Doing hard things....with help

I was reminded this morning that sometimes God asks us to do hard things.  God also asked His Son, Jesus to do a hard thing.  He asked Him to willingly give up His life for us.

Jesus had to confront betrayal from one of His own disciples.  He also had to confront the hate and malice towards Him that would ultimately send Him to the cross to suffer and die.

I don't know about you, but nothing I have ever had to confront can compare with taking on the sins of the world and suffering a horrible death on a cross.

As I read about how Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, I was also reminded of how the Father sent an angel to strengthen Him. As a result of Jesus' prayer, He went from sweating drops of blood to boldly facing His betrayer.  He willingly endured the suffering and the beatings all the way to Calvary.

I don't know about what you are facing today, but Jesus is there to help you through it.  Maybe it's the death of a loved one.....or maybe depression, anxiety, or divorce.  It might be a financial hardship or it may be addiction.

Put it in God's hands.  Call out to Him and He will strengthen you for the task ahead.


Love Letters

The crimson flow from the cross
completed the Father's Will
Trickling slowly upon the rocks
all along Calvary's Hill

It flowed so freely for all to see
Spelling His words of love
Speaking to hearts in the biggest love letter
sent to us from above

Lynn Langford

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  Share some love today!


Another year to grow and learn

Well, I recently celebrated another birthday.  The big Forty-Five (45)!  To this day, no matter how old we get, my mama always plans a lunch or dinner for me and my sisters to celebrate our special day.  And I'm pretty sure we wouldn't know how to act if that didn't happen!

Because I know she won't always be around to do that, I try to really soak it all in and enjoy every minute of it.  It's not about the gifts or what we eat.  It just means alot to see my family take time out of their schedules to spend with me and help me feel special.  

But I'm not the only one who celebrated a birthday on January 31st!  Miss Lucy turned another year older too.  Yep...we both have the same birthday.  Lucy is now 7 years old :)

Dillan couldn't be there that day, but he came home a few days before to see me.  He gave me a new insulated coffee cup and these beautiful flowers!

I think it's pretty neat that my birthday is in the first month of the year when we tend to focus the most on our goals and dreams for our lives.  Getting older doesn't really bother me any more.  Sure, I'd like to keep the wrinkles and extra weight from appearing, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the gift of life and all God has blessed me with.


Gallery Walls

Are you a fan of gallery walls?  I'm not sure at what point in time I decided I loved them, but I was very happy with the one I recently did in our living room at home.  

Before I tackled the project, I knew that I wanted to repaint our living room and purchase a new couch for the space.  We've been in our home for 6 years now, and not only was it time for a new coat of paint on most of the walls, I was so ready to make the space lighter and brighter!  I guess my tastes have evolved over time. 

Anyway, we looked around a while and finally decided on a sectional from Haverty's.  That's something I thought I'd never want because you are limited in the way the furniture can be arranged in a room.  But after living in our home for 6 years, I knew there was one area of the living room that was better suited for the majority of the seating.  So we went with a gray/tan fabric sectional.....and are LOVING it!  I really do think it's more comfortable than my bed - and that's a good thing when I have to sleep on it all night with Lucy when the weather is bad.  For some reason, she thinks we're safer in the living room...lol!

Anyway, I collected things over time that I loved and I thought would look great on a gallery wall.

All of these items came from a thrifting trip in Atlanta when we were up there visiting Dillan.  I think I paid around $25.00 for all of this!


So we got the walls painted and the new couch in place and then the stress hit me....how do I arrange a gallery wall?  I didn't want to make a nail hole and then change my mind, so I played around with the items on the floor to get an overall feel for how it would look.


I'm a lucky girl because the Mister always hangs things for me.  I never have to worry about that.  I just tell him where I want it and he makes it happen.  Look at Lucy napping on the couch :)  She can sleep through anything except bad weather!

I have to say that I am very pleased with how the gallery wall turned out!  It's so perfect for the large wall space and it's an eclectic mix of things that I/we love.

I forgot to mention the new cowhide rug we purchased for the space as well.  We love it!  As a matter of fact, I'd like to order another one to put in front of the couch under the coffee table to break up some of the wood in the space.  And don't you love my stump tables Scott made?  I'll have to do another post on them and show you the details.  Stump tables are a big thing now in the decorating world, but I've been loving them a long time!

So if you've thought about doing a gallery wall in your own home, but were unsure if you'd like it......go for it!  It's the perfect way to fill in a large space and add a cozy, eclectic feel to your room.  There is lots of inspiration online to help you decide what type of items you'd like to display as well as ideas on how to arrange them.  And don't forget to go thrifting!  That's the best way to save and find unique items for your space.


