November is always the month I start reflecting on the past year and what I want to continue working on the following year. I set it up in sections. Health, work, spiritual, family and so on. This is the first year, in a long time that when it comes to health I didn’t write down….
Lose (number) pounds.
I can’t remember a thanksgiving where the number on the scale or my image in the mirror wasn’t at the top of my to fix list. It was unhealthy.
This year I am thankful that my mindset is healthier, my body is stronger and although my eyes at times play tricks on me, I know that I am fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14) by a God who loves me so much.
I recently asked one of our preschoolers what she was thankful for and without skipping a beat she responded…
I’m thankful that God is always on our side.
Such truth and wisdom from someone so young. This is proof that age has nothing to do with spiritual maturity. Her response resonated with me.
Growing up, life was tough. There were many scary moments and uncertainty in life. However, even in the difficult moments growing up God was always on my side. I think back to where I was and where I am now and I can’t deny that God had always been with me, leading me. He has always provided. He has always answered. He has always shown up. Maybe not always in the way I expected but He has always come through. He has always been on my side.
A question I hear often is,
if God is really on my side then why did He let such and such happen?
1 John 1:5 reads, “This is the message we heard from Jesus and now declare to you: God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all.”
While evil does exist and bad things do happen, God did not create it. In fact, After creating the entire world God looked around and said it was good.
“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31
However, God did create each of us with the ability to choose right from wrong. Unfortunately, the choices of others and sometimes ourselves can bring pain into our lives. Our world is filled with evil. God is not the reason for the pain In your life but He is the answer. Run to Him not from Him. Even in this world full of sorrow and pain, Jesus is on our side walking us through it.
It’s comforting to know that while evil does exist, God can take what is meant for evil and use it for good.
A four year old little girl spoke so much truth and it really teaches us to trust Jesus more. He is always on our side. No matter what you are facing right now. No matter the uncertainty in life. No matter how many scary moments come at you. No matter how many times you have messed up. If you continue to walk with God He will continue to lead you. This year let’s not forget that God is ALWAYS on our side.
“The Lord is on my side, so I will have no fear. What can mere people do to me?” Psalms 118:6-7
Ministry with kids is challenging. I want Ellie and Jay to grow up loving ministry and not feeling pressured or overwhelmed by it. Our kids have been born into ministry and I don’t know if they will ever know another life. Ellie makes me proud everyday. Don’t get me wrong we had a screaming match this morning but overall she is a fantastic kid. We have chosen to send Ellie to public school. When it comes to ministry this is tough. We have big events at the church that take our time and energy. It also takes time and energy from our kids. We love it and we know that we have been called to it so we always give 💯 percent, but there are weeks that are so crazy busy that sending your kid to school feels mean. Ellie handles it like a trooper. I try to get her to stay home but she insists on going. Ellie went to school this past week everyday. After picking her up we headed back to the church to prepare for the weekend fall festival. I didn’t even give her anything to do because she was tired. However, she wanted to help. She cut things out for preschool and helped set up games and even ran around and played a little. There would be a mess on the floor or pieces to a game in the wrong place and I would turn around to find that she had cleaned up the mess or put the pieces in the right spot. She never complained about the extra long days and woke up with a smile ready for school the following day. Saturday night was our fall festival. We told her she could run around on her own while we led games and passed out candy and helped with the event. Ellie decided all on her own to help with one of the games. For 45 mins she stood behind the Gone Fishing Game and put candy on the hooks thrown over. She did it with a smile. She eventually ran off with a friend to play and apparently tried to get them to come to our church full time. (They are pastors at another church) 😂 Ellie wasn’t just born into ministry. Ministry was not just a card she chose from a deck. God has truly shaped her heart to love ministry and to be a servant for Him even when she is tired. God has a plan for her life. I believe He is already using her in that plan. I am so thankful for Ellie. I’m so proud of her too. Mostly I’m thankful that God has given her to us to watch her grow and raise her to love Him and to serve others. ❤️
I guess the point of this is to remind myself and you that some seasons are tough and some seasons are long but everything we do for God is worth it. Also, if you are a fellow parent who is raising kids in full time ministry know that your kids were chosen by God to be part of a family in ministry. He is preparing them now for His calling on their lives and future family. He didn’t make a mistake when He placed your children in your family.
