Blessings, Gratitude, Image, Inspiration, Life, Remembering

Honoring The Service of Our Veterans

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

Thank you to all who have served to protect our Country and our Freedoms.

If you ever question the state of our Country and all her faults, consider living outside of it. You will quickly realize the full impact of her worth when you do.

I am blessed and honored to know so many people who have served, respected, and honored her. Thanks to all of you and the sacrifices you have made, she remains a great Nation.

To all my Veteran Friends today, I salute you!!

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Challenge, Comfort, Encouragement Today, Hope, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Motivation, Strength

Focus on Growth

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

Encouragement Today

Is your life one you are thankful for?

Is it everything you hoped for and are blessed to have or is it one you didn’t foresee having? 

Consider this thought today, 

“Your life is whatever you focus on.” 

Shadonna Richards

As I observe my surroundings and watch the people around me, I see a lot of pain. 

I see people struggling with relationships, work, finances, health, and children. 

I know even for myself, pain has had a huge impact in my life. 

I know the pain of strained relationships and that of finances not being enough. I am reminded daily of the pain of watching my daughter fight a battle within her own body and the destruction it is trying to have on her. 

However, today I want to encourage you that life does not have to be the focus on all you struggle with.

We have the power to change our focus. We have the power to retrain our thoughts to where we focus on more positive things instead of the negative ones. 

This strength is coming from our God, who knows every single detail of every struggle and battle we are facing. 

Ask Him today to help you retrain your thoughts and your focus.

Ask Him today to strengthen your heart and to refocus your thoughts to where, instead of focusing on all the things that are difficult, to instead, focus on the blessings.

My Friend, my challenge to you is to retrain your focus and look at areas in your life where you are happy and find contentment instead of focusing on things that bring you heartache. 

Once you fall deep in a pit of despair, it is hard to refocus on the positives thoughts, but it is my desire that you take one step at a time. Look for one thing you can be grateful for and one more and one more. 

This will enable you, over time, to begin to see and focus more on more positive things, thus giving less power to the negative ones. 

I challenge you to begin this practice today if you are struggling.

If you already focus on the positive things in your live, way to go! I am super proud of you

#Findingyourcourage, Challenge, Encouragement Today, Image, Inspiration, Journey, Life

Enjoy The Present

Enjoy your time today doing whatever you are doing. 

“Life is a gift and the present is the time to cherish it.” 

Shadonna Richards

Life is short and it can only come back via memories. 

Enjoy your time today doing whatever you are doing

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Believe in Yourself, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Journey, Life, Motivation, Strength

God Mends The Broken-Hearted

Dear Sweet Friend,

Your pain is real. Your hurt is real. Your frustrations are real. Your fear is real. Your tears are real.

I may not know what is weighing heavy on your hearts tonight, but I do not need to know.

The One who needs to know, already knows.

I know so many who are struggling with “real” life situations that the pain is just more than unbearable,it is paralyzing you.

My dear friend, if this is you tonight, please know you are not alone.

“The same God who created your heart, is the same God who can mend your broken one.” HD Benson

Be encouraged knowing that He knows every tear you have shed and every fear you experienced.

He knows you need to pass a class in school.

He knows the relationship strains you have that just have you worn out and exhausted.

He knows the financial strain you may be feeling as well as the physical health issues you may be struggling with.

My dear sweet friend, turn your fears and concerns over to God tonight. He does not want you to carry this weight any longer.

He wants you to rest in His arms and give Him all of your concerns while He strengthens you tonight.

My friend, find the peace you need in your Creator!

If He knows how many hairs on your head, He too knows your every concern. Give them to Him right now. Give them to Him tonight.

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Blessings, Challenge, Courage, encouragement, Hope, Inspiration, Journey, Joy, Life, Peace, Thankfulness

Opening Our Hearts to Gratitude

Credit:Homelifeandencouragement.com

It is so easy to get knocked down by all that life throws our way. The busyness, the relationship struggles, the soccer practices, football games, dance recitals, or work struggles; but I want to be your place of encouragement this month. I want to be that gentle reminder to look past it all and find something to be thankful for today.

I am a firm believer that if we look for bad, we will find it at every turn, but if we look for good, we will find it too, in the midst of the mud and the muck.

I will be posting daily reminders in one fashion or another to remind you to look for at least one, if not more, things to be thankful in everyday of this month.

Feel free to leave your comments below. If you would to leave them private message annotate that and I will not make your comment public.

Happy November!

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Faith Believes in The Impossible

Credit: Homelifeandencouragement.com

I am sharing some comfort, as well as hugs, to those who find themselves struggling with something today.