Setting up an office area

Not only have I been busy since October 1st learning my new job, I've also been busy getting my little office area completed at home.  People say you should never do work from your bedroom, but for me, it's the perfect spot - it's the quietest place in the house.  

Because it's my own special little area, I don't have to worry about other people leaving their things there....and I can decorate it any way I like!  I'm the only girl in the house (well, me and Miss Lucy), so I don't have the privilege of surrounding myself with lots of pink and pretty, girlie things.  So I took this opportunity to do just that in this spot of my own.

I recently redid the master bedroom and filled the space with lots of white and natural color.  Adding a touch of pink and other soft colors to this area was easy to do.  On the shelf above my desk, I placed a couple of framed prints that serve as important reminders for me (The Nester's "Imperfection Welcome Here" and an "Identity Declaration" written by Beth Moore) along with some smaller personal items and a gold letter "L".  I even have a gold letter opener that belonged to my daddy :)

Under the shelf is a handy bulletin board for a 2015 calendar and a couple of photos to make me smile.  I still need to put a photo of Dillan on there.  

And on the desk are a few other office accessories in soft colors like creamy white, blue, and pink.  

I love these cute pencils I found in Michael's recently!  Pretty to look at and functional too!  I put them in a glass jar.


The gun cabinet-turned-book shelf we did recently is also working well for me.  It's on the opposite side of the room and holds my favorite books and a few other items.

I placed my desk and filing cabinets on one side of the room between the two bedroom windows for plenty of natural light.  

When I'm really busy, my desk gets a little messy, but because it's in the back of the house, I don't have to worry about it being in the way. I've got not one, but two small filing cabinets for work and personal files and a basket ottoman for extra storage.  That gives me plenty of space to put things away when I'm done with work for the day.  

Today I spent the day working from home getting ready for the month of February. It's been a productive day and I appreciate more and more having this little area of my home to get things done.


Discover your dreams and find your purpose

It's funny how we can know in our spirit that God has spoken something to our heart, only to let years of disappointments and circumstances of life cause us to doubt.  Maybe we heard wrong?  Maybe we just imagined it?

I recently finished reading Rebekah Lyons' book, "Freefall to fly", and God has used her words to remind me once again of what He has called me to do.

As instructed by Rebekah, I've written down my earliest dreams for my life.  I thought long and hard and they go back to my childhood.

I can remember hoping to marry my prince charming and living a fairy tale life with a cute house and children.  I dreamed of decorating our home and turning it into a haven for my little family.  My children would be just as cute as the house and so sweet and well mannered.  My husband would adore me and make me feel like a queen.

I am now married to my prince charming and I have my cute little house....and I just have to add that Dillan is as cute as it gets ;)  But this dream did not happen the way I envisioned it.  Much to the contrary.  It would come after three divorces and one miscarriage.  Years of depression and suffering physical, emotional, and verbal abuse.

I could write a long time about why it took so long for this dream to come true, but the point of this post is that I'm reminded of how God uses our successes and failures, our choices, and our relationships with others to write our story.  If we pay attention along the way, we will learn life lessons and be reminded again and again of our deepest hopes and dreams.....God-given dreams.

I believe we all have dreams.  He has created each of us for a divine purpose on this earth and it's up to us to find our purpose.  It's not a secret that He's locked up in a box and buried somewhere.  It's there in plain sight if we will do our part and seek it.....want it.

After I found the man that God had created for me so long ago and we began our life together, I started dreaming again.  I felt God calling me to full time vocational women's ministry.  And the Lord certainly knows I ran after that dream and tried to make it come true on my own!

I also started writing again during that time.  I remembered how much I had loved to write poetry as a child/teen.  I sought opportunities to share my words with others, hoping it could be an encouragement to women going through difficult times in their own lives.

Over the last 14 years, I have chased after these dreams at times, but I have also lost sight of them when it got too hard or uncomfortable.  My dreams have been there all along, waiting for me to pick them back up and continue with pursuing my calling.

God has been so faithful and patient and has taught me so much over the years.  I believe my life experiences over these last 14 years have only helped me to gain insight to be able to see more clearly the full nature of my calling.  I know that although circumstances of life can shift our dreams and take us in other directions at times, we can be sure to see it to the end.....a successful end.  I want my time on this earth to count.  I want to be remembered as a girl who didn't let her past determine her future.  A girl who loved God more because of what she had been through.  I want to be an example of Christ.

