Endurance

I took a walk with Jesus about a week ago. Just Him and me walking down a golf cart path in my neighborhood. I was frustrated. I had started something several weeks prior and I felt so unsettled. I felt like throwing in the towel and I needed that time with Him to help me sort out things in my head. So there I was walking and He whispers “you give up too easy.” Wait, what? “You give up too easy.” Well, okay. Of course this got me to thinking, and you know what, I do. I started thinking back to activities that I did when I was a kid, I would start and as soon as it got difficult I would quit. Even with friendships, the closer I got to a friend the more I would pull away. I was scared. I wanted to avoid being vulnerable and letting people in because I didn’t want them to realize that maybe I wasn’t worth it and walk away. Workout programs, diets, even some school subjects, the minute they got hard, I was done. Opportunities I had to share my faith and I bailed, because even that can be hard sometimes. I had no endurance. I wasn’t thinking about the big picture, like what would happen if I stuck it out and pushed through the hard stuff. I would have accomplished so much. Pushing through the hard stuff is what leads to the good stuff. Could you imagine Jesus just throwing in the towel the minute he started getting beaten? Like, “nah God, I’m out, this hurts. I hope you have a plan B.” Oh, how our lives would be so different if He wouldn’t have had such strong endurance to push through the pain.

I don’t know who needs to hear this, but don’t give up. Our lives are going to be hard and messy. That’s what builds endurance. We’re going to have to walk through thunderstorms to get to the sunshine and rainbows. Just make sure Jesus is there walking with you, holding the umbrella. Hebrews 12:1-2 “…Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith. For the joy that lay before him he endured the cross, despising shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Let’s not miss out on all the good that Jesus has for us or for all of the hearts that we can lead to Jesus. Lets move forward with faith and endurance.

United

20 years ago. It doesn’t feel like it’s been that long. I bet you can remember exactly where you were and what you were doing when the terrorists in those planes wrecked havoc on those buildings and in our hearts. The world stood still that day. We as Americans came together stronger than we had been anytime in recent history. Suddenly the little issues that had our nation divided didn’t really matter much anymore. We comforted and consoled the grieving regardless of their political beliefs and race. Those who were able to, helped with rescue efforts. We treated our fellow Americans with kindness. We were united.

Fast forward 20 years to present day. Our world is once again in chaos. Divided over masks and vaccines and any other thing we can divide ourselves about. Arguing on social media; thinking that what we say will actually change someone’s mind. Always looking for someone to blame for the troubles America is having. So quick to point fingers. When in reality, we need to turn those fingers around and point them at ourselves. We can disagree with each other and still be kind and respectful. We may not be able to rid the Earth of this awful virus or force someone to change their views. But we can be kind. We can spread love. We can stop arguing and start praying. We can still be the hands and feet of Jesus. We can still be united.

Do Better

What if we start each day by talking to God before we get out of bed? What if we read the word of God before we pick up our phones and start scrolling? What if we say something positive to the first person we encounter? What if we replace our negative thoughts and fears with prayers instead of letting them consume us? What if we start spreading the love of Jesus instead of hate and fear? What if we commit to doing at least one random act of kindness per day? What if we get up and move our bodies instead of binging Netflix and mindlessly watching Tik-Tok or scrolling Facebook. What if we take the money we spend on our daily Starbucks or fast food and donate it to a good cause? What if we turn the T.V. off and have game nights with our families? What if we truly put ourselves in the shoes of others and think of them before we think of ourselves?

My challenge for you in this coming week is to implement some or all of the actions mentioned above. I will be the first to say that I am guilty of many of those things. But, in order to live a better life, we HAVE to make better choices. For those of you who know me personally, message me at the end of the week (Sunday 9/12/21) and let me know the outcome of the challenge. What did you do? How did it make you feel? More importantly, how did it make those around you feel? I will be posting my outcome next Sunday as well. I’m calling this the #dobetterchallenge. Hebrews 10:24(NIV) And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Tick-Tock-Tick-Tock

