instead of my own understanding. 

It’s not you, it’s Him

Darling, it’s not you, it’s him.

Let me be vividly honest for a moment. I struggle with relationships. I don’t date often because I know I fall fast. For this reason I weed through potential suitors with a fine tooth comb. I don’t enjoy dating. I don’t find it enjoyable at all. In fact I find it emotionally exhausting. So, if I dated someone it was because I saw great potential. For this reason when I get my heart broken, it’s to a severe degree.
However, I feel this great pressure to be in a relationship. I feel it from certain people who consistently ask if I’ve met anyone. I feel it from the world because everyone where I’m from gets married early. I begin to ask questions. Am I not pretty enough? Am I not smart enough? Am I too smart? Am I too mature? God, what is wrong with me? God, why haven’t you sent my Boaz? At this point in my life my strongest desire is to meet my forever person. The Godly man God has designed for me. God, why are you making me wait, you know how I feel? I’ve gone from one bad relationship to the next, God, why are you letting me get into these situations? The last guy, well I even prayed about him. I wasn’t ready for a relationship but I turned to God and sought his advice.  I thought it better to turn to him than mess something up that could have been. He sent person after person who encouraged me to move forward each in their own way. I am certain I heard God tell me to move forward and because I don’t want to fight God, although it’s a lesson I have to continually learn, I moved forward. But I ended up heartbroken again. I have had enough heartbreak this past year alone to last me a lifetime.
Let me give you a tip: it’s Him, it isn’t you. Ladies, it’s God who is holding back your Boaz. You are pretty enough and smart enough. You are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14). I know you feel ready but maybe He is growing you. Maybe He is protecting you from a painful situation. Maybe it’s your Boaz. Maybe he needs to grow. Maybe he isn’t listening to God as He screams, “Son, this is the woman I made for you. Isn’t she precious?” Maybe it’s a combination. Regardless, I know God has a plan. But let me stop here. You’ve heard all of this A MILLION TIMES, right? You’re tired of hearing just be patient, he is coming. You literally want to just scream, “BUT WHERE IS HE??” I know sister, I feel the same. Here is my recent conversation with God:

“God, I tithe. I donate to the needy. I even got two pairs of shoes instead of just one. I donate to organizations monthly. I seek you daily. I try to serve you daily. I share the Gospel whenever the opportunity presents itself. God, why haven’t you blessed me? Your word says if I tithe I’ll be blessed (Malachi 3:10). If I help the needy I’ll be blessed (Proverbs 22:9). I promise I didn’t do it just to receive a blessing. I did it out of love for you but God where is my blessing?”

Ladies, you aren’t alone. Many others, as well as myself struggle with this too. I trust God with my life, but sometimes I worry. Sometimes I question God. Sometimes I’m impatient and sometimes I don’t listen. Just because I’m Christian doesn’t mean I don’t struggle! I have to constantly lay all of this at my Father’s feet. I know his plans for me are great. Gosh, I’ve even had people tell me that they felt God telling them how great His plans for me are. Yet, I still struggle because knowing His plans for me are great doesn’t take away the pain I am experiencing now. But keep on trusting. Keep on hoping, I promise I will do the same and remember: it’s Him, darling, it isn’t you.

Love,

Shiann

“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well”. Psalm 139:14

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” Malachi 3:10

“Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor.” Proverbs 22:9

Prodigal Resources

There is a prodigal that I have been vividly praying for. I wasn’t sure what to pray so I began looking for some resources. I found two really great articles and put together a list of prayers that I gathered from Kathie at The Character Corner page and B.J. Reinhard at the Encouragements From the Piper’s Wife page. I also did my own research and put together a list of awesome bible verses that will help you and your prodigal as you begin this journey of praying for them. I need visual things when I pray… I tape verses, prayers, etc. to my bathroom wall. I keep notecards with verses and prayers in my prayer journal so I can flip through them easily. Here is the list of verses and prayers BUT I also provided a download where you can print them off onto index cards! These new awesome printers these days have the awesome ability to change paper sizes to allow you to put little things like index cards in there! Give it a try! (I find it really helpful to put the cards on one of those nifty little book rings!)

