Blessings, Big and Small #8-22

This is an installment in the Blessing, Big and Small series.

Over the past couple weeks, God has blessed me beyond measure yet again! Here is how:

 

8. Mister being able to participate in half of Bethel Baptist Church’s basketball season.

9. My parents treating us to the last after-basketball Dairy Queen.

10. A new Vera Bradley hipster purse with matching wallet.

11. An off-the-hook birthday!

12. Celebrating a RISEN Saviour!

13. Dinner with family I have not seen in a while. There were lots of laughs as always.

14. Lots of giggles of Noel in her Easter dress. Mister cannot believe I bought a dress for Noel for Easter. He was mortified! Ha!

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15. 79 cent movies at Drug Mart for our first Monday movie night after basketball season.

16. Impromptu date night at a Cavs game.

17. Mister having a day off before a drill weekend.

18. Having a drill weekend that went by fast. That very rarely happens!

19. Awesome weather! I worked on a project for Noel so she can use our full yard without me being outside.

20. Noel kind of learning that it is OK to be outside without me. She freaks out less and less each time.

21. A ginormous yard. Mister and I have never had a yard this big. Living in the country is great 🙂

22. Unexpected last minute local tax refund.

 

I love counting blessings! God is good all the time!

 

How has God blessed you in the past few weeks? 

 

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More Than Bunnies, Candy, and Pastel Colors

Easter is so much more. So much more than bunnies. So much more than candy. So much more than pastel colors. These are the things we see all over town around Easter time, but I want the world to know something. It is so much more.

Easter time is celebrating a man that died on the cross but more importantly a man who rose from the grave. This man is Jesus. He had no sin but died to atone for the sins of the world–for every single person.

And He is so much more than “just a man.” He is my Lord. He is my Friend. He is my Saviour.

He is my Saviour because he conquered death. He made a way for me to go to Heaven. He made a way for you to go to Heaven. He can be your Saviour too!

I do not know about you; but when I think of what Easter really means, it is so much more. So much more than we could ever imagine.

Easter is about the cross and the stone that was rolled away.

So…

Happy Resurrection Sunday, dear one!

What My Birthday Means to Me

Today is my birthday! My 21st birthday to be exact, and I am very excited!!! And nervous…

For some reason, the last few weeks I have actually been nervous about turning 21. Call me crazy, but the thought of a new age milestone and new chapter is kind of nerve wracking. Now, I feel like I actually have to grow up. I was counting on being Peter Pan the rest of my life. But here I am turning 21.

Do not get me wrong–I am still tremendously excited about turning 21 too! And the excitement is outweighing the nervousness. So that is good!

I love celebrating my birthday. That might sound a little vain, but I do not want to be vain.

I love celebrating my birthday because I am reminded how great life is. God created me for a purpose. I have been His since the beginnings of the earth. He knew me before I was even conceived. I have been fearfully and wonderfully made by my almighty God, my heavenly Father.

I have a purpose. I have been given this great life.

For a long time, I did not like the way God made me. I did not like the life He gave me. I did not think I had a purpose.

But the more I knew God, the more I knew me.

Now, I love the way God made me. I love the life He gave me. I know I have a purpose.

So celebrating my birthday is not because I want a lot of gifts or whatever. I celebrate my birthday because I am grateful for the life God has given me. I celebrate because I have life. I celebrate because my life is beautiful. I celebrate because I have a purpose and am of value.

Below is my favorite song, “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry. It might not have a lot to do with this blog post, but I love it, so it has to be played on my birthday. Enjoy!

Let’s Celebrate My 21st Birthday!

This giveaway has ended!

It’s PARTY TIME! My 21st birthday is 6 wake-ups away, and we are going to spend the whole week celebrating. I hope during this week you will get to know me better and I can get to know you too (virtually, of course)!

To kick off the party, today is the start of a give-away! Yipee!!! I love giveaways. Come on–it is a chance to win free stuff. Who does not love that?! And I am very excited about the prize…

Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge

Captivating by John and Staci Eldredge

I had Captivating sitting on my book shelf for years growing up but did not really read it. After a year or so of marriage though, I finally read it, and boy, oh boy! was it life changing. God waited for the perfect time for me to read it. He knew when I needed it the most! It changed how I view myself and God. It was the beginning of real spiritual growth for me. Captivating truly unveiled the mystery of a woman’s soul.

I wish I could give a copy of this book to every woman I know, but alas, that is impossible. So I will be giving away one copy of Captivating. 

All you have to do to enter is leave a comment under this blog post with how long you have been married. If you are not married, comment with how long your parents/grandparents have been married. You may only enter once.

When it ends, I will use random.org to pick a winner using the number generator. The winner will be emailed and will be announced on the blog on April 2. The winner will have 24 hours to respond via email. If I do not hear from the winner, I will pick a new winner.

