Hope

1015OH.

MY.

GAW.

Can you believe it is already 2015!???! Insanity. Pure insanity. I feel like 2014 went both fast and slow at the same time. Have you ever felt that way? There were certain parts that I thought for sure would never end (like having a colicky baby haha) or a whiny 3 year old (well now she can be a whiny 4 year old 😉 but hey, she isn’t 3 anymore! HA!) but then there are parts that seemed to fly by in the blink of an eye, like the super cute 8 month baby stage that I so love, or half of my oldest daughter’s first year of Kindergarten (say what!?) or Christmas (which I am kinda sad about because this year it didn’t ever fully FEEL like Christmas, which is not normal for me).

I hope that all of you had a fabulous Christmas and holiday season with your family. I hope that your children had a good break. Are you happy or sad they are back in school? Or yes to both? HA! 😛

oneI have heard a lot of things over the last few years that instead of making a whole list of new years resolutions, that, let’s be honest, we won’t follow anyway… choose ONE. WORD. to symbolize how you want your year to be. How you want to change. How you want to grow. How you want to live.

What will YOUR one word be? Have you thought about it? What word would you choose that can encompass EVERY.SINGLE.THING. you hope to achieve, accomplish, or do in this year?

I had 2 that I was going back and forth between.

JOY & HOPE

Choosing Joy is something we must actively pursue in order to fulfill anything else in life really. We must CHOOSE to be joyful regardless of circumstances. It is the only true secret to contentment.

“Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to be content with whatever I have.” Philippians 4:11

However, I think HOPE is an even MORE all encompassing word. It is through HOPE in Christ that we can have JOY in the first place. 

“The hope of the righteous brings joy…” Proverbs 10:28

Hope is what holds us together when everything is crashing around us.
Hope is what binds people together that may be struggling
Hope is what allows us to trust in our Father even when we don’t understand
Hope is what allows us to have joy
Hope is the catalyst for SO. MANY. THINGS.

We can survive a lot IF we have Hope.

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul” Hebrews 6:19

And if you are a child of God, you ALWAYS. ALWAYS. ALWAYS. have Hope. Always. No matter what your circumstances. No matter what you are going through. No matter what you are feeling. No matter what you have done. No matter what consequences you may be suffering because of sins. NO. MATTER. WHAT.

Hope is what allowed Jesus’ disciples to be willing to die for their faith. Hope of MORE. Hope of eternal life. Hope that this life on THIS earth is not the end all. It isn’t our real home. Hope that we are made for greatness. Hope that God can, does, and WILL work all things for good for those who love Him (Romans 8:28)

My focus passage for this year will be Romans 12:12

“Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” This passage sums up the word perfectly to me. We can rejoice in all circumstances, if we have hope, even IN tribulations. It is that hope which allows us to trust God and be patient THROUGH those times of tribulation. Constant in prayer is what will allow us the proper focus to remember where our hope lies. It is through constant conversation with God, which is what prayer is, that our minds can stay focused on Him. Focused on Hope. And that Hope will lead to SO. MUCH. MORE.

So this is my one word: HOPE

because with Hope, you can change everything

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Struggles and faith

This world is not our home. This world has bad things that happen. EVERY. DAY. This world brings pain, sorrow, heartache, bad days, struggles, hardships, death, sickness… We ALL will encounter hard times. No one is “Christian” enough to be able to go through life without them. Those who think you can simply “have more faith” or “pray more” and your sorrows, struggles, or pain will be gone, remember, that attitude is NOT biblical. The Bible says:

“I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

tumblr_makgbl7ALt1qhmhdfo1_500There are countless people throughout the Bible who encountered hardships. Joseph was betrayed by his BROTHERS! They wanted to murder him, instead, they beat him up and threw him in a pit. Joseph loved the Lord God with all his heart. What about Job? He lost EVERYTHING. God allowed it. He had a reason for it. Job remained faithful throughout his struggles. He never gave up on God. In fact God says in the book of Job:  In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”  What about the Israelites? They suffered. A LOT. at the hand of a Pharaoh who hated God. You can read the Bible and find plenty more examples. Jesus Christ himself suffered, and ultimately killed (and we all know he had plenty of faith. He WAS God. He was PERFECT). Disciples were imprisoned, tortured, and even killed for what they believed. And it sure was not because they didn’t “have enough faith”

Look at Mary! She had what happened to her BECAUSE of her faith. Can you imagine how she must have felt!? She was most likely shunned by family and friends because people thought she had a child of out wedlock. At first Joseph, whom she was engaged to, thought she was sleeping around. She was forced to leave where she grew up, and probably never saw her family again. She surely did not have her people question her and treat her like trash because she had a lack of faith. Completely the opposite.

The Lord did not necessarily stop these for His children simply because the person had more faith, but he DID bring the person hope and God used it for His glory and for an amazing plan.

Things may not always make sense. Some things may not make sense this side of heaven, but know, if you are struggling, there is hope IN the struggle.

peaceful_beach_by_syntetyc-d3fyqyrWe can be full of faith, but we WILL still encounter hard times, and they won’t always stop by praying more. Don’t let someone make you think it means you don’t have enough faith, or you just don’t pray enough, or love God enough, or you sin too much (yes, sometimes we may have unrepentant sin, that is not what I mean here, plus we ALL sin. DAILY.) If you are sick, struggling with depression, loss of a job, financial strain, family member illness, loss of home, etc… please know God has not left you, and even if you do all you can to have more faith and you are STILL struggling, know that it is not because God thinks you don’t love Him enough. We will ALL go through hardships. Sometimes we may encounter struggles in order to bring us closer TO God and to grow our faith, not because we don’t DO enough for Him.