Love,

Shiann

Verses:

1 Peter 5:8
Be alert and of a sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

Galatians 6:1
Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.

1 John 2:16
For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.

Matthew 6:13
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

Matthew 26:41
Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Luke 10:19
Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.

Isaiah 58:6-9
“This not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, To undo the heavy burdens, To let the oppressed go free,And that you break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, And that you bring to your house the poor who are cast out; When you see the naked, that you cover him, And not hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light shall break forth like the morning, Your healing shall spring forth speedily, And your righteousness shall go before you; The glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; You shall cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
Nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord.
“For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways,
And My thoughts than your thoughts.

Hebrews 11:1
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Isaiah 50:10
Who among you fears the Lord
and obeys the word of his servant?
Let the one who walks in the dark,
who has no light,
trust in the name of the Lord
and rely on their God.

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Hebrews 12:11
No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Psalm 31:2
Turn your ear to me,
come quickly to my rescue;
be my rock of refuge,
a strong fortress to save me.

Psalm 40:11
Do not withhold your mercy from me, Lord;
may your love and faithfulness always protect me.

Psalm 40:2
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

Galatians 6:9-10
“Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary.  So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”

Prayers:

  1. “Father, please allow their path to be filled with misery, frustration and irritation.” (Hosea 2:6a) This isn’t to be mean. We pray this because we love them. (Proverbs 19:11)
  2. “Father, please make them unable to clearly see what to do; please cause confusion.” (Hosea 2:6b)
  3. “Father, please keep them from finding the satisfaction for which they are searching.” (Hosea 2:7a)
  4. “Father, please allow her to see herself as You see her and create a desire to come back.(Hosea 2:7b) No prodigal will come back to God until they first come to themselves. This means that they recognize that they got themselves where they are, and it’s their responsibility to do what it takes to get out.
  5. “Father, please bring to their mind the good and allow them to forget the bad, pain, hurt, etc.” (Hosea 2:7c-8)
  6. “Lord, protect them.  Build a hedge around them to guard him physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  Block their paths so that he cannot move toward activities and relationships that would harm them.” (Job 1:10; Hos. 2:6-7)
  7. “Deliver them from evil.  Rescue them from a destructive lifestyle.  Restore them to their senses, bring them home from the land of the enemy.”  (Mt. 6:13; Ps. 91:14; Lk.15:17; Jer. 31:16-17)
  8. “Guide them into truth.  Teach them to recognize deceptive ideas and thoughts.  Make them alert to the lies of the enemy, and teach them how to resist the devil by faith.” (Jn. 16:13; 1 Cor. 2:16; 1 Pet. 5:8-9)
  9. “Give them the courage to be honest with their self and with You.  Spirit of God, convict them of sin and their need for You.  Don’t allow them to blame other for troubles in his life.  Show them that he alone is responsible for their choices.” (Jn. 16:8; Gen. 3:12-13; Ezk. 18:20)
  10. “Lord, thank You for drawing them with love and tenderness to Yourself, even in their desert place.  Show them that You are with them.  You delight in him them.  Amid the clamor for their attention and affections, may they hear Your voice calling to them and respond to Your deep, deep love.” (Jer. 31:3; Hos. 2:14; Zeph. 3:17)
  11. “Cause them to call out to You in their distress and confusion.  Cause them to seek You with abandon.  Thank You for promising to answer him.” (Ps. 91:15; Jer. 29:13)
  12. “Remove their heart of stone and replace it with a new, soft heart.  Make this heart into a bed of fertile soil so that the seed of truth sown into it will grow deep roots and bring forth a rich crop of life.” (Ezk.36:26-27; Mt.13:23; Col.2:6-7)
  13. “Lord Jesus, reveal to them that lasting refreshment and satisfaction can only be found in You.  In You they will find an abundant life.” (Jn.4:10, 10:10; Ps.1:3)
  14. “Lead them to friends who will graciously point them to You.  Cause them to be attracted to those who are attracted to You.  Scatter like chaff in the wind any friends who will bring them harm.  Give them the courage to please You, not man.” (Prov.13:20; Gal.1:10)
  15. “Produce in them a humble spirit that is yielded to You. Teach them how to live in You, and show them that apart from You they can do nothing.” (Jas.4:10; Ro.6:13; Jn.15:5)
  16. “Lord, reveal to them how valuable and significant their life is.  Give them a vision for their purpose in the world, and show them the possibilities for their future.  Through You, they can do all things.” (Is.43:7; Jer.29:11; Phil.4:13)
  17. “Help them to see that they don’t need to condemn themselves.  Show them that they can experience complete forgiveness through the work You’ve already finished on their behalf.  Give them the grace to repent of and let go of the past.” (Jn.19:30; Acts3:19; Is.43:18-19)
  18. “Thank You for offering hope and comfort to them.  Thank You for restoring the years the locusts have eaten and bestowing on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of despair.” (Is.57:18; Joel 2:25; Is.61:3)
  19. “Teach them that following You is not about following rules.  Show them that what You long for is a genuine relationship with them.” (Ro.6:14; Jer.9:24; Phil. 3:8,10)
  20. “Lord, cause them to grow up in You, maturing into an oak of righteousness for the display of Your splendor.  Help them to grow in wisdom and stature, and in favor with You and with man.” (Eph.4:15; Is.61:3; Lk.2:52)
  21. “Teach them to live in freedom, animated and motivated by Your Spirit and in step with Him.” (Gal.5:16,25)
  22. “Teach them to walk by faith.  Help them to see beyond their circumstances and trust You with every part of their life.” (2Cor.5:7; Heb.11:1; Prov.3:5-6)
  23. “Impress on them the need to protect their mind, guarding its purity through the choices they makes about what they looks at, listens to, and thinks about.” (Phil.4:8; 2Cor.10:5)

