Quenching Thirst

Hey there!! I realize my posts have been few and far between this year but right now I have time to write, along with a message of encouragement so I’m gonna take advantage of it!!

In our neck of the woods I am surprised camels haven’t shown up with the drought we’re experiencing! The heat from the sun has poured down heavily and meanwhile rain has been almost nonexistent. Crops, cows, and farmers would quickly attest to that!!

My own front yard which consists of what is typically hardy buffalo grass has even felt the sting of a dry, sweltering summer.

Buffalo grass usually looks after itself and can withstand warm temperatures with little watering required and still maintain a nice, healthy, pale green color. My husband and I noticed recently, however, that even our once strong grass was now fading to golden hues, with curled edges and in some areas there was nothing but large patches of dirt where grass once grew.

We needed to quickly improvise if we were gonna keep up on curb appeal with our yard. A trip to Ace ensued where we purchased a standing, rotation sprinkler and once we were home we set it up and turned it on immediately! No joke within one watering session there was a dramatically, noticeable difference. That ground along with its sprigs of grass was thirsty. Very thirsty. And it soaked up that longing for water while almost simultaneously producing fresh, green nourished results in return.

What a spiritual lesson in the midst…

As Christians we experience seasons of what feels like our own personal or internal drought. Jobs, relationships, health…they don’t always measure up to our expectations and therefore can leave us feeling depleted or dehydrated. At times, rather than reaching for Jesus (the only way we can quench our desperate position) we instead stay dormant much like my buffalo grass.

To overcome, action must take place!! My buffalo grass wouldn’t get better on its own without intervention. The same is true for us…

Bibles:

We must reach for our Bibles. Open them and immerse ourselves in God’s word and believe His truths for our good and His glory.

Prayer:

Just like the sprinkler in my yard is hooked up to its life source to replenish our buffalo grass…we have the greatest life source of all, Jesus has sent the Holy Spirit to dwell within us—to guide, remind, comfort and direct—and to connect us with the Father as we communicate our prayers and praises.

Music:

We have the blessing of music and the ability to saturate our heart, soul, and ears with rich, meaningful worship of our Savior—filling us with amazing, satisfying hope. Let’s tune in!

Fellowship:

We surround ourselves around likeminded Christians…none of that lukewarm stuff, that’s where the weeds have a chance to overtake…we need the fellowship of true, authentic Christ followers to spur us along for encouragement and growth in our faith!

Everyday we should thirst for Jesus’ overflowing goodness.

We are most certainly capable of staying spiritually hydrated when we make a conscious effort to keep inventory of our current condition and then follow up with action that draws hope from Jesus, the source of Living Water!! (Read John ch.4)

Soak Him up sweet friends!! Blessings this weekend!!

❤️❤️❤️

22 ‘God-Is-For-Me’ Affirmations (backed by scripture)

I’m gonna waste no time and get straight to raw transparency here…I’ve been in a season of life that feels like perpetual nagging in my heart and mind—downward spiraling thoughts of inadequacy, brokenness, and just flat-out self-depreciation. And it’s been tough, so tough.

I’d love to blame Covid, from a week of being cooped up in my room, away from family over the Thanksgiving break, allowing my thoughts to trail…but I’m certain the overwhelming distress would’ve caught up to me at some point regardless of Covid-isolation…Satan and a fallen world are the real culprits.

In this struggle, however, God has lead me to and blessed me with the kindest, most patient, sense-talking therapist one could ever imagine; and (as a result) even though I’m still surrounded by deep waters I can feel God’s strong presence keeping me afloat.

I’m probably 30 years past-due on counseling sessions so the content of discussion with my therapist is wide and harsh. I’m thankful for my husband and mom to debrief with afterwards.

The encouragement is sincere and passionate and for that I am grateful. Though the shoreline is a far distance off yet, my hope is fixed on an anchor of faith.

Friend, maybe you too are facing waves of difficulty in some way, but I pray you’d join me—embracing the calming, reassuring reminders of ‘God-for-us.’ I’ve compiled 22 affirmations of God’s faithfulness backed by scripture, with the intention that the solidity of these words would become more than just simple phrases and all about rich, heartfelt truth and comfort.

Read into them, pray through them, allow every single word to embody you…I’ll be doing the same.

GOD LOVES ME.

