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God Will Light Your Way

Credit: Home. Life. Encouragement

My Friend,

Are you struggling with a difficult situation and you just feel beat down and alone?

Do you feel like no matter where you look, you only see the darkness of your circumstance?

Well, I have an encouraging reminder to share with you today.

You are not! You are not alone, no matter how lonely you may feel and you are not surrounded by the darkness that has you consumed.

God is here to remind you, today that, “His Word is a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your path.” Ps 119:105

Be encouraged knowing God is with you, every second, every minute, and every hour. He is with you and will provide the light you need to see through the darkest of times.

Lean on Him and you will not feel alone. Lean on Him and you will no longer be consumed by your circumstances. He loves you and He is holding you up today.

Be Encouraged Today, You are not alone.

#Findingyourcourage, Anxiety, Bible, Bondage, Challenge, Discouraged, Faith, Hope, Inspiration, Journey, Trust

Faith and Trust Conquer Fear

What Happens When Stress Becomes Unbearable?

Is your life difficult at the moment because worries seem to be piling upon each other and you find the stress unbearable?

Are you in a season of transition, whether you are seeking a new job opportunity or moving to another state or country and you find the stress unbearable?

Are you getting married or having a baby and the months of preparations are quickly disappearing leaving you defenseless to the time and calendar you have been working so diligently with. Now time is running out and you have no idea how you will be ready for the big event to arrive and you find the stress unbearable?

Are you living with a loved one who is struggling with health issues or a chronic illness and they just can not find the road to recovery? Do you find yourself exhausted and helpless because there is nothing you can do to help them feel better? You are trying to be understanding, empathetic, and sympathetic to the health issues, but you are struggling with a concerned and fear over the lack of a paycheck coming in and you find the stress unbearable?

Are you a college student who is struggling to meet the goals of turning in assignments, writing papers, and preparing for final exams while you find the stress unbearable?

My friend, no matter how unbearable you find your stress and how out of control your circumstances may seem, I have a reliable reminder for you today, God knows about all of it. He sees the magnitude of it, as well as the tiniest morsel of it. He knows what the outcomes are as well as what the provisions are. Not one of these circumstances has taken Him by surprise.

We are to trust in Him and have the faith to know it will all come together in the end.

Here are a few verses I looked up with the hopes they will inspire and encourage you to know that no matter what happens, with “faith and trust”, it will all work out.


“He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20 New International Version (NIV)


“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)

“… for we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

Today, my friend, reclaim your life from the fear that took you captive and replace it with a trust in God because He knows about everything going on. Turn your fear into faith and walk away with your head held high because no matter how much stress you are feeling and how unmanageable it may feel, God has it all under control.

Lastly, the image I chose for today’s post was chosen to remind us all; with the proper care, love, water, and sun, God can take a tiny seed and turn it into a beautiful flower. If He can do this with a tiny seed planted in the ground, how much more does He love and cherish us?

Do not let the worries, concerns, and stress of life deaden you to the beauty God holds for you. Allow the same love, sun and rain God provides for the plants to nurture your life in the same way.

My friend, take some time today to rest in your Heavenly Father’s arms. While you are there, ask Him to free you from the bondage of stress and fear you have been experiencing and allow your faith to be refreshed by His grace and mercy.

Anxiety, Bible, Bondage, Challenge, Comfort, Courage, Discouraged, encouragement, Exhausted, Hope, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Rawness, Real, Strength, Stress, Trials, Weariness

What Do You Have In Your Boxes

Psalm 9_9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.

Journaling Thoughts

Choosing Which Box to Open

I must just sit down and take some time to decompress from the stress of life. I feel like I am trapped on a hamster wheel and I cannot get off. I know everyone has problems, we are all human, but how we handle them is completely different.

Box of WorriesI for one, compartmentalized my stress and worries. I have so many issues and concerns that worry me that I have found if I place them all into their own individual boxes then I can open them as I need worry about them.

