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It’s Christmas time! What a beautiful time of year. My ABSOLUTE favorite. Waking up early, fresh coffee in my favorite Christmas mug, my journal, and my bible opened to the Christmas story. I’m inspired, challenged, and more in love each year with the birth of our beautiful Savior. One of my favorite stories in the bible is when the Angel came down to tell Mary she was going to be the mother of Jesus. Can you imagine what took place in her heart and mind that very day? I can’t imagine what she must have felt to hear an angel of the Lord say she will give birth to a KING! What was spoken to her was humanly impossible yet miraculously possible. I’m sure in that moment she was attacked and consumed by the fear of trying to comprehend what her mind could not. “Who am I to be chosen to give birth to a King? How will I even take on that responsibility? I don’t know anything about how to raise a King.” But all God was asking from her was a simple “yes” and she would give birth to the Savior of the world.

One thing we can learn from Mary’s life is that FAVOR with God is not always instant. Luke 1:30 says, “Don’t be afraid Mary, for you have found favor with God.” A lot of times in life we think of having favor as being instant success or fame. If something happens that is good in our life we immediately equate that to “favor.” It’s Christmas time and the mall is extremely crowded. You make your way down each row hoping to find a parking spot. Out of no where comes a front row spot. “That is the favor of the Lord right there!” we think to ourselves. Sound familiar? When we look beyond these little moments into the depth of God’s amazing favor we can see a beautiful thing. God’s favor over your life may not be immediate. Your life may seem hopeless, broken, and like you are amounting to nothing but what you don’t realize is that you may be walking in some of the greatest favor of God, you just can’t “physically” see it yet! Its manifestation is still on its way. One of the biggest mistakes we can make is becoming impatient. We begin to make our own decisions and step out from under the favor of God because to us it seems as if our life has missed the favor of God. Let’s look at Mary’s life. God’s blessing over Mary would lead to the greatest pain. Her submission was part of God’s plan to bring about our salvation. Her simple “yes” would change the world forever but she didn’t know that when she spoke it. She FIRST had to submit and walk through great pain before she ever saw the outcome. Despite all the possible risks surrounding her life, she took a chance and said, “I am the Lords’ servant, may everything you have said about me come true” (Luke 1:38). She risked her life, her reputation, and the possibility of great disaster. Mary did not know the tremendous opportunity that stood beyond her submission to what the Lord said. She quieted her doubt and fear and willingly obeyed. And through that she became the mother of the SAVIOR of the world!

Don’t wait to say “yes” to the Lord because you can’t see beyond what He is calling you to do. All you have to do is willingly submit even when the outcome seems disastrous. God can do the impossible and He will with a heart that says “yes.” Your life may not look like you are walking under any favor but through obedience and acceptance of where God has you will lead you into the greatest favor of your life. Be encouraged if you are walking through some of the most challenging and painful times. Submit with patience and watch the favor of God unfold around you. I want to leave you with this: Our response to God’s call determines the favor we walk in. Begin this next year saying, “Lord I am your servant, have your way. My soul will praise your name.”

Merry Christmas !!

December 23, 2014 1 comment
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nofearinlove

When we think of February we think of the color red, chocolate, love, roses, cards, and whatever else makes us or someone else feel good on the inside. You try to think of everything you can to make that “special someone” feel and know that they are loved and wanted. Romance heightens on that special day called Valentines. Stores are flooded with dozes of roses, teddy bears, and cards with expressions of love. Chocolate covered strawberries become a craze and you find yourself buying a dozen. While it is so much fun to take the time to show those we love how much we love them, what if we took a moment to stop and think of what LOVE really is? What if we lived our life in “perfect LOVE” rather than a temporary feeling of heightened romance? Instead of chasing the butterflies, what if we chased the one who gave His life for us?  If we pursued the greatest love story ever told, our lives, along with our relationships and marriages, would be radically changed into a love that drives out all fear. Fear of the unknown. Fear of the future, of what’s next. Fear of the relationship or marriage your in. With the LOVE that Christ so freely gives, He wants to transform our lives and relationships into His design.