The give-away starts today and will end on my birthday, 03/30/2013 at 11:59 PM EST.

Happy commenting!

*Disclaimer: This give-away is solely of my own doing and is in no way affiliated with the authors/publishers. I have not received any compensation.

The Sin of Expectations

I was on Facebook and noticed a comment on a page I follow about the sin of expectations. It really got me thinking.

Is having expectations a sin?

We all have expectations whether they’re on ourselves or others. While I’m not quick to say that having expectations is a sin, I’m not discrediting it either.

So what makes expectation a sin?

One has to look at the source. Where is the expectation coming from? Does God expect certain things of us?

Most certainly not. He loves us just the way we are. We are loved because we are His, not because of what we can do for Him.

That means the source of expectations come from Satan.

How many times do we expect something of someone else and that person not live up to our expectations? More times than any one of us can count or would even want to. When someone doesn’t live up to our expectations, we become disgruntled. The seed of dissatisfaction can grow to outright resentment. These are things that can destroy relationships. Dissatisfaction and resentment are definitely from Satan.

What about the expectations we put on ourselves? There are a lot of those if you’re being honest with yourself. I would say the expectations one puts on their self is from Satan because we are already enough for God. When we are expecting things of our self, we aren’t putting our faith and trust in Him. Our hope is in the Lord. When we release the expectations we have on our self, we release those chains that hold us back from God changing us into who He wants us to be. Expecting yourself to be a certain “whatever” is putting the power of change in your own hands and not God’s.

Does this conclude that all expectations are sins?

Nah, I don’t think so. I believe if you voice your concern or need instead of harboring it inside and allowing that seed of dissatisfaction and resentment grow then your expectation should be met if at all possible. There is a difference between expecting someone to do something (like doing the dishes when asked or complimenting something when mentioned) and expecting someone to change who they are.

Look at the expectations you have on someone else or yourself and really ponder the source of those expectations. Evaluate how those expectations are hindering yourself or your relationships with others.

Do you think having expectations is a sin? 

God is Love

Two days ago, I began talking about why I love Valentine’s Day and why I believe it essential for a marriage. Many know the origins of Valentine’s Day is a celebration of Saint Valentine and blah blah blah. But I have a reason beyond celebrating Saint Valentine and love for my husband and that is God.

I wear a ring on my thumb that simply says “love.” It reminds me that I am loved by an almighty God, my darling husband, and so many people. It also reminds me to love others the way God loves me. One of my favorite verse in the Bible is…

God is love
1 John 4:16b

These three words might look so simple at first glance, but when they are truly pondered, there is incredible depth to them. Without God, we wouldn’t have love for He is love. His love for us doesn’t fade over time. It never changes and is always strong.

The word “love” in the Bible, God’s love, is agape. Agape love is completely selfless, sacrificial, and unconditional. It doesn’t need chemistry or compatibility. It endures forever. Agape love isn’t an emotion. It chooses it’s passion. Agape love is redemptive and keeps our hearts pure and whole. It’s the utmost standard of love.

I don’t think we will ever be able to fathom the depth of God’s love. It’s beyond anything our minds and hearts can give on our own.

Of course, God’s love can be extended to all people, not just our spouse, but your spouse should be at the very top of your “To Love” list. When we struggle to love our spouse, we need to turn to God. He will teach us how to love because He is love.

During Valentine’s Day, while you’re showing love to your spouse, children, and others, remember Who loved us first and to love others with the same love as God’s love.

Why Did God Create Sex?

“God created sex to be beautiful and binding. He wrote a whole book in the Bible about it, yet Christians avoid the topic at all costs which leaves children to find out about sex from the world. Let’s look at the reasons why God created sex and maybe, Christians will not be so wary to talk about it.”

Today I am guest blogging at Singing Through the Rain about a topic I love and feel needs to be discussed more in Christian circles: Sex.

Join us over at Singing Through the Rain as we discuss why God created sex!

With Big Decisions Comes Big Miracles

Today we made a big decision.

We have been fervently praying for the past couple weeks or so about Mister quitting his third-shift part-time job. He was at peace with this decision which meant it was all up to me.

He kept talking about wanting to quit and the reasons why, but I just couldn’t give it up completely.

Sure, this job had exhausted him beyond belief and I dearly missed my husband, but the small paycheck each week was nice, especially since we have been struggling so much financially.

Finally, after two weeks of God giving VERY obvious signs to me, I “let” Mister go ahead and give his two-weeks notice.

This decision might sound a little crazy to you since I’ve been blabbering about our financial difficulties, but let me explain how we came to this decision. Or should I say how God brought us to this decision.