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son so that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life. —John 3:16

God showed His love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. —Romans 5:8

We love because God first loved us. —1 John 4:19

GOD HAS SAVED ME.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18

For anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. —Romans 10:13

GOD FREES ME FROM FEAR.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. —2 Timothy 1:7

For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, “do not fear; I will help you.” —Isaiah 41:13

GOD PROVIDES ME WITH SAFETY.

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. —John 16:33

The righteous person may have many troubles but the Lord delivers him from them all. —Psalm 34:19

The Lord will keep you from all harm—He will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. —Psalm 121:7-8

GOD HEALS ME.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds their wounds. —Psalm 147:3

GOD IS MY HELPER.

My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth. —Psalm 121:2

So we say with confidence, the Lord is my helper; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me? —Hebrews 13:6

GOD CARES ABOUT ME.

Give all your worries and your cares to God, for He cares about you. —1 Peter 5:7

GOD EQUIPS ME.

All scripture is God breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. —2 Timothy 3:16-17

GOD POINTS ME TO TRUST IN HIM.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight. —Proverbs 3:5-6

When I am afraid I put my trust in you. —Psalm 56:3

Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you. —Psalm 84:12

GOD DESIRES FOR ME TO REST IN HIM.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. —Matthew 11:28

Be still and know that I am God. —Psalm 46:10a

GOD STRENGTHENS ME.

For I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. —Philippians 4:13

Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power, put on the full armor of God so that you can take a stand against the devil’s scheme. —Ephesians 6:10-11

The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace. —Psalm 29:11

GOD COMFORTS ME.

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. —Psalm 23:4

GOD FILLS ME WITH JOY AND HOPE.

You make known to me the path of life, you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand. —Psalm 16:11

But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint. —Isaiah 40:31

“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.” —Jeremiah 29:11

GOD LEADS ME.

In their heart humans plan their course, but the Lord establishes their steps. —Proverbs 16:9

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. —Psalm 119:105

He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters. —Psalm 23:2

GOD IS WITH ME.

Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. —Joshua 1:9

The Lord replied, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” —Exodus 33:14

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. —Isaiah 41:10

GOD BLESSES ME.

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

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, whose hearts are set on pilgrimage. —Psalm 84:5

GOD FORGIVES AND REDEEMS ME.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. —1 John 1:9

As far as the east is from the west, so far does He remove our transgressions from us. —Psalm 103:12

In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us. —Ephesians 1:7-8a

GOD HAS MADE ME NEW.

Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. —2 Corinthians 5:17

I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. —Galatians 2:20

Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. —Isaiah 43:18-19

GOD GIVES ME PEACE.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. —Philippians 4:6-7

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. —Psalm 4:8

But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law. —Galatians 5:22-23

GOD HAS CHOSEN ME.

For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. Out of all the peoples on the face of the earth, the Lord has chosen you to be His treasured possession. —Deuteronomy 14:2

For He chose us in Him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. —Ephesians 1:4

GOD DIRECTS ME TO LOVE OTHERS.

Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. —1 John 4:7

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. —John 13:34

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus. —Philippians 2:5

GOD WANTS ME TO LOVE MYSELF.

I will give thanks to you because I have been so amazingly and miraculously made. Your works are miraculous, and my soul is fully aware of this. —Psalm 139:14

To acquire wisdom is to love oneself; people who cherish understanding will prosper. —Proverbs 19:8

For no one has ever hated his own body, but he nourishes and tenderly cares for it, as the Messiah does the church. —Ephesians 5:29

The Darkness Has Not Overcome the Light

I’m finally feeling back to myself again! Which is a good thing I hope!!

I had Covid over Thanksgiving and man I feel for anyone who battles Covid physically, but for myself it really messed with me mentally—and with my emotions as well.

It was the reality of being secluded from my family (in effort to keep them from getting sick) over a holiday that’s bent on togetherness—that’s what really got to me. And although I tried to stay focused and connected to God through reading His word, devotions, and prayer through it all, Satan managed to squeak his ridiculous way in to play mind-games with me.

I struggled with the realization that my kids are growing up so fast…I worried that I didn’t enjoy them enough as babies…I longed to hug each of them individually and apologize for my crazy mood swings over the years…I feared that I’ve messed them up for future parenting of their own one day…

Forget doctor’s orders to stay hydrated, instead I filled up on shame and regret, even digging up dirt on myself from pre-Christian years and settling on the messy memories I have of childhood trauma. My thoughts felt completely out of my control. A total downward spiral. It was absolutely miserable and ugly. I was devastated and I cried a lot. A lot!

Looking back I can only now see how silly this must seem but it truly felt smothering at the time.

When Satan has his way with our thoughts it can cause those valley-seasons to feel like we’re endlessly cratering. The sense of darkness can seem overwhelming and paralyzing.

BUT THERE’S HOPE WHEN WE REMEMBER JESUSwhen we fix our eyes upward—when we cling to God’s faithfulness and we fill that somber void with His peace—when we remember seasons are only just simply seasons, and new ones are fixing to surface.

Several times during my depressive state, I would literally, pronounce, “get behind me Satan.There is power in our words and putting Jesus in front of everything else makes a profound difference.

Recognizing the struggle and anguish I was experiencing, I focused on verses 4 & 5 from John 1, stating that the darkness has not overcome the light…

In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

Our tree is now up to celebrate the Christmas season, and goodness the golden-colored lights wrapped around it are such a reminder of the beautiful truth in those verses. It amazes me that such tiny little lights can put out such a bright illumination…at night they cut through the dark effortlessly with such a stark contrast.

What a wonderful portrayal of the very way Jesus operates…He longs to overflow our darkest days with the hope and energy of His light if we’ll allow ourselves that kind of power supply.

Maybe you can relate with me and sometimes experience what feels as if it’s a shortage every now and then but as we stay connected to the Light, the darkness will never, ever overcome…and that’s something worth brightening our outlook!

You Version pic

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’” —John 8:12

Taking Inventory On Our Habits

Well I’m pleased to say I’ve had a better week than the last two. Despite a mini water park voluntarily emerging in my basement yesterday, this week has still been good.

…We’ve been working on a house project and with that we had our washer and dryer permanently moved from upstairs to the basement to allow more space. After a week of working smoothly the sump pump (which is supposed to push water out of the basement) backed up and we ended up with water pooling up on the utility room floor and seeping into the hallway. It could’ve been much worse but thankfully my husband noticed it early, located the issue and it should be back in working order soon!

As our house remodel has been underway, I’ve been consistently reminded of the word “habit”.

First off the idea of moving the washer and dryer to the basement to begin with seemed ironic to me from a reasonable point of view because having them upstairs sounds pretty convenient right? When the washer and dryer are steps away from the dining room table you’d think a person could create an effective system out of that.

And I’m sure most people could.

Not me though.

I operate on distraction mode…usually…so often times when I’d make it a point to do the laundry (when it was upstairs) I’d be interrupted by something else and not great about sticking with my task of washing clothes.

I’d deeply formed a bad habit.

But I knew, like all routines, a new habit was possible once they were moved downstairs and I could train myself to do better. And up until yesterday’s messy surprise I had!! I actually look forward to doing laundry now that it’s in the basement. Weird.

Our remodel has brought a lot of changes and things have been temporarily put in new places. Two of those things are the dogs’ food and water dishes and our kitchen trash can.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve went to throw something away and been reminded that the trash can is no longer in the same spot.

And it’s been funny watching the dogs jet over to their “refueling station” only to do a quick u-turn remembering that their dishes have been relocated to my bedroom for the time being.

None of these mindless habits are such a big deal that I’ll lose sleep over them but it shows how easily routines stick, for better or worse.

We all fall into the patterns of habit—physical or mental habits. Good habits. And not so good habits.

Sometimes we become so comfortable in our ways that we can’t easily recognize when we’ve gotten in the rut of a bad habit.

We must intentionally take inventory noticing if those traits are healthy or not.

When it comes to bad habits Paul has some thoughts to share with us and some follow up advice. Let’s check out what he says in Romans chapter 7.

That’s a whole lotta “I’s” and “do’s” and “not’s” and “sin,” right?! But what Paul is saying is that he recognizes some bad habits have taken shape in his life and he wants to deal with them.

In verse 21b Paul sums up those verses above by saying this: “Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me.”

I so get this issue! Can anyone else relate with Paul and I?

So many things I get frustrated about with myself. In this type of ‘game’ I’m my own worst enemy at times. Forget the sidelines, I’m right there catching the negatives that Satan’s throwing.

This piece of scripture Paul writes is one of my favorites and I’ve made a GOOD HABIT of coming back to it time and time again because reminders are good and necessary.

Verses 24 and 25 are where the answer dominates the obstacle of a bad habit—whatever it might be: “What a wretched man am I! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!”

That right there is the solution—Jesus Christ brings us to the other side of our bad habits. He is our rescuefrom the negatives, from sin, from the bad habits we’ve fallen into Jesus will help us overcome.

Sweet friends whatever the struggle might be, we need to make a positive habit of going to Jesus again and again so we echo His example of healthy Christian living! He is our strength and hope, and following Him is a habit I never want to take for granted!!

Weekend blessings to you all!❤️

Raising Up the Next Generation

There’s an old family church camp about an hour from where we live. It meets just once a year (the last half of July) for ten days and people come and go as they please. Some stay the entire time, some a handful of days, and others just the day or evening.

My girls have enjoyed attending this camp over the past five or six summers. They’ll stay for a week at a time with either my mom or my best friend’s mom who help as children’s craft directors during that time.

Typically I take my girls to camp to drop off or I pick them up at the end of their adventure. I so look forward to these yearly visits, spending the late afternoon and evening taking in the comforting atmosphere of this camp.

Large cedar trees line the north perimeter of the flat buffalo grass campgrounds and at this time of year the surrounding cornfields are tall and green.

Some folks bring an RV and stay on the east side of camp while others rent out cabins on the northwest corner.

I love checking out what activities the kids have been up to and what they’ve been learning in their own little children’s chapel.

Teamwork

Located near the center of the property the old church bell clangs to bring everyone together—announcing wake-up times, service times, and meal times.

In the dining hall savory down-home meals are served three times a day. And sweet iced tea hits the spot on these hot summer days.

Teens washing dishes after supper

Everywhere you look everything is just filled with remarkable charm and an old soul feeling.

After a full belly in the evening hours church service follows. The camp chapel is this 1950s white, barn-style building filled with traditional wooden pews, large open beams and propped open windows. It’s a Jesus-loving, farmhouse-enthusiast gal’s dream.

Chapel in the background
Chapel, my little nephew

Gospel music is sung from old hymnal books during what’s called Harmony Hour and afterwards the featured camp speaker gives an evening service message.

Worship in the chapel

You guys the entire experience warms my heart. It’s such a tie to nostalgic pieces of history where life was slower paced and electronics weren’t all the hype and distraction of today’s world.

There are kids from toddler age to teen, and adults from early twenties to well seasoned. It’s a beautiful array of generations and seeing the older folks get so excited about the younger kids coming…well there just isn’t anything like it.

I took my girls to camp on Monday afternoon of this past week and I enjoyed all the sweet blessings and soaked in conversations with different age groups.

And I left camp that night with this feeling of communion (not the bread and wine type) but communion that serves in a way where a group of people are gathered and their thoughts share the same likeness—an intimacy pointing to Christ and His love.

When I read my Bible reading the next morning it came from Titus 2; I want to share those words with you (this was Paul encouraging and instructing Titus, a trusted and dependable companion to him).

TITUS 2:

Vs. 2 Teach the older men to be temperate, worthy of respect, self-controlled, and sound in faith, in love and in endurance.

Vs. 3-5 Likewise, teach the older women to be reverent in the way they live, not to be slanderers or addicted to much wine, but to teach what is good. Then they can urge the younger women to love their husbands and children, to be self-controlled and pure, to be busy at home, to be kind, and to be subject to their husbands, so that no one will malign the word of God.

Vs. 6 Similarly, encourage the young men to be self controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Those verses cause me to reflect on Imperial Valley Holiness Camp—the way they cater to all ages and you literally get to witness the young and old interacting, enjoying, and respecting each other. Those verses are being fulfilled through this camp as an older generation passes down their wisdom, knowledge, and love to a younger one.

You may not be able to visit this camp for yourself but the heart of it lies within the pages of God’s word.

I pray people would flip open their Bibles and read and see for themselves what a life of hope and beauty can be had, our dark world is in desperate need of truth bent on leading the next generations to Christ.

It’s time to rise up, Christians.

Overcoming the Lies of ‘Not Enough’

Insecurities are no fun, plain and simple, and unfortunately they can fester when least expected.

I’ve made progress in gaining confidence in a couple of “big to me” things over the past few years…

The two newest achievements:

1. I’ve graciously embraced my graying hair—determining it’s much easier to just go gray instead of maintain and apply color to my roots every three weeks to try and conceal grays. And I finally don’t mind how it looks.

2. I’ve reconciled with my height—the fact that I’m short and any hope of a growth spurt is decades past me. I’m now good with the idea that I won’t even make five foot with heels on because I’m clumsy, usually in a hurry, and quite frankly flats are much more comfortable! I’ve also learned to give grace to my oldest daughter who constantly rubs it in that she’s “reached” her goal and passed me up by a few inches!!

But after way too long of wearyingly tackling those self-made acceptance boosts, unsurprisingly Satan’s blind-sided maneuvers have discreetly slid in (almost like clockwork) with growing irritation in an unavoidable way.

I’m not sure how this came about but in more recent months I’ve now traded the above issues and instead began “picking” on my intellect. I’ve noticed that whether in a small group or large group setting, if the spot light is on me, I’ll give very brief descriptions or answers out of fear my words or stories don’t make sense otherwise.

This is a problem because it causes me to feel self-conscious. I begin feeding into lies like I’m not educated enough for this conversation. I don’t have enough knowledge to respond. My feedback isn’t going to be interesting enough…and as a result I shutdown.

Coming to grips with the idea of this new anxiety I realize I can’t allow it to continue.

I refuse to give Satan the satisfaction of messing with me.

I’ve had to dig to understand where this is rooting from and how to overcome…

I struggle with PTSD from my childhood and in those moments where I wrestle through flashbacks from those younger years it can be tough to not get stuck in the negative memory of it all. Because of my faith in Jesus I’m usually able to quickly identify when my mind is nearing a dark memory lane and I can cut to a happier path mentally.

In those instances I’m able to consider that my life is new because of Jesus. I’m not that old person anymore. I’m forgiven because of Him. None of the yuck from my childhood was what I asked for BUT God has been able to use it for His purpose. Those truths transition my focus toward a positive mindset.

When I think about getting over this new hurdle, this one where I’ve been beating myself up about feeling “not enough” I know that I can only overcome the lies through Jesus and what He says is true about me, similar to the way I handle those childhood flashbacks. I have to remember that God does the following things for me:

He loves me unconditionally. (Romans 8:37-39)

He equips me. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

He gives me wisdom. (James 1:5)

He defines me. (Psalm 139:14)

He has chosen me. (1 Peter 2:9)

These things are not up to me to come up with on my own, they’ve been offered by a loving and compassionate God—all things from and of Him.

Image from YouVersion Bible app

The same way that I can move and think past any negative I experienced as a child, will be and is the same way I can escape from Satan’s deceptive practices…focusing on the truths (not the lies) ushers in a positive mindset.

Maybe you can or have been able to relate to what I’ve been experiencing. Honesty and sharing our struggles with others speaks volumes of healing. I pray you would join me in fighting against the lies of “not enough” and embrace the steadfast truths felt in God’s amazing love and throughout His unfaltering word.

Side note: Here’s how awesome God works…in the heat of really discovering I was battling these new “not enough” lies, God provided. I had only shared with my very-supportive husband my struggle, so no one else knew. In that time, I showed up to a women’s event (a hidden mess inside) and was sitting at the same table as a sweet friend of mine who handed me a gift bag, inside was this t-shirt with much needed words of encouragement!!

Isn’t it awesome how God works? He used my friend’s love to speak exactly to my situation…only He can perfectly put things together in this way…only Him!!

There’s no reason to ever give up because God out-does the hardship every single time…if not now then Heaven-side.

No More ‘Pain in the Neck’

I could probably write every one of my posts each week sharing about an experience from substitute teaching. Maybe that means it’s just that entertaining at times or there are an endless amount of life lessons offered when I’m at the schools.

Just yesterday I was teaching p.e. again and we were in an intense game of line tag when a little brown haired gal (cute as ever) quickly but cautiously made her way to me. She was holding her neck with both hands and the words that poured from her panicked voice were this:

“My neck is hurting and I can’t move it!! It hurts really bad!!”

She paused for a few seconds and seemed to examine my expression and then without wasting another moment she dramatically blurted out, “I think it’s broke! I think my neck is broken!!”

Side-note: You guys here’s why I shouldn’t be allowed to adult most days because for a half a second I entertained the idea; I was like “oh shoot what if it actually is!?”

I’m a bit sensitive about neck injuries ever since my dad’s dirt bike racing accident that left him a quadriplegic, so I’m gonna give myself the benefit of a fair excuse.

I gathered myself and asked her what happened and if she could turn her neck slowly from side to side. I’m assuming she must have strained her neck a bit when she was running and that was the cause. Calmly and rationally we made ‘headway’ and determined her neck was in fact still intact and she’d be alright. After the reassurance, off she ran for more line tag just like that!!

Boy can I ever relate to the symbolic storyline of that whole deal when I compare it to the things I’ve freaked out about throughout different stages of life.

