This morning, my neck of the woods woke up to eight inches of snow. I know it was eight inches because my dear husband literally took a tape measure outback to precisely check for himself!!
We typically only end up with a dusting to a few inches when it snows; so this amount of snow is a rare treasure for us—well maybe not for those who aren’t a fan. I’m loving the beauty of today’s winter wonderland though, it’s the messy roads in the days to come I don’t really favor however!
Beautiful, pure-white snow.
Isaiah’s message of warning to a rebellious nation of Israelites comes on behalf of the Lord in Isaiah 1:18-20 and has this to say:
“Come now, let us settle the matter,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool. If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land; but if you resist and rebel, you will be devoured by the sword.” For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.
(Bold and italics added by me for the lesson)
Boy if those words don’t sound like we’re just as in need of that warning (today) as Israel and Judah were all those years ago!!!
There are two “ifs” to choose from in that piece of scripture, and depending on the “if” chosen the results are drastically different.
In verse 20b, choosing the second if, consisting of resistance and rebellion, would leave a person in the permanency or stain of deep scarlet-red sin…devoured by the sword.
But by choosing the first if in verse 19, the crimson color that once stood out so boldly from sin, would be entirely replaced with a pure and calm white—the color of snow or wool. Choosing this if requires willingness and obedience but leads to satisfaction or a reward given by the Lord, “you will eat the good things of the land.”
This beautiful, pure in color, dazzling in the sunlight, white snow outside my house windows sets the stage for the reminder that I want to willingly and obediently stand in the presence of God’s desire daily—to “eat the good things of the land,” as quoted.
The message given in Isaiah chapter one—sin cleansed white as snow—was as much for the people of that time as it is for us now. Jesus’ sacrificial blood shed on the cross and his resurrection washed away those crimson colored sin-stains we once carried; and though we’ll continually sin (this side of Heaven) Jesus makes those sins white as snow as we place our faith in Him, seek forgiveness as needed, and remain in unity with Him through a healthy relationship.
Choosing and following Jesus, points us to choose that first “if” in Isaiah 1:19—may we be ever thankful, never taking for granted, but instead praising God for the removal of permanent crimson stain and the washing and cleanness of our sins, white as snow, all because of His magnificent love for us.
I put my little five speed Jeep in reverse, checked that all was clear and pushed down on the gas pedal quickly to back away from the curb after finishing a recent counseling session.
If any staff at the architecture business located next door have ever watched me pull in or out of the hillside parking space each week they’re probably relieved I’m seeking therapy because my skills with driving this Jeep are about as unreliable as my emotions sometimes.
Boy it’s been a year! I started counseling back in January after realizing my childhood trauma had some explaining to do, what I didn’t know was that it actually had A LOT of explanation into the thoughts and choices I’ve made throughout my entire life.
In faith, through Jesus, I might be brave enough to finally say that I’m (really, actually) in the process of truly overcoming!! It’s the most scrutinizing process I’ve ever endured, but my counselor is amazing and God is using her to the fullest. My husband has been a solid encourager, along with my momma. I am so blessed and I can feel God’s presence at work. (Bare with me though as my blog posts may continue to be hit and miss for a while.)
Leaving Monday’s therapy session, I felt a spurring for some guilt-free me-time so I set out to purposely photograph the changing of the fall leaf colors. It felt refreshing to experience awareness in nature’s surroundings. My little iPhone has continued to help capture this week’s beauty, filling an abundance of thankfulness within my heart all the while.
Nebraska may not offer the warm, playful amber hues of the aspens in Colorado during this time of year, but nevertheless, we definitely have some reminders of our own kind of gratifying autumn…
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
I thought since I’m just getting back into the swing of blogging again, today’s post will be light…but “sharp.”
Some of you may remember last summer, the post about mine and my oldest daughter’s brilliant idea to buy three hermit crabs when we vacationed at South Padre Island.
Wellllll…none of them made it to the new year. We tried. The accessories they required that amounted to well over a hundred dollars proves we tried.
