Riding On Wings of Faith by Trish

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????? Have you ever felt as though God has required something of you so big that the only response you could figuratively do was to close your eyes and just JUMP?!

I’ve been there where you look at what God has entrusted you to accomplish and then you rehearse your resume and quickly identify that the so-called “qualifications” you have pale in comparison to the assignment at hand.

So then do you bend under the pressure, or do you stand firm with your head held high and get to work? We know that without faith it is impossible to please God so we must learn to exercise our faith daily. As we mature in our relationship with Christ, so must our faith. We are each given a measure of faith, but we then have a responsibility to grow that faith to be able to do the great things He’s called us to do.

What are some things that hinder us from taking that leap of faith?

  • Fear of Failure

Oftentimes we ask ourselves, “What will people think if they see me fail?” We have to condition ourselves mentally with an attitude that says, “If God is for me, who can stand against me?” If God is asking me to do something, this is on Him. My job is to just obey. When you allow fear to enter your heart it paralyzes you, causing you to not move. So what if what you set out to do previously didn’t work the last time, now you have better understanding of what not to do this time around. Let your faith be bigger than your fear!

  • Complacency

We tend to get settled into our routine or our place of comfort and when God knocks on our door for a work to be done, we being to count the cost. When the realization of the time and effort needed interrupts our comfort zone, sometimes it’s easier to ignore the call. However, God did not call us to live complacent lives. We should always be at work because souls need saving and hearts need healing. We live in a world that needs hope, hope that can only be found in Christ. If our lives are too busy or too comfortable to answer the call on our lives, we need to reevaluate our priorities, roll up our sleeves and work where we are called.

  • Feelings of Inadequacy

There have been countless times when I’ve surveyed rooms I’ve had the privilege of standing in, among people some would give their life for to meet, and have thought to myself, “How did I get here and why? I’m just a girl who was raised in a single-parent, low-income home from the cornfields of Iowa, what on earth am I doing here and what is it God that you see in me?” I love how God uses what is foolish to confound the wise. He takes what is seemingly of no prestige and molds and makes a beautiful display of His GRACE in our lives. Ironically enough there is no one, no not one, worthy on his or her own accord, regardless of economical or social status. At the end of the day we are people with our own set of DNA, flaws, failures and regrets but that’s what makes the blood of Jesus so incredible. It covers all imperfections and makes us righteous (not self-righteous) in Christ. I love when people ask, “How did you do that?” I boldly say, “All of the credit goes to God.” A heart submitted to the authority of Jesus makes us qualified. There is no need to rehearse your mistakes to God. When you ask for forgiveness He separates you from that sin and you are a new creation in Him. You have a right as a daughter of God to boldly pursue every dream, desire and passion He’s placed in your heart!

As we are in this New Year, let go of your inhibitions and ride on the wings of FAITH as you soar to new heights in your journey with God!

 

Photo Credit:

© Stefanolunardi | Dreamstime.com – Beautiful Young Woman With Arms Raised Under A Tre Photo

Let’s Talk About Love by Sonya

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

“Above all love each other deeply.” 1 Peter 4:8

LOVE is an important four-letter word in marriage. Love is not just a word you say to your spouse to show them you love them. Saying, “I love you,” is important but it is much more than that. It is the action behind LOVE and showing your spouse that you truly love them by the way you treat them.

Being married for almost thirteen years has not by any means made me an expert in this area, but I am still learning how to love my husband and figure out what makes his love tank full. LOVE is that four-letter word that can be easily thrown around, but as I am learning it is the little things you do that go straight to the heart and make your spouse feel loved all over. Words are important but don’t need to be said all the time, they can also be written out. For instance, something as simple as sending your spouse a text to show them you were thinking about them in that moment can brighten their day. I know for me when my husband appreciates my cooking and the cleaning I have done that day, and has our kids express appreciation as well, shows me love in huge ways. Sweet notes are so thoughtful and homemade cards, which I know that can be a thing of the past with all the technology we have today, could mean the world to your spouse. I have kept my notes and cards from my husband and read them every once in awhile and when I do, I feel so loved and appreciated from the words he wrote.

Also small gifts are a way to show love to your spouse and can be very inexpensive. The gifts can be as simple as a favorite drink or snack. My husband loves brie cheese and these special crackers that go with it, so I brought those home for him to have one night and he loved it! The fact that I thought of him and took the time to get those for him. You can make fun by hiding their favorite candy and have your spouse be surprised when they find it.

There can be giving the gift of your time and spending it with your spouse by watching their favorite show or movie or going on a walk. Spending time doesn’t have to mean you have to take them out on an expensive date, but just taking the time to be with them makes that spouse feel so important and valued. Dating your mate is an ongoing process, and spending that time is key to a healthy marriage. God wants us to put our spouse first before our family, friends, work, and hobbies. Don’t complicate things and mix it around because you’ll end up with a spouse that is feeling unloved.

 

A big way for some women, especially for me, is when my husband is doing things around the house like cleaning or vacuuming without being asked. I truly feel loved by that and the fact that I didn’t have to ask him. Those “acts of slavery,” as my husband calls it, are yelling out, “I Love You!” and it means the world to me and to many women who have small children and don’t have all the time in the world to do everything in their home.

