For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
- Jeremiah 29:11
What does your life look like? Does it look like you expected it to look at this stage of it?
Maybe you are in the middle of a situation right now. Maybe you just can’t seem to shake those negative thoughts from your past and fear-based worries for your future. Maybe you KNOW all the "right" things and all the "right" scriptures, but you just can’t wrap your arms around them to make them a reality. If that's the case, then ... CHOOSE HOPE!
Jesus is not a magic potion. You don’t become a Christian and never have another problem. You can’t just say, "I believe in Jesus" and magically everything in your life is now clear. We aren’t promised everything will turn out the way we expect. And I'm not encouraging you to wish for some magical change to take place. On the contrary - I'm challenging you to be proactive with your life and to Choose Hope grounded in Christ as your Foundation.
We won’t have all the answers and we won’t find some new and perfect equation to solve all the problems in our lives. But, what I know we can all Choose Hope.
When you struggle with guilt from the past, choose hope. When you struggle with fears about the future, choose hope. When you can’t yet believe and claim the promises you read in the Bible and hear about from others, you CAN choose hope.
Take responsibility for your life and Choose Hope. Put your hope in Jesus and He will carry you when you can’t take another step. He will set you on solid ground and help you build anew. He will guide you along the path of becoming and give you strength to make the best decisions. He will teach you how to fly again and will even breathe new air under your wings.
He’s cheering for you,
even when nobody else seems to be.
And like Kari Jobe's song, "Steady My Heart" says, "Even when it hurts, even when it’s hard, even when it all just falls apart. I will run to You, 'Cause I know that you are, Lover of my soul, Healer of my scars.
You steady my heart!"
Choose to let Him steady your heart today!
Thanks for being a part of my journey!
Mercy and Grace in the Midst of the Storm
I have been pondering for weeks now what to write about for a follow-up to the session Claire and I lead on Mercy and Grace. Shortly after that SHE event, our family was delivered some life changing news. Henry, the four year old nephew of my brother in law, Joe, and my sister, Michelle, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery almost immediately, and surgeons were able to remove 50% of the tumor. No more treatment will be done at this time, and Henry is currently under hospice care. When you hear news like this your mind begins to buzz with millions of questions and emotions. Whatever emotions or questions you may be asking as you read this; I have already felt or asked over the last month. On Halloween, the local news station in Georgia did a story on Henry. I will link it for you to watch, but be prepared, you WILL need tissues.
As I watched the video, I was overcome once again with a deluge of emotions. Yet, as I reflected back on it today, I see lessons that Father can teach all of us. When Claire and I lead our session, we never said that extending grace and mercy to yourself and others would ever be easy. It is a struggle and a battle. He wants us to lean on Him and His strength for EVERY NEED. The Kelley family is doing that right now. They are in the midst of leaning on Father to meet their every need right now. They are not only doing that, but they are proclaiming the HOPE that can only be found in Jesus during this time. The fact that the news station did not edit Jessie’s words about her faith shows that Henry does have a story to tell. Is this the story Ian and Jessie dreamed their son would tell?? Of course not, but they are just following Father’s hand as He leads them through their story. "We believe that Jesus's heart is for us, and for Henry, and for healing and restoration," Jessica said. "We may not see that on this side of glory. We'll still be with him in a short amount of time, forever."
In one of the most poignant parts of the video, Jessie described a recent experience with Henry.
"We were throwing pennies in the pond and I said 'You're supposed to make a wish before you throw the penny in the pond. What do you wish for? If you could do anything in the world right now, what would it be?' And he said, 'This.' And it was the most amazing lesson to me to just enjoy the moment with him, that there is joy and peace because right now, my little boy is throwing pennies in the pond and we can smile and we can cherish that to a new level."
Children can teach us so much. They see the world in such a different way than we do. Sometimes, we just need to sit back and take a look around us and be thankful for the situation we are in right at that moment. I did that recently as I sat with some friends and thought back to when I first got involved with Total Woman U. It was amazing to sit back and see how Father’s hand had guided me and lead me to where He has me today. That road was not smooth and straight…it was bumpy and rough and lead me through some tough times, but without them, I would not be where I am today.
Henry’s situation is not fun nor is it something any of us would want our children to go through. I just know that when these kinds of tragedies rock our world, there is someone who can keep us from falling. Father holds us up in such an amazing way and makes Himself known to all those around us. Jessie, Ian, Henry, and Miri Kelley are allowing Jesus to shine through them wherever they go. Do they have rough days?? YOU BET THEY DO!! Please pray for them over these next few months. Continue to pray for a miracle. Our Father can do amazing things. Pray for peace in the midst of this storm and for comfort.
I am praying for all of you that Father can give you His perspective in the midst of your circumstances. Know that ALL of the ladies on the TWU team love you and pray for you. Next time, I will be reflecting on a song by Matthew West on our perspective.
I love you!
http://www.11alive.com/news/article/262491/3/Henrys-Last-Holidays Story Link
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