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.
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.”
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
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.
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.
Do you ever feel like you are wandering around aimlessly in the forest? No matter what turn you take or what path looks right, the view is still the same. It never changes. It never looks different.
Eventually, you take the time to look around and you conclude you have only been walking around in circles, going nowhere.
Have faith in these words,
“God will meet you where you are, in order to take you where He wants you to go.”
My friend, today’s words of motivation are to stop walking to be just walking. This is why you are walking in circles.
Instead… stop, look up, and seek God’s direction.
He holds the road map you do not have, in His hands. He knows the direction you are to take to get out of the forest and He knows what forks in the road you are to be taking to live out the plan “He” has for you.
Stop, look up and seek God for your directions todayand your journey will begin to look different. Your circles will begin to straighten and you will begin to see the clearing of trees leading you out of the forest.
Enjoy your journey, Friend. Now you have access to the “Man” with the map and you have the assurance the route will be clearly marked out. You will no longer walk aimlessly, but instead you will be walking with purpose.
The purpose is the plan God has for you. Now you can enjoy the journey as well as the view along the way out of the forest.
Trust in His road map and your journey can be done with confidence and surety.
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.
“Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go; just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.” -Unknown
You’ve got anything life can throw your way.
God has empowered you with the strength, determination, and endurance to battle what lays ahead.
Remember, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.” Psalms 46:1 ESV.
Take one step at a time and lean on God for your strength as well as your refuge.
One day you will look back on today and give God the praise for helping you get through it.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” James 1:12 ESV.
Hang in there and know, whatever you may be going through, it will not last forever.