Counting Every Penny!

Counting Every Penny!

It’s pouring but we are soaring! 😂😂😂

As a child our family was always in great need and always on the receiving end financially. We were able to give in other ways but not financially. I grew up believing there would be a day when I could also give financially. Most of my adult life I have had that honor to use what God had blessed our little family with to love and help others in need. We have always had more than enough and finances were never an issue. Even if it wasn’t much, I learned I could always give something. Currently, we are in a season of counting every penny and selling everything!!! 😂😂😂 This season feels very different than how I felt when I was a kid. As a child having financial issues was scary and made me feel like I was less than or that something was wrong with me. Being older and more experienced I know how truly blessed we still are even when finances are extremely tight at the moment. Most everyone will go through a season of financial difficulty so we want to be open about it. It doesn’t make you bad or less than. It shouldn’t cause you shame. You should believe that moments of financial strain have the opportunity to grow your trust in God even more. In fact all difficult seasons have this opportunity. It’s not scary and I know this season is just that a season. Seasons come and go and we have the opportunity to learn and be joyful in the season we are in.

Our family has been in a transitioning season for a few months now. We were recently discussing our finances because at this moment every penny is being taken into consideration so we decided that we should contact the bank and ask for an extension on our car loan until the new year while Jessie gets acclimated to subbing at our local high-school. We have always paid on time and have often paid more then what was due.

We didn’t foresee it being an issue. Before we could even call the bank to talk about this the title to Jessie’s car came in the mail. He was confused because this only happens when you have finished paying the car off. Jessie looked online and it showed that as of a few days ago the remainder of our car loan had been paid in full. Someone has completely paid off our car which opens our budget by 300 each month. I am in awe of God and his faithfulness and how faithful His people are to be His hands and feet. God doesn’t owe us anything. He already did enough on the cross and yet in difficult moments He continues to show Himself faithful.

I didn’t realize how badly I needed the reminder that God always shows up.

While this was a huge financial burden lifted for our family it was an even bigger encouragement to keep trusting God and to keep giving even when it’s not in a financial way. We all have something to give; finances, time, kind words, talent and much more. While you might not be financially blessed in every season you are still blessed in an area that another is lacking. There is always someone out there in need. Find a need and be the hands and feet of Jesus. ❤️ In whatever way you are counting every penny, know that God can see your need and heaven is overflowing with pennies (blessings) to send down. Just wait with expectation and see what He can do!

Luke 6:28: “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

To the individual/s who anonymously paid the rest of our car loan off, thank you so much. You are a blessing and that blessing goes beyond financial.

Celebrate

We did Jays family cake for his birthday today. With Ellie having school yesterday and our evening packed we opted to wait a day. This morning jay shook the cake in the cake box. That did a little damage. Then right before we were going to sing and cut the cake Ellie moved the cake causing it to fall off the table and hit the floor. What did we do? We scooped the cake up off the floor, threw the part away that touched the floor and we sang happy birthday and ate the cake. The truth is, life isn’t always pretty. Sometimes life is falling apart around us but we will always have reason to still celebrate. ❤️🎉 Life Lesson : When your world is crumbling find a reason to stop and celebrate.

Jay is Two

Today we celebrate you because today you are two. It feels like yesterday I was laughing hysterically in between contractions while being rushed through the doors of the hospital and down the halls as you were fighting to be born. You had no plans of waiting any longer. You were born so incredibly fast and I was not ready for the overwhelming abundance of postpartum depression. I desperately wish I could go back and redo our first year together. I struggled emotionally so much and I know you felt it in your body and heart. ❤️

However, this past year has been the best year of our life together and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. God has been so good in helping us bond and become so close. You are funny, goofy, wild, a ball of energy, and so loved by so many. You have quite the personality and I love when you play peekaboo, look at books intently, growl like a Lion at everyone who says hi in the store and wrestle your daddy! Thanks for all your kisses and cuddles. I know it won’t be long until we hear “I love you”. You love your big sister so much. You follow her everywhere and try your hardest to annoy her. You are so good at that. Jay, I can’t imagine life without you! How did we exist before you burst into our lives? “Jesus Loves Me” is your favorite song and you are so cute singing it. Never forget how loved you are by Jesus. There will be so many disappointing moments in life but Jesus will never disappoint and His love for you will never stop. Your the best little boy in my world. You are exactly the little boy Jesus knew I needed. The world would not be the same without you. I love you. Happy 2nd birthday.

