Monday, May 13, 2019

God of Second Chances

Forgiveness is hard y'all. Super stinky hard.

Sometimes I think even harder than forgiving others-it's harder even to forgive ourselves. To forgive ourselves the way God repeatedly forgives us over and over and over again. To give ourselves grace and mercy just as we give grace and mercy to those we love.

We torment ourselves thinking about what we could have done, should have done and although we know God forgives us, we can't (or won't) forgive ourselves. I think for me it often boils down to the fact that it's the unrealistic expectations I have of myself and put on myself that is at the root of this inability to forgive myself. I want to believe that I am better than I am- but the reality is, I'm not. I am a sinful, imperfect mess that is saved only by the grace and mercy of Christ.

God calls us to forgive- no matter how hard it is.
Isaiah 44:22 says...
I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.
 Psalm 103:12 says...
As far as the east is from the west, so far has he removed our transgressions from us.
We all have sinned and fallen short of His glory. Thankfully He will pick us up when we call out to Him and repent. There is no wrong- seriously NONE- that can keep God from redeeming you. His word is full of reminders of people who made mistakes and were given a new start by God and He will do the same for you and for me. How awesome is that? My prayer today is that you are able to let go of any guilt  you are clinging to and trust Him to work out whatever went wrong. I pray that you are reminded that God is the god of second chances (and 3rd and 4th and…) and His mercy endures FOREVER and EVER. 


Monday, May 6, 2019

God Can Make a Way Where There Is No Way

Have you ever been in a difficult time or situtation and there seems to literally be NO way out? Some situations seem (and are) completely impossible. Situations where there truly is no way. No way- outside of the almighty and all powerful God. 

When diagnosed with a brain tumor in the summer of 2013, I met with two neurosurgeons- one in Temple & one at MD Anderson in Houston. After those meetings & after the extensive research I did, I knew I absolutely wanted my surgery done by the incredible, expert surgeons at MDA but ...my insurance denied saying the surgeon in Temple was perfectly fine & in my insurance network so I would have to have surgery performed there. But in true God fashion, through a series of events that were clearly orchestrated only by and through Him, God allowed me to change insurance companies AFTER my brain tumor diagnosis so that MD Anderson was in my insurance network. My new insurance took effect on 9-1-13 and I had a 12 hour super successful brain surgery on 9-13-13 at MDA. God CAN make a way where there is no way. God WILL make a way where there is no way. 

In Genesis 22:9-14 Abraham found himself in a situation that seemed hopeless when he took his beloved son Isaac, his only son, up to the mountain to sacrifice him before God. And in this situation- where there seemed to be NO way out of it- God made a way. 

Isaiah 43:16-21 says….
This is what the LORD says— he who made a way through the sea, a path through the mighty waters, who drew out the chariots and horses, the army and reinforcements together, and they lay there, never to rise again, extinguished, snuffed out like a wick:  “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.  The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen,  the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise. NIV

Think of all the times in the bible that God made a way where there seemed to be no way….

  • He split the seat
  • He moved mountains
  • He walked on water
  • He tore the veil
  • He healed the sick
  • He conquered giants
  • He closed the mouths of lions
  • He opened prison doors
  • He calmed the raging seas


God is a God of miracles. He can make a way where there is no way. He works in ways that we cannot see or begin to understand. My prayer today is that no matter what the problem or mountain or difficulty you are facing- you are reminded….there is NOTHING too big or scary or impossible for God. NOTHING. God can make a way where there is no way. #notesinmybible 

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

May Scripture Writing Plan: Self Control

Happy almost May sweet friends!

The scripture writing plan this month is over
something many of us struggle with:
Self Control

Self control is just flat out HARD. 
Doing what God's word says always involves a choice for us. 
And truthfully, those choices usually go against what we WANT to do. 
We don't like denying ourselves of the things we want. 
We want what we want (chocolate, a new car, new clothes, a bigger house, a better figure, 
to fight to be right, etc) and we want it right now- with NO waiting! 
Our world is full of instant gratification. 
We make excuse after excuse for why we "deserve" things or don't want to do things 
(like exercise) or have the right to be angry about things. 