As for my boxes, they look a little like this…

  • One for finances.
  • One for my daughters’ medical issues.
  • One for my husband’s medical issues.
  • One for my blog.
  • One for my business.
  • One for staying on top of managing my home and family.
  • One for trying to be a good wife.
  • One for trying to be a good mom.
  • One for trying to be a good daughter.
  • One for trying to be a good friend.

And the list can go on and on and on.

Unfortunately, for me, I can have all my boxes opened at one time and have all the contents, or in this case worries and concerns, laying all over the floor in a big heaping mess.

In the “picture perfect” world, I would only open one box at a time, but not me. I am that “raw” and “real” mess and I am exposing myself to you today with the hopes of encouraging you to know, if you too are like me, you are not alone.

I am not, by any means, saying this is healthy, as I know it is not, but what I am saying is that it is real and there are others who live in this messiness, we call life.

By living this way, it is impossible to give all this the focus it needs to be done efficiently and therefore it feels like everything in my world is either getting ahead of me or I am constantly in a state of it all falling apart.

I juggle all of this and because I do, nothing on this list gets my undivided attention and as a result, makes me feel stressed out, inadequate, and frustrated.

Do you have a set of boxes similar to mine and find yourself feeling the same way?

Psalm 9_9-10 The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.My friend, if you do, I am going to share with you what God shared with me this morning.

“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in the times of trouble.” Psalms 9:9-10 

We can use this verse as a means of strength when we are weak, as a source of courage when we are scared, and a source of comfort when we are lonely. 

When life has us knocked down like I described above, He is always there to guide us back to a time of stability and normalcy and strengthens us from our time of fragility. He is always there, even in the middle of our biggest messes, when we choose to open all our boxes at one time and then we feel overwhelmed and frightened by what awaits us.

My friend, God is our source of strength even in our darkest and weakest of times. If you have wandered away from Him and feel like you have strayed so far that He has forgotten you, I am here to remind you, you have not. He knows you and remembers you. He wants to be your comforter and your source of strength. He wants you to know you are loved unconditionally.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (1)Remember the familiar bible verse that so many of us learned when we were children or new Christians,

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV

He loves us all unconditionally. He loves us no matter how messy our lives are. He loves us despite how many boxes we may have or how many we may have open at one time.

There is one thing that remains consistent as I write this blog post and it is this; God keeps reminding me that no matter how many boxes I may have opened or how many boxes I may have dumped all over the floor at one time, He is reminding me that it can all be picked back up (similar to our children doing clean up and putting all their toys away) and that once it is all picked up and placed back in the box, the cover can be closed and we do not have to see the mess any longer.

My Friend, as I close out this post, it is my desire through exposing the rawness of my life, that you are encouraged by knowing no matter what you are going through, God is still by your side. He is there comforting us as we open our boxes and wants us to turn to Him while we navigate our way through the boxes.

Be encouraged and know that no matter how dark and messy life may seem, there is always a hope to cling to and that hope is our Savior who is “ALWAYS” by our side. We are never alone no matter how lonely you may feel.

Peace and comfort my friend as you finish reading this. It is my desire if you struggle with the same messiness I struggle with, that God can use my ugly revelation today to encourage you to know you are not alone and that above everything else to know God is and will always be by your side.

 

Anxiety, Bondage, Challenge, Discouraged, Journey, Life

Break The Bondage of Isolation

Adventures and difficulties in life may not always be enjoyable, but without them, it would be difficult to learn the lessons God is trying to teach us.

Unfortunately, you do not have to look hard to find people who are hurting; whether physically, emotionally, or mentally. It seems everywhere you look there are people who are troubled, either by financial or medical hardships or they find themselves in difficult relationships. We see them on nearly every street corner. We see them within our neighborhoods, schools, colleges, churches, and workplaces. We see them even within our social media worlds of Facebook and Instagram. 

My friend, are you a  person who is experiencing some of these difficulties and find yourself hiding from your own adversities and trials? Are you afraid to reach out to others for fear of burdening them with your problems or you are fearful of feeling persecuted? Are you afraid they will not understand your circumstances and condemn you for the decisions you have made? 