Download here:

Verses.

Prodigal Prayers

B.J.& Kathie’s Pages

http://thecharactercorner.com/5-things-to-pray-for-the-prodigal/

http://fromthepiperswife.blogspot.com/2011/12/prayers-for-prodigals-by-bj-reinhard-5.html

A Letter to the Dating Farm Girl

Dear farm girl,

For you dating sucks. You’re constantly caught between educating people (guys) how to do things and deciding whether to open your mouth at all. You’ve been told your standards are too high because you want someone who can help you fix fence (even if they have to learn) because let’s be real we don’t want to drive a t-post unless we have to. You want someone who will make late night trips hauling cattle and let you sleep in the passenger seat. Someone who says, “We will manage if I have to get another job” when the cattle market falls out. Someone who would go without sleep for 2 days because he had to work the night shift of that job he had to get but he wanted to be at his kids’ livestock show. Why? Because this is the man we grew up with and we called him dad.

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We owe a lot to him for making us into the women we are today. He taught us how to be independent and take care of ourselves. Just like him, you’ll try to fix it yourself before you take it to someone else. But let me let you in on a piece of advice that I’ve learned over my few short years:

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“For You formed my inward parts;

You covered me in my mother’s womb.

I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalm 13-14a

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Darling, just be you. God made you just like you are. You are fearfully and wonderfully made and the right man will see that. God will put him in front of you and he will be in complete awe of the woman God designed you to be. You may not be perfect, but you’ll be perfect for him. So, don’t settle for anything less than a Godly designed relationship. To the right man, you won’t be intimidating, he’ll laugh at your little hot head, and he’ll appreciate your dad for raising you like he did. To the right man you’ll be fearfully and wonderfully made.

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We can’t forget to thank mom for making sure dad didn’t take over and we still turned out like a lady as well, but that’s an entirely different post!

Love,

Shiann

P.S. I write this as I am waiting for molasses to run on my 2 out of 3 batches of feed for the morning.

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I Still Need My Father

Driving always gives me time to think and pray about the things that have been occurring in my life. Today as I started my 8 hour journey north God and I had a little chat. This semester has been extremely emotionally challenging and for the majority of the semester I turned to God to help me get through the tough times, right up until everything exploded and I began to heal again. I was reading my bible every night, doing multiple daily devotional, spending a significant amount of time in prayer, attending weekly bible study, and having in depth conversations with fellow Christians, all of which was truly helping me grow in my walk with Christ. But, as I began healing from the stress that I faced these past few months all of those things began to fall to the wayside. I was so emotionally exhausted that I essentially began putting off my walk with Christ. This morning during my prayers I asked God what I needed to do and for him to help guide me to get my walk back on track. A moment later the song Fix My Eyes comes on the radio. I just smiled and said, “I hear ya, Father.”

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.” Psalm 138:7

Time doesn’t heal us, God does. I had made the tragic mistake of focusing on healing instead of serving my Father and I overlooked the fact that serving Him would heal me. I prayed to be shown what to do, what to say, how to act and through this song God showed me that too: “Love like you’re not scared, give when it’s not fair, live life for another, take time for a brother. Fight for the weak ones, speak out for freedom, stand tall but above it all fix my eyes, my eyes on you.”

When we fail to put God #1 we miss out on, or prolong, the blessings that He has for us.

“Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.” Psalm 37:4-5

No matter how many times I try to do things on my own I always come to the same conclusion: I am always happier when I do everything with God, in his way, in his time. Everything always works out according to his plan. Although, remember to keep an open mind, often his plan is different than our own.

“A man’s heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.” Proverbs 16:9

I never thought in a million years I would end up in Las Cruces; 12 hours from everyone I love. Although I fought it, God made sure I made it here. I have learned so much from this journey, made some amazing friends, and grown way more through this transition than I could have ever imagined.

“And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” 2 Corinthians 9:8

I have found that Cruces is a blessing and there is a reason that God wanted me here. No, life isn’t troublesome free but it never will be. There will always be challenges to face in our lives. Our attention will always be spread between careers, loved ones, making ends meet, and the curve balls life tends to throw at us. But if we turn to God for every situation in life we will handle these situations much more gracefully.

Pray About It

I am constantly in awe of God. I see miracles happen constantly and every time I am in awe at just how awesome our God is. Lets just say my life has been rough lately, to put it lightly. I moved 12 hours away from my beloved home and loved ones, only for things at home to go completely awry shortly after I settled in here at Las Cruces. On top of that I am a fixer. I tend to want to take charge and “mother hen” the situation. I want to take care of my loved ones and fix the situations. That gets complicated when you are 12 hours away, and things are more than slightly out of your control anyways. And let me tell you I am not good with out of control. I like for everything to have its place, I want a plan. I want to know what is going on. I like everything neatly packaged with a nice little bow but basically, life is anything but neatly packaged with a nice little bow. I think it is easy to say that what I am currently going through is the roughest time of my young life but God has done something amazing for me.

Let me rewind for a second. I want to share a snippet of my testimony because, to me, it is just so aweing. I had an unofficial deal worked out so that I would be able to get my Masters at Oklahoma State, and then it fell through; little did I know God was at work. A few weeks later I would board a plane for a conference with the Auburn Animal Science Department Head. The next morning I received an email from a professor there with a graduate offer. The following week I was in Alabama. Several days after receiving this offer, before I made my voyage to Auburn I had also received an offer to New Mexico State with my current undergraduate advisors from OSU. So, I had a lot to contemplate on this 13-hour journey. I knew immediately that Auburn was not for me. Nothing against the school, the campus was gorgeous and the people were great, but I just knew. Shortly after, I made my visit to New Mexico and fell in love. The tell-tell sign that gave it away was I saw my opportunity in my meeting to bring up churches in the area, to which the professor replied, “I am glad you asked! Many of us go to church together and one of the professors holds bible study at his house every week for the graduate students.” I was sold. This is where God wanted me. But God had to take me to Auburn to open my heart up to be willing to move to New Mexico (I tend to want to keep my feet firmly planted at home). The fact that God took all of these intricate steps to get my heart in the right place is just astounding to me.

