January 20, 2016

In His Perfect Timing

God puts people in our path that He desires us to be in touch with. His timing is perfect! He knows who we need, or who needs us at each second of every day. I had an extraordinary thing happen today that shows His perfect timing.

I am a member of a group on Facebook, where ladies join together for support, encouragement, prayer, and to study God's Word, it is a community of Wisdom and Purpose. I have not been real active in this group, and ashamedly admit that I do not always read the notifications that are posted the way I should, or the way I will after what happened today. Today, for some reason, (God's reason) that changed. I had a notification that someone posted in the group. I clicked on it, and saw a request for Corporate Prayer.  

Corporate prayer is the term used to describe praying together with other people—in small groups or in larger bodies of people. It is an important part of the church and in Acts 2:42, we learn that the early church prayed together: “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”  

The request was for someones son who is suffering from something that is very near and dear to my heart. She requested prayer for something that is a part of my past, as well as my present. I am dealing with it with some of my own family members right now. It is a topic that I am familiar with, educated in, able to give advice, support, and definitely willing and able to pray about.  I had never communicated to her before today. I had never even heard of her before today. I "liked" the request, and commented that I would definitely be praying, and how near and dear to me this subject is. She responded and asked me if I had this issue in my own family. I sent her a friend request along with a private message explaining my circumstances to her. We chatted back and forth for awhile, and I know now that God made this happen! Nothing happens by mistake or coincidence, everything happens for a reason, God's reason!

It has been my hearts desire to reach out and help others who are experiencing what I once did, and what some of my closest family members are still experiencing. I have been set free, but only through God's Amazing Grace! He carried me through some of my darkest days, and out of some pretty intense situations. He wanted me to be free from the guilt I harbored for several years, and to turn it all over to Him. He has taken my past and turned it into His purpose! I was able to realize this and surrender it all to Him last summer when I done the Bible Study with Tracie Miles, Your Life Still Counts.  Today, I can give Him all the glory! Today, I Thank Him for putting this woman and her son into my path. Tomorrow, January 21, 2016 at 3:00 pm Eastern time, 2:00 pm Central time, 12:00 pm Pacific time, and 1:00 pm Mountain time, would you please join us in praying for this young man? I am not at liberty to give his name or his request, but God knows, so please take a moment and lift him up. 

"Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them." -Matthew 18:19-20- NIV

January 17, 2016

My Community

My first online Bible Study was in January of last year. I was scrolling through Facebook and Proverbs 31 posted about signups for a book and Bible Study called Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman. The title alone caught my attention, because sometimes, I do need to Keep It Shut! I would be so much better off to not say anything at all, than to pounce before I ponder. At this same time, my spiritual life was what you might call lacking something. I live 45 minutes away from my church, and they typically have their Women’s Bible Studies on Thursday morning at 9:00 am. I work full time, so therefore it is almost impossible for me to make it to Bible Study. So I battled with myself back and forth, back and forth, I kept asking myself if I really wanted to spend that much money on a book that I would probably never even finish, let alone have time to do Bible Study. The thought would not leave me, every day for about 5 days I kept seeing posts about it, and kept arguing with myself. Then I saw where you could even join a small group on Facebook. That sparked my interest a little bit more. Finally I decided to order the book and sign up for the study. Once I was signed up, I received an email telling me which Facebook group I was assigned to, and to expect a message from the group leader within 5 days of the start date of the study. 

A few days later I did receive that message. The lady who sent the message, Diana Rockwell, was so kind and welcomed me with open arms to the group. She seemed like she truly cared about me, and I didn’t even know her. I was thrilled to have been contacted by someone so caring. I was still having doubts about this whole thing, and I kept thinking I would not be able to keep up with the study, that I would just slack, and probably not get involved or be noticed. (I know now that was the enemy trying to fill me with his lies.) Finally the day came and they study started. I received the first email and video, and I was amazed at the time and effort these women put into these blog posts and videos. They seemed so caring, happy, and joyful to be doing this study. My group leader was so encouraging, and wanted us to jump in on conversations. Before I knew it, I had made so many friends just in this small group. Within just a couple of weeks, I had grown to care deeply about several of these women, and it seemed like I had known them forever, like they were my BFF’s! :) I have remained in each Proverbs 31 study since January, as well as a couple of studies with Tracie Miles. Tracie's 2 books, Your Life Still Counts and Stressed-Less Living, have totally changed my life. Tracie is an amazing author, and so approachable, she genuinely cares. Her actions back up her words, she is an amazing woman of God, that I am just so thankful for. She may never know it, but through her kindness, and a few words of wisdom through an email I received from her, along with a special gift in the mail, she gave me the strength and courage to face my fears of public speaking, or just being able to talk about myself and my past, and to share what God has done in my life. 