We often say things in our defense like.....
"Well, that's just how I am, I can't help it. I can't resist _______ 
(fill in the blank: alcohol, sweets, gossip, drugs, chocolate, etc). "
But truthfully? That's a big old lie. 
We are children of God Almighty who was created for more. 
Satan loves to whisper lies in our ears to get us to believe him. 

God knew that we would try and fail to do things in our own power. 
With our human effort alone, and with the devil working hard to get us to fail, 
it can seem impossible to have self-control. 
Thankfully with God- all things are possible. With God, self control is possible. 
The Lord knew we would struggle with this and so thankfully there are
 many verses about self-control in God's word. 
He reminds us over and over again that we are to have self-control, 
it's even one of the fruits of the spirit. 
We just have to ask him to help us and He promises
that He will not let us be tempted beyond what we can handle.

As we chose to do what God's word says, we grow more like Him and self-control
 becomes more evident in our lives. My prayer is that these verses are a comfort 
to you when you are working to be more disciplined in any area of your life.


FYI: I made the plan 31 days and plan to do that with
all topical plans in the future so that they can be done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in English and Spanish in the folder HERE.


{Just a reminder, don't try to print the images below or they will be blurry. Be sure to click the link to download a PDF copy!}

Monday, April 29, 2019

Who God is

Several weeks ago I started a list in my Bible Study notebook of things I know about God. Not a list of God's names (which is also a great list to keep) but a list of things I know to be true about Him according to His word. I've so enjoyed adding to the list as I read my Bible. For each item I list a Bible verse to reference. Here's what I have so far:

Jesus is:
  • Way-making
  • Me-loving
  • Promise-keeping
  • Battle-winning
  • Grace-giving
  • Sin-forgiving
  • Miracle-performing
  • Million chance-giving
  • Water-walking
  • Body-healing
  • Storm-stilling
  • Comfort-giving
  • Counsel-speaking
  • Mercy Extending

I think a list like this is such a sweet reminder when we are going through something difficult or when we are struggling to remember God's goodness and faithfulness. Psalm 103:2 which says...Let all that I am praise the LORD; may I never forget the good things he does for me." NLT This little list is helping me do just that?

So, what would you add to the list?

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

God is sovereign, even in our disappointments

Life doesn’t always turn out the way we hope or envision. Sometimes we have to grieve a different ending to something in our life than the one we hoped for, dreamed for, prayed for. And it’s perfectly okay to grieve that unexpected ending that didn’t turn out the way we wanted. God understands our disappointment. I’m so thankful that a different ending than the one I had planned in my head or prayed for DOES NOT mean that God has changed His character or His mind about me. I’m reminded of this in Psalm 147:5 which says…
Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit.
My prayer for us today is that when we have a difficult time understanding God’s plan, we are reminded that instead of asking “Where is God in all of this?” we just need to ask God to help us see His work in the situation. That we are reminded that God’s fingerprints are all over His handiwork-even when bad, scary things happen. He can take those terrible things and redeem them until we can’t even recognize them. God is mighty and sovereign, even in my disappointments.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

And if not...He is still good!



Life can be be just plain hard y’all. I seem to be in a season of life when so many around me are hurting & struggling. Friends with children and parents battling cancer, friends with serious relationship issues with those they love, friends battling addiction and big work issues, friends fighting for custody of their children and dealing with abusive and dangerous ex spouses, friends with broken and bruised hearts, friends with serious financial issues. No doubt you too can name many folks dealing with heartache and heartbreak and struggle.

I feel like I spend much of my day praying to God to comfort and care for those friends- praying that they would feel His mighty arms around them. And as I pray God draws me over and over again to my favorite verse- Daniel 3:18. Daniel 3 tells the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. If you don't know the story, basically King Nebuchadnezzar creates a golden statue that he requires everyone to bow down to. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are respectful to Nebuchadnezzar but refuse to bow before his statue. In verses 17-18 they say..

