October 23, 2016

Encourage Others and Be Encouraged

I became a believer 12 years ago, on October 9, 2004. When I began searching for God I was beaten down, bruised, battered, and had no clue on how to go about this whole God thing, but I knew I had to try. I was in a shelter for battered women and I had a christian counselor. She was my first dose of encouragement. I sat across from her, and I told her that I was "damaged goods." I told her that God could never love someone like me. I had done too much wrong, and I wasn't even capable of loving myself at the moment. She knelt down in front of me and she laid her hands on my knees. She told me to look her in the eye, and to not look away until she was finished talking to me. Do you know how hard that was? But I did it. I listened as she spoke the kindest, softest, most loving words to me. She told me that I was beautiful, that I was worthy, and that I was never allowed to call myself "damaged goods" again. She also told me that I had a Father in heaven who was just waiting for me to let Him love me. I haven't seen Kelly in 12 years, but I still think of her often, and I thank God for placing her in my path. I thank Kelly for placing me on the path to allowing God to turn my ashes into beauty. This lady was a daily part of my life for 6 short weeks, but she touched my life in ways that no one else ever had at that time in my life. God knew I needed her. It was all in His plan.



When I left that shelter I moved in with my brother who was a Christian, and I was so hungry for God. I had no friends who were believers, so I was leaning on my brother for guidance. I went to his church, but felt so awkward and out of place. A few weeks later, I met the man who is now my husband. My husband was a friend of my brother's and he invited me to his church. I decided to go with him, and this is still my church today. When I walked through the doors, I was immediately intimidated. This church was huge to me, and so many people! My first thought was to turn around and walk back out! But I stayed. I was approached by a couple of women who introduced themselves, and warmly welcomed me. They invited us to their Sunday school class the following week. These women continued to come beside me week after week, and each week seemed like someone new would show up to encourage me with them. I didn't know how to react to them, but I had never known the Love of Jesus, and that was what they were showing me. They were so kind, so loving, so full of happiness, so encouraging, and I wanted what they had! It didn't take long for me to let my guard down, and let them love me. It felt amazing! 



It has been just over 12 years since I walked the path that led me through those doors for the first time. These people have continued to love me with the love of Jesus. These people walked with me through some of the hardest and darkest moments of my life. These people refused to let me go! These people love me still, and I love these people with all my heart! I am so grateful that I walked the path that led me through the doors of Maiden Lane Church of God, because most of all, this path led me to the foot of the cross, and to the freedom I found through accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior!



Since that time, I have gained so many amazing friends! I have been able to greet women at those doors of the church who walk in scared and lonely, just like I once did. I have been able to make a difference in the lives of some of the ladies that I have greeted at the church door, and that feeling is just so awesome! To see them come from a dark, lonely place, and grow into a beautiful daughter of God, makes my heart so happy. All it takes is some love, some encouragement, and the willingness to make a difference in someones life. I have also become friends with so many women in this online community! I am so grateful for these ladies who have welcomed me with open arms. There are times that I go to some of these ladies before I go to my own family. Even though I have never met them face to face, they are my sisters in Christ, and they have been there for me through tough times. They have loved me and encouraged me, and they have allowed me to give that same love and encouragement back to them.

In today's world, there is so much darkness, violence, and hate. We need to stick together and be the light God called us to be! We need to love and encourage women each and every chance we get. When we see the lady in line at Wal-Mart who seems so stressed out, and looks so tired, try giving her a friendly smile, or just say hi to her. When we see the girl sitting alone at the back of the church, offer to sit with her, or introduce her to someone her own age. When we see that poor little lady struggling in the parking lot with her cart and her cane, take the time to stop and offer a hand. Give her a gentle hug. You never know what small little gesture might just spark in someone's life. Take the time to notice people. Take the time to encourage, love, be a blessing, and just spread the love of Jesus!




July 24, 2016

Come With Me Bible Study

I am thrilled to be sharing on Suzie's blog today! You can find it here! http://wp.me/p4jbdw-3jf


I am so excited to be co-leading a group of women with my partner Beth Almeida, in an amazing Bible Study called Come With Me, written by Suzie Eller.


I was privileged and honored to be a member of the launch team for Come With Me. I knew from the moment I opened this book, that I was in for something great! Suzie has such a way of making you feel like she is sitting right across from you, talking like she is your best friend. So you can imagine my excitement when Suzie announced there would be a Bible Study this Summer, and she was asking for volunteers to lead small groups on Facebook.

When I read this book, it made me realize that in order to grow closer to Jesus, I needed to be willing to answer His call, and Follow Him. I must be willing to step out in my faith, and step into His lead. I must be willing to learn how to love people who are hard to love, and to whisper Yes where No wants to take root. Wherever He leads, whatever the price, I will say Yes!