I was a skilled self-diagnosed hypochondriac for years…worrying about anything from my children’s health to well-being, to what people thought of me, to finances, to my premature gray hair which by the way was probably multiplying rapidly because of my worrying…the list “went” on…

And quite frankly it all made up my own definition of a pain in the neck.

I’ve come so far away from those worries…except my soon-to-be-sixteen-year-old driving in a few months…that one I’m still working on letting Jesus take the wheel entirely. I’m getting closer with this too though!

After reflecting on the “broken neck” scene from yesterday and because of the over the top drama I laugh just a smidge and it causes me to ask one question…

How many of our worries are all done in vain?

As I’ve looked back and taken inventory over how God has seen me through my trials, I’ve noticed that not one of the things I’ve ever given worry to have actually prevailed. Ever! The odds of victory are in God’s favor. They’re not for me to chase!

Some of the very first verses that I memorized when I came to faith and realized God’s word is the answer in all situations were on the topic of overcoming worry:

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6

Give all your worries and your cares to God for he cares about you. 1 Peter 5:7

Those, among a few others, were such a blessing of truth and still speak to me today when I tend to wander away from practicality.

Just like I had to comfort that young fretting sweetie in my p.e. class yesterday during our game, God is always available and willing to do the same for us, no matter the amount of physical or emotional pain we struggle with. He’s a Perfect Healer and we can find relief from our burdens through worship, fellowship with other believers, prayer, and reading His word!

Tag, you’re it!! Let’s not waste any more time in unproductive worry when there’s so much more to life! To Him be the glory!!

Upward Faith

With last week bearing Thanksgiving, I’ve gotta be honest, I felt far from thankful on a holiday that’s renowned for thankfulness and gratefulness here in America.

It just felt off in so many ways. My brother and his family were in quarantine at the last minute and unable to join us at my house for Thanksgiving dinner, another half of our family celebrated out of town and it didn’t work for us to go, and the large Witt Thanksgiving lunch we have the Saturday after every Thanksgiving holiday (where always more than fifty gather) couldn’t happen due to Covid number-restrictions.

Side-note: I feel like writing this whole post on how sick and tired I am of Covid and everything it entails but I’ll refrain because this whole thing would turn dark real quick and that’s the opposite of my point.

Over the past few weeks my morning Bible reading has been in Hebrews and I’m now at chapter 11. As a reminder this is the chapter known as the “Hall of Faith.” Versus 4 through 12 note the commendable faith of ‘Bible heroes’ such as Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, and Sarah.

It’s versus 13 through 16, however, that have really captured my heart:

13 All these people died still believing what God had promised them. They did not receive what was promised, but they saw it all from a distance and welcomed it. They agreed that they were foreigners and nomads here on earth. 14 Obviously people who say such things are looking forward to a country they can call their own. 15 If they had longed for the country they came from, they could have gone back. 16 But they were looking for a better place, a heavenly homeland. That is why God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.

The things they were promised — the acquiring of the land of Canaan, the consummating of numerous descendants, the Messiah in the flesh — they never saw these things fulfilled in their lifetime. BUT, and this is the motivating and inspirational piece for me, they embraced the idea and strong belief that one day those things would come to fruition, even if it meant not seeing them happen in their present time. Referring to themselves as ‘foreigners and nomads here on earth’ they trusted in greater blessings by longing for a ‘better place, a heavenly homeland.’

None of them were perfect people, but they also didn’t have their faith hung up by unanswered hopes and earthly letdowns. Rather they held onto heavenly hope that God would one day fulfill their desired promises — and because of that we read their names in Hebrews 11 pointing straight to their encouraging faith.

You guys, we are in the same boat as those mentioned above. As believers who hold onto faith in God, His ways, and His words we trust that this is absolutely not our world to find contentment and fulfillment in. Our faith is in a God who is so much bigger than the issues and hardships we’re facing. Even if it’s just petty whining over broken holiday traditions — God is still moving, but at His will and His perfect timing. His leading has the power to take our focus away from earthly discouragement.

For me, I know I can’t get so selfish as to think of last week’s Thanksgiving from a place of my own “deserved” comfort.

True Thanksgiving points me to Christ and His home.

Disappointment doesn’t line up with faith and when I choose to be optimistic, realizing that this earth and even a holiday fixed on counting blessings isn’t the real object of true blessing, then I turn my eyes to Jesus — trusting and believing that in Him lies the real hope. It’s in Him where my faith is tied, knowing this life and all of it’s surprises (good and bad) are so far from the true goodness and rich blessings found in our permanent Heavenly home…just the same reassuring faith we find in the lives of those mentioned in the faith chapter of Hebrews 11.

