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Peace Beyond Understanding

Credit: @transformingloveministries,org

Reposted / Written By Elaine A. Lankford @transformingloveministries.org

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.

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Seize The Moments

Sharing Times Together
@Home. Life. Encouragement

As many people are enjoying their weekend off and spending time running errands and catching up with every day life from a busy week, I want to encourage you to remember the simple things as well.

Remember the importance of spending some quality time with those you love.

“Love your family. Spend time, be kind & serve one another. Make no room for regrets. Tomorrow is not promised & today is short.”

Unknown Author

I love this moment my daughter captured last night at a football game we attended.

For those who follow my blog, you know the chronic illness and migraines my daughter struggles with on a day basis, so I have learned to truly appreciate the simple things we can share together.

I try very hard to not take time with her for granted, because I never know when we can go from having a wonderful time together to her struggling in pain again.

God gave you your family. Enjoy some time together this weekend.

Do not allow opportunities to pass you by. Those opportunities are moments to make memories and it is those memories you will look back on and cherish one day.

My Friend, enjoy your day together.

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Don’t Look Back And Don’t Get Stuck In The Middle — Trophy Of Grace

I am sharing a guest post today from a sweet friend over at Trophy of Grace / DON’T LOOK BACK & DON’T GET STUCK IN THE MIDDLE — TROPHY OF GRACE . I shared and linked you to her page as well. It is my desire you will be inspired by this wonderful post, especially if you found yourself stuck in a place or season in life where you are constantly looking backwards to what you know or what you have been through, instead of looking forward to what God has waiting for you.

If you go over to her page via mine, please leave her a comment saying I sent you (Heidi from Home. Life. Encouragement.)

Enjoy her encouraging post today.

Written by Trophy of Grace

Good morning beautiful TOG readers! Just a little reminder today to “Not look back.” Don’t camp where you were once hurt. It’s important to deal with our brokenness and pain but NOT to camp there. Don’t get stuck in the middle my friend. The middle has nothing for you. “Don’t get stuck in the middle. […]

Don’t Look Back & Don’t Get Stuck In The Middle — Trophy Of Grace

Good morning beautiful TOG readers!

Just a little reminder today to “Not look back.” Don’t camp where you were once hurt. It’s important to deal with our brokenness and pain but NOT to camp there. Don’t get stuck in the middle my friend. The middle has nothing for you.

“Don’t get stuck in the middle. We have to learn to go the full journey. Someone needs us on the other side of the shore line.” Charlotte Gambill

In Genesis, God reveals to Abraham that Sodom and Gomorrah are to be destroyed for their grave sins. Abraham pleads for the lives of any righteous people living there, especially the lives of his nephew, Lot, and his family. God said He would spare the cities if 10 righteous people can be found. So the LORD sent two angels to Lot in Sodom but are met with an angry, wicked mob who are then struck blind by the angels. Finding only Lot and his family as righteous among them, the angels warn Lot to quickly leave the city and they said “Run for your lives! Don’t look back and don’t stop in the valley. Run to the hills, so that you won’t be killed.”

But Lot’s wife did, and she became a pillar of salt.

Have you stopped in the valley?

Do you keep looking back?

I don’t know about you but I sure don’t want to be a pillar of salt, lol. Nope! Nope! Nope!

Don’t look back and don’t get stuck at the point of your pain. That my friend, I have done, and it’s not a fun place to be. I have been stuck from things of my past and present hurts.

Just a side note, the Bible has amazing accounts and stories in it from murder, hate, jealousy, and even sex. Yep! Sex is in the Bible. Get in the Word

Another cool story is the man at the Pool of Bethesda, John 5. “Soon another Feast came around and Jesus was back in Jerusalem. Near the Sheep Gate in Jerusalem there was a pool, called Bethesda, with five alcoves. Hundreds of sick people; blind, crippled, paralyzed were in these alcoves. One man had been an invalid there for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him stretched out by the pool and knew how long he had been there, he said, “Do you want to get well?”

The sick man said, “Sir, when the water is stirred, I don’t have anybody to put me in the pool. By the time I get there, somebody else is already in.”

Sounds like a pity party to me….I’ve had a few of those myself.

Jesus said, “Get up, take your bed, and start walking.” The man was healed on the spot. He picked up his bed and walked off.

That’s what I’m talking about…he was healed and he got about His Father’s business and he told of what Jesus has done for him.

That man sat there for 38 years!!! I’d like to think that in 38 years I could’ve wiggled myself to that pool and just fell into it, LOL. I mean that’s a really, really, long time! 38 years???