You are my reminder that life can be really hard and look not so positive and God in His perfect time will change it all and restore what was loss or broken.

Fear Not

Jesus Himself tells us to FEAR NOT.

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.”

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.

Jesus is not telling us not to feel fear but He’s telling us that when we are faced with fear not to run away. Is there a circumstance that is causing fear to form in your heart and mind? Are you starting to make your exit plan? Stop! Don’t run away but run to God. He will give you the courage and strength you need to press on.

Fear Not

Jesus Himself tells us to FEAR NOT.

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.”

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.

Jesus is not telling us not to feel fear but He’s telling us that when we are faced with fear not to run away. Is there a circumstance that is causing fear to form in your heart and mind? Are you starting to make your exit plan? Stop! Don’t run away but run to God. He will give you the courage and strength you need to press on.

Broken

Do you feel broken? Have you been hurt in a way you could have never imagined? Maybe you lost someone you truly cared for, experienced deceitfulness from a person who called themselves a friend , made a mistake you feel you can’t be forgiven for, distress at work, a significant life change, parenting struggles or health issues? There are so many circumstances that leave us broken and lost.
Whatever the circumstance might be, Jesus is walking with you through your deepest sorrows. You are not alone. Jesus reminds us that we will be ok even when our circumstances say differently. Today, allow yourself to be rescued by Him. Allow Jesus to mend the shattered pieces of your heart. Trust Him to heal you from whatever hurt that has consumed your heart and mind. Rest in Him and wait
For your heart and mind to be restored in Him. ❤️

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed.” Psalms 34:18 NLT

Come as you are

Come As You Are

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

My family is in love with dressing up for Halloween. Okay! I’ll tell the truth. I’m in love with dressing up for Halloween. Most Halloween’s involve more then one costume and the fun starts the first day of October.
The day after Halloween I am already dreaming about the following years costume. It’s fun to get to pretend to be someone else for a time. It’s exciting to see who everyone chooses to dress like. Its interesting to see what each family decides to be. It’s all around my kind of fun.

While getting this years costumes together I had a thought. We don’t have to dress up for God. We don’t have to pretend to be someone we are not. We don’t have to have it all together before we can run to Him. God loves you so much and He wants to help you right where you are.

I was a junior in high school. I ran to the altar after a heart changing sermon with tears flooding my face and my heart a mess. I held my wrist out to my pastor showing him the fresh marks and old scars. I stood there weak from starving my body out of fear of gaining weight. I had no idea how to stop all the self destruction. I had no idea how it all began. I was so spiritualy tired knowing I was going down the wrong path. I was emotionally and mentally a wreck. I wanted to disappear! I wanted to die! I didn’t know what to do other than ask God to fix the mess I had created. When I left church that day I do believe my whole life took another turn. A better turn! No! I wasn’t completely better. I still for a time struggled with self harm and anorexia. I struggled finding Gods purpose for me! I still struggle daily to keep this part of my life behind me. However, there was something about running to God that pointed me in His direction. Me simply acknowledging that I needed Him changed my direction in life entirely. Choosing Him pointed me toward the help I needed. My point is that I went to God that Sunday morning a mess and He loved me in all my brokenness. He didn’t tell me to fix my problems before coming back but he walked with me through those challenging moments. More importantly he loved me enough to help me through all the pain that was causing this self destruction. Can I just tell you this, when I found His love, His forgiveness and His purpose for my life I have never been the same.

There are still moments everyday that I have to run to God as I am and pray the following verse over myself!