My encouragement to those who find themselves battling in difficulties is this…. you will get through this time and you will get through this season of hardships.

There is a key to remembering this and it is found in Deuteronomy:

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

You are never alone and God has not forsaken you. He sees your tears and He hears your cries.

Remember this truth, no matter how many lies you hear from the enemy, they will never be true.

The only real truth you need to believe is what God is saying to you today. Spend some time talking to Him and by doing so, you will hear the words of comfort and peace He is sharing.

He loves you with all His heart. He believes in you, my friend!

He sees your beauty and your worth. He made you uniquely special and with a special purpose. It is during this difficult time that He will turn it around and show you how to use it for good and for His Glory.

If you find yourself doubting this, just think about all Job or Joseph or Joshua, or most importantly, Jesus; and all they went through. If you feel like, because you are a woman, they do not qualify, then think about all Queen Esther or Ruth or Sarah went through. Their suffering was real. Their personal trials were big to them, but God brought them through all of their hardships and are we not still talking about them today?

God is still using their hurt and their pain to make something good out of it. He is using their stories to encourage us during our times of trials and hardships.

My Friend, just as He is using their story to encourage and comfort us, He will use our trials and hardships to encourage others as well.

Hang in their today, oh weary and heart-broken friend. This too will pass and one day you will be able to share your story to encourage others as well.

Stand tall and if you can not because you are too tired and weary, I will stand with you.

If you find yourself in a time of great difficulty and you are in a desperate place and a need to reach out to someone, I am here.

Leave a comment below or send me a private message so you no longer have to feel like you are battling your trial in isolation.

#Transformingloveministries, encouragement, Friendship, Inspiration, Keeping It Real, Life, Re-Post, TLM Blog Posts, Transforming Love Ministries

Finding Peace in the Storms of Sisterhood

Credit: Transformingloveministries.org

I am re-posting a wonderful blog post written by my friend, Stacha Ashburn from @transformingloveministries.org

This is such a powerful and encouraging post about maintaining our peace within the relationships we have with others (not just our sisters, but it can even be powerful with any relationship we have with others.)

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For a long time now, I have been a huge advocate for sisterhood. However, I am still very much learning just what healthy and unhealthy relationships look like and how to navigate through them. We all know within any real relationship women have with one another there is going to be emotional highs and lows that will trigger drama. Let’s call them peace robbers!

I believe within the body of Christ it gets a little bit more complicated because we are not to conform to the world’s way. I am going to unveil and share some scenarios I have walked through within my sista girl circle –what I did right, what I did wrong, and what I learned overall.

Something I want to share upfront, though you are a believer that doesn’t mean you’re anybody’s doormat!

Holy Spirit will lead and guide you in Peaceful Relationships 101 when you respond verses react. When we react, we give away our power. When we respond appropriately, we stay in control of ourselves and secure our inner peace. Keep your overall peace by choosing to not allow another party to provoke you into losing your Jesus!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have mastered this choice at times, and other times I have failed epically! But God ain’t done with me yet!

I recently found myself in a situation with one girlfriend in which we simply could not agree to see eye to eye. So, what do you do in these scenarios?

By the grace of God, I was at work and had to keep all the fruits of HIS Spirit during this encounter. I finally got to the place where I called it out for what it was. I told the other party that “This isn’t me against you or you against me, it is the enemy we are warring with.”

Ephesians 6:12 says:

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” NLT

With that, we were able to agree to see it differently. We were hip to Satan’s tricks. We hugged it out and moved on.

Then there was another situation where my sista wouldn’t respond via call or text, which only added fuel to the enemy’s fire in my mind. Ephesians 4:26 says:

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry. NLT

I totally see why now, because in the silence, your mind tries to make sense of it and creates its own conclusions, which essentially robs you of your peace. When we finally did speak, we discovered lies -all lies! I learned I am a “let’s handle this right now” type of person; whereas, she is a “I need to be still and pray for a few days” type of chick. After discovering this, we agreed to use a code word that my husband and I often use – processing. Now when we have a disagreement, she just texts the word “processing” to let me know she needs her space. With that, I know she just needs a moment and then we are going to come back to the dispute at hand.

Then there’s this example that recently presented itself. It is another great example of how I need to seek to understand my sista better before responding to her.

I was on the phone with a friend when chaos broke out in my home. I had to get off the phone abruptly and handle the immediate situation. This friend knew what was going down, but she hadn’t reached back out at any point in the day to make sure I was well. So, I reached out to her the next day and let her know it hurt my feelings because she knew I was in crisis and didn’t follow up. She immediately apologized and shared that in her family when there is chaos, you don’t bring it up. She assumed based on her experience that if I wanted to talk about it, I would have reached out to her. Huge epiphany! If it wasn’t called out in open communication, we couldn’t have come to that understanding.