But those things are high maintenance and apparently we weren’t doing something just right.
Sooooo…during January, when I was home and sick with the most ridiculous cold I’ve ever had, I started doing some thinking…about how we had an empty cage just sitting around not being used and how that perfectly fine cage should be getting some good use if it’s going to stay in my home.
Without wasting much time deciding what should occupy that space, I began doing some research on hedgehogs!! Man, Pinterest is not the place to look if you’re just in the beginning stages of entertaining an idea! It’ll leave you with a desperate yearning for whatever it is you may be searching over!!
Needless to say it didn’t take much convincing for myself or the rest of the family to decide this could very well be our next best mistake!!
After learning that the cage we already had would be too small we were too smitten over these little creatures to back out now!
We located six week old babies at a town about an hour from us, the kids evenly pitched in their money…$170 total and then Dad and I bought the newer, larger cage and necessary accessories.
My son named her Pixie.
She’s grown soooo much, probably double the size since we brought her home.
We have a lot of fun watching her explore and even her sassy attitude is quite entertaining. It takes her a bit to warm up when we take her out of her little home but she’s getting more used to us and is pretty motivated by her cat food pebbles! I’m convinced she’d do just about anything for her food.
It’s interesting how animals are so relatable to humans. Food, water, air, sleep, and then there’s also mannerism. The attitudes—humans have them and so do animals, especially hedgehogs!
When Pixie feels threatened those sharp quills standout in every direction; once she realizes we don’t want to harm her she relaxes but it takes some convincing.
And I get it.
I can be quite reluctant even in God’s care, and yet I know His intentions are for good but boy there are times I’m incredibly reserved in my trust.
Being Pixie’s caregiver, I KNOW, without a shadow of a doubt, I’m going to do everything I know is right and good to provide and nurture this prickly pet, but she isn’t always with me on that mindset.
When I compare this to my own relationship (with God as my caregiver) I think how silly I must seem to God when I hold tightly to that lack of trust.
Just like I want the best life for Pixie and I know I’m trustworthy to her, God knows and desires the same when it comes to He and I!
Check out Isaiah 26:3 with me, “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” —Isaiah 26:3
I love the boldness and certainty in those words…no hesitation found there. No lack of trust. This is how I want my faith to align with our Lord and I pray you’d join me! No poking around, just smooth and comfortable trust in Him.❤️
The lifeteam I’m a part of was gathered around my pastor’s kitchen table Sunday evening like we do each week. This evening though we all took turns sharing about our younger years mixed with faith.
At my turn, I confessed that I literally remember thinking (while I was a teenager) ‘yeah I believe in God, without a doubt, but right now I’m just living life a bit on the wild side and probably when I’m older (like late thirties) I’ll settle down and get real about my faith’.
That was seriously my thoughts as a teen.
Boy how naive!!
I’m thankful God grabbed my attention much earlier than what I had plans for. In my mid to late twenties I finally began to realize there was more to life than ‘Alicia’s world’ and thanks be to Him there’s been no turning back!!
In the past I’ve written about my daughter, McKenzie, with her celiac disease. And real quick if you’re not familiar with celiac disease it’s when your body can’t digest gluten which is found in wheat products. Now that she’s been diagnosed for nearly two years we’ve been careful to watch her diet, keeping it free from gluten.
To add to the restrictions, Mc is an extremely picky eater. She didn’t come by her nickname ‘Picky Micky’ by accident. This girl of mine has pretty slim food preferences and ever since she became gluten free we couldn’t get her to try gluten free bread!!
That is until a few months ago.
She finally caved to bread when I convinced her that a gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich is hands down a mouth watering comfort food that’ll surely hit the spot especially when you dunk it into a steamy bowl of homemade savory tomato soup!!
Now if she had her way that’d probably be her only lunch choice!
Isn’t it interesting how we tend to put things off — things that have the potential to be of or for our benefit?
It may seem a far stretch to compare Mc’s situation to me putting my faith off but it goes to show how widespread this idea can be.
Maybe you can relate…maybe you’ve been putting off a new hobby you’d like to check out, or neglecting to mend a broken friendship, perhaps you’ve been continually postponing a trip to the doctor for fear what the prognosis might be…your hang up could be addiction (of any form) and you just can’t break-free yet you so desperately desire to…or maybe you’re like I was with my faith as a teen…
NONE of us are getting any younger. Not one of us. And there’s ALWAYS good to be sought, we just have to be compliant to nurture hints of positive feelings.
Check out Ephesians 5:15-17 with me:
‘Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.’
Good words, right?
God’s word shows us to use opportunities and time wisely.
Pushing my faith off as a teen was one of my most ignorant choices. Gratefully God had a plan much better than mine as He does for all of us.
I’ve come along far in my faith but will most certainly always have space to grow. Something I’d like to get better at is sharing my faith with others in person, not just through my words in a blog.
What about you — is there something in your life, something pulling at your heart in an immutable way that you just haven’t been courageous enough to explore but you have a probing interest to?
We must be willing to step into God’s will, for His purpose… Brave enough to try something new… Bold enough to ask for direction and encouragement… Blatant enough to tell others about it…
When I spoke up last Sunday in Lifeteam, opening up about my past faith and even some of my current strengths and struggles, it felt natural and right, there was nothing to lose. I wasn’t at risk of ‘putting off’ a good thing. It was a feeling of accomplishment where relationships have a chance to grow.
Sweet friends, I just want to encourage you in whatever it is you might be putting off — waste time no longer, seek out God and His ways and simply go for it with His lead.
Teach us to number our days, that we gain a heart of wisdom. Psalm 90:12
A while ago I wrote about my poor little Eli dog; our Yorkie who is medicated for seizures and jumps wildly at the drop of a feather with anxiety.
If you missed that post I’ll update you real quick:
In July of last year we made it a rule that Eli can’t be on our bed or the couch or anywhere that’s more than a few inches off the floor unless someone is holding him. The reason being, when Eli ends up somewhere like that he’ll jump down without thinking twice, smack his baby noggin, and go straight into a seizure. I’m not even exaggerating at all. But I’m super stoked to report that he actually hasn’t had one single seizure since enforcing this rule.
Subsequently my dog wants absolutely nothing to do with me, like he completely resents me over this deal. He mopes around the house more often than not. Anything other than moping, is him sleeping or spastically eating canned dog food.
If a dog can experience confusion and perhaps depression, Eli’s there.
And try as I might, because Eli’s a dog, I just can’t convince him that this is in fact for his own good.
Boy how symbolic this has been of my own walk with God at times. There have been seasons in life where God has put up roadblocks and warnings for the benefit of my own good, but I’ve completely missed acknowledging the betterment of it all.
Instead there’s almost this questioning attitude toward God, similar to Eli’s behavior with me.
I’m thinking more recently how so many of us feel disappointed regarding the election outcome and how our government stands at this point. There’s a lot of unrest and discouragement within many of us, especially as Christians.
But…as I’ve pondered these things two words have come to mind: submission and humbleness.
And (to my surprise) when I studied the word submission here’s one of the top scripture write-ups that showed up — repeatedly.
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Notice those words Paul used…respect…honor…and those words were in reference to governing authorities. I’ll be the first to admit I don’t like the sound of that right now.
I realize Paul was writing encouragement to those of his own time but I believe this piece is included in the Bible for our present good and direction too.
Obviously if government is forcing us to disobey God we are not called to do so. On the flip side we must try to live at peace so long as there’s no conflict to our beliefs as Christians.
We may not like where things are headed but there are going to be some things in place that we can’t get around. I’m not a fan at all when I think of the likelihood of paying higher taxes. This is where submission plays in, like it or not…but it’s what God’s word shows us to do.
Contrastingly a mental red flag goes up as I consider the government approval on abortion support, a topic I strongly disagree with. In this very thing I have every right to stand against this idea but I must do so responsibly, not irrationally. Thinking of things like this takes courage and a humble approach. But we do these things for God — not man, not government.
Our SUBMISSION must always be built from the foundation of God’s ways, anything that goes against His way gives us the opportunity to HUMBLY take a standpoint from His angle hoping to show others Jesus in the midst.
I’ve heard my kids spew words of irritation and hate too much lately regarding their concerns, probably much of what they’ve heard from their Dad and me. I can’t be raising hostile hearts. My home needs to be a place for kindness, not madness.
Perhaps this election was put into place as a time for us to practice humbleness and to stretch our faith in the Lord — full reliance on God and His truth sounds pretty obedient and desirable to me.
We need the direction of God’s word in our lives, otherwise we’re rampant cannonballs just waiting to unleash…which brings me back to my sweet little Eli. No doubt my dog is distressed over changes in his own tiny world BUT the thing about Eli is that he remains calm and cool through it all which in turn is furthering his life. He may be a touch on the edge of defiance towards me right now but I wouldn’t ever desert him regardless…neither will God with any of us as we submit humbly — solely keeping inline with His word.
Together let’s pray for hearts that represent Christ well during these times.
When people talk about how they can’t wait for life to return to “normal”, I mentally stand on the other side thinking: ‘but I’m not 100% okay with the old kind of normal, the pre-covid normal…What changes do I want to see made within my family for our “future normal”…What is it that I want to grasp as a spiritually beneficial takeaway from this unique time?’…Because I don’t want to revert back to my Alicia’s world, impatient, on the go self when things do return to “normal”…my true colors usually show up best with a well thought out detailed itinerary…that’s part of my control girl flaw.
I’m trying to figure out how to mesh this current lifestyle (the things I’ve learned during my coronavirus-downtime) with what’s to come when life eventually does return to “fast-paced normal”…and the idea of loosening my firm grip on ‘itinerary-style-planning’ definitely needs to be part of a wiser planning method for myself.
We’ve all seen firsthand now how things can dramatically change in a matter of day to day living.
I have to laugh in spite of myself — back in late February, before I even knew the word coronavirus existed, I had sat down at my kitchen table and counted through my calendar all the days that I had marked down to substitute teach, and there were many. And in my eyes I was seeing dollar signs and the amount of money that I’d be able to tuck into savings to put towards a trip our family has/had scheduled this summer. In the midst of counting sub days I literally thought of how foolish it seemed because subconsciously I knew something could come up and any of those days could be taken from me, none of them were necessarily ever guaranteed to stay locked in. Sure enough every single one of them was canceled out through the end of the school year due to the virus. Continue reading “Living on His Plans”
This past month, in my fourth and fifth grade Sunday school class, I’ve been working through a lesson on the topic of joy with the kids. They’ve shared about circumstances that seem unfair and yet they can pinpoint how joy can be found in that situation nevertheless.
For example when a friend breaks a promise, doesn’t keep their word, and let’s us down we can choose to find joy in the fact that God always keeps His promises. He’s the author of the Living Word. And He will never let us down; Psalm 54:4 reminds us that ‘God is our helper and the upholder of our lives.’ People are imperfect and fallible, but when we consider our relationships we can find joy in the truth that God is always trustworthy and capable with us. Continue reading “A Lasting Season of Joy”
My girls spent the past week at church camp with my mom…in return I watched my (special needs) brother for her…and her crazy, wiry, ball-of-fire dog.
My brother was the easy part, but the dog (Beardsley) exhausted his stay after the first five minutes when he marched into my home like he owned the place and wanted to mark his territory. That was Friday evening.
Saturday he barked most of the day.
Sunday, before church, my husband and son went on a high speed chase after him on foot for 45 minutes; he’d slipped out the door and thinks this kind of thing is a game. In reality the only one enjoying their self is the dog.
Early Monday morning we put Beardsley out to potty and within minutes the neighbor pounded on our door like the police to dramatically inform us the dog was obnoxiously barking…thank you Captain Obvious. Continue reading “Furry Pinball and Faith”