Suzie takes us on a journey through the Gospels as the 13th disciple. It was so easy for me to get lost, and to sit back, read the words in the book, read the scripture, and imagine myself just following Jesus! I had never thought of the Gospels in this perspective. But in placing yourself right there, being willing as they were, laying down their nets, walking away from their loved ones, walking away from everything, and walking into uncertainty could be hard, not to mention very scary. But when we have the One who overcame the world as our Savior leading us, I most definitely, 100%, say YES!!!!!

As Suzie says, "Imagine that your yes moves you from faith as usual to faith that changes every aspect of who you are, including how you live, the choices you make, how you think, and even how you approach life. Imagine a faith that spills out into your relationships and impacts the world, especially those within your reach." That, my friends, is the kind of faith I want, and that is the kind of faith we all can have just by saying YES! Imagine how much of an impact we could make on our own people who don't know Him, on the people in our own home towns, our States, and even on the world.


People truly are watching our lives and asking if Jesus is worth following. Let's all rally together, and show them that YES, He is worth it! Let's show them by our actions, our re-actions, our service, our love, and by applying His word in our daily lives, He is the only way! Let's show them that by following Him they can have a beautiful life filled with hope, peace, joy, love, mercy, grace, and so much more!

Friends, I promise you, this book is amazing and will truly bless you. At the end of each chapter you will find, reflection questions, "Taking It Deeper," Scripture, Prayer, and application steps for "Living As A Disciple." You will also find so many inspirational quotes by beloved christian people. One of my favorite quotes in this book is:
"Faith sees the invisible, believes the unbelievable, and receives the impossible. - Corrie ten Boom There are also so many encouraging and sweet sayings by Suzie herself. My book is filled with highlights and notes. 

This is more than a book, this is more than a Bible Study, this is a movement! #COMEWITHME!

You can purchase your own copy of Come With Me at Amazon by clicking here:

You can purchase your own copy from Barnes and Noble by clicking here:

You can purchase your own copy from Suzie's website by clicking here:

 

Please join us! Jesus is calling, will you join us in this amazing 6 week study? Just say YES! 
For more information and to sign up click here to visit Suzie's website! While you're there, you can download free resources such as a free study journal, book of prayers, and the first chapter of Come With Me.
Beth and I would love to have you in our group! You can request to join our Facebook group by clicking here!

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fisherman. "Come, follow me," Jesus said, "and I will send you out to fish for people." At once they left their nets and followed him. 
Matthew 4:18-20



July 3, 2016

Protect

I am so glad that we have a God who loves us and protects us. I remember a time when I had no clue of His love. I didn't know Him. I didn't know that He was pursuing me, and how many times He protected me from danger. How scary is that in today's world? In this world today we hear of so much evil, so much darkness, so much hate, so much violence! It is scary, but it is how our world is today. I can't imagine living out there in the world, and not knowing God. I can't imagine not knowing that I have a place in eternity when the time comes. I can't imagine not knowing to go to God for help, comfort, peace, forgiveness, grace, love, mercy, protection, and every other need imaginable. 

I am a property manager, and I have been in a couple of intimidating situations recently with some tenants who are what you might call "less than desirable." When they moved into the apartment several months ago, they passed my vetting process, they had excellent references, they had jobs, they were polite and respectful. They seemed like 2 great young men who just needed someone to give them a chance. Last month I seen the truth. They quit paying rent, and became very hateful towards me. I had to go put a 30 day notice on their door last week, and when I walked into the common area, I seen burn marks on the ceiling and all the way up the stairway. I took pictures, and I went straight to the Police and Fire Department. To make a long story short, the police obtained a search warrant for the entire apartment building, and when they arrived to question these young men they were hiding in the downstairs neighbors apartment in the shower. They both were arrested for obstructing justice, but released within a few days. Now I have to deal with them for another couple of weeks. Come to find out, one of them is being indicted on kidnapping charges. He held another man captive in the apartment and beat him up.

This is small town America friends, and I am in the midst of what I consider dangerous people. Here's the thing, I admit that once I saw the burn marks and still had to climb 2 stories of stairs to put an eviction notice on the door, I was scared! I wasn't sure what I was up against. But here's the other thing, on my way up the stairs, I asked God to protect me, and I felt immediate peace. I knew I would be safe right then. I knew that my Protector was with me. I knew that my help comes from the Lord!


Isn't it so awesome to know that we are never alone, and God is always with us? He is our protector! He is our strength! As we look to Him to pull us out of the mess we have gotten ourselves into, we find comfort, strength, grace, and a loving Father who will guide us and protect us! No! Matter! What! 


Though an army besiege me, my heart will not fear; though war break out against me, even then I will be confident.
One thing I ask from the LORD, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. 
For in the day of trouble he will keep me safe in his dwelling; he will hide me in the shelter of his sacred tent and set me high upon a rock. Psalm 27: 3-5

I am joining Kate Motaung at Five Minute Friday where we write for 5 minutes on the prompt of the week. 
This weeks prompt is: