Walking Down the Aisle by Trish

ID 55484462 © Chris Humphreys | Dreamstime.com

 

This past month has been one of the most exhilarating yet emotional months of my life. As of July 26th I became engaged to a man who has truly fought for and won my heart.

The wedding plans have now been set in motion as we make our way towards the infamous aisle. However, the truth of the matter is my walk towards my husband -to -be started many years ago. Each step that has led me to him was taken by faith.

The walk started out hazy and unclear with no visibility of who my soul mate was.  Each decision to trust God was one-step closer… a step of faith.  I remember many times crying at night asking, “Where is he, God? Where is the person you have for me and why is it taking so long?” I would see others come into relationships that led to marriage and overhear comments such as “this is God’s reward, His gift to you.” I would hear those statements and wonder what I was doing wrong to not be rewarded with such a gift. Others with good intentions would say to me “it’s all about timing”. Very few people who offered me advice had lived a life unto God before marriage so while I was grateful for their love and genuine support, it was difficult for me to receive their “wisdom” when they had not walked my path.

 I can’t tell you the formula for finding your mate. I can’t tell you the timing that is most perfect. I can only say that every person’s journey is different and not all blueprints are the same but at the core your journey is a faithful God who will not disappoint!

 My blueprint contained plans that required me to wait 36 years. During those times of uncertainty, God was there and all the while I was getting closer to what He had for me.

 The faith journey did not end after I met Marc.  It was actually strengthened all the more as I learned how to let the guards of my heart down and let him in. If anything the courtship season was just as trying as the single season. Being single I had learned how to navigate life by faith on my own but now I had to learn how to trust someone else with my heart and this was yet another step of faith leading me to destiny.

 So, while others celebrate the walk down the aisle on one specific day , I stand in awe at the walk that began many years ago. I understand that the “aisle” will actually never end but will now include a partner to hold my hand as we journey on.

 Ladies, if you’re single and desire to be married….I want to agree with you that the desires of your heart be fulfilled! If you’re married, I stand with you that your marriage will remain strong and that your homes be filled with love, patience and understanding. No matter where we are in life, we have our own aisle to walk. Be grateful for the one whose hand you hold but more importantly, cling to the One who is holding you, Jesus Christ!

Back To School by Bombi

Dreamstime ID 21469279 © Ammentorp | Dreamstime.comLast week while walking out of a store, I noticed what looked like a parent scolding their child. I only glanced, then looked away as I was trying to find my car and get out of the heat quick. Once in the car, my daughter turned to me and asked, “Mom, did you hear what that lady told her kid? She asked her why she can’t do anything right. That’s so mean!” My heart hurt to hear this, and to see the look on my daughter’s face showed me that she hurt for that child too.

It got me thinking about how delicate raising a child really is. Children need more than a roof over their heads and food in their tummies, they need to be built up and loved by their parents in word and in deed. As a mom I have the power to shape my children with the words I choose to use. This is not a responsibility I take lightly.

I understand that moms and dads have limits too. Our buttons get pushed, our patience gets tried, and our boundaries get tested daily. If you are a stay at home mom, perhaps you feel that pressure growing as the summer comes to an end and “me time” seems like a thing of the past. You might be yearning to put your kids back into school so you can have your personal space again. Perhaps it’s not just our kids that need to be back in school, maybe it’s us that need to be schooled.

Maybe we need to relearn how to speak correctly to our children. Maybe we’ve told our kids time and again that if they don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. We need to remember and practice this ourselves. We may have told little Suzie to say nice things, or to be a nice sister or little girl, but are we being a nice mommy?

If you don’t have kids, chances are you know some. According to God’s word you are not exempt from how you choose to treat children. You might have a niece or nephew or you know a child you interact with on a daily or maybe monthly basis. I want to remind you too that your words and actions have weight; there is no time to stick our heads in the sand and say, “not my kid, not my problem.” If you are in an influential position with any child for any length of time, don’t take it lightly. Your responsibility might not be to parent them, but you are still held accountable for how you choose to treat that child.