I have found true friends in the community that I never could have imagined possible. I have witnessed the Love of Jesus through this online community, and I Thank God for giving me the persistent thoughts and the strength to not listen to the enemy and his lies. 

I love these women like they are my family! I have sent and received gifts and cards with some of them, and the outpouring of love is just unimaginable for someone to comprehend if they have never been involved in these studies. These are real people with real lives and real problems, real hurts, real brokenness. Some of these ladies have experienced the same past as I have, and are healing, and learning how to receive God’s Grace. Some of them have been Christians their whole lives, and some of them are brand new Christians. In this community, it doesn’t matter which side of the tracks you came from, what you have done, or whatever, these ladies just Love Jesus, and want to spread and share that love as much as possible!
As time goes on, I continue to meet women in this on-line community who genuinely want to love and encourage one another. I have grown closer to some of these women than I am to some of my own family members, but in reality, I have never met them face to face. Each one of them have touched me in a different way, and have been beautiful blessings!  God never ceases to amaze me with His goodness! He knows who we need in the exact moment, to inspire, encourage, pray, or whatever it may be. He will use perfect strangers, and fill our hearts with love, compassion and joy!

So I Thank Proverbs 31, Tracie Miles, and my group leader, Diana Rockwell for giving me encouragement, love, guidance, and for truly changing my life! But most of all, I thank my Lord and Savior for His never ending love, mercy, and grace! <3

January 15, 2016

He Is His Fathers Son

 He is his fathers son! He is my husband, and he is unique, and maybe a little bit quirky, but yet he is so much like his dad! I never realized this until very recently. He keeps me laughing, and really there is never a dull moment with him. As the saying goes, the older he gets, the more he acts like his dad. He is full of life, and it is hard to get a straight answer from him at times. He is his fathers son! I remember when we first started dating and he invited me to dinner with his parents. He for-warned me about his dad. I believe his words were, "my dad might give you a hard time, he can never give a straight answer, and he is full of jokes. So please don't take anything he might say the wrong way." We arrived at the restaurant, introductions were made, and these two elderly people seemed to me like the sweetest, most down to earth people that I could ever meet. And they were! But..... about 10 minutes into waiting on our food to be served, my husbands dad pulled an ink pen out of his pocket along with a dollar bill. He handed me the ink pen and asked me to sign my name on the dollar bill. Weird, right? Well, I took the pen and the dollar bill, went to sign my name, and, bzzzzzzzzzzzz! Electrocuted by the ink pen! Yep, right there in the middle of a packed restaurant, I was receiving electric currents in my fingertips through an ink pen. I think my husband wanted to crawl under the table. But I seriously thought it was hilarious! I can take a joke. (And a nice amount of voltage to the hand.) From that moment on, I knew I liked this man, and of course I adored his beautiful, sweet little wife.

You see, these two people made me feel so welcome right away. They never judged, assumed, or meddled, they just knew how to love and accept. And of course, have a good time. They were Christians, and when I began dating my husband, I admittedly was not. I didn't know how to receive this kind of love, the love of Jesus that was in their hearts! (Thank You Jesus for bringing me to this man and his parents!)

A few years after we got married, my mother in law was stricken with Alzheimer's Disease, and she progressed quickly. A couple of years later, my father in law became incapable of taking care of himself, due to severe diabetes and kidney failure. They were both in the same nursing home, and received great care. Both of my in laws passed away last year, just 6 months apart. I miss them dearly, but we have the blessed assurance of knowing that they are at peace in the arms of Jesus!

So today when my husband gives me one of his quirky, off the wall answers, and I look at him and ask myself, where in the world did that answer come from, I just smile and tell myself, he is his fathers son! And I Thank God for bringing me into this family!