Put On the Armor of God

Lord,

Help me put on the belt of truth today filtering everything the world tells me through the light of Your Word. Remind me with the breastplate of righteousness that I cannot achieve goodness by the things I do or don’t do. You were the perfect sacrifice and I stand forgiven because of my hope in you. Help my feet carry your message of peace to a hurting world. Let me encourage those around me with the story of your gospel and son, Jesus Christ. Give me strength to carry my shield of faith. I am a part of a community of faith and we all stand together against the attacks of Satan. Cover my mind with the helmet of salvation. Help me think on things that honor you and give me discernment to do what is right and best. Arm me with your sword and hide your scripture in my heart. Your words, not mine, are powerful and effective. i pray all of this in the name of Jesus Christ, who was the perfect sacrifice to overcome death and give me eternal life.

Amen.

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Heaven Sent

While I was married to my ex, before our third child was conceived, I was driving behind a truck that had the name Tryston on the back window where the driver sat. I loved the name and felt that one day I would have a son and that is what I wanted to name him. When I got pregnant with Shaylie, I knew God was giving me a son. At my sonogram appointment, the nurse said it was a girl and I was so sad. I chose to believe she read it wrong and had two more sonograms done because I wanted to know for sure. They all said the same thing. 100% girl. I got over my sadness, but still wanted a little boy. Then my life fell apart. I had totally forgotten all about the name and lost all hope of ever having a little boy. Then I met Trey. It wasn’t until he proposed that God reminded me of what he put on my heart the day I saw that name on the back of that truck. I never imagined it would happen in this fashion, but He did follow through on His promise! Today Tryston, my step-son or as I like to refer to as my bonus son, celebrates his 11th birthday and God reminds me every year on this day that His ways are not my ways and His plans are not always the way I think things would turn out, but His are always better than my biggest, wildest dreams!

If you find yourself with dreams that haven’t turned out the way you wanted, give it all to God. He put those dreams in your heart for a reason and He will bring them to life in His timing. They just might be packaged a little differently than you envisioned! Tryston may not be my biological son, but I love him no less. God whispered to me that day in the car and shared a piece of His plan for me. I look forward to the day when I am standing at the feet of Jesus and He reveals every detail from His perspective. Until then, I feel so blessed that God gives us glimpses of His heart and dreams for our lives.

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Thank You God!

Dear God,

I want to take time to remember all the things you have done for me through the years. Oh there are so many things. You have carried me through dark valleys of the shadow of death. You have rejoiced with me on the mountaintops. You have held my hand and helped me take a leap into unknown waters. You have applied healing balm to my hurts and warm sunshine on my soul. You have given me precious friends whom have stood the test of time…and more. You have given me a loving family to grow with and be with. You have increased my territory spiritually. You have picked me up when I have stumbled and nearly hit the ground. You have provided for me when I did not know where my provisions would come from. You have surrounded me with prayers and support from the family of God in time of need. You have shown me miracles and blessed my soul. You have given me the desires of my heart — desires that are in line with Your will and word. You have given me the privilege of helping advance Your Kingdom through gifts, talents, and resources You have entrusted to me. You have always been patient with me. You have felt my cries, laughed at my silliness, and gently guided me back onto the right path. You have loved me with an everlasting love. I could go on and on. God, I am thankful for You and all You have done and all You will do in my life. I love you and appreciate You and want to shout, “How great is my God!”

With loving gratitude, in Your sweet and holy name,
Amen.

Being Patient During the Wait

Patience — the will or ability to wait or endure without complaint; the state of endurance under difficult circumstances, persevering in the face of delay or provocation without acting on annoyance/anger in a negative way; or exhibiting forbearance when under strain, especially when faced with long-term difficulties.

Growing up I learned early on that patience was a virtue, but I never really knew the true definition. So because my version was a little skewed, I saw myself as a patient person. What I would soon learn was that the kind of patience I had was for day to day trials, not long-term waiting.

After my divorce I “dated dumb”, as I like to refer to it. Out of my pain, I choose people that were very unhealthy and I quickly discovered that if I wanted my second marriage to be healthier than my first, I had to make wiser choices. So I waited for God to place someone in my life. Not long after, I met a man and a few months into our relationship, marriage was being discussed. We dated for almost a year and had an amazing relationship. We attended church together, prayed together, and he was my best friend. He was everything I had prayed for since I was a little girl. But all those dreams were put on hold when he decided he needed some time to figure out what he really wanted. So my wait began. I knew God was in control, so I respected my boyfriends’ decision and stepped away to let him have the time he needed to make the best choice for him. I was patient for about four weeks and then I got angry. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months with no word from him, I realized patience was an area I needed to work on. I reminded myself daily that God had a plan and tried to meditate on His promises. That mindset would last a few days and then I was back to feeling sad and wondering why it was taking so long for God to give me what I thought was His plan for my life. Somewhere on this roller coster ride of trusting God and feeling sorry for myself, I realized that my lack of patience was due to the fact that I was waiting on the outcome I wanted. Never did I imagine that God had a different plan in store for me.