“5 Whoever receives one little child like this in My name receives Me. 6 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Matt 18:5-6 (NKJV)

Photo Credit:Dreamstime ID 21469279 © Ammentorp | Dreamstime.com

Climate of Freedom by Kenika

ID 57060618 © Cristianzamfir | Dreamstime.com

From the day we are born, we have to deal with and lean on people, in the most literal sense. We depend on our parents for provision and survival and for the rest of our lives we encounter several groups of people that help us along the way. Whether it’s doctors, teachers, friends, family members, classmates or co-workers, it is inevitable that we will interact with people. Sometimes in this process we get hurt, offended, or even betrayed. I found myself at a point were there were a few people that really hurt me with their actions. Whether they meant to or not, it was still a source of pain. I try my best to be mentally tough, and I work really hard to forgive and move on, but occasionally it’s easier said than done. So much time can pass and you think you’re over something, but then the harsh reality sets in that you’re not.

The hardest type of offense to overcome is when the other person is actually in the wrong.   This is where a verse had to come in and change my mindset. Hebrews 12:14, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” I have heard the second half of the verse quoted many times and I’ve read it in an attempt to understand it, but this time the first part reached me right where I was. “Follow peace with all men.” That means everybody, even people that have done you wrong. I have a hard time forgiving someone if I feel justified in being upset with him or her. It’s their fault, they messed up, and no one else is to blame, so obviously they should pay. They truly deserve me to be ugly with them, disregard them altogether, or remove them from my life. The only problem with that is, of course, if I don’t forgive I won’t be forgiven, but also this causes unending strife with someone. If the word of God commands us to “follow peace” then holding grudges is unlawful and downright sinful. If after someone has apologized and you’ve expressed how you’ve felt to him or her, you have no right to hang on to even the pain, no matter how much it hurts.

So when I was trying to figure out how to handle certain people especially within the confines of unavoidable situations, I had to keep repeating to myself, “Follow peace with all men.” For me it meant picking up the phone to call someone, or shoot a text, or just be open whenever they reached out. It may mean something else to you, but the objective is doing whatever it takes to seek and maintain peace. No matter how much we feel someone deserves our “ugliness”, God is requiring us to be at peace. I decided that I was going to follow peace and ultimately I enjoyed freedom from anger, bitterness and holding on to pain in an attempt to hold people to what they did to me. They didn’t deserve my kindness, and my peaceful nature/reactions/responses but that’s exactly what they got. In turn, I enjoyed the privilege of quitting what truly seemed like a daily job of making sure they knew I was still upset. I sought out peace with them, not for their benefit, but for mine. They were recipients of my kindness, and I received an atmosphere free from the inability to forgive.

“We seek peace, knowing that peace is the climate of freedom” ~Dwight D. Eisenhower

Photo Credit:ID 57060618 © Cristianzamfir | Dreamstime.com

New Season by Sonya

 

 

ID 45353050 © Darius Strazdas | Dreamstime.com

 

This new season of life has been a challenge. My family and I decided it was time to change churches as we felt God leading us to find a church in the community we live in. This was hard for me to swallow, as I knew we would eventually make that transition but didn’t feel ready now. It was difficult for me to accept this new season of life and my husband’s leading. I would get so mad every time he brought up looking for a new church. We have been at our church for almost 10 years and very involved which was hard for me to even think about leaving my church family. But my husband did ask me if I had prayed about it and of course that would be the Christian thing to do but I hadn’t prayed about it! Right then I realized I needed to pray and believe in God’s leading in this area and new season of life that we are being called to. After I prayed, a peace just fell over me telling me that God is in control and He has it taken care of. Understanding God’s leading and peace in the midst of going into a new season of life is so vital and important. Prayer is a powerful component of that, and learning to hear God’s voice and wisdom leads you to your next season of life and how God can use you even more! Change is hard but going through makes you see more clearly who you are and who God is. This change leads you into that next new season for you. It may look and feel different and not come easy but that is okay because God is into His plans and not our plans for our life! Let Him take the steering wheel in this new season and watch where He will drive you. I know for me it is the unknown of where we will be, but God says, “Trust Me and let Me lead you!” Are you willing to trust Him in this new season?

 

 

PhotoCredit:ID 45353050 © Darius Strazdas | Dreamstime.com