Communication is so key in any relationship but is essential within the relationships of believers. The enemy currently has domain over this world, and he wants to rob us of our peace by keeping us entangled in relationship issues. It’s evident that’s one of Satan’s best tricks. This keeps us distracted from living life fully alive.

Matthew 18:20 says:

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them. KJV

We are better together than we are apart, and we already know the power in that!

At the same time, we must learn discernment and balance as we walk this walk. There will be times when we will need to let go of those God hasn’t called us to keep. It took me way too long to realize we don’t have to remain friends with the toxic people in our circles. We are free to walk away from people who hurt us. We don’t owe anyone an explanation for taking care of ourselves.

There will be times that we need to erase messages, delete numbers, and move on for the sake of our well-being. It doesn’t mean we will forget who that person was to us, but we come to accept that they aren’t that person anymore and must simply set ourselves free. If someone hurts you once, they most likely will do it again. Don’t let toxic people make you feel like you are holding a grudge when you are establishing well-placed boundaries.

Whew ladies! When it comes to finding peace in the storms of sisterhood, I have shared just a few moments from my personal collection of experiences. Maintaining healthy relationships in our community of sisters is important because God says love HIM and love each other!

Besides being members of a local community, we have wide relationships with family, including extended families, co-workers, sisters, and friends. We have friends across spiritual communities and generations alike. This creates courage for women to face the future in faith and in hope. Courage comes from the power of our sisterhood, the energy that women have together. And there are so many spheres in which the courage of women has shifted the arc of history toward justice. Our sisterhood is powerful. Protect it!

Written by Stacha Ashburn

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, Bible, encouragement, Forgiveness, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Re-Post, Strength, Trophy of Grace

To Forgive Or Not Forgive…That Is The Question — Trophy Of Grace

Credit: Trophy of Grace

Today’s post is a re-post from my friend at Trophy of Grace. You can not miss reading this amazing piece about forgiveness and the power it has for you as an individual.

Do you find yourself in the position where forgiveness is necessary in order to get past the hurts and raw feelings you have experienced in your life?

If you do, read today’s blog post, you will be inspired as well as encouraged and you will receive the power forgiveness has to offer you as an individual.

I feel many times we fall into the trap of believing forgiveness is about the other person, when many times it really isn’t. It is really about you and the power and strength it will give you to move on past the circumstance you have been fighting with for so long.

Below is a quick excerpt from Trophy of Grace’s Blog post followed by the article itself.

We all have situations in our lives when we have to choose to forgive. Take a minute and just think of a time where you were wronged or where someone hurt you, you got it? Now remember how it made you feel mentally, spiritually, and physically because it does all 3. It can run the […]

You can click on this link to take you over to her page to continue reading or it is copied below in it’s entirety.

To Forgive Or Not Forgive…That Is The Question — Trophy Of Grace

We all have situations in our lives when we have to choose to forgive. Take a minute and just think of a time where you were wronged or where someone hurt you, you got it? Now remember how it made you feel mentally, spiritually, and physically because it does all 3. It can run the gamut.

What happens when we don’t forgive?

Unforgiveness, pain, or stress can cause heartburn, high blood pressure, migraines, all kinds of sickness, sleep problems, anxiety, depression, and worsen pain. It can also cause us to put up walls, not trust others even when they were not the offender. It can cause us to live in fear, shame, and rejection. Puts distance between you and God, and other people and soooo much more.

Once that offense happens unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment, anger, and more can all set in. I’m quite certain we’ve all experienced them at some point in our lives. It’s what we do with when it’s pops it’s ugly head out that matters most.

We can choose to let it makes angry, unhappy, grumpy, miserable, sick, basically it’s like drinking poison and expecting the one who harmed us to die. I’ve been there myself to often and my friend it’s not a fun place to be.

  • Unforgiveness steals your joy.
  • Unforgiveness actually can make your body sick.
  • Unforgiveness also opens the door for the enemy to work in your life.
  • Unforgiveness can hinder your prayer life, and keep your prayers from being answered.

So what’s our other choice? Because we do have another choice, it’s not easy by any means but it is the one that’s best for us and that’s….forgiveness!

I think we get confused, it doesn’t excuse the person or what they did that harmed you, it’s for yourself! It’s for your peace and your joy.

The wrongs that have been done to you can make you bitter or better, but not both. I’m choosing the latter. And yes it’s hard but it’s so worth it!

You may have to do it over and over and over again until one day it just is better and that person or situation no longer has power over you.