Here we have a bag filled with water. The bag represents Jesus. We trust Jesus. The water represents each of us. These pencils represent the moments when we need to completely trust Jesus.
Pencil number 1 represents our trust in Jesus as our child goes off to college. (Stick through bag of water)
Pencil number 2 represents our trust in Jesus finding our husband. (Stick through bag of water)
Pencil number 3 represents our trusting God with that lost job. (Stick through bag of water)
Pencil number 4 represents our trusting God with that medical diagnosis. (Stick through bag of water)
Pencil number 5 represents our trusting God with your painful past. (Stick through bag of water)
Pencil number 6 represents our trusting God in our relationships. (Stick through bag of water)
You see, when difficult moments happen in our life it is crucial that we completely trust in Jesus. The moment we stop trusting in Him (Pull out pencil) is the moment we are overwhelmed with all the difficult moments in life. We now have holes where we should have Jesus. We now have water everywhere and chaos sets in. Trust in Jesus keeps our hearts filled with peace.
Jay is in the toilets ALL the time. We officially have locked our toilet and because that was not enough we keep the bathroom door closed at ALL times. However, we are raising a little ninja who still manages to get in ALL the toilets and ALL the things.
I don’t get it. Does he not care that the toilet is so gross?
Here’s the thing. We often get ourselves into trouble because we don’t see the problem at hand. Like Jay, we don’t see the germs that lurk in the toilet that we continue to splash in. Jay does not see the toilet as a threat. He can only see a toilet that is so tempting. He does not understand the concept of germs. He can only see what he wants to see. We continue to take him away from the toilet and set up stronger barriers and he continues to crawl in the direction we are adamantly calling him away from.
In Genesis 3 we learn about the disobedience of Adam and Eve. God gave them one boundary in the Garden of Eden. They could eat from any tree with the exception of one. They could not eat fruit from the Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil. Did they listen? No. Of course not! They each took a bite from a fruit from the forbidden tree. The fruit was too tempting. Maybe it looked so satisfying? Was it dripping with flavor? We do know that the serpent was pushing them to eat the fruit. Telling them lies. Whispering that God is only fooling them. Unfortunately, rather than listen to God (He does know best) they chose to listen to the lies the enemy and their eyes told them. They chose to disobey and now here we are ALL tempted to touch ALL the toilets we are told to stay away from.
Listen! God has set up boundaries in our life for a reason. He has put a lock on that toilet for a reason. He is walking you away over and over for a reason. He is yelling “DON’T EAT THAT FRUIT” for a reason. While we might not know His reason we can still submit to His authority.
There are so many tempting moments in life. These temptations don’t always look the same. Regardless of if the temptation is a fun toilet or dripping fruit, if God says “no” then stay away. Don’t open the toilet. Don’t touch the fruit. Don’t just look under the lid. Don’t just take a quick smell. DON’T GO NEAR THAT TOILET! Step back. Trust God.
“No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:15-16 NLT I remember in third grade being in the talent show. I chose to sing the song `This Little Light of mine. A girl in my class was telling everyone that I was singing a “God” song. I felt so cool but I don’t think she was telling everyone about my song choice because she thought I was cool. I was still proud though to be representing Him. All my classmates knew my love for Jesus. I talked about Him all the time, talked to Him all day, sang about Him on stage and refused to say words that would not make Him smile even when pressured by my peers. I was sold out for Jesus. As I’ve grown older conversations about Jesus have become a battle in my mind- what if I offend someone? Talking to Jesus is still often but not daily like it was as a little girl. I often allow life to keep me “too” busy! I can’t carry a tune so that solves the singing about Him on stage. Lastly, I’ve let a few disappointing words slip in my adult years.
When I see this gem above my desk I am encouraged to be the “sold out for Jesus” little girl I once was in the third grade.
