Have you ever been in a really tough situation? Have you been in a really tough situation and surprised yourself with how you handled it?
We have had several conversations with many of you and we know that is the case! Many of you have situations in your past and some of you are going through situations now that have forced you to be strong. This quote says "...until the only choice you have" is being strong. BUT, we all have a choice. We can cower in fear, hide in embarrassment, avoid in denial, or any number of other responses. However, when we allow God to take control of the situation, when we ask Him DAILY to guide our steps and help us control our emotions, I believe we will be left with the courage to be strong no matter what. I believe it will end up being our only choice.
I do not wish upon you any tough situation, but if you encounter one, I pray your response is one of strength based on Who is carrying you through it!
Do you have a dream? Is it a "little" dream? Is it a "big" dream? Why is it a dream of yours? What do you hope to accomplish through this dream?
Purpose behind a dream gives it life. Purpose brings reality to a dream. If you want to achieve something, if you want to be someone, make sure you understand WHY.
Look back at your strengths and skills tests from the event. See if you can attach a purpose behind some of them. If your strength is communication and a skill is writing, but you don't really know how to develop that strength and skill, put some purpose behind them. Maybe you have a specific message of encouragement you want to communicate to women who have lost someone. Maybe you want to communicate a method of decorating on a budget to help those less fortunate feel they are living in their dream home. Maybe you want to communicate instruction to younger girls about staying strong in their convictions within relationships. Maybe you want to inspire women to become all God created them to be. :) Whatever the purpose, if you have one, you are way more likely to step out of your comfort zone and set out to achieve the impossible.
I pray you become a believer in your own strengths and skills, and I pray you seek the Lord's guidance in using them to make manifest the glory of God that is within you!
How does it make you feel when you find out someone was talking about you behind your back. What if I said they were talking about some wonderful aspect about your character? Or about your ability to bring out the best in others? Or about the way they can see Jesus in you when you are kind to strangers? It's not always a bad thing to talk about others behind their backs - just make your words those that will build up and not tear down. Learn to be an encourager. It doesn't always come naturally, but what a difference encouraging words can make. See if you can find ways to talk about the strengths of others even if they will never know we were talking about them. Complete, don't Compete! Complete your friendships by genuinely building up your friends - don't compete with them by tearing them down or allowing others to do so. We all have different strengths, skills, talents, and gifts - let's celebrate those differences and empower our friends.
I pray that you would find ways to bring glory to God when you honor your friends by building them up both while you are with them and when they are not around!
You are beautiful - you are BECOMING!
Thank you for being you!
We have been looking at Romans 12 in a newer translation called The Voice. And when in Rome, do as the Romans. :)
Let's pick back up in verse 9:
Love others well and don't hide behind a mask; love authentically. Despise evil and pursue what is good as if your life depends on it. Live in true devotion to one another, loving each other as sisters and brothers. Be first to honor each other by putting others first.
This brings us back to the masks we spoke of at the Conference. Did you relate to the mask? Have you been evaluating areas of your life to see if you put on masks? Why would we put on maks anyway? Maybe to hide something...maybe to portray something as if it is something it's not...maybe to avoid something? Whatever it is, women are good at putting on masks. But as we read here, we are not to put on masks, we are to love each other authentically as sisters, and we are to live in devotion to each other.
Are you living authentically? Without masks? Are you living in devotion to your Destiny Friends?
Verse 11 continues:
11 Do not slack in your faithfulness and hard work. Let your spirit be on fire, bubbling up and boiling over as you serve the Lord. Do not forget to rejoice for hope is always just around the corner. Hold up through the hard times that are coming and devote yourselves to prayer.
We can't let up!! Plain and simple! We should be bubbling up and on fire for the things of God. THAT is becoming!! We need to hold each other up through the tough times because we know we have a hope in Christ and its just around the corner. Have you noticed how if you know when something hard is going to end, you can stick it out? If you are working out and you know you will be done climbing that stairclimber in 5 minutes, as tired as you are, you can stick it out since you have an end in sight. The same goes for the tough times in our lives. And despite the fact that we don't know when exactly tough times will end, we do know they will end and hope is around the corner - so encourage each other through those hard times.