One day I had stayed in bed all afternoon because I had made myself physically ill. While I was laying there feeling sad and praying for God to take the pain away, I heard a crash that came from my bathroom. I walked in to find a framed, full length mirror face down on the cold tile floor. I very carefully turned it over, careful not to cut myself. The glass was shattered in hundreds of pieces. Great, I thought, seven years of bad luck. Just what I needed, more trials and heartache. Needless to say, that day turned out to be a depressing one.

It wasn’t until a few days later that God came through loud and clear. After the mirror had fallen and shattered, I placed it under a chaise lounge in my room. One day as I was cleaning, I decided it was time to throw it away. As a slide it out from under the lounge, I was reminded of all the pain in my life. With tears welling up in my eyes, I stood up and noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. Not a single piece was out of place. With blurred vision, I saw the most beautiful arrangement of broken glass. It looked like a firework with the center as the point of impact, bursting from there into a starburst effect. I was in awe of the beauty that came from an old, broken mirror. What God revealed next pierced my heart. He softly whispered that the mirror represented my life. Like the mirror, I was completely broken, but He promised me if I stayed focused on Him, He would take all the broken pieces of my life and put them back together to create a beautiful masterpiece.

On that cold winter day, my Heavenly Father revealed His heart and began the process of putting mine back together again. He taught me that patience is waiting on His timing, not my own. Through my brokenness, God made something more beautiful and more magnificent than anything I could have ever dreamed of.

So if you find yourself questioning God, wondering when He is going to come through for you, know that His timing is always perfect. Meditate on His word and through His teaching, He will use your heartache to mold you into the man or woman you were created to be.

 

What is Your Strength?

Did you know that hidden within every strength, there lies your weakness? Or you can look at it the other way and within every weakness, discover your strength. When I performed this exercise, I found it to be very eye opening. Read through the list below and write down the numbers to the strengths you think you possess. Be honest with yourself. No one is going to see this but you and the more honest you are, the more you will gain.

1) Creative

2) Organized

3) Dedicated

4) Flexible

5) Enthusiastic

6) Calm

7) Reflective

8) Adventurous

9) Responsible

10) Positive

11) Realistic

12) Assertive

13) Humble

14) Self-Confident

15) Patient

16) Passionate

Now do the same thing with this list:

1) Disorganized

2) Inflexible

3) Stubborn

4) Inconsistent

5) Obnoxious

6) Emotionless

7) Shy

8) Irresponsible

9) Unrealistic

10) Negative

11) Negative

12) Intimidating

13) Weak

14) Arrogant

15) Indecisive

16) Impatient

The first tier of this exercise is to see which ones match up. Look at both lists of numbers and write down only the ones that were the same from both lists. For example, if you wrote down number 9 from both lists, you already know that your strength is being responsible. And you also know that you are boring, your weakness. The thing I love about this exercise is it reveals that sometimes it is okay to have weaknesses. Next time someone tells me I am boring, I will know that with that comes being responsible. And on the flip side, if I am being adventurous, I now know that my weakness at the moment is being irresponsible. This knowledge will help me to step back and make sure I am not doing something stupid in the moment.

The second tier in this lesson is to look back over both lists. Locate the numbers you wrote down and match them up with the correlating strength/weakness. Write the following sentence and fill in the blanks for each number you wrote down. “When I am _______, I am _______.” For example, if you wrote number 7 from the strengths list you would write, “When I am reflective, I am shy.” Or, “When I am shy, I am reflective.” Here is the list of the strengths/weaknesses:

1) Creative — Disorganized

2) Organized — Inflexible

3) Dedicated — Stubborn

4) Flexible — Inconsistant

5) Enthusiastic — Obnoxious

6) Calm — Emotionless

7) Reflective — Shy

8) Adventurous — Irresponsible

9) Responsible — Boring

10) Positive — Unrealistic

11) Realistic — Negative

12) Assertive — Intimidating

13) Humble — Weak

14) Self-Confident — Arrogant

15) Patient — Indecisive

16) Passionate — Impatient

Through analyzing our strengths and weaknesses, we learn more about who we are and why we do the things we do. This can also helps us understand why others do what they do, which can be a tremendous help in the work place as well as in our personal lives.