All of these concerns are valid, but my friend, they are not healthy. You can not live a life in isolation while you experience the fear and concern for what others might say or what they might think. 

Many times the hardest part of reaching out is to determine who your safe network would be. My suggestion would be to reach out to a family member, a close friend, or a group you belong to.

 I want you to put some thought to this, God has the capability to put someone in your life, whether it is an individual, a group of people you know intimately or whether it is a group of strangers. Please, take the time to put aside your pride and humility and reach out to them.

Consider this thought, what if God is placing someone in your life because they have already experienced a similar situation or circumstance and they are able to provide comfort and support to you? Please do not rob them of the ability to help and encourage you.

Do not remain locked up in your world of isolation while being consumed by the bondage of fear and worry. The longer you stay, the harder it is to break free from this isolationism because this is how the enemy wants you to live. He wants to stay trapped in this darkness because the longer you stay, the longer you continue to believe his lies.

He wants you to believe lies that are similar to these, I am not worthy of being loved. I am not a good mother or father, son or daughter, husband or wife, friend, or co-worker. I am not a nice person. I am not attractive enough because I am too tall, too short, too fat or too skinny. I am not rich enough or successful enough. Fill in the blank _______________ with the lie you have come to believe. Everyone has these thoughts from time to time, but the danger comes when you believe them and allow them to consume you.  These are a few of the dangers that lurk in the darkness of isolation. 

My friend, we are going into a difficult season where society places many demands and pressures on us to be the best at everything “Christmas” that we can be. The problem that arises is that if you are already struggling with discouragement, frustrations, and depression, then this time of the year will only make these conditions worse. 

The key to breaking this cycle of bondage and isolationism is to acknowledge this as a problem and seek help and guidance from a trusted person. By doing this you will find your life will begin to change and the weight of carrying will be lifted and life will seem a little bit brighter.

My friend, if this has touched your life today, please reach out and seek the help of others to break free from this because you are… Worthy and Important.  

Bondage, Book Promotion, Brave Art of Motherhood, Broken, Challenge, Discouraged, encouragement, HL&E Designs, Journey, Life, Real, Signs, Weariness

Believe In Yourself Today

Today, I want to encourage you to, “Believe in yourself.” This simple phrase has kept coming back to me since this past weekend, and the time has come to share it with you as well.

Do you find you struggle with…

  • Thoughts of self-doubt?
  • Lack of self-confidence?
  • Lack of trust for others?
  • Believe lies you tell yourself?
  • Struggle with fear?
  • Struggle with anxiety?
  • Struggle with feelings of worthlessness

These are strong and powerful emotions and if they are not contained and corrected, over time they can become damaging and even destructive. I want you to consider as you read this which of these emotions do you struggle with? How long have you felt them? Why do you believe them and what has prevented you from breaking free from the power of their bondage? I would also like for you to think about if any of them trigger other emotions within you and what do you feel as you experience them? 

I know as I evaluate this list I struggle with lacking self-confidence which I know is triggered by the power of fear. If I was to evaluate why and what caused it I would have to look back at my childhood. I lived in a home with my single/divorced mom from the age of 5 to the age of 14, when she married my dad. I grew up in a home with a family history of a perfectionists and if you did not do everything just the “right” way, then it was not done correctly.

As a result, everything I did, and it did not matter how big or small it was, I would doubt myself and tell myself it was not good enough, it was not perfect enough, so, therefore, it did not measure up to the “perfect” test. As a result, I live my life today believing whatever I do is never done the “right” way, so therefore it is never good enough to meet the standards I was raised with.

The toughest test I had to pass was when my dad died. My husband was deployed overseas for a short deployment and my dad was in poor health, so I decided to go home in case something happened while my husband was gone. Unfortunately, my greatest concern came true. Thankfully my mom and I had discussed the “what if” scenario leading up to this time because she knew she would not be able to handle his passing well.