What would happen if we dared to trust the ONE who loves us so much and let go of our fear? What does it mean to trust Him?

“And now, just as you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord (receive), you must continue to follow him (our daily battle). Let your roots grow down deep in Him and let your lives be built on Him (obedience, listening to the spirit). Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness (your response).” – Col 2:6-7

The biggest challenge is to remain in Him after you receive him. Once we remain in Him daily, our faith will continue to grow and thankfulness will automatically flow out of our lives.

I would love to say that January was an incredible start to my new year, but to be completely honest, it was a month of battles. I’m ready for a new and fresh start. The struggles and battles we face in life are overwhelming and constantly win the battle for our heart because we fail to receive (God’s gift) and remain (daily) in Him long enough to let him build a faith in us. We take the easy way out and give up.

In my quiet time, I am constantly encouraged and challenged by Mary and the woman she was. Over this past month, the Lord spoke to my heart about Mary and her unwavering trust in the promise she was given. The virgin Mary heard from the angel and chose to [believe] and [remain] in that truth. As she did this, worship and love flowed out of her heart. Once she heard from the angel, she didn’t wait around and question if she was worthy “enough” or doing “enough” to be the mother of Jesus or wonder what her neighbors thought. She didn’t put on a mask and fake happy and joy while trembling with fear on the inside. She [immediately] got up and went to see her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country. “Action springs forth from the heart of a woman who has encountered God.” She didn’t wait around to let her thoughts, fears, and emotions steal the great love and joy from her promise. When her cousin Elizabeth, who was expecting at the time got sight of Mary, her unborn baby leaped with joy!! Elizabeth was also filled up with a joy and love. “Worship and Joy will flow out of others when they encounter one that has been with the Lord. Others lives will be changed because of the ONE who didn’t wait around in fear and doubt but sprung up and believed the truth of the Father.” What power lies within those who fully trust in the ONE who loves them so much. What power lies within you and me who have access to a “perfect love.”

My greatest desire this month is to get back to a place where worship, joy, and love flows out of my heart on a daily basis. I don’t want to be distracted by the “struggles” in life that I allow fear and worry to enter my heart causing me to fake love to those around me. I want to encounter God more on a deeper level and spring forth when He speaks. When I encounter others, I want my life to reflect one who has just been with Jesus.

There is a LOVE that knows no bounds. A love that surrounds you and never leaves you. A love that you have access to every second of the day. A love that when you walk into a room, lives are changed. A love that holds you and never gives up on you. Join me this month to redefine love in every area of our lives.

Goals

– Read: Radical by David Platt
– Send letters to those I love
– Start my book. I have this dream I believe God has given me to write a book. There is a story inside me I want to tell the world and this month I just want to “start” writing it, even if it is one page.
– Listen to the beauty of music and sing LOUD.
– Dance and enjoy the small silly moments in life :)
– Take more pictures. Do a photo shoot.
– Laugh more
– Value the meaning of Love and the power it holds.
– Completely letting go of my plans, dreams, and desiring to trust the ONE who loves me so much.
– Go on a long 15 mile run. Running faster and taking in each moment.
– By a box of chocolate for a friend letting them know how much they are loved :)
– Take care of my body and focus more on eating healthy. This month I am giving up sweets and focusing my attention on replacing sugary things with healthier alternatives such as a piece of fruit or hot tea.
– Prepare to leave for Africa next month!!
– Update the EB page once a week.
– Attend the Graven’s Conference in Clearwater, FL for an entire week! So excited to learn new things for our families and tiny little babies in my NICU!
– Just be ME. Running from the pressure of comparison knowing and believing that my identity is fully found in Christ.

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Alright!! Here is to February! Lets make it count!

February 2, 2014 2 comments
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