“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.” Psalms 51:10

There is so much more He wants to break and mold in me and YOU! I encourage you to write this verse down and memorize it. Pray it over yourself daily. Yes! It’s ok to pray for yourself (another devotional for another time).

I get that I tend to be very transparent in my writing. It’s possible it makes some uncomfortable. The truth is it’s real. If I can share parts of my story that are not proud moments. Moments that really hurt but moments that shaped me. If I can share these moments to relate with my readers then I will. I truly believe that writing is part of Gods purpose for me and sharing it is another part of His purpose.

There are some of you who are completely a mess. Maybe not the same mess I was in but you are in a mess. There are some of you who are in more of a mess than I could ever even begin to imagine. Some of you are in a mess that you didn’t even create for yourself. Some of You see no way out. You feel completely wrecked and powerless. You don’t know what to do. Maybe you want to give up like I once did. Don’t! Hold on! (BTW you have to listen to the song “Hold On” By TobyMac) Regardless of the size of your mess just breathe!!! It’s ok. God loves you. Don’t think for a second that He wants you to clean your mess up alone. While he doesn’t want you to stay the same He does want to wrap his arms around you and hold you through the pain. He wants to help you out of the mess. Will you let Him?

As October kicks off and all the fun of the season starts remember that God wants you to come to His door as you are so that He can mold you into all that He has created you to be.

Tragedy Redefined!

Redefined Tragedy!

My mind is free.  This storm will pass. I feel at peace where I am at. 

I pray the storm will stay away. Oh lord! Quiet my soul. 

Faith says we can win this race. I imagine the day we are complete and whole. 

Victory? Can you sense it like me? The day we overcome? Do you see it close?

Freedom! There will be freedom to hold! 

When emptiness is what we feel it is your spirit that comforts. 

Our wounds will soon heal and Your glory will be revealed. 

There is beauty for tomorrow and purpose in your plan. There is hope in every sorrow. 

The broken pieces of our heart are held in the palm of Your hands. 

Our hearts will be transformed. Our lives are defined by you. 

This tragedy has been redefined by your love. It’s all because of you!!!  

I wrote this poem after my stepdad passed away. It popped up on my feed and resignated

deeply again but for an entirely different purpose. I love how Jesus can use a past encouragement for a present moment. I pray it encourages you.

Seasons

The seasons in Illinois literally change over night. It can be sunny and miserably hot one day and the next morning you wake up to the chilly weather. You suddenly go from wearing shirts and sunscreen to hats and jackets. You are no longer in summer but you are now in fall.

The seasons of our life are quite the same. You can be going through a really good season and suddenly you wake up to disaster. However, the disastrous season can quickly change for the better too.

If you feel that the difficult season you are in will never change, remember that with just a few days and degrees difference you can be standing in a whole new season.

No matter the season…

1. God is with you. (Isaiah 41:10)

2. There is hope in Him. (John 16:33)

3. He is working behind the scenes for you. (Habakkuk 2:3)

Keep your head up. Trust Him. He will bring you though this season!

Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.”

A Gift

Talking with a friend the other day and she wanted to know where I get my writing prompts for my inspirational or encouraging post. Do I search for ideas online? Do I take a poll of what readers want to read? Do I just use generic prompts? Word jars? A memory that I want to share? Am I constantly daydreaming what I will write next? (That last one is 100% accurate.) 😂

Sure, I do some of those things but if I’m being sincerely honest I don’t do anything other then watch for the good in my life and remember who made it possible. I KNOW that I KNOW that He is the reason for every good part of my life and He is working in every difficult moment. I have no doubt. Oddly enough, I often wake in the early morning with a thought or understanding from God and I go with it. I pull out my phone and I start typing it all in. I look up relatable scripture and I dig in. Everything He says I write it down. My writing comes straight from what God is doing in my everyday life and what He is teaching me. It comes from my joy filled days and my pain filled days because He is in every moment of everyday. All that I am, all that I do, all that I have and all that I write comes from Him. I’ve been told my writing is a gift. This is true. It’s a gift sent from Him.

“Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow.” James 1-17 NLT