We may not understand the battles, but they serve a purpose greater than we can see. There IS a purpose. I promise. Have hope ❤

Those who have come out of a hardship, be that hope. Love on those who are in one now. Love them as you would want to be loved when you are having a hard time, are depressed, going through a trial or hardship. JUST. LOVE. THEM.

“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.” Romans 12:15

This life WILL bring hardship, but we CAN have hope even in the midst of them

❤ XOXO
~Emily

 

some people just don’t get it

Before I start this blog, I am warning you that it is a bit of a rant. It is a bit of a soapbox. I also admit, I am sometimes speaking about myself. When I say that some people just don’t get it, I am referring to Christians. Yup. Christians. Some of us just DON’T get it! I think all of us fall into this catergory at times to be honest. I am blessed enough to be involved with a group of people at church that are really TRYING to make a change. I hope and pray the rest of the church follows :/ There are may there I know will and have been PRAYING for a group like this this to come for years, but I also know there are many who are hesitant. However, I really believe most of the church wants change, they WANT to live the type of Christian life that Jesus lived. The desire to love like Jesus, live like Jesus, serve like Jesus. . .they just don’t know how! Whose fault is that? ummm ours! WE, as Christians, to be honest, SUCK sometimes at loving like Jesus and telling others how to do the same. We become so focus on the rules, regulations, traditions, etc. . .that we forget about the love part. We are so focused on the sin, we forget that SINNERS were the kinds of people that Jesus hung out with! And folks, I  hate to break it to you. . .umm we are ALL sinners. One sin is NOT worse than another sin. However, we are christians sometimes like to rank sins. We like to think, well Sam is into drugs, I only have a drinking problem, he is for sure worse than me. I am ok. umm no. We are ALL sinners. We ALL need Jesus’ love and grace and mercy. We need to remember what we HAVE in Christ and share it with everyone. We need to break out of our clean little bubble world and get dirty. We need to hang with the kinds of people Jesus hung out with and share with them, love them, serve them, show them GRACE, love, mercy – and through that, they will realize WHO Jesus is, WHAT he is about and WHY he wants a relationship with them and HOW they can get it and change their life! It is SOOOO awesome when you think about it! I think we take it for grantid sometimes. Really, some people just don’t get it, its like we sometimes think certain people or types of “sinner” are unworthy of Christ’s redemption. We are too scared to share with them for fear of us looking bad of hurting our reputation. We have ALL done this! We judge by appearance, by lifestyle, by career, by where they live, etc. . .rather than just viewing ALL people as those worthy to be shown the same grace we were shown, that they are worth the time and effort to share the gospel with, show love to, befriend, serve, and hopefully bring into a relationship with Christ! Rememeber Christ hung out with the lowest of low, the outcast, the unlovable, etc. . .people like prostitutes, drunks, adulterors, homosexuals (GASP! Yes, we are REALLY awful about sharing and loving them, it makes me sick actually) Anyway, this is my rant. I really hope and pray that we can all “GET IT” one day, that we can REALLY learn what it means to love like Jesus. The Lord knows I am not perfect, but I am really working on it. I was once worthless, but Christ gave me worth. I was once ugly, but Christ made me beautiful, I was once dirty, but Christ made me clean, I was once hopeless, but Christ gave me hope, I was once weary, but Christ gave me strength, I was once depressed, but Christ gave me hope. . .we need to remember we are ALL sinner, we are ALL  desperate for Christ, we all NEED Christ, and Christ desires that ALL should come to him, so lets get out there, get dirty, love like Him, serve like Him, and bring all of those people TOO him! God Bless!

I’m dreaming. . .

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas! And, considering this weekend, it may happen! I think it may be my first White Christmas EVER! 🙂 Being from Texas, uhhhh, snow “don’t really happen round those parts” haha.  I think the last BIG snow I remember was when I was about 4! It was not even that much either, lol. maybe 2 inches or less. i remember making the woosiest and smallest snowman, but I giggled with pride at my new found friend. Perhaps this year, my snowman can grow a little! 🙂 hehe. It snowed here this weekend and it was SO pretty! There is still some snow on the ground! Katie loved it. She walked in the snow yesterday and got mad when I said it was time to go! I think she liked the crunch crunch noise it made. She called it no, haha. Close enough, right? 🙂 She had a blast watching it fall from the sky. She stood at our sliding glass doors in wonder and amazment. It was so cute, special and heart warming.  I will never forget her face. little kids can teach us so much. They teach us, to love, to live, to be without fear, to have more love, more joy, more happiness, more hope, more peace. . .they teach us to continue dreaming! Having a little girl, i am understanding child like faith more each day. Katie doesn’t worry I won’t take care of her, she just has faith and trust that her mommy will give her what she needs. If me as her imperfect earthly mother gives her what she needs (food, clothes, drink, home) than how much better is our Heavenly Father at taking  care of us!? It was a very special and memorable weekend this weekend, and katie taught me a little bit more about myself and to continue dreaming!

Waiting and Wandering

My mother gave me a daily devotional book by Beth Moore.  It is one of those one you just read a small tidbit of faith for each day of the year.  I went ahead and started reading it, and sometimes read more than one a day.  Sometimes, my brain capacity cannot handle more “faith tidbits” than those, haha.  I figure something is better than nothing 🙂  Anyway. . .the one I read the other day was encouraging for me.  This is the verse. [“….so that you won’t become lazy, but imitators of those who inherit the promises through faith and perserverence.” Hebrews 6:12]  Beth Moore states in this small tidbit that “The middle of any challenging journey can be the most critical point.  Many of us may not be where we were, but we’re not yet where we want to go.”  This verse surrounds when the Isrealites were wandering in the wilderness and waiting for God’s promise to be fullfilled.  Many grumbled, many complained, many wanted to go back to captivity, thinking they had been better off there than wandering around.  Moore also tells us that sometimes, the longer