I found myself there the other day over a certain situation and I had the choice on what I would do. I’m happy to say after some shed tears, yes Lord 70*7 I choose to forgive, for myself and Lord as hard as it is to say, would You bless my enemies.

Matthew 18:21-22 “Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

Matthew 5:44 “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

What the enemy meant for harm and to destroy, You Lord will work for my good. It’s a promise!

Obviously, God has something so much better for us. Today I can even say thank you for the situation because it’s just given God more of an opportunity to shine in our lives. It’s all for His glory!

Ya know, I share some of my crazy Jerry Springer things or my brokenness and struggles not to air my dirty laundry or make you feel sorry for me but in hopes that maybe through my pain, my trials I can encourage and help someone else along the way! That’s my hearts desire. I never want my pain or tears to be wasted, and I want Him to receive all the glory. I’ve been through some stuff, just like you but I choose to let it make me better and you can too!

So today, I say choose forgiveness sweet friend, not for them but for yourself. God sees what’s going on in the lives of his precious children and don’t think He will not bring vindication and victory in your lives.

It takes time to restore and it may look different than what you think it should look like. But it’s durning those times of restoration that our faith and trust grows and we grow closer to God.

Never doubt God has a plan, He wasn’t caught off guard by what happened to you. His word says, “He will do exceedingly, abundantly, above and beyond all you could hope, ask or think.” Amen!! He loves you with an everlasting love and He will work it all out for your good.

Have a blessed and wonderful weekend! God bless you!

Big hugs,

💗

Nicole

Comfort, encouragement, Image, Journey, Kindness, Life, Strength

Strong Bonds

Credit: @homelifeandencouragement.com

Friendships and sisterhood are bonds that are never broken.

When you are too tired to hold your arms up in praise and worship,

“I am here to hold them up for you. God sees your tears and hears your cries.”

Unknown Author

He sees your smile and hears your laughter. Just as He sees and hears you, so do I.

Together we stand, forever we live. 

#sisterhood

#Findingyourcourage, #Keepingitreal, #Transformingloveministries, Blessings, Comfort, Courage, encouragement, Guest Post, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Peace, Strength, TLM Blog Posts, Transforming Love Ministries

Finding Peace in Being Single

Credit: transformingloveministries.org

I am sharing a guest post written by Katrina Hodges from Transforming Love Ministries . It is an encouraging and inspirational blog post regarding being single and finding a Godly peace within, when being alone is not socially acceptable.

If you find yourself in a similar situation and you are looking for a peace to get through the difficult emotions that are associated with being alone, then this a post for you.

Read it today and be blessed by the heart and sweet words Katrina shared with us. God is waiting for you so He can bless you with the same peace He has blessed her with.

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Leave a Comment / 12 Months of Emotions / By Elaine A. Lankford

I’m 34. Most of the time I try to block out my actual age because I know I’m over 30, have never been married, and do not have any children. I realize in the eyes of society, my female stock just keeps going down. So, when someone asks me my age, I literally have to take a step back, not because I’m trying to lie, but because it’s one of those things that I don’t like to be constantly reminded of.

There are awkward introductions when meeting new women whereby age 34, if you don’t have a spouse or children, you are the odd man out. In those situations, since I don’t meet societal expectations, I have to find inner validation.

Most women in this stage of life define their identities by being a wife and having children. The next time you meet a woman I bet within 2 minutes you will know if she is married and if she has given birth to a child. Our society is so conditioned to make that the apex of our worth here on earth that it’s hard not to get caught up in it. 

Growing up I knew I would have a family by the age of 27 and be this amazing wife and mother, nurturing a growing family. I had a calculated timeline that could not be interrupted. I was going to have every box checked off of my list to happiness. So, as time began to tick, at 25 I was looking around for my husband. It’s time to get engaged! At 27, I was saying to myself: “Did he get lost?” At 28, I questioned: “Did he fall into a well?” By 30, I had tears running down my face thinking about how I was going to be a crazy cat lady who doesn’t even like cats enough to be a cat lady. I began to ask God what He was doing to me. Why was I being cursed? At this point, if I was a character in the Bible, I would have been Job with the enemy picking on me.  

Then I got this great idea that I’ve got to go on a rescue mission to find my husband because he is apparently lost. I had to form a game plan – I’ll search all the typical places they could be. Listening to others, I took inventory on where they met their spouse. Still no luck, so I turned to the last place I could think to look – church. Ironically, hitting multiple rock bottoms will lead people to Christ. 