This turned out to be the understatement of the year. While we were making funeral arrangements with the funeral director, my mom became very sick and instead of going to the flower shop next to pick out our flowers for the funeral, I had to take Mom to the Emergency Room, at which time they admitted her into the hospital. All I could think of was what am I going to do now?

My dad died the other day, my mom is now in the hospital, today is Saturday and his funeral is on Monday. I was unable to get her doctor to commit to me that my mom would be out of the hospital in time to attend my dad’s funeral, and I had to finish planning it in case she was, but also be prepared to change all the plans if she was not. What was this going to look like for someone who struggles with a lack of self-confidence? How am I ever going to finish his funeral and get everything “perfect” to meet my mom’s expectations (because she told me countless times his funeral was going to be done perfectly)?

My lack of self-confidence ran away with me, fear held me hostage, and anxiety consumed me and somewhere in all of this was the fact I missed my dad and was grieving his loss, but that had to go on the back burner, because I had a small window of opportunity to finish planning his “perfect” funeral for my mom.

I remember so clearly that feeling of helplessness because I lacked the self-confidence to make the important decisions for fear of making a mistake and messing up. This runs my life still today. As it was, I did finish the arrangements, I got mom out of the hospital with two hours to spare before his visiting hours were to begin and I did the “best” job I knew how to do. It all came together and my mom has very few vivid memories of the details for all the medicine she was on at the time. It just means today she cannot find fault with anything I did or did not do.

Other examples in my life where I struggle are writing in my blog because everything I write has to be “perfectly” written. I struggle with being a wife and a mom. I find I must do everything the “right” way or it isn’t done properly. I try to keep my house orderly and as clean and tidy as I can with being so busy. I try to keep the yard neat and presentable because it is an outward reflection of our family. I try to keep up with all the health needs of both my husband and my daughter because this is important to me.

All of this is done with an expectation that is unrealistic for me to maintain because I lack the self-confidence it is all done right, so I just keep trying and trying and when that fails, I try harder. I understand this is seriously faulty thinking, but it was how I grew up and what I learned to believe.

I have been telling myself a lot lately, it is a good thing my mom isn’t around because if she ever saw all the shortcuts I make in my life now, I feel she would be disappointed in me. I have had to learn through the craziness of life that survival is more important to me than perfectionism. I have had to force myself to come to terms with the fact perfectionism is not healthy. No one can possibly live up to the standards I have spent years placing upon myself. I have a long way to go and I am sure if you were to ask my family if I have conquered this they would loudly say, no, but I am determined to bring a sense of self-confidence into my life.

Does any of this sound familiar to you? Do you struggle with deep down and often times hidden emotions that lead you to where you are struggling today?

My friend, I have hope for you. You do not have to live in this bondage any longer. You can choose to change this game and move past it. You can learn a new way of living and be happy with who you have always wanted to become. You can break the chains that have held you captive. 

The first step to making this change is to identify the leading cause for everything you have experienced and identify why you have not allowed yourself the freedom before now to flee from it.

I want to share this quote from my friend, Rachel Marie Martin’s new book, “The Brave Art of Motherhood”. There are many life lessons I have learned by reading this book, but this quote is the one I am going to use for this blog post.

The lesson I have learned through examining my own life is that I have allowed fear to have power over my ability to change what I did not like.

“Fear is a stifling voice of the unknown. It takes self-confidence to muster the courage to unearth the fears holding you back. It takes faith to examine the fears and replace the fallacy of most fears with truth.”  – Rachel Marie Martin 

I have learned fear has stifled my self-confidence and I lacked the faith to break free for the bondage it held me at. I believed all the faulty thinking and believed I had to live this way and accept it even though I did not like it.

My friend, you do not have to do this either. You do not have to allow fear to hold you captive to the things you struggle with. I want you to examine your life and determine if the power of fear is the holding you back from living your life to your fullest? Has it held you back from following your dreams and achieving your goals? If it has, please take the time to first, 

“BELIEVE IN YOURSELF!” 