When Mister took this third-shift part-time job, he was trying to pay our bills and make us secure financially in his own power. In his fallible mind, this seemed like the logical thing to do.

But this decision brought on more financial burdens than before. It, also, caused a strain on our marriage and left my poor husband worn out. We both became very susceptible to Satan’s attacks.

He has worked part-time jobs before, and it wasn’t nearly as hard as it has been this time. God actually blessed us then. His blessing wasn’t on this current part-time job.

Mister’s last night at his part-time job with be January 31 which is fantastic timing for a whole month of celebrating Valentine’s Day!!!

We are completely trusting God to pay our bills, and He WILL because we believe in His power! Just watch…you’re going to see a miracle 🙂

It's Just Not Time Yet!

When I finally decided to go to sleep last night after yesterday’s blog post, I remembered something I read in “You’re Already Amazing” by Holley Gerth.

Chapter five is about knowing where we are going in our life. A few pages into this chapter, she talks about being encamped in life much like the Israelites after Egypt. So this morning, I re-read that section because that was exactly what I was talking about yesterday.

God’s direction IS clear to us. We know exactly what God’s direction is right now. He just wants us to wait! Just to wait!

We’re being prepared to move forward, but it’s just not time yet. We are being prepared for the future, for the next season of our life, but it’s just not time yet.

It’s just not time yet!

I allowed my emotions to get the better of me this week. I allowed myself to doubt God.

No more!

I know His promises! I know His timing is perfect!

Our bills will certainly be paid through His power. We need to stop doing things in our own power and start trusting His power again.

After all, that’s what my theme for the new year is: Delighting in God’s power!

I’m not relaxing, enjoying, and delighting in God’s power when I’m stressed out and upset with God. Here I am, almost two weeks into 2013, and I’ve ignored my theme for this year. I’m forgetting God’s power.

We know what God is preparing us for, and we know God will work out the details in His time.

Sure, being encamped in the wilderness really stinks; but that’s only if we allow it. I’m going to relax and enjoy the wilderness!

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”
Isaiah 55:8

“Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”
Philippians 1:6

“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.”
Ecclesiates 3:11

“And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.”
Exodus 33:14

God is speaking softly…very softly!

Some people would think it was just the beginning of a normal drill weekend, but we didn’t.

Mister is working two civilian jobs, one first shift full-time and the second third-shift part-time. Then there’s the Guard.

All of this makes one very exhausted, stressed out husband.

Our bad day began first thing in the morning with knowing that drill weekends will end up costing us which spiraled into a conversation about our finances.

We are 100% sure God moved us out here for a reason. We just don’t know the reason.

We are 100% sure God wanted us to live in this house we can’t afford. We just don’t know why.

We are 100% sure God sent us to Bethel Baptist Church for a reason, and we love it there!

We just don’t know what God wants. I don’t know what God wants with my life or our life. We are clueless. We’re praying so hard, but we are just at a standstill. We kind of feel like the Israelites when they were in the wilderness after Egypt.

I hate my husband working so many jobs with only time for sleep and food. He’s wearing thin.

I would love for him to quit his third-shift part-time, but I’m not at peace with that.

Then I said it…a thought I have been carrying around for a few days…out loud.

I’m upset with God. He said He’d always provide, but we are behind on our rent. We paid as much as we could, but it wasn’t the full amount.

We could ask a number of people to help us out, but we feel like that’s taking the easy way and not really trusting God.

I’m upset that He said He’d provide but didn’t provide our full amount of rent. I’m upset because we don’t have any clue why He brought us out here. I’m upset my husband has to work so much to barely make ends meet.

Once my husband left, I got on Facebook to veg out. Two quotes were posted by different people that don’t even know each other, and God gave me two big Gibbs-smacks via Facebook.

“Often we want to be able to see into the future. We say, ‘How will next year be for me? Where will I be five or ten years from now?’ There are no answers to these questions. Mostly we have just enough light to see the next step: what we have to do in the coming hour or the following day. The art of living is to enjoy what we can see and not complain about what remains in the dark. When we are able to take the next step with the trust that we will have enough light for the step that follows, we can walk through life with joy and be surprised at how far we go. Let’s rejoice in the little light we carry and not ask for the great beam that would take all shadows away.”
–Henri Nouwen

“Trusting God when it’s easy really isn’t trust. 
Trusting God when it’s hard really isn’t easy. 
But, that’s what trust is.” ~ Dr. Michael Easley

Don’t I feel stupid. I read my husband these quotes, and he felt stupid too for doubting God.

Right now, it’s hard. It’s hard not being able to pay our bills. It’s hard seeing my husband working so much and being utterly exhausted. It’s hard not knowing God’s plan.

We are much like the little engine that could except ours is…

Trust in Him. Trust in Him. Trust in Him.