Those small acts of love speak volumes to our spouses and to our marriages. Loving our spouse is an expression of God’s love. Once we understand God’s love for us, we can then love others the way He does. 1 John 4:12 states it well, “If we love each other, God lives in us, and His love has been brought to full expression through us.” Take the time to love your spouse the way God loves your spouse and then you can start saying, “Let’s Talk about Love.”

 

Photo Credit:© Rocketclips | Dreamstime.com – Black Girlfriend Enjoying Being Serenaded To By Boyfriend Photo

Do You Love You by Kenika

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????

 

 

February is here and we all know this to be the month where we acknowledge and celebrate love. Let the heart shaped candies, red roses and dinner reservations commence! Not only is February special for being the month of amour, but also it’s doubly special because it’s my birthday month. During the shortest, but most awesome, month of the year I have typically been either really excited or really sad. Sad because birthdays are a reminder that I am another year older and feel far from where I thought I would be. Depressing because everyone is celebrating their relationship/marriage/situation and I want to punch them in the throat…with the love of Christ of course. Adversely, I have found myself excited as well because I love birthdays, so of course I always enjoy celebrating my own. Another year, another opportunity to thank God for all that He has done.

It was hard for me for a very long time to accept me for me. I struggled, unbeknownst to most who know and love me, to force myself into the box that everyone else created for me. I was always trying to find my way in other people’s eyes. I vacillated back and forth between being confident and certain of who I am, and feeling rejected for who I am. I thank God for a new day. This year I approach February with vigor! Next year I will hit a pivotal milestone and I couldn’t be more excited. I finally accept me for me. I finally love me for who and what God created me to be. While it’s all great and fun to go out and get boxes of candy and sweet little cards for others to express our love, we need to remember to express the same love to ourselves. It’s very difficult to love others, when you don’t really love yourself.

Accept and love yourself first, and that confident expression will be passed on to others that you care for. Think about the mom who works like a crazy person to ensure that her kids have everything they need. Sure that’s a wonderful model for the kids to see how much mom loves them, but if mom doesn’t take care of herself, it doesn’t demonstrate to her children that they should either. Being a wife, daughter or friend that always goes out of their way for others is wonderful, but if it ultimately leaves you burnt out, again because you don’t value you, in the end you are doing yourself and others a disservice. It’s a pretty simple question with perhaps a loaded answer, “Do you love you?” Don’t forget to value the wonderful woman God created in you. I’m not saying to become puffed up or conceited but rather, a healthy dose of self-esteem, love, and acceptance of all things that encompass wonderful you. Happy Love Month!

 

Photo Credit:

© Darrenbaker | Dreamstime.com – African American Woman Smiling With Red Flower Photo

This Valentine’s Day, Take a Break by Bombi

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Hello ladies (and gents), welcome to February. Yes, that quickly, January has breezed by. It’s time for that famous time of the year, Valentine’s Day. For some people this means roses, candy, getaways, dinners, and perhaps even proposals. But for many, Valentine’s Day is a place of pain. If you know anything about the past couple of years of my life you know that it’s been one of true romance and love. It’s been absolutely wonderful. But not long ago I can remember most any holiday, romantic or not, where I was hurting and feeling the loneliness and pain.

I can remember one particular Valentine’s where one of my closest pals took me out to a fancy restaurant in Seattle for dinner. It was sort of a “Gal-entines” celebration. We got all dressed up and gave each other cute little cards and candy. Everything was perfect (including the beet salad) until I spotted a beautiful couple in the restaurant. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. The way they looked at each other with such love nearly took my breath away. Just as I was going to stop staring at the lovebirds, a young man and woman walked up to their table and gave them flowers and a hug and took a seat. The couple saw me looking (yeah, I was staring that long) and proceeded to engage in conversation. They told me and my friend that they have been coming to this restaurant every Valentine’s Day for over 20 years, before they even had kids. I smiled and told them that was amazing and congratulated them.

Then I excused myself, went to the restroom, and began an all out cry session that lasted for nearly an hour. My night was pretty much shot. That was one of the most painful V-day memories to date. Now looking back, I can see that perhaps going out to eat at a romantic spot may not have been the best idea if I was so torn up.

That being said, I wanted to offer some practical encouragement. When Valentine’s Day, or any other important date is around the corner, and you can feel that ball well up in your throat at the thought of it, take it easy. You know what that means for you. If you’re an extrovert like me, take time to hang with good people in settings that won’t trigger you. If you’re not a people person, draw a bath, light a candle, put some nice music on, and enjoy a relaxing evening.

The media will bombard you with commercialized images of perfect relationships. Take a break from it. T.V. will be playing Nicolas Sparks movie marathons. Don’t watch them. Take a break from love songs. Take a break from Instagram. Take a break from Facebook. I mean really, do what you can to simply chill out. Take some time to pray, breath, and relax, it goes a long way. Not to mention, God knows your heart. He sees the places that are still hurting and crushed. He wants to comfort you and heal you so that one day soon, you’ll not be in pain. Maybe one day you won’t dread Valentine’s Day. Perhaps on a future Valentine’s night, you might find your future self smiling as you sit across the dinner table of your spouse. You’ll be full of love and gratitude as you thank God for getting you through those horrible Valentine’s Day blues.

Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

 

 

Photo Credit:
© Sasamihajlovic | Dreamstime.com – Girl Relaxing On A Park Bench Photo