My mission is to provide you with inspiration and encouragement to live everyday to it's fullest. I do this by sharing the simple things in life such as recipes to the most difficult of things such a life. We all know life is a struggle and many days a balancing act, but I am here to inspire you to do it well. Everything I write about is designed to inspire as well as encourage you to be a "better" you that you can be. Everything I share is raw and real. I do not cover up or sugar coat what I write about. This would benefit no one. My goal is for you to walk away feeling uplifted and encouraged after leaving my page. Lastly, I am here to remind you that you are… enough and beautiful… just the way you are.
Are you struggling with finding the hope you need to get through a difficult time?
Today I am sharing some encouragement through a different form. I am going to team up with my nephew, who is a youth ministry leader to share with you some hope to get through today as well as the difficult days that are ahead.
I am going to share with you a YouTube video that nephew made for the youth of his church while they are quarantining.
It is my hope that you are encouraged by his words. If you have any youth in your home who may be discouraged and need to be uplifted, share this with them as well.
Click on the link below to listen to Pastor Travis give us hope and encouragement knowing we will get through this difficult time.
Disclaimer: I have his permission to share this video, as well as additional videos with you. It is his desire that you will be touched and encouraged by the words God gave to him to share with us.
During this difficult time it is easy to forget there is power in positivity and forget to focus on things we should be thankful for, so today I want to briefly focus on these.
The Bible reminds us the importance of being thankful;
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV
Now think about the powerful words, “in all circumstances.”
The Bible does not say in certain circumstances. It doesn’t say in good circumstances. It says in “all” circumstances.
All too many times we can find things to be thankful for when life is going easy, but when times become difficult, it is easy to forget this concept.
During difficult times we become consumed by fear and anxiety and allow those dark and heavy emotions to run our hearts into the ground. They take away the ability to see the positive and encouraging things in our life. They rob us of our ability to the thankful of even the simple things in life.
Today we are going reclaim those pleasures that may have been robbed from us. Today we are going to list five things that bring us joy and thankfulness.
What are just five things that bring you joy and peace and what are you thankful for?
Here is my list of five things I am thankful today…
1. Hearing the sweet birds chirping outside my windows. So many times in the busyness of life, I don’t think we take the time to hear them. But in the quietness of my morning I heard them this morning. It was a sweet sound to my soul.
2. Whether church was closed down or not, I would not have been able to go due to trying to get over my bronchitis. So I’m thankful for the technology that offers our church service to be viewed online in the quiet of my living room.
3. I am thankful for the time, that I don’t normally have to “rest”. I have been sick for 3 weeks and have not had the opportunity to rest until now. Had we not had this shut down, I would still not be able to rest, but when life has forced you to stay home, I am choosing to be thankful for it. I am determined to rest to get over this ugly cold.
4. I am thankful for the school we work at. My daughter and I received news that the school has figured out a way to pay their part-time staff for 2 weeks with the hopes of getting us closer to the end of this quarantine period. This truly touched my heart because they did not have to try to figure this out, let alone find a way. This was a huge blessing to us.
5. Lastly, I am thankful for all the spring that is in the air. I love seeing the trees dressed in their beautiful pink and white blossoms. Their is something inspiring by seeing all this new growth coming back to life. It inspires me to clean up my home and my property and make it fresh and clean again.
Let’s rejoice together in those blessings. Leave your list below in the comments.
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.
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.
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!
Living with chaos is extremely stressful to me. It takes nothing to blow me off course. Let the winds shift and my sails change direction, and away I go, in totally the wrong direction.
For anyone who has followed me for a while, you can tell, based on my writing and how often I post as to whether my life became chaotic and whether it shifted courses.
My Friend, does this happen to you as well?
Do you just plug along doing everything the same way, but one day you wake up and your spouse or your child is sick?
Maybe one day you go to work and you find out your position is no longer needed or you have been fired, but you have no reason or clue as to why.
I have had similar situations happen to me, but the later happened to my husband. These life events rocked my world and have the power to still shift my sails sending me in the wrong direction.
I want to encourage you today, if you too have experienced life changing events that left you feeling like you are treading on the water just praying you will survive, I am here to encourage you with this truth, you will survive.
I found three keys to this survival are God, family, and home.
God will give you the strength to sustain you during this difficulty. He promises to never leave or forsake us in Deuteronomy;
“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread offor it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.””
Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV
No matter how tough you find your life to be or how chaotic it has become, God will give you the strength to sustain you circumstances.
I also found that despite how stressful our life becomes, it is imperative to keep your family together. I know how strained your relationships can become, but you need to remember the importance they are despite the difficulty of your situation.
Do not allow the wedge of difficulty to damage or destroy your family relationships. They will be there when life calms down and the chaos resolves.
Be sure to take the time to still invest in your relationships. Take the time to talk (and listen) with your heart. Take the time to hear how they are affected or impacted by your circumstances.
Take some time to reconnect on a regular basis and they will be there when the winds blow you back on course again.
Lastly, a lesson I recently learned was the power your home has to giving you a safe haven to be when chaos tries to consume you.
I found by investing in cleaning, organizing, and decorating, it has given me a renewal for finding my place of contentment when life spins out of control.
My friend, if you invest love and energy back into your home, it will offer a healing of your mind and body because it will help to distract you from the stress and chaos you may be living and will offer a safe haven from the world as well.
I found tremendous truth to this quote by an unknown author;
A house is built by hands, but a home is built by heart.
Invest your heart today into building your home. You will experience a release of the stress and pressure you have been carrying. In turn you will also be investing back into your family because they will have a safe and loving place to live in.
It is my hope and prayer if you find yourself in a season of chaos and difficulty that you will find some peace today.
Do not allow your circumstances to consume you. Give your every concern to God today and allow Him to carry the weight you have been carrying. You will be thankful if you do.
So there I was, lying on a hospital stretcher in the emergency room, just a few weeks out from the first ever women’s conference my team and I were hosting. The team and I had been planning this event for 11 months, people had paid for tickets, speakers and bands were lined up, and here I was in pain and unable to comprehend what the next 24 hours would hold.
For almost 3 years I had been battling with ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease similar to Crohn’s but with better outcomes. Every medication the physician treating me tried begin failing after a while. And then toward the end of February and the beginning of March, it became obvious that my body was crashing under the weight of this disease.
But that night in the emergency room, with all the chaos surrounding me, I was at peace. I was incredibly uncomfortable, but peace filled me. From the moment I stepped through the emergency doors, through the admission to one hospital and then a transfer to a second hospital, right before surgery and immediately after, His presence was so evident that I was at peace with what was happening.
Oh, in my younger years, I would have been freaking out!!! But now, having walked with God through several ups and downs, I am have learned – when the situation spins out of control, let go and let God!
Paul, who knew a thing or two about wrestling with difficulties, tells us in Philippians 4:7:
Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus. NLT
But wait, what is Paul’s instruction before the “Then” in this verse? I am glad you ask! Paul states:
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Philippians 4:6 NLT
Ah, there it is. I wonder how many times we wrestle to find peace, but forget to ask God to come into the process. Letting go and letting God is not an easy mindset to obtain. It takes practice, it takes commitment, and it is something we must choose to do. But don’t miss the second part of it. We need to thank Him for all He has already done. If God has ever carried you through a storm, that memory is what will help you through the next one. Oh, but how easily we forget what our great and powerful God has done for us. It is so imperative that we remind ourselves over and over again what He has already accomplished. It builds our faith and when our faith is built upon a thankful heart, God will always be there standing in the gap for us!
This past week I have been reading the book of Daniel. Daniel’s faith in God was so evident that those in the kingdom of Babylon, where Daniel was exiled, attempted to use it against him and have him killed. See, Daniel had the gift of revealing dreams and this gained him great favor with the king. He was promoted to a high ranking position within the kingdom. But the Babylonian officials of the king could not bare the thought of a Jewish young man outranking them. Since they could find no wrong in Daniel, these pagan worshipers crafted a plan to use Daniel’s faith in God against him.
These unhappy souls convinced the reigning king, King Darius, to sign into law that for 30 days everyone in the kingdom must worship the king himself. Anyone caught breaking this law would be killed.
And Daniel’s response? Daniel 6 tells us this:
But when Daniel learned that the law had been signed, he went home and knelt down as usual in his upstairs room, with its windows open toward Jerusalem. He prayed three times a day, just as he had always done, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10 NLT
Daniel’s faith was indeed built on a grateful heart.
When the Babylonian officials found him praying, certain that their plan had worked, they immediately took Daniel to the king and demanded that he be punished as the law decreed. Reluctantly, the king agreed and Daniel was thrown into a den of loins. But when the king went back the next morning, this fierce den of lions was filled with peace. And there Daniel sat among these majestic creatures unharmed! Daniel had carried the peace that passes all understanding into that den of lions and the Lord protected him.
In awe of the great and mighty God of Daniel, the king releases Daniel and restores him to his position. The king then takes the Babylonians officials who plotted against Daniel and threw not only them, but their entire families, into the lions’ den. When that happened, no peace remained in the den and the lions consumed those who had been thrown in with them (Daniel 6).
When hard times come, which part of the story reflects your life more? Are you walking peacefully with God, thanking Him for what He has done? Or are you feeling trapped with your anxiety in a den of lions who are ready to pounce?
From the moment I opened my eyes after surgery, I knew God had delivered me from a disease that was holding me back. And I was grateful! The relief that I felt after surgery, minus some incisional pain, was all I needed to know that things were going to work out. A little less than 3 weeks later, we pulled that conference off. But I knew, standing on that stage, who had allowed me to recover in such a beautiful fashion so that I could indeed participate as planned and that peace has carried me the rest of the year.
I pray that in whatever you may be going through that God’s peace with fill you today.
Father God, teach us to lean into the process of learning how to receive Your peace. Tug at our hearts Lord when we forget to be grateful for all that You have already done. And help us to remember that the One who created the lion is also the One that can shut the lion’s mouth when he tries to consume us. In Christ’s name, I pray. Amen.
Founder, Transforming Love Ministries
Creator, She Steps Forward Women’s Conference
For more of Elaine’s story, you can find Love Echoed Back: I Cried Out; He Answered on amazon.com.