But isn’t that what we do sometimes, we get stuck somewhere at the point of our pain and we become paralyzed. I know I’ve been there. Truth is I’ve been there to long myself with some things. But you don’t want to be that man 38 years later and your still camped there.

So I’ll ask you, “Do you really want to be well?

Bethesda means “house of mercy,” or perhaps “place of flowing water.”

That’s where I’m headed….to Bethesda! The house of mercy, the place of flowing water.

How about you?

God says,

I know it hurts precious one. I know your wounds. I know your disappointments. I’ve seen the betrayals. I’ve seen your tears. I see your brokenness. But what you didn’t realize all along is that I was with you through the pain, and I am here to make it right. I will work it all out, all the pain, the hurt, the disappointment, the betrayals ALL for your good because your are precious in My sight and I love you. I will give you beauty for ashes. But you have to let go of those ashes, leave them behind so I can resurrect you with newness of life. All those things the enemy tried to steal, kill, and destroy, I got your back. I and the God of restoration. No weapon formed against you will prosper. Remember Lot’s wife, and Don’t look back and don’t get stuck in the middle at the point of your pain. Your destiny is ahead, and I am leading you toward your dreams. I have a hope and a future for you. I am able to do immeasurably more than all you can ask, hope for, or imagine.

~God

Hope y’all have a blessed and wonderful day! Remember, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, YOU ARE AWESOME, YOU ARE CHOSEN, AND YOU ARE AN OVERCOMER! YOU ARE A TROPHY OF GRACE!

Praying for you!

Big hugs,

Nicole

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Darkness Turns To Sunshine

Today’s Encouragement is to remind you no matter how difficult life may seem, remain hopeful there are brighter days ahead.

God uses these hard times to grow us just as parents do as well.

How many times as a parent have you allowed your child to learn a difficult lesson only because it was something you could not save them from?

I, for one, have experienced this a lot over the past couple of years as I have stood back and watched my daughter struggle with her multiple health issues. As her mom, I can’t do anything to take away the pain she suffers with, but what I can do to encourage her is to, pray for comfort for her, hold her when the pain is unbearable and just let her know she is not alone. I can’t do anything to fix this problem or even take it away, but I can promise to encourage and comfort her during her greatest difficulties .

My friend, God is the same way. He can’t take our circumstances away, but He does promise to never leave us. He is always with us during our darkest of hours.

In a bible study over the weekend we were addressing a topic on pain and how God uses our pain to prepare our journey for something beautiful. I heard this great quote which was so inspirational and encouraging;

” God may have allowed your suffering, but He didn’t cause it.”

– stacha Ashburn and Lisa Dolinger

My friend, even in your darkest hour our God is still there. He has not forsaken or forgotten you.

Cling to this hope,

Some changes look negative on the surface, but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge.”

– Eckhart Tolle

Hang in there dear friend, if you are hurting and if your pain is deep. Please know there is hope for brighter days ahead. I do not know how long this will take, but I can personally vouch for the fact the pain does eventually go away and the sun comes back out. Cling to the hope of knowing your darkness will turn back into light. Your tears will dry up and be replaced with the smiles you have longed to experience again.

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Crisp Air Begins With New Life Changes

I am sharing a gentle reminder that no matter what your circumstances are, it is never to late to look at them in a positive light.

Every season in life comes with it’s joys and sorrows and is made up of ups and downs, but I want to encourage you to see how God will use them in an inspirational manner.

If you are in a season of struggles, look to the fall season and be encouraged and inspired that good things are to come.

Consider this quote from F. Scott Fitzergerald when he says…

“Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.”

If you are in a season of difficulty be encouraged knowing it is never to late for something good to come out of this time.

My friend, hang in there and be patient while you wait for this season to flow into the next and find joy knowing God will use your circumstances for something good.

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Life Is Real, The Struggles Are Too

Just throwing some real life out there….

So all before 7:45am I have the cleanest smelling house in my community.

I managed to discover my hot water heater is leaking right after I opened up a fresh new bottle of bleach. As I discovered some wet stuff on some things in my laundry room, I left my bleach sitting on my dryer and went to get a bowl to put under the leaky hot water heater (as it is a little guy who is elevated above my head). While I was getting my bowl I heard something fall. I returned to my laundry room (which is off our carpeted family room) to find my bleach on the carpet spilling out with 3/4 of it emptied on my carpet. 😪

Now I am totally frustrated as I was hurried to get a few things done before trying to get some work done before Kiddo has her 2nd of 5 appointments between today and tomorrow afternoon.