Secondly, I want you to tell yourself that you will not be controlled by fear any longer and that you will battle those lies you have believed for years and in the end, I want you to believe and have the faith you will rise above it all and stand taller and stronger than anything you have allowed yourself to believe in before. 

Lastly, My Friend, I can not emphasize this concept enough…

“Believe in Yourself!”

*Disclaimer – if you would like to purchase the above sign, it is available for purchase on our HL&E Designs FaceBook Page (via our VIP Group page, to access this group you simply like our HL&E Designs page and request to join our VIP Group) or you can access us via our Instagram Page @HL&E Designs. Links to these pages are available along the sidebar. Click on the link and you will be able to place an order at that time as well as pay for them too. We accept PayPal via hlandedesigns@outlook.com.

 

 

Anxiety, Bondage, Burn out, Challenge, encouragement, Encouragement Today, Exhausted, Goals, Hope, Journey, Life, Motivation, Strength, Stress, Weariness

Do Not Allow Stress To Consume You, Regain It By Planning

Encouragement Today

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Today’s Encouragement is to remind you to let go of the pressures you are carrying and allow yourself to just live with the freedom God intended for us to live.

He never intended for us to be held captive by society’s standards, our busyness, or by our own sense of perfectionism.

Today’s Encouragement is for you to step away from things that harbor stress in your life, thus allowing yourself to have a sense of peace, and not anxiety, about the things you have to do. If there is something stressful you do not have to do, then do not do it today. Put that activity on your planner for tomorrow, this way it gets done, but do not allow it to rob you of your peace today.

Your personal challenge is to look at your planner (if you use one) and look at the week to come. Identify what needs to be done and what can be moved to another day or week, because this will allow you the ability to decompress from the stress you harbor daily.

If you are a busy parent who works all day at a stressful job and you leave work to run your kids to multiple activities nightly, please know it is okay and healthy to tell your children the word no. Your child does not need to run every night of the week from activity to activity. If they wish to live that life, they can do so when they are older and able to run themselves. It is also okay as a parent, to have your children make choices in their activities. Limit them to how many activities they are doing in a season or how many they are attending in a week. Even as adults we need to do this. Life is not about how busy we make ourselves, it is about living life while enjoying it.

Parents, do not get me wrong, I totally believe extra-curricular activities are important for children, but more so for the older ones than the younger ones. The younger ones need more stability and routine in their lives besides constantly running from the time they get up to the time they go to bed.

I believe the little ones need a nightly routine of going home from school or daycare, having supper, doing their homework if they are school age, some play time with their own toys, and a relaxing quiet time routine as well. The quiet time could include a bath, story time, mommy and daddy snuggle time and a routine bedtime. Their bodies need to know what time it is and they only form this through a structured life.

To my single followers who do not have a family or children, it is still important for you to have a structure and routine in your life. This will allow you to regain control over your life and bring the stability and peace back in it as well. If you do not have a planner, consider purchasing one. Your life will become more stable if you better plan your daily activities.

If you are a college student and the pressures of work, classes, and life are getting ahead of you, break out your planner and gain control over it again. Put your work schedule into your planner. Do not fall into the trap of knowing it is something you do every day. You need a visual accountability of your time and by putting your work schedule and all of your extra activities, such as get-togethers, church activities, whatever you have to do, into your planner, you will free your mind of everything you are trying to remember.  Lastly, add your class schedule, homework, and project deadlines to this as well. The ability to visually see everything on your planner will help you to free up stress from your life because you are no longer trying to remember everything your planner will show you.

An important key to successfully de-stressing your life is living a life that is structured, slower, and well planned. Living a life that is unplanned and on the spur of the moment only allows the stress to creep in and run it for you.

My friend, one of my goals I have planned for myself is something I have always wanted to do and that is to create a planner that assists in planning your life. Store bought planners are wonderful and have met my needs for many years, but I find they do not always meet the needs I have. I have always wanted to create pretty, but useful planners for myself as well as others. When I am able to do this, I will be sure to make it available to you as well.

