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!

21 Acts of Kindness for my 21st Birthday

For my 21st birthday, I did not want to do something for myself but for others. Lying in bed one night while attempting to fall asleep, the thought popped in my head to do 21 acts of kindness to celebrate my birthday. What a great way to do something for others!

I spent the whole month of March looking for opportunities and waiting for God’s leading as to what I should do and for who. Some of these are simple, and others took a smidge more work.

1. Left a Reese’s cup with a note in our mailbox for our mailman.
2. When we were going through Burger King’s drive-through, we paid for the order of the car behind us.
3. Purchased a dozen donuts from DeLuxe (the BEST donuts in the world!) for Bethel Baptist Christian Academy teachers.
4. Made and took dinner with dessert to friends who are very busy. She is a pre-med student, and he works a lot.
5. Purchased a value pack of diapers for a young, single mother in our church.
6. Purchased the groceries of the lady in front of me at the grocery store.
7-11. Made chocolate chip cookies for the Mantua/Shalersville fire department, Ravenna police, Streetsboro police, the Sheriff’s office, and the Highway Patrol.
12-15. Made chocolate chip cookies for the four families in our cul-de-sac.
16. Made chocolate chip cookies for the sweetest man in our church and his wife. He is always checking on us and talks with us every church service.
17-19. Made homemade, organic body scrub for our preacher’s wife, assistant pastor’s wife, and a sweet lady in our church.
20. Purchased something for friend that she had been looking for but could not find.
21. Taped a small baggie of quarters to a Redbox so someone can rent a movie or two.

It was so much fun doing these acts of kindness, and I am hoping it planted a seed in me so I will continue to find opportunities to do acts of kindness for others through out the year. I ended up making 144 chocolate chip cookies–that is a lot of baking!

I highly encourage you to spread a little love, care, kindness, and grace. It definitely will not be something you regret and is a a ginormous blessing to the soul!

Do not forget to enter the giveaway that ends tomorrow evening!!! Click here to enter–it is so simple a caveman could do it!

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? 

Diamonds vs. Pearls

This is a guest post I wrote for Singing Through the Rain a while back before I had a blog.

Beauty. There is nothing like the beauty of a gem. Women love jewelry. We have all heard the expression, “Diamonds are a girls best friend.” Diamonds are the hardest substance currently known to man and are created by intense heat and pressure. The thing about diamonds though is there needs to be a sculptor. A diamond is only valuable when it is sculpted by the work of a man’s hands.

To read the rest, go to Diamonds vs. Pearls. Enjoy!

Blessings, Big and Small, Introduction

Last night as I was tossing and turning, the chorus of a hymn from long ago popped into my head and wouldn’t leave.

Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done!
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
Count your many blessings, see what God hath done.

I was inspired to start a series for my blog. I will be counting my blessings, big and small. I want to see what God is doing. Join me on my journey of counting blessings.

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:19

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.

Miracles and God’s Goodness

Two days ago, we received a bill in the mail from Metlife. I dreaded opening it because we have been having problems with them charging us for one hundred people since May. I didn’t want to have to call them back again (I’ve been calling them monthly) to argue about our bill.

Yesterday, I finally opened it. The first words out of my mouth were, “God is good!” The amount owed on the bill was ZERO!

For two days in a row, those words have been spoken in our home; and, after my post about decisions and miracles, we’ve seen God work.

We have been looking at our bills and crunching number, and we know that there is no way humanly possible that our bills will be paid. But God will work a miracle! Because God is good all the time!

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 Will Never Give You More Than You Can Handle" Debunked

People will always say to the hurting some well-intended advice whether the person hurting wants it or not. We’ve all done it. I do it more times than I would like to admit.

Sometimes, Christians will give advice that isn’t exactly biblical. The one that really drives me up a wall is…

“God will never give you more than you can handle.”

I hear this on a daily basis. Maybe, even on an hourly basis. I’ll be glancing over my various social media sites, and BAM! There it is.

People, especially Christians, gobble up that line because it makes us feel better and makes us feel like we can stand strong and get through whatever the obstacles are.

But, truthfully, we will fail miserably. We won’t be able to stand through the trials.

God will DEFINITELY give us more than we can handle! 

Because God just wants us to let go of all our issues and hand it all over to Him.

He loves us so much that He just wants us to come to Him all the time for every little problem. He loves us so much that He just wants to take our burdens away.

We need to stop trying to take care of everything on our own because we will fail. When we strive to be strong and handle our own problems our self, we are striving in vain.

Being strong isn’t about fixing our own problems. Being strong is about handing our problems over to God FULLY! 

Our problems aren’t really just our problems, they are God’s too.

You’re probably thinking, “This lady is crazy! It’s not so easy to do this!”

You’re right! It’s not.

Take it slow. Start handing problems to God a little at a time, and, before you know it, it will get easier.

Right now, you most likely feel as if you’re drowning in problems, but each time you trust God, the water becomes more shallow until, eventually, you’re walking arm-in-arm with Jesus on a gorgeous beach.

I Peter 5:7

Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

God can’t work a miracle in your life until you completely trust Him with the good AND bad. And, dear friend, He desperately wants to work miracles in your life. He desperately wants to take great care of you.

You just have to let Him in.

Philippians 4:13

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.