“If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it, and he will deliver us from Your Majesty’s hand. But even if he does not, we want you to know, Your Majesty, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.”

Basically they are saying….God CAN save us from this but if he does not, we will still love Him and He is still good. Needless to say King Neb is NOT happy. The three are thrown into a fiery furnace, but they emerge unscathed- without a single hair on their head burnt. Nebuchadnezzar is impressed and he promotes the three to important public positions and emphatically praises their God.

I love this story because sometimes, the answers we get when we pray are hard to swallow and the road we must travel is not an easy one. Sometimes we may feel we are being dropped in a fiery furnace. BUT, regardless of the things of this world we must go through, He IS still good- even when our circumstances are not. Our circumstances are not going to change what Christ has done for us. He is still my hope, because of what He has already done, not what the circumstances are doing to me.


And if not…..He is still the King Most High.
And if not…..He still loves us more than we can ever imagine.
And if not…..He is still good.


Thursday, March 28, 2019

April Scripture Writing Plan: Waiting on God

Happy almost April sweet friends!
The scripture writing plan this month is over something many struggle with:
Waiting on God
Waiting stinks. It goes against just about everything in our world today. Everyone wants everything RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Instant. Immediate gratification. On demand. We have become a culture that thinks waiting is beneath us and all things should come to us super quickly- and when they don’t? Goodness, do we tend to get irritated and angry! Waiting at a light, food delivery taking longer than expected, packages not arriving in 2 days, downloading something on your computer- all are things that can turn most of us into crankypants super fast!

Part of the reason why we struggle with waiting is because we often equate waiting with inactivity and inactivity with being unproductive. But honestly waiting, which can also be translated as hoping, means to wait with expectation, to look for. My precious puppy Poppy (seriously- she is the cutest puppy EVER) is a perfect example of how we should wait. During dinner she will sit by my chair staring up at me without blinking or moving. She does this because she knows I will give her the last bite on my plate. She doesn't bark or jump, she just waits, patiently and quietly. She does so because over time I have proved to her that I can be trusted and when the time is right, I WILL share with her. 

Waiting is something that puts us in a position to experience more of God’s love and grace in our lives- WHILE we wait. So often waiting gives us an opportunity to see God work in ways we COULD NOT and WOULD NOT see otherwise. During these periods of waiting God is often refueling and refining us for what He has in store. God knows that we would never choose to wait, so He provides opportunities to wait in order to see that His way is actually the best way. He uses the wait to grow our faith as we acknowledge our need for Him and learn to trust Him. God never wastes our waiting. He uses it to do a work in our lives so that He can do a work through our lives.

My prayer is that these verses are a comfort to you when you are in a season of waiting on the Lord.



FYI: I made the plan 31 days and plan to do that with
all topical plans in the future so that they can be done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in English and Spanish in the folder HERE.
{Just a reminder, don't try to print the images below or they will be blurry. Be sure to click the link to download a PDF copy!}


Thursday, March 21, 2019

The Lifter of My Head


I noticed recently that most of the time that I see people walking alone, they are doing so with their heads hanging down low- as if they are weighed down by the burdens they are carrying on their shoulders. In a school, on the sidewalk, at the grocery store- head down. They don’t make eye-contact and seem to be cautious and guarded. It is as if they don’t want to be seen. Fixing their eyes on the floor appears to be their way of avoiding being noticed. After noticing this I have caught myself several times lately doing the exact same thing- usually when I am deep in thought or worried or discouraged. You may be in that place today-head down, feeling like your situation is hopeless, that everything is going wrong and you simply can’t get your head above water. You may feel alone and discouraged. If that is you today, I have some good news!