Time. We all crave more of it. Sometimes I lay in bed at night wondering where the day went, going over happenings that occurred, trying to figure out if there’s anything I could have done better. Was there any situation I should have handled differently? Did I give my husband and kids my best self? Did I treat my co-workers and friends with kindness? Did I waste any of my precious time? Usually the answer to at least one (ok maybe more than one) of these questions makes me feel a little guilty. Being intentional with my time is something that I’m working on in my personal development. Time is a fragile thing. The time we spend with those around us is even more fragile. Especially now in the midst of this pandemic and terrorism that’s taking place. We don’t know if the last conversation we have will be our very last, or if the last time we hug our kids will be the very last. We too often hear loved ones of those deceased say “if only I had spent more time with him/her.” Let’s do better. Let’s start being more intentional with the minutes in our days. Let’s put down our phones, turn off our t.v’s and talk to those around us. I’m guilty of all of the above too, but think about it… can you imagine the wonderful conversations that will take place and the amazing bonds that will forge? Especially with our kids! Ideas will blossom and our worlds will change. Let’s set aside our distractions and really love each other, by giving away our most precious possession, our time.

Prayer over Panic

The world we live in today is nothing short of chaos. Evil people are lurking around waiting for their next victim. A virus that can’t be seen with the naked eye is rearing its ugly head and infecting many people. Terrorists are claiming many innocent lives and threatening many more. Every where we look there’s devastation. The weight of all the pain and suffering is causing hearts to hurt and anxiety and stress to consume us. We need Jesus now. We know the way to reach him. So lets all do it. Lets come together and pray. Pray for peace, pray for healing, pray that this awful virus disappears. Let’s set aside our differences and take all of that energy we’re using on social media to spread hate and blame and use it to pray instead. Lets reach out to our friends and ask them to join us. The best kind of friends you can have are praying friends, and if you don’t have them, you need to get some. Personally, I don’t know what I would do without mine. Teach your kids to pray. We pray with ours before bed. We ask them for prayer requests and we also ask them one thing/person that they’re thankful for. Let’s pray for specific things and have complete faith that He is hearing us. Let’s pray that those who aren’t believers have their hearts opened and receive Jesus. I know He’s coming back, we all need to be ready and make sure that our friends and family are ready too so we can spend eternity together in heaven. Please know that my family and I are praying for you all. Much love and peace.

Just Let Go!

Just let go! Easier said than done, right?

I’ve been a pediatric RN for about 10 years now. Most of my experience was spent caring for medically fragile children, several who were near drowning kiddos. This being said, I am very careful and watchful of my kids in and around water. Over the weekend, we celebrated some birthdays at a water park. We were spending some time in the wave pool, my 4 year old son was loving it. The waves came on and they were pretty strong, he was outside of an inner tube holding on to the plastic handle. Mind you, he could stand up in the water without his head going under. He was holding on to the handle and I had a death grip on him. Frankly, I was ruining all of his fun. I was afraid he would go under if I let him go, he is not yet a swimmer. Finally, he looked up at me and said “Just let go!’ Very reluctantly, I did. He had so much fun.

Letting go is hard! Whether you’re trying to let go of bad habits, a bad boyfriend, your fears, your failures, your insecurities, what you think your future should look like, or even the plans you have for yourself. We feel the need to be in control at all times. That often ends up stressing us out even more because things generally mess up. But friends, we have to let go! If we don’t, we hold ourselves back. More importantly, we hold God back from doing big things in our lives. One of my favorite sayings is “let go and let God.” Pray about it, give it to God, and let it go. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (CSB) says ” For I know the plans I have for you, plans for your well-being, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart. Are you searching with your whole heart? Are you trusting Him enough to let go of everything you’re trying to control? I know it’s not easy, but try it. Surrender my friend, whatever it is. A diagnosis, a job situation, difficult family members, just let it go. Give it to Him. He’s waiting for you.

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Are you Negative or Positive?

I feel like we’ve heard the saying above way too much lately, especially when referring to COVID-19. Are you negative or positive? I am not talking about the awful virus though, I am talking about your outlook on life. Are you one to see the bad in every situation, or do you prefer to look on the bright side? If you’re unsure, go back through your text messages or think back on recent conversations you’ve had with family or friends. Or better yet, take a look at your posts on social media. Are you lifting people up? Were the things you spoke, posted or shared mostly encouraging and positive or did you complain and speak negatively. I’m very guilty of being negative at times. This is one of my downfalls that I’m working on in my personal development. When we’re negative all the time we tend to bring down those around us. Which in turn makes others not want to be near us. Romans 15:5 (NIV)May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you the same attitude of mind toward each other that Christ Jesus had. We were not made to bring people down. Especially if you’re a Christian. We were made and called to lift others in encouragement. Our world is so broken right now, people are arguing and disagreeing over the littlest things. What if instead of picking arguments with each other, we give compliments instead. Even something as small as ” I like your hair,” or ” Your shirt is really pretty,” can turn someones bad day around. The next time you want to post or share something on social media that you know will make others angry, simply refrain. Even if it’s bashing your opposing political party. Let’s start changing the world by changing our hearts and encouraging humankind. Thanks for reading, and by the way, you’re looking really good today!

