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Focus on Growth

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Encouragement Today

Is your life one you are thankful for?

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

Consider this thought today, 

“Your life is whatever you focus on.” 

Shadonna Richards

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Opening Our Hearts to Gratitude

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

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

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

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

Happy November!

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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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Love, Strength and Sunsets

The Same Love That Created The Sunset, Loves You as Well

I hope my daughter doesn’t mind my sharing an absolutely beautiful sunset she sent me last night as she was crossing over the water on her way home. This sunset can only be made by God, it’s Creator.

Today’s message is short, but my prayer is that it is meaningful.

My friend, I am here to remind you today, no matter what you may be facing or what obstacles you may be trying to hurdle, that the same God who created this sunset is the same God who will walk you through your situation.

Here is a verse to cling to if you are in need of His promise to love us unconditionally,

“The Lord loves righteousness and justice; the earth is full of his unfailing love.” Psalm 33:5 NIV

‭‭I do not know what your circumstances are, but I know one thing that is true, God’s Love is always and forever, with no strings attached.

He loves us even when we forget how to love our selves.

Lean on Him today, My Friend! He will give you the strength you need.

Hugs to each and one of you! 💜

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Evaluate Your Heart Today

God’s sweet reminder to us today.

I am sharing a bit of faith today.

A long post is not required because I think these words are enough to stand on their own weight.

”A person may think their own ways are right, but the Lord weighs the heart. “Proverbs 21:2

Take some time to ponder and evaluate what God is sharing with us today.

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Wrap A Loving Gift of Kindness

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Christmas Note of Encouragement

I am sharing warm words of encouragement today to inspire you as we get closer to Christmas and we feel the stress of trying to finish our shopping and begin wrapping the gifts we have bought, to instead of tackling what is left with angst and anxiety, let us instead, pray over the person whom we are buying or wrapping for.

If you do this, God will not only bless the person who you are praying for, but He will bless you with a peace that is louder than your anxiety and a comfort that will be stronger than any pressure you are feeling.

“Let us wrap each gift we give with kind, loving thoughts about all those who have helped to make the gift possible and the person who will receive the gift.” Barbara Benson

My friend, I know many of us are feeling the pressure of trying to finish everything in time for Christmas. It is my prayer for you, who has taken the time to read this today, that you will be empowered with a peace that passes all understanding and that you will not be robbed of the joy of the season as exhaustion sets in.

We can and will do this! We will be done and ready for Christmas!
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New Days Brings New Strength

Simple Encouragement

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This is your gentle reminder that no matter what you are going through that tomorrow is a new day and a new source of strength,

“With the new day comes a new strength and new thoughts.” Eleanor Roosevelt 

As you close your eyes to go to sleep, ask God to refresh you with a new strength, with a new peace, and a new vision so you can see a new horizon tomorrow.

You can do this, my friend. Tomorrow is a new day, no matter how easy or difficult life may be.

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Inspiration From a Sunflower

Encouragement Today

Today’s encouragement is a simple one. It comes from the sweet saying from the sunflower and sums up everything I could say today.

“Advice from a Sunflower: Be Bright, Sunny, and Positive. Spread Seeds of Happiness. Rise, Shine, and Hold Your Head up High.” Author Unknown.

I am going to apologize for my discouraging posts this week. It has been not just a hard week, but a hard three weeks.

I am hoping today however, to share with you something a little more uplifting a happy.

I love sunflowers because they just bring me such joy and happiness, so today’s encouragement is taken from the advice of a joyous sunflower.

Stand Tall Today, My Friend! Hold your head up high!

It is Friday! We can do this!

 

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Hope Provides Strength

Encouragement Today and Weekend Reminder

Hope is found in the ability to rest. Allow yourself the time to rest this weekend. If you are tired and beat down from the stress of life, cling to these words…

“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the Earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power to the weak.” Isaiah 40:28-29 NIV

God is there to strengthen you and provide you with the hope that tomorrow will be brighter than today.

Also yourself the time to rest your mind, body and soul so you will be able to receive His complete blessing of rejuvenation and restoration.

Breathe, My Friend and rest your mind while allowing God to refresh you this weekend.
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Beach Waves

I am popping in after a very long week. I am so thankful the end of the week is upon us and when I awake in the morning we have no where to be.

I am sorry for not posting anything all week. It has been a week of late nights and early mornings and busy days in between.

I am a proud momma and happy to announce that my Kiddo is now officially enrolled in college full time. This was not something she was prepared to do yet because we still have to figure out how to manage and maintain her chronic migraines, but in order to keep our health insurance, it was necessary.

She is such a trooper in all she does and goes through. To see her struggle like she does, but doesn’t give up just impresses me beyond words.

She still has a few more hurdles to jump through, but to have accomplished all she did this week makes this momma a very proud one.

So as we close out the week I am going to leave you with a thirty-second clip of some peace and tranquility (in case you are in need of some like we were).

It is my hope that you had a wonderful week, but in case you did not, maybe this will brighten your night some.