I began the journey of walking with Christ but continued a low-key walk to finding a man. Sisters let me say, this is a really bad idea! I cannot begin to describe how problematic this is. A large majority of men in church are already taken or married. Apparently, going to church is an activity that couples tend to do together. So, where does that leave me?   

So just like any good adversary, the enemy started saying some pretty messed up things to me. The words, which played on a continuous loop in my mind, started out as him talking to me and then, somewhere along the way, I started saying those things to myself.

You are never going to get married.  

You are never going to have children. 

You are going to die alone, and no one will be there to mourn you. 

Nobody wants you.  

You are ugly, who would want to marry someone as ugly as you? 

The list could go on. He wanted to hit me with every lie he could think of to discredit and discourage my belief in God’s word and my value to the Kingdom. These became my dark daily affirmations. Because I didn’t know any better or understand the tactics of the enemy well enough, I believed and internalized these thoughts.   

Amazingly, at my lowest point and during my dating churches phase, I visited a church that I would later call home. My intention was to see if there was some eye candy in the congregation. But God walked up to me, tapped me on my shoulder, and introduced Himself.

The message that Sunday was about the Jewish temple and how it was set up. The temple had an outer court, then there was an inner court which was considered a holy place, and then there was a special place further in that only the high priest could enter – The Holy of Holies. The pastor went on to explain the procedure for how the high priest must enter the Holy of Holies. In those days, a rope was tied around the priest in case he displeased God and was struck dead, he could be pulled out without anyone else having to enter this sacred place.

It ministered to me. It made me realize that God is the one who will ordain my high priest and that if someone is not qualified to be in my Holy of Holies, it will cause them to be dead in my life. That message helped me to start healing from my failed relationships. It spoke to me that as a daughter of God, I was too powerful for what those old relationships had to offer. God asked me: “What is being married and having your own family going to provide you with?” “What are you going to gain from these things?” I thought someone to talk to, someone to live life with, someone to love, which is everything I thought I needed to be happy. It was then that God introduced Himself as Jehovah Shalom, the Lord is Peace.

Now when the enemy tries to lie to me, I can reply with God’s truths. I am not alone because my Father is with me. The Holy Spirit tells me: “I made you past a man’s idea of beauty into my idea of what beauty is.” He says: “I’ve always wanted you.” He lets me know that He has enough children in the world that need a mother like me. He enthusiastically wants to do life with me. He’ll even wake me up at three in the morning just to be in my presence and have my undivided attention. When it comes to love, who better to give and receive love than Love itself? He’s wanted to give me these things all of my life. He put a hunger for love in my heart. I was looking for a man to give me identity, purpose, validation, and wholeness but something greater found me and let me know He’s been there all along waiting on me. What I’ve been able to discover is that only God can truly make us whole and anything else is counterfeit.  

During this season of being single, He has told me: “Daughter, I’m taking my time because I love you so much. I want to give you something special. I’m sorry if it seems that when you talk to me about being single that I’m not listening. That is not the case. What I’m doing is talking to the man I’ve called to be your spouse. I do not want to entrust my beautiful creation to just anyone. You, my dear, are not overlooked. Handcrafted things just take longer to make. I’ve intentionally given you this season because you have a lot of sisters out there that you need to set free. They need to know, if they will let me, I can fill the emptiness and they can live in peace during this season of preparation.”

There is freedom in having peace while being single. You have the opportunity to have unadulterated, extremely deep intimacy with Christ like no other time in your life. In you, He has the space and room to do incredible things in you, for you and through you. During your single season, you have the Lord, who will rule justly, fairly, and with reason. He is not a man and not victim to the imperfections of mankind. You have a Savior who has been your champion since the beginning of time. He has been waiting for the opportunity to know you completely. Every attribute of Himself, He is able to unselfishly share with you without you having to split your focus. He enjoys your company so much sisters that He wants your undivided attention a little bit longer. Every creation is special, but some provide Him with a different level of joy.     

I’m 34. I’ll be 35 in March. I haven’t been on a date in at least 4 years. The world tells me I have a biological clock that is ticking. My flesh shows me that the effects of gravity across my body are real. I find gray hairs everywhere. But God, my Jehovah Shalom, reminds me that He made time and if it’s His design for me to have a child, I will have one. If not, He has so many children He needs someone to help love on. God, My Peace, reminds me that the gravity pulling at me really means He needs my heart on this earth a little longer so I can be His hands and feet. God, my comedian, told me the gray hairs are genetic and I got that from my mom’s side of the family.

All jokes aside. The freedom He gives us allows us to choose how we see this season. I have chosen to trust God and believe in His plan for my life. I have peace because I have the ability to show the Father my cheerful obedience and demonstrate my trust. How about you?

Written by Katrina Hodges