I've written down all of my dreams.  The fairy tale marriage, cute house, cute kid, and my dream of becoming a writer (author) and working in ministry full time.

I also wrote down the major turning points in my life.  Depression, marriage, divorce, becoming a mother, having my writing published, ministry opportunities, and earning my degree in Christian Counseling.

My talents center around writing, organizing, homemaking, encouraging, and administration.

Lastly, I did what Rebekah suggested in her book and wrote down my greatest burdens.  My greatest burdens center around having a close relationship with Christ, my son's relationship with Christ and helping him know and accept his own calling, and my burden for women living in abuse and in bondage to sin and depression.

When I looked at everything I'd written down, it became so clear that I truly have known my calling all along.  It's also clear how God has used each and every circumstance and every relationship (good and bad) with people who have been in my life at some point to mold me and shape me for the work He has for me.

I know I will still have doubt some days and there will be times when I want to give up, but I'm determined to accomplish something for Christ with the assignment He has given me....with the dreams that He instilled in me even before my birth.  To help me keep focus, I've written down a descriptive statement of what my responsibilities might be:

"My calling is to empower and encourage women to find healing in Christ from depression, abuse, and divorce".

I'm eager to take the next steps and to see what opportunities God puts in my path.  I would also love to hear from you about the dreams and desires God has given you.  Let's pray for one another and encourage one another!  Maybe we have something in common?  If you live in the area of the country where I live, maybe we can accomplish some things together for Christ?

Hope to hear from you soon!


Mountain tops, valleys, and the tough times in between

Like you, I'm no stranger to mountain tops or valleys.  I've experienced both in my life and I know that God is there with me in either place.  But lately I've been thinking about the valleys that I've walked through.  Some of those times, I found myself there as the result of unconfessed sin  in my life.  Other times it was because I was trying to do things my way and didn't listen to that still, small voice telling me, "This is the way...walk here".

The past couple of months have been very hard on me spiritually.  I have felt as if I was in a dry, desert land.....not even a valley.....seeking God, but not able to feel His presence fully.  I would sense Him at times, but it always felt like He was standing off to the side...watching and waiting.  I couldn't figure out what He was doing or why He chose to sit in silence.

The past couple of months have been extremely busy, so I contributed some of it to my being distracted and maybe not paying full attention to the Spirit.  But no matter how much I called out to Him to draw near, nothing changed.

I felt as if I had no words to share...not on this blog or even in conversations with those God put in my path.  It seemed like all of my creativity, all of my passions were lost.  I was clueless to why I felt this way.  I know enough about God and His Word to know that He will never leave me or forsake me.  I know the gifts and talents He has blessed me with and because I try to use them for His glory, I didn't think He had just taken them away from me.

A couple of days into our fast, I was doing my morning devotion.  It seemed like I had been just going through the motions lately, always coming up empty.  But this particular day, I felt God speak to my heart.  All of the emptiness I had been feeling....all of the guilt about feeling like I was going backwards instead of forwards....it all started to make sense.

I had had not one, but several mountain top experiences last year.  I was able to climb from peak to peak as each moment came, but eventually I would have to come back down. I had lost sight of those mountain tops and all I could see was the rough, ragged terrain on the long journey back down.  I would have to go down to the valley.....it just took me a while to get there.

The journey down the mountain was much harder than it is here in the valley, for in the valley, I can feel His presence again.  We are His sheep and He is our good Shepard.  His sheep find peace in the valley.  There are green pastures here beside the still water.  There is rest for our souls.

The valley is known for temptations and trials, but we must remember that He is there with us....leading us and guiding us along the way.  He is preparing us for the next mountaintop experience and the hard work has to be done here.

When I didn't feel close to God, I seemed to lose some of my ability to have a compassionate heart for others.  My heart didn't ache for the lost.  During these times, we lose the burden to share the Good News of Jesus Christ.  But I feel Him near me now.  I hear Him speaking to me and the words I am to share are easy to type.  The tears are back as well....compassion for others.....sadness about the evil in the world, for God softens our hearts to mirror His.    

So, these last couple of months were to remind me that if I do not have the heart of God, I will not make a difference for Christ in this sinful world.  I don't know about you, but I want my time here to count!  I'm here for a reason and I want to live out God's calling on my life.  I will experience mountain tops and I will rest and learn in the valleys.  And on the rough, ragged terrain in between, I'm gonna keep on trusting Him to see me through.