And finally, verse 13 says this:
13 Share what you have with the saints, so they lack nothing; take every opportunity to open your life and home to others, even if they are outside your faith family.
"Even if they are outside your faith family" - wow!! As we are becoming more like Christ, we need to be there for our faith family and open our lives and homes to those outside our faith family.
For some of us, it's easier to be kind to those within our faith family because they are more like us. And for some of us, it's easier to have compassion for those outside our faith family because we have lower expectations for what kind of person they will be.
Are you looking for ways to "be Jesus" to those bith inside and outside your faith family? Are you compassionate to both? Are you accepting of both? Are you non-judgmental to both?
Remember, you are influencing those in your life - even if you don't think you are. You ARE!! This week, look for a way to reach out to someone that is more difficult for you to reach out to. Maybe a coworker who is not a believer, maybe a parent who seems to never let up, maybe a child who let you down, maybe a friend who made a mistake. Reach out, honor God by honoring them and put them first. Seek to reconcile instead of seeking revenge.
Live and love authentically as you are becoming!!
Thanks for being you-
Follow-Up from "BECOMING" Conference:
I hope you remembered our talk on Destiny Friends, and have searched your hearts to evaluate the friends in your lives.
The friends God has destined for you will be natural and you will feel unity within the relationship. Sometimes we can feel we are giving out way more than the other friend. When a relationship is hard and we are finding it to be hard work keeping it going, we need to stand back and take a good look at that friendship. God's Spirit will bear witness with your Spirit to let you know his will for your life, even in friendships. We must find that place of willingness to hear what God is speaking into us. What God joins together, He does for His purpose, and it was purposed before you were born. He plans out His will for you so you can be all you are created to be, but it's up to us to walk out that purpose.
Destiny Friends will not be perfect but the unity will always be felt in the heart. These destiny friends are the inner circle. The ones you can share your heart with and all of your burdens. They are your prayer partners and prayer warriors. They know you and all your faults and still love you anyway. You are no longer looked upon in the natural. They see you as Jesus sees you.
God is able to work miraculously in relationships like these.
We must allow God to be God in the miraculous and in the mundane! There is power in numbers when God groups us up. Just as the bible speaks of the cord of three strands is not easily broken, God knits together these relationships for strength. These friendships help you be all you were created to be. They build you up, you walk with confidence, and you know if you fall they will be there to pick you up. God's Kingdom will grow because of our being yoked up with the friends God has called us to be with.
There are friends that you will have in your life, that are in the outer circle, friends that you are not called to be there for in those ways as Destiny Friends. You can't be everything for everyone. If you try to be everything for everyone that will place you in bondage, but those chains are broken and we are NOT in bondage. Some friends are your assignment but others are for someone else. God yokes us together to accomplish his will.
God has called us to love everyone and see them as He sees them . We also pray for everyone. Our heart must break for what breaks God's. As we do this we must have the eyes to see and know the difference between our Destiny Friends and our friends !
It is my prayer that you know you are called to become all God has created you to be, that you are becoming! Take a deep breath and allow God to speak to you. He has created you with a purpose, by Him and for Him. You are fearfully and wonderfully made, my friend, know this full well.
Celebrate in knowing you can be all God created you to be, because YOU ARE BECOMING!
Psalm 139:13-14 (NIV)
13 For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
Last night, I returned home from a weekend in Atlanta, GA. Several ladies from Slidell got together and went to a Women of Faith (WOF) conference. I knew about half of the ladies really well and the other half, not quite as well. I was friends with all of them, though, which made the anticipation of the weekend that much more fun.
Last week was a busy week for all of us. If you read last week's blog, you know public school started in our area last week and many of the ladies who went to the conference with us have kids in public schools. Some have kids who will start this week. One had been out of town all week and met us up there. A few had just recently accepted the invitation when others who had previously prepared to go had to back out. Needless to say, there was a good bit of hustle and bustle last week trying to get ready to leave. It's rather ironic to start a trip fatigued. :)
Most of us met at our church on Friday morning and we left at 8am. We had a 7 1/2 hr trip ahead of us, and traveling to Atlanta, we lost an hour. For me, the time spent with my friends outside of the actual conference was just as enlightening as time spent at the conference and even more enjoyable. Don't get me wrong, the WOF conference was wonderful and in between time of wiping the tears from my face, I was scribbling notes on all the great points they were making. I'm not sure if I had more tears from crying or from laughing. But, if you have any good friends, you know that time with them is so special.
Do you remember your early friends? I remember my first friend. I didn't know at the time she was my first friend, but I remember her. I remember my first good friend in the neighborhood where I grew up. Then there's my childhood best friend, the close friends in jr high, the friends in high school. I can call them all by name - I remember many of their pets, their siblings and their parents. I remember the nicknames we had for each other, the laughter we shared, the sleepovers, the boyfriends. During that time and as I have grown older, friendships between girls changed. I began to see and feel the jealousy, the competition, the comparing, the gossip. Why is it that one of the most special relationships God gave us is so easily twisted into something that brings out the worst in us? Here are a few things that the Bible says about friendship - and there is SO MUCH more about it in there.
" Just as lotions and fragrance give sensual delight, a sweet friendship refreshes the soul." - Proverbs 27:9
" Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down." - Romans 12:14
"If you've gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if His love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care - then do me a favor; Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don't push your way to the front; don't sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don't be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand." - Philippians 2:1-4
(All verses from The Message)
I don't see anywhere that it says, "be jealous of the life your friend has, compare yourself with her and try to keep up with all she has accumulated, talk about your friends when they are having challenges, jockey for friendship positions with those with whom you share mutual friends, belittle the accomplishments of your friends..." And, while we wouldn't want to admit it, don't those challenges like to creep up in our lives? Why do we insist on comparing ourselves with other women instead of recognizing we are all unique? Why is it so easy to find ourselves jealous over the good big and little things in the lives of our friends instead of being happy for them? Why do we have to share in the gossip? Compete in every way possible? WHY!?! God gave us friends! He created friendship! The Bible even talks about being friends with God. We read how God walked with Adam, His first human creation. God created us for relationship with Him and gave us relationships on earth.
Why can't we just be happy and thrive in our friendships?
I enjoyed my weekend so much! I loved spending time with them over lunch on the way up, hearing stories from their past. It was so much fun sitting on the floor of the hotel room eating a quick dinner (that was brought to us by friends who already lived in Atlanta). It was hilarious to be frantically searching for the brownies that some of them KNEW I was coming back to their room to get - only to find out they had hidden them from me...they only let me miss the brownies about 15 minutes before they confessed and we all had a good laugh...at my expense! :) Sharing worship in an arena, running to get refills on Sodas together and sharing the bottomless popcorn bucket together, laughing together, crying together, passing tissues and gum and pens. Then on the way home, laughing because the girl in the back couldn't understand the girl in the front and we all kept misunderstanding each other - "She doesn't like gummies?" "What?! Who was talking about gummies!!!" As I type, I smile at all we thought someone else said that was NOTHING EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE to what was said. hahaha!!
Be honest - don't you want a BFF?? Isn't it a great feeling when someone calls you her BFF? Let's make an effort to be the kind of friend we long to have. It is an effort...and that's ok. Friendship is worth it!
As Max Lucado says in his book A Gentle Thunder, "Each ife is a book, not to be read, but a story to be written." As you are writing the story of your life, don't forget to "write" the memorable moments with your friends! Take time to make good friends...put in the effort to be a good friend. Make time for them...do things together. And when you have some good friends, don't let them forget what they mean to you!
I hope you know the blessings of true friends!
"Greater love hath no man than this, than a man lay down his life for a friend." King James Translation"There is no greater love than to lay down one's life for one's friends." New Living Translation"This is the very best way to love. Put your life on the line for your friends." The Message Translation
Thanks for being you -
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