I recently read Psalm 3:3 and loved it so. It says... 
But you, O Lord, are a shield about me, my glory, and the lifter of my head. (ESV)
It is important to know that David wrote this beautiful Psalm during the absolute worst time in his life. His son, Absalom, wanted his father’s crown and had launched a plot to assassinate him. Those closest to him (not strangers- his closest friends), those who he trusted and placed his confidence in, were now those who against him and were actually trying to kill him. Poor David was betrayed, crushed and heartbroken and forced to flee his palace and Jerusalem in fear for his life. Psalm 3 was his written plea to God.

In this verse he reminds himself (and us) of three things he knows to be true about God. One, God is a shield. Now a shield doesn’t mean that you won’t have arrows shot at you- just that you’ll have protection from those arrows. Two, God is his glory since he has no glory of his own. Third, God is the one who lifts his head. He is defeated and depressed and his head is hung in shame. He is confident though that God will lift his head and restore his hope.

When we are looking down, our eyes are only fixed on a small area of the ground below us. What we see is a very limited space. But when God lifts our head and we look up- we see the whole horizon before us and all that God has created and has in store for us. My sweet friend Gina is from Kentucky and I remember the first time she visited us in Texas. She kept mentioning the “big sky”. Finally I asked her what she meant, because the sky was the same in Texas that it was in Kentucky. She explained that because of the mountains in KY, the view of the sky was limited. But since Texas is so flat, the horizon is huge. In other words, BIG SKY. I like to think of God lifting my head and me noticing that big, huge sky- and all the other things He has created.

Is your head down today? Look up sweet friend. God is with you in the dark places. He sees you there. He is a shield around you. He is the glory. He is the lifter of your head. He loves you so. My prayer for you today is that you would call on His mighty name and ask him for help now- allow Him to lift your head.

Fun and Encouraging Pencils


Who loves fun pencils? I'm a nerdy lover of all kinds of office supplies and I LOVE pencils with sayings on them! I recently printed a bunch of pencils with fun sayings on them and added them to my ETSY store. I have a set that say YOU ARE LOVED GREATLY and a set of 10 different sayings (some funny and some sweet) that I just listed. These pencils would make a fun little gift or as a treat for yourself! I have a limited supply but based on the sales of these, I will be adding more!

COUPON CODE: From March 19-April 1st spend $20 or more and get 20% off using the code 20FOR20

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Surrender

As we remodeled our current house to get it ready to sell we did a lot of packing and a LOT of moving furniture. And many times as we prepared to pick up a piece of heavy furniture, my husband (who is 6 feet tall and 250+ lbs and way larger than I am at 5ft 2ish) would give me a little pep talk because I honestly didn’t think I’d be able to lift and carry my side of the load. I would usually start saying things like…."I don’t know if I can carry this. I don’t think I can carry this. What if I drop my side? What if I throw my back out?" And because he’s incredibly patient and awesome (and was probably tired of listening to my worries and concerns), he came up with some things to help me. He purchased some moving straps (they are awesome!) and a flat dolly to stick under my side of the furniture. He would often carry the heavier part of the load and sometimes place a chair so that I could set the furniture down on it when I needed to rest for a minute. These were all things he put in place to support me, to help me, to keep me from harm. But he only did those things because I shared my fears with him and was willing and open to accept his help.

I think that’s how God is with us- He is there, always- ready to take on the many burdens we have on our shoulders. He’s there ready and willing to help it’s just that we just have to turn to Him because we aren’t meant to carry those burdens alone. We must deliberately place them on God’s shoulders and share our burdens- all of them- with Him. Sometimes I think we don’t feel God is with us, because we simply haven’t reached Him to help us, we simply don’t surrender to Him. Sometimes it’s out of pride, sometimes out of fear, and sometimes out of ignorance- but no matter the cause, we just don’t go to Him and share our burdens with Him. We just keeping trying to operate in our strength, are overwhelmed and fail, miserably. 