Clean out the Sludge

This isn’t a DIY tutorial on how to clean pipes to make them function better, but it is a DIY tutorial on how to clean your mind and body to make them function better. Your mind, its a powerful thing. Especially when you feed it the right food. What is your mind consuming? Are you taking the time to really nourish it? Or are you constantly feeding it Netflix and Tik-Tok?

I have a challenge for you: put down the remote, put down the phone, and pick up your Bible. Just pick it up, flip it open, and read it. You can start at the beginning in Genesis or start a daily devotion and read the verses from there. I’ll link some of my favorite devotionals below. There have been periods in my life where my mind was filled with sludge. Lots of thick, yucky sludge. It wasn’t until I actually started reading the Bible and doing my best to follow Jesus (I’m not perfect, like He is, but I do try), that I started to function better. My mind was clearer, and I honestly felt like a new person. There’s just something wonderful about knowing that Jesus loves, like really loves you and wants what’s best for you. Listening to uplifting podcasts and reading personal development books helps feed my mind and soul as well. Just be weary and selective of what you let in. Ultimately, what you let in, is what you let out. Keep that in mind.

Healthy eating is important as well. Make sure you’re nourishing your body with nutrient rich foods that will help it thrive the way God intended it too. I’ve noticed that when I consume a lot of unhealthy food, whether it be fast food, too many sweets or foods high in salt and fat, I do not feel well. I feel tired and just plain gross. But when I nourish my body with fruits, veggies, and other healthy foods, my mind is clearer, I have more energy and I just plain out feel better. I’m not telling you to deprive yourself, moderation is key.

I’m going to leave you with this assignment, take out your Bible, or download the Bible app and look up this verse, Philippians 4:8. Have a great day friends, I’m praying for you.

As promised, some of my favorite daily devotionals.

Common Sense Reborn Daily Devotion

100 Days to Brave

Jesus Didn’t Fit In

Jesus didn’t fit in. In fact, He was mocked and laughed at more times than one. But He knew His purpose on this Earth and He didn’t let his Haters hold him back. Matthew 9:23-26 (NIV) When Jesus entered the synagogue leader’s house and saw the noisy crowd and people playing pipes, he said “Go away. The girl is not dead but asleep.” But they laughed at him. After the crowd had been put outside, he went in and took the girl by the hand, and she got up. News of this spread through the region. Jesus could have easily let those doubters get under His skin and deter his mission. Yet, he did not. He could have argued with the bullies, yet he did not. Jesus went ahead and performed a miracle. Read that again, He went ahead and performed a miracle. We often give up on our dreams for fear of being laughed at or mocked. Friend, if that dream is God given, don’t let your haters stand in your way. Seek wisdom and discernment from the only one who matters. If you’re walking the path and taking the steps that Jesus has called you to, don’t give the debbie downers a second thought. Walk ahead with your sights set above.

Who’s Hand are you Holding?

When I cross the street with my children, the first thing I do is grab their hand. I do this to keep them safe and guide them across the road, in the right direction. I don’t want them to turn back in the middle of the road or get scared and freeze. Think back to when you were little and your parent did this for you. How did it make you feel? I know it made me feel safe, comforted and brave knowing I was holding the hand of someone who loved me and wanted to keep me safe. This is exactly what our Heavenly Father wants us to feel with Him. We can take those brave steps with the strong hand of Jesus holding onto ours. We can embrace fear with the knowledge that Jesus is gripping our hand and He’s never letting go. Isaiah 41:13 (NIV) says For I am the Lord your God who takes holds your right hand and says to you, “Do not fear I will help you.” When going through hard times and walking through rough waters, seek the comfort of God’s hand. He will guide you, and keep you safe.