With that, I can thank God passionately (no matter the circumstances) for His word and my trust in Heavenly faith — for His purpose.

Disappointed But Not Hopeless

Y’all I was gonna try and avoid this post and publish this month’s DIY instead — but every time I try to write something else my thoughts take over — can’t avoid reality so I guess this is meant to be. I’m just being honest and hopefully something can be gained from where I’m going with this post.

During the middle of the night, recently, I woke up abruptly, this feeling of ‘unrest and overwhelm’ flooded my mind.

I won’t get terribly political (I hope) but here was some of what was rallying around up there: ‘for crying out-loud my husband works in the oil field, Biden seeks to replace oil with renewable energy…how will that impact our means of providing??…And popularizing abortion — an ugly option that isn’t a part of God’s plan. If you don’t want a baby, don’t have sex…Rape? Convict the criminal, not the innocent baby…there’s always adoption or the Witt residence. The desire to abolish the death penalty for a hardcore criminal but yet give the green flag go for an unborn human to receive the death penalty?? Come on. Call me crazy but I’ll never understand any reason or logic in that. Ever.’

**I’ve heard too many stories of doctors telling mamas their unborn child will be born with defects only to later give birth to a completely whole and healthy baby who grows up to do amazing things...And when the doctor happens to be right, well you go on and love that baby and every breath of their life just the same way Jesus does..

Sometimes it’s battle of the mind field running my life and I just need God to drop a truth-bomb. Because I know those thoughts obviously portray opinion, judgement and disgust.

Here’s what I have to remember: I’m not perfect, nor are my thoughts. I’m desperately in need of saving grace as much as anyone else.

In the quiet hours of the night, minus my busy mind, the Holy Spirit cut in — reminding me of a verse I haven’t read or heard in a very long while:

This verse, with such faultless timing, comes from 2 Chronicles chapter 7 when King Solomon and the people (Israel) had just finished worshiping God at a freshly built temple (a place to worship God) dedicated to Him.

Solomon sends the people home and later the Lord appears to him setting ground rules (including the above verse). He was the leader of what was known to be a stubborn nation and if Solomon followed God’s plan, blessing would come…if not, a nation (Israel) would come to ruin.

Eventually sin ensued and most of the kingdom was lost (see chapter 12). Solomon had lost his way to idols in the form of power, riches, and sexuality and as a result Israel suffered.

I can’t help but notice how applicable this verse is even now, all these years later. That’s the beautiful thing about scripture — it never fades out.

God wants our attention. He wants our hearts. He wants our repentance.

God wants the same requests of us that He asked over Solomon along with Israel.

Our leadership is corrupt. We, as sinful people, are problematic. None of us are perfect.

BUT…

We’ve all been given the same fair opportunity and we all live under the same God-willing expectation:

To humble ourselves. To pray. To seek God’s face. To turn from our wicked ways.

Just as recorded in 2 Chronicles 7:14.

Perhaps when we do so, God will hear from Heaven and heal our land…united as one.

Will we act in obedience to God’s direction or push it off just as Solomon did with a trail of destruction dragging behind?

I can only do my part…take up self-control, admit fault, seek forgiveness, cling to God, and aim to do better through His perfection, which is where I’m at right now.

I don’t want to live in anger or disgust and I can only overcome that negative mindset because of God’s goodness, mercy, and grace with grounded faith as I commune with Him.

By my example and others who are on the same page, I pray that a testimony would show to those watching and that a contagious result would follow for His purpose.

I pray that we (as a nation) truly would encourage one another and work toward a turn around — with God as our ultimate leader and hope for healing. Only by His way will we move forward.

Day 4 of Quarantine

Well hello there!

First off allow me to explain the title to this post. Yes I’m in a fourteen day quarantine, homebound for the next week and a half. I was exposed to someone who tested positive for Covid recently therefore I have to do the “stay-home” procedure — ordered by our local health department.

As of now I’m feeling alright so I may end up getting out of the woods without a hitch. I do have a high chance of ending up positive so we’re trying to take necessary precautions here in the Witt household. Sanitizing like crazy, social distancing from my family, even masking up in my own home.

It’s such an uncanny feeling.

Here’s a selfie of Nate and I — social distance rule breaking…(Nate’s being a smart aleck with the mask FYI)

I even got shunned to the living room with a twin size mattress while Nate gets the king size bed and our room. I’m still trying to figure out how that makes sense so please don’t judge us.