Now back to the original story. It is these amazing people at this amazing bible study that have not only helped me through this tough time but also opened my eyes. When I came to them with my difficult situation there was nothing but wide-open, loving arms, and acceptance and ever since then the advice has always been to “follow God, listen to what he has to say, and pray.” Wow! I am literally surrounded by such a great cohort (yes, this is an animal science term, I had to throw it in there somewhere) of people that I get to call my friends. They have truly opened my eyes to how I want to be. I was once the opinionated person that when someone would come to me for advice I had no problem giving it to them but I am learning to simply listen and provide the kind words that simply say “pray about it”.

“Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.” Philippians 4:6

Life is tough. We live in a new day and age where we as young adults are experiencing challenges that the older generation doesn’t really know how to cope with. Life simply isn’t black and white and to learn how to deal with the gray we have to turn to God. I have been blessed to be surrounded by so many open minded, loving, Godly people. Not only here at NMSU but literally around the U.S. In bible study this week we read a passage from Job where his friend is essentially telling him he is a sinner and he should repent. His friend thought he was giving Godly advice. However, this friend didn’t know the full situation, only God did. To me this was a reminder to keep an open mind and to not only turn to God for advice but to also remember to advise others to seek God’s advice instead of interjecting my own. You never know what is going on behind the scenes, just like with Job. Only you know what God is speaking to you. In closing, I’ll leave you this:

“The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:31

If Time were Money, How Would You Spend Yours?

Time. It never seems as though there is enough time in a day to accomplish all that we hope to accomplish. But what if time were like money? If you could accumulate and spend your time as you chose, would you spend it wisely or would you blow your time on silly things? It’s a nice thought, however we are only given a limited amount of time on this Earth; how are you spending yours?

What makes time valuable? For me it’s the people in my life. What use would it be to have all the time in the world but no one to share it with? So often, we as humans get caught up in life and fall into the trap of believing that we don’t have time and somehow through the process our priorities get twisted out of order. Jesus spent 33 years on this Earth, yet the most important were his last three. In those last three he didn’t hole up in constant prayer and wait for God to work for him. No, he developed relationships. He knew that what was most important was spending time and loving others. A common phrase most of us heard while growing up is: “Why put off for tomorrow what you could do today?” There were good intentions behind this phrase however as I have grown older I’ve realized that there are occasions where you can put off work for tomorrow so that you can spend time with those that you love today. Our loved ones are so important. God literally calls us to love one another.

“So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” John 13:34

God did not design us to be alone he designed us for relationships. God literally took a rib from Adam to create Eve so that Adam wouldn’t be alone. We need relationships with Christian people to help hold us accountable. We need relationships with people so that we can let our guard down and share the deepest struggles of our lives so that we don’t have to go through it alone. Sharing with others doesn’t make you look weak it makes you human and allows you to have a hand to hold when times get tough. It allows you to have a person that will always point you to God to help you stay on his path. Relationships can be hard, especially when you are harboring hurts from the past but in the end they are so worth the comfort and peace they provide when it is a Godly relationship. So, make time for relationships. Put people first just as our Savior did. Show the people you love how much they mean to you by making time for them. Time is one of our most precious assets. There are 86,400 seconds in a day how are you going to spend them?

Christ led me to a sermon this morning that inspired this. Take a moment to check it out. I hope it works on your heart just as it did mine.

http://harvestok.com/messages/a-heart-to-grow-part-3-scotty-haynes/

Godly Control

I have always liked to be in control, it’s really nothing new. Not being in control frightens me. It worries me. It makes me angry. Most of all, it makes me immeasurably impatient. Which is precisely what God tells us not to do. I consider myself a Christian, I pursue Christ daily, nonetheless I undoubtedly fall short on a regular basis. Which is okay because I am forgiven, but I wasn’t doing anything to change either. Suddenly, I realized that God is continually putting me in situations where I don’t have control, he is trying to teach me and, to put it mildly, and I am not handling it well.

“Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.” Matthew 15:30

We are told to lay all of our troubles at the feet of Jesus but somewhere along the way I had forgotten that. When I’m faced with trouble I pray fervently but I am a failure when it comes to laying it down at the feet of Christ. I never fully allow God to take control. I know he has my best interest at heart. I know all of the verses about not having worry, fear, anger, or anxiousness. BUT I DO IT ALL ANYWAYS!!! I do it all anyways because I AM IMPATIENT. I am so impatient and because we have free will God lets me take over until I am ready to fully give the reigns over to him. How easy it would be to just ask God to take care of it and go on about our daily lives!!! Instead I fight God for control. It seems so silly when I stop to think about it “I legitimately fight God for control.” In Matthew 6:26 we are told:

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”

How wonderful is it to know that the King of Kings cares for us and watches over us daily? I have found that I need God continually from the time I wake up in the morning to when I lay down at night. I continually struggle to allow God full control of every situation. I continually struggle with patience, but I am reminding myself to lay it all at His feet.

“God blesses those who patiently endure testing and temptation” James 1:12

I can stress but my God is the only one who can lift me up. I will patiently wait (or at least work on being patient) on a the Father whose knowledge is significantly greater than my own.

 

Just a few helpful verses:

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

“And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

My Savior Walks on Water

God has put something on my heart and I just have to share! He told me be happy. Yes, that’s right he told me to be happy. You see I’ve been struggling with living or shall I say dying. I saw this poem the other day and from then my eyes have been opened.

First, I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. Then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow up. Then I was dying see them marry and have children. Then I was dying to retire. And now I’m dying, and I’m wishing I had lived.

This was essentially me in nutshell. I enjoyed high school but I was ready for college, for independence. Now, I’m in college and I am ready to graduate. In addition to that every time I get on social media someone I know is getting married/ engaged and here I am still single with all of this worldly pressure to be in a relationship. It stressed me out. Many times I found myself in tears asking God why am I still single and what do I need to do to prepare myself for that special someone you have planned for me? He answered, he’s been answering I just didn’t much care for the answer. His answer was “Be patient and wait on my timing.” But at 20 years of age I was tired of waiting! Then I saw that poem. It wasn’t the first time I had seen something like that. I had read Christians blogs on being single and using your singleness for God but this time something finally clicked and here is what I learned: It doesn’t matter what season of life your in your going to struggle and it is going to be stressful but how you handle that makes all of the difference.

At bible study we read the story in Matthew 14 where Jesus walks on water and saves the Disciples from the raging storm. The Disciples were worried and scared. They doubted their God was in control immediately after witnessing him feed 5 thousand people with five loaves of bread and two fish! My eyes were opened. Here I am doubting that my God is in control after he just preformed so many amazing miracles in my life. I was just like the Disciples. Finally, things came into perspective. I wrote in my previous blog post Why I Don’t Mind Walking in the Rain that I had prayed for college and now I was wishing it away and here I am praying for a husband and I asked myself, “When things get tough in our marriage am I going to wish that away too?” and that was when I told myself it was time to make a change. It was time to give it all over to God. But you say, “I have done that and nothing has changed.” I said that to. I honestly thought I had, but when I finally gave it all to him, prayed, and trusted that he would answer those prayers in his own time it was like I was liberated. I am slowly learning what giving everything to God feels like. I can stress all I want but HE is the only one who has the power and wisdom to make things happen. I will patiently wait on a God whose knowledge is far greater than my own.

My boss recently asked me, “Are you happy?” I was somewhat taken aback by the question, he is an older man and I assumed he was just trying to make small talk and check in on me, but I unhesitatingly answered with a firm “YES!” As I went on about my day I mulled over that brief conversation and came to the realization that I am happy. I may have my struggles here and there but I am in fact happy. No doubt I have awesome God to thank for finally breaking through to my stubborn heart and opening my eyes to truly living and oh, how happy living for him can really be!

Isaiah 26:3-4 “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you. Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock.”