In kids life we used a pumpkin and a light to talk about how we can shine for Jesus. I downloaded The Pumpkin Prayer from Teachers Pay teachers. As we pulled out all the insides from the pumpkin we asked God to take all the wrong out of our hearts and fill us with His goodness. As the eyes were carved we asked God to open our eyes to all the beauty that He has created. We continued to carve a nose and a smile and prayed different prayers to go along with each. Lastly, we placed a light inside the pumpkin and in the darkness we could see the pumpkin shining bright.
We get to be a light for Jesus in every aspect of our lives. The way we walk through the trials in life, our attitude toward difficult people and how we speak to others is a direct reflection of our love for Jesus. We get to shine the love of Jesus by reflecting Him in all that we do and say.
I’m encouraged today and I pray you are as well; to let His light shine a little brighter in my life.
If you would like a copy of the Pumpkin Prayer you can download it and other printables at the following link.
Jay! You were one taco away from being born in the Taco Bell drive thru. 😂🎃
I believe every birth story has a purpose. You were born fast. It was as if God whispered in your ear “it’s time” and you obeyed with such confidence and readiness. I pray you always have a trust in God so strong that you follow His voice in all He calls you to do. Happy Birthday little man. We love you so much and you have made our lives so much better. ❤️🎉🎃
I love speaking. It’s one of the number one fears but for me it’s fun and exciting. From Preschool all the way through 5th grade I took speech therapy. We went over every letter in the alphabet. Rr was the most difficult for me. As a child I never imagined myself having a desire to speak in front of a group of people. I was ashamed of my speech problems and embarrassed by the way I sounded. I was made fun of alot. However, as I got older my speech became more clear and I was easier to understand. Now I couldn’t imagine a life where I didnt get to speak. I believe that God freed me from my fear of being rejected by people when they hear me talk. Just as God freed me from that fear, He wants to free each of us from fear itself. Being freed from fear does not mean that we no longer experience the feeling of fear, but it means that we no longer allow fear to dictate our lives. We know that fear is not from God so why do we allow it to determine the outcome of our day? Fear is actually the favorite tool in the enemies tool kit.
All that fear will do is drive you back to where you came from and keep you from experiencing all that God has for you.
Jesus Himself tells us to FEAR NOT.
“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.”
God was telling Joshua not to give up or go back but to press on even in his fear. God wanted Joshua to know that He would give him the courage he needed and take care of Him.
He’s not telling us not to feel fear but He’s telling us that when we are faced with fear not to run away. Did you know that we have been set free from fear.
“So Christ has truly set us free. Now make sure that you stay free, and don’t get tied up again in slavery to the law.” Galatians 5:1 NLT
Being set free from something doesn’t mean the disappearance of it. You might still feel afraid however, just because worry and fear show up does not mean that you have to invite it in to stay for lunch. You have authority over your fear. If you believe that you are set free, take hold of that fear and show it who’s boss.
“Submit yourself therefore to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you.” James 4:7
Fear has no choice but to go away when we take the authority the Lord has given us over it.
When I was a little girl my sister and I were staying with my Aunt Sandy. My youngest sister was really sick at the time so my aunt was helping my parents out with my older sister and I. They took us to church, fed us meals, made sure we got to school and helped with homework. My anxiety started really young. I honestly can’t remember a time when I was not worried and afraid. During our daily Bible study my aunt taught me the first scripture I ever memorized.
“God will keep His angels in charge over me.” Psalms 91:11
Since that day I have learned so many FEAR SCRIPTURES. In Fact I have this love for looking for every scripture in the Bible that relates to fear. Here are a few of my favorites…
1. ISAIAH 41:10
“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.”
2. PHILIPPIANS 4:6-7
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
3. 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.”
4. PSALM 23:4
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
5. JEREMIAH 29:11
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
6. PSALM 27:1
“The Lord is my light and my salvation—whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life—of whom shall I be afraid?”
7. 2 TIMOTHY 1:7
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”
8. DEUTERONOMY 31:8
“He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
9. ROMANS 8:28
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”
10. JOHN 14: 27
Peace is what I leave with you; it is my own peace that I give you. I do not give it as the world does. Do not be worried and upset; do not be afraid.”