If you have any ideas that you would find useful in a planner, please be sure to leave a comment below and I will incorporate those ideas into my plan as well. My objective is to meet the planning needs of everyone. I have experienced the life of a sick child and how a planner for that would be helpful. I have experienced the needs of a homeschooler and a busy wife and mom. Now I am finding with a sick family a different planner to keep up with them would be helpful. How about you? What do you experience in life and struggle to find planners to meet your needs?

Lastly, remember… Do not allow stress to consume your life, take control over it by better planning.

Bondage, Broken, Discouraged, Encouragement Today, Inspiration, Journey, Life, Rawness, Real, Strength

Set Yourself Free From The Bondage of Masks

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“Good Morning”, the cordial greeting of the day. You put a smile on your face and you return the appropriate greeting and then comes the common follow-up question which is, “How are you?” While you are still smiling, you say good and you?

This is how the typical Monday morning goes. You put on your mask and life is all good again, but is it really?

Do your masks look anything like mine? Do you have a happy face that is well-worn and beginning to fall apart? Do you have the, as my husband says, the neither here nor there face? How about the grouchy face (which if I am being honest is rather worn out)? Do you have the worried face (which has been my go-to mask with all the sickness my family has been through) or how about the frustrated and the angry face? These are my masks I have to hang beside my keys which are ready to grab as soon as I get my keys to go out the door.

Which mask do you grab for the concealment of your everyday real emotions? As for me, I grab a happy face because I can not show others that everything is not ok. Only the people who are close to me know what my real face looks like. To everyone else, they only know the mask I wear.

I often think of the masks I wear every time I mow my lawn. It is important to me to keep my lawn mowed because if my yard is in order then it reflects a well-ordered life from the outsider’s perspective. What the average person driving past my house does not realize, is that if they came through my front door, they would quickly realize I am struggling to keep the chaos and disorder at bay. My house many days is a mess (as my husband often says, and so is everyone else’s, who cares, but he doesn’t understand that I care). I have dog hair (in clumps at the moment) all over the place. My bathroom is in dire need of cleaning. I struggle to keep up with the laundry and my floors need to be vacuumed and mopped. Overall, the house is in desperate need of some love, cleaning, and maintenance.

I know many are reading this thinking I thought we all struggled with this every day? For me personally, it is a struggle I wish I didn’t have. When I gave up my career years ago to come home to be a stay at home mom, I took my responsibility seriously and part of this responsibility was to keep our home and family happy, organized, and free of chaos.

Unfortunately, unhappiness, chaos, and disorder are how we seem to live now. Money is tight, so when something breaks, we can not usually afford to fix it (unless it is something that is serious, such as my car). I am sitting at the car repair shop just this morning, waiting for my car to be fixed as I write this.

Between all the doctor appointments, I am always on the road running between appointment after appointment. Then when we get home from them, it is back in the car to get Kiddo to work, then run errands and return home to decide which is more important, the housework or trying to start my craft and graphic design business to get it off the ground so we can make some extra money, that we are desperately in need of.

So with all of the personal revelation I have made and the rawness of my “real” life, now you know a little more about who I am, personally. The “superficial” me is about keeping up appearances. I grew up being taught we are to be responsible and keep our feelings to yourself. You do not allow anyone to know how bad life can be. You hide this because outsiders are to only see your “best” behavior. Now years later, I find myself struggling with the fallacy of how I was raised while keeping up with the appearance that says, I look responsible and organized. The problem with this is on the inside I struggle with who I am now. I struggle with what I consider to be important. I find I am struggling with trying to figure out who the “real” me is for all the masks I have worn for so many years.

How about you? Do you struggle with this same identity crises because of the years you have worn your masks? Have you finally broke free from the bondage of the masks or are you still hiding? How did you break free?

I think the time has come to remove the masks and let our true identity be visible and shine through. I am challenging you today to make a commitment with me to allow your “real” face to be seen by others.

Today is the day we unmask and set ourselves free from the bondage of false identities.

Remember Today… You are beautiful when you are being your “real” self. Allow that person to be seen by everyone now.