Now my carpet is ruined and I should get my shop vac to absorb the extra water spilling out of my hot water heater tray when all I wanted to do was get some work done.

Oh boy, turn the cheek… make lemonade out of lemons and move on. I hope God provides me a few extra hours out of my day today.

Now to try to fix my problems.

I decided to show the real and and the raw behind all the encouragement I post.

Life is a struggle and life is real.

If this resonates with you, know I am right there with ya friend.

I decided today to write about it and to share it with you with the hopes you will be encouraged knowing you are not alone with the struggles of life.

Make the best of your day!

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Functionality Reigns in The Chaos

Do you have a to do list that is so long you do not know where to begin?

If you do then you are not alone.

I have taken this week, that we didn’t have any doctor appointments, to find order in my chaos and peace in my frustrations.

I found by making my home functional that this brought me peace this week.

I came to a realization in my attempt to find “me” that the biggest waster of my time is chaos.

I found if I can reign in the chaos monster and better use my time on stuff that matters and is important, then I am in better control over my stress.

And let’s face it… (nothing against dads here at all as we all love our husbands (most days), but when mom is stressed, the whole house is usually.)

Ladies and gentlemen, we need to find where our source of stress is and we need to learn how to tame it better.

So in my new found revelation this week, you will begin to see me post more practical every day tips to help us be better stewards of our time while encouraging and motivating each other along the way.

Are you game for this inspiration?

If so, feel free to leave a comment or a symbol below in the comments and together we will learn to tame the chaos in our lives, one step, one chore, and one day at a time.

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You Are Brave, Capable, and Loved

Encouragement Today

I have a simple reminder for you today in case you forgot…

“You are stronger than you know. More capable than you ever dreamed. And you are loved more than you could possibly imagine.” Unknown Author

Do you doubt yourself from time to time?

My friend, believe today that you are brave, capable, and loved.

Do not believe the self doubt words you tell yourself.

They are lies.

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God made you perfect in every way.

He made you to be brave and courageous. He made you to be Bold and beautiful!

You are His handiwork.

“For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭139:13-14‬ ‭ESV‬‬

My friend, today is the day to believe in “you” and fight back against the lies you tell yourself.

Lastly, remember you are Brave, Capable, and Loved!

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Turning Frustrations Into Determination

Are you having one of those days where you just wish something would go right?

Maybe you were up all night or you got up and your car wouldn’t start, or you just received a phone call from the baby sitter saying you need to leave work to pick up your sick child?

It doesn’t matter what you have struggled with today.

All that matters is that you are still moving forward.

Instead of allowing your frustrations to manifest in your soul and consume your entire day, try releasing all the penned up anxiety and turn it into the power of determination.

Use that extra adrenaline energy for something good and redeem your day.

You will feel better when you do.

You’ve got this Friend! 💜

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You Are Never In Total Darkness

Do You Struggle With The Power of Darkness

I am feeling God has a few of His own who are in need of some encouragement today.

  • Are you struggling with finding your self worth and identity because somehow over the years and the busyness of life you have lost who you are? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you struggling in a difficult relationship? Do you struggle with a battle within you to know if you stay and fight for your marriage or is it time to walk away? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you fighting with health needs? Are you in pain all the time? Are you frustrated with fighting with the doctors or insurance companies to get them to listen to you, to hear you, and to help you? Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you in a season of struggling with your child/ren to get them to listen to you. Do you feel like they are distancing themselves from you and your family? Are you frustrated and discouraged? My friend, do not walk away from this struggle. Keep pray, keep loving, and keep reaching out to them. They need you, even though they may not feel as though they do. Fight for your child! Remain their safe place. Know, you are not alone.
  • Are you a new parent who is fighting sleep deprivation and as a result feel the weight of darkness all around, but you do not tell anyone as this is suppose to be one of your happiest times in your life, as you hold the love of your life in your arms? Know, you are not alone.

My friend, God gave me this verse for you, who are in pain today.

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”” John 8:12 NKJV

No matter how dark life might seem, please know there is a light that is wrapped around you. This light is so you will never remain in total darkness. It is God’s light which surrounds you and has you consumed because one day you believed in Him.

Allow that light to shine on your darkness while you use it to light the way out of this dark time. Follow it until you find the peace and comfort you need to not feel alone.

My friend, reach out to those who are closest to you. Allow them to help you, pray for you, and encourage you.

If you feel they are not enough and you would rather reach out to someone who doesn’t know you, feel free to leave a comment below. I am here to lift you up in prayer.

My hope God uses today’s encouragement to touch your heart and to remind you, you are not alone.