There are countless scriptures in the Bible on fear. It is said that there are 365. One for every day of the year. I have only found 175. So I’m not sure of this statement. However, let’s pretend there really are 365 FEAR NOT scriptures. There is a reason God mentions fear so much in His word. He knew his kids, all of us would be consumed with worry and fear and need a way to overcome. His word is our weapon against ALL fear. His word is the authority that we have over our fear.
Were you ever afraid of the dark? It was not so much the dark for me as it was something jumping out of the darkness and creeping me out. After turning off the bedroom light I would make a mad dash and leap into my bed so that whatever was under the bed wouldn’t get to my feet. I was 15 at this time.
Ellie is afraid of the sound of the toilet flushing. She covers the sensor with toilet paper to keep it from flushing while she is on the toilet.
While we all have that funny childhood fear, fear can be truly gripping too. Fear can leave us paralyzed and unable to make decisions or truly live out God’s call on our life. Fear can make us want to run away.
So, what do we do when we are faced with fear?
Do Not Run!
When I had to drive on the highway for the first time the other day alone I didn’t drive down the highway saying “I Am not afraid” over and over. That would have been a lie. I was so afraid. But even in my fear I did not pull the car over and refuse to take my child to the hospital because the highway was scary. I prayed and asked God to give me the strength and courage to continue on down the highway. I pressed on even in my fear. I did not run away from the fear. I showed my fear of who is boss and then I rewarded myself with Taco Bell.
Don’t allow fear to leave you paralyzed or send you back from all that you have come from.
Do it Afraid!
I drove on the highway afraid. Some of you might have to go after that job, afraid. End that relationship afraid. Trust God in His call, afraid. Face the past afraid. Show up to marriage counseling afraid. If God is calling you to it, show up and walk through it afraid.
Don’t allow fear to stop you.
We came to Illinois afraid. We are incredibly thankful that we submitted to God even with fear in our face.
I don’t believe God is telling us that we cannot be believers if we struggle with fear. We are human. Fear will come against us in our lifetime but we can still press on in all the things God has for us while afraid.
Break up with fear
Joyce Myers wrote her own Break up with fear letter. I love it so much I want to share it with you.
You can find this letter in her book, Living Courageously, which is so on Amazon.
After reading Joyce’s FEAR NOT break up letter I was encouraged to write my own and I pray you will as well.
I want to also encourage you to make a list of all the ways that God has always come through for you. If we will begin reflecting on God’s goodness in our life we will have no reason to allow fear to hold us back.
There are four characters in the Bible who dealt with fear and overcame:
Moses: The courage to face the past.
David: The courage to face impossible situations.
Esther: The courage to take a big risk.
Daniel: The courage to not give in.
Will we be courageous too? Will we allow fear to stop us or will we show our fear who has control and press on into all God has for our life?
As I’ve been preparing to speak at this mornings women breakfast I’ve mentally struggled with the fear “I don’t know enough!” I know I need to dig deeper in His word to deepen my understanding and faith. I envy speakers who are able to tell Bible story after Bible story in very specific detail. That is not my strong point. I want it to be. I know it can if I study deeper. This week I have thought more then once that God is asking me to speak just to watch me fail so that I will start studying His word more! How silly of a thought is that? God is not allowing me to speak for an opportunity to punish me. He wants to use me and grow me. Yes! I do need to study His word deeper but today God is going to use the little I do know to encourage the women in our church. His plan is always to prosper and not harm us. (Jeremiah 29:11) I dont know what lie the enemy is telling you but choose to believe Gods word over the lies from the enemy. Today I’m going to allow God to use me and grow from this experience.
If you are not yet signed up for today’s Women’s Breakfast, please show up. We want you to be a part. ❤️
I love science experiments and using them to teach. Any fellow visual learners out there? Last week at WBS I used water, a cup and index card to illustrate trust in God. We filled a cup with water and held an index card over the top. After pressing down on the index card for a few minutes we flipped the cup over and removed our hand from the index card. Guess what? The water remained in the cup.
It is the air pressure pressing upwards (stronger than gravity pressing downwards) that held the water in the cup. We can’t see the air pressure but we know it must be working or the water would drop out. We can’t see God but we know that he is there holding us up and supporting us too.
Week three women’s bible study is tonight and I hope that you will join us. ❤️🎉