I’ll explain the no-couch situation some day in a future post…

A few random facts & thoughts:

1. I’ve noticed our ceiling fans and light fixtures REALLY need dusted….but maybe that should wait, don’t want to agitate the lungs by chance…

2. The lady from the health department suggested I have a bathroom separate from the family so I wasted zero time and kicked the girls right out of theirs and took it over as my own!

3. Having my very own bathroom is really nice!!!! I never imagined I would enjoy it this much!!!

4. Sometimes I find myself in the bathroom taking mask breaks.

5. Wednesday morning’s conversation with my husband:

Me (in a muffled voice behind my mask): Hey Nate could you let Max out?

Nathan (whining): Aaaahhhh!!! I have to be a mom and a dad!!

Me: uhh….When did you turn into a mom?

Nathan: Well I have to let the dogs out and make food by myself now!

….Not sure when those two duties ever fell under the “mom-only” category!!?

6. Black Rifle Pumpkin coffee is magical when you mix it with Caramel Macchiato creamer.

7. A research statistic shows 70% of people who tested positive for Covid were faithfully wearing a mask…..so am I producing Rona for myself as I sport my mask within my home?…hmmm…

8. I kinda want to get Rona just to get it done and over with.

9. A close friend of mine texted this the other day, “once you get out of jail (or vacation depending how you look at it) we should get together.”

…Yes please!!!

And this is exactly where I want to turn for a devotional reflection today.

You see, my friend’s words have coated my heart with peace and a goal because the reality is that I have the choice in how I want to view this time.

Jail or vacation…what will my perspective be of it?

And the answer I’m choosing is not to view it as jail, not to count the negatives (and there definitely are some) but rather to focus on the REAL “positives”….like me getting my own bathroom, because that’s been cool.

Lol, no on a serious note though there’s true good in this time of being confined to the house.

As with anything, I can sit (stuck in quarantine) and still praise God because He is good and faithful when I consider that then who am I to even begin to complain. He is who He is, no matter my situation or condition. My circumstances (or yours) don’t ever change who God is.

That truth alone is so soothing to my mind and heart.

Check out some of Paul’s words in the New Testament:

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ…I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly. (Ephesians 1:3, 16)

Because of my imprisonment, most of the believers here have gained confidence and boldly speak God’s message without fear. (Philippians 1:14)

You guys!! Paul was writing those words while literally under house arrest in Rome for preaching Jesus’ name and falling into some religious disputes over it…and yet look at his remarkable encouragement!!

Those words weren’t recorded just to fill up space but rather to fulfill a purpose. I think the beauty and importance in Paul’s frame of mind is that we have the choice to adopt that same mindset for our very own.

Y’all we’re living in some tough times, where we could ALL benefit from a positive perspective. Just the idea of the election and the shape of our nation seems so eerie and off to me this time (regardless of who wins)…like unsettling.

I’m so thankful Jesus is my partner; because of my faith my heart feels prepared.

I can’t imagine life without Him and I hurt for those who don’t have their hope placed in Christ. It’s a mystery to me how people do life without God as their source of guidance and protection. With that I can count it as gain that He is in control and the ultimate leader no matter which way our country heads. I don’t have to worry over the outcome. He is the calm to the crazy.

Side note: Having said that, I’ve done my research and I’m confident in who I’m voting for!! Likewise, I want to encourage you to study up and be sure to vote! I don’t care how mouthy either candidate gets in debating — one has some better morals and values and it doesn’t take much digging to find out who.

This isn’t meant to sound like a political post but rather to encourage in undeniably wild times.

Friends, fear and negative thinking don’t have to be a part of our daily routine. There is magnificent hope when we’re fixed on Jesus — when a mess swirls around us or the unexpected takes up residency within our own homes, work, or lives —even then, we can choose to be optimistic by relying on Jesus!

Though this world is troubled, He is still in control and seated on the throne.

John 16:33 says this: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

When we turn to God we find stability, security, and support to wipe away the mundane parts of life that long to overwhelm us.

A positive mentality, focused on Christ and His words of truth, ‘trumps’ the disorder and unforeseen in our lives — every single time.

Scripture proves itself so. The answers to our problems and the encouragement needed are written and found there-in. Join me by opening your Bible each day and pouring comfort and hope into your heart…it’s just what the Great Physician ordered for each of us. How will you respond?

Take care,

Alicia

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