He reminds us of this many times in the bible including in Psalm 55:22-23 which says…
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let the righteous be shaken. NIV

Today if your burdens feel too heavy to bear, my prayer is that you are reminded that God is there, ready to help you carry them. I pray that if you are feeling overwhelmed today, that you pour out your heart in prayer to our Heavenly Father —holding absolutely nothing back. Lean on and into Him. Surrender to Him. And that when you feel that burden lightening even the slightest bit, that you remember to thank Him for His goodness and His faithfulness. He’s there waiting to help you. Lean on and into Him. Surrender.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

March Scripture Writing Plan: Encouragement

Happy almost March sweet friends!
The scripture writing plan this month is over something we all need from time to time:
Encouragement

There are days when everything seems to go wrong and literally everything you touch seems to fall apart. Life can often be full of sadness and trials and pain.  We can easily begin to feel sad and overwhelmed by all of the terrible things happening in our broken world today. We know in our heads that God is our strength and is with us always, but sometimes it is difficult for our battered and bruised hearts to remember that truth. It's easy to question our worth 
and for us to even occasionally lose hope.

Thankfully God's word is full of encouraging and uplifting reminders to remain steadfast in HIM. These verses can help us when we are down and feeling discouraged.  These verses remind us that He is with us, in the stinky and difficult times. He hasn't left- He is there, always.
Our only hope is to look to Jesus and that's where each of these verses point us- to Him! He is our comforter, I pray that these verses will encourage you 
when you are feeling down and bless you greatly!




FYI: I made the plan 31 days and plan to do that with
all topical plans in the future so that they can be done any month-
not just the month I write them for.

TO PRINT: You can find a copy of the plan in English and Spanish in the folder HERE.
{Just a reminder, don't try to print the images below or they will be blurry. Be sure to click the link to download a PDF copy!}

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Jesus Loves Me, This I Know

On our honeymoon my husband and I went on a fabulous cruise for 7 days. We were seated at dinner each night with a couple who were also newlyweds. The husband was very short and round, quite a bit older than his bride and a little on the nerdy side. His bride was younger and very, very beautiful. It was obvious after just a few minutes of sitting with them that he was enamored with her and seemed to need LOTS of reassuring from her. So much so that at least once a minute he uttered the words….”I love you so muchhhhhhhh”. Each time he said it to his new bride he would stop and wait for her to confirm her love in return. I’m not exaggerating- he would stop mid-sentence in a conversation to someone else and say the exact same words (“I love you so muchhhhhhh”) every few minutes. It happened so often that it became comical and Tony and I even started to count the number of times he said it during a single meal and were always in the double digits.

At the time I thought it was so funny but honestly if I think about it, I’m the same way- so often needing reassurance that I’m really and truly loved because I often feel so unworthy.. I have a secret fear that I think many people also have but don’t like to admit. Deep down I fear that if people really knew me, the true me- all of the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of me- the things I think and the things I say under my breath in anger or frustration- they wouldn’t truly love me. I think we all feel that way about people and even about God at times and we question His love for us. Thankfully our Lord knew we would struggle with this and over and over and over again in His word He tells of us His great love for us! 

1 John 3:1 says….
See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! NIV

I love the word lavish. It doesn’t mean He just kinda, sorta loves us. It means that He over the top, extravagantly, generously love us with extravagant abundance. His love isn’t based on how we behave or how we perform (thank goodness!). Our perfect Heavenly Father loves us- no matter what. His love is the same today and tomorrow- it is constant and infinite. He loves us on the days we mess up and on the days when we do things right. He adores us, truly. And there isn’t a single way we can earn that love and our status as His children. It’s just an undeserving gift He bestows on us- His immense love for us. The God of the universe loves you and He loves me. Right where we are right now. Deeply and passionately. He loves us 100%. The percent we receive is up to us.

My prayer today is that today you are reminded that despite all your fears, worries and imperfections, He loves you lavishly and calls you His beloved child. I pray that you are able to receive His love today- remembering that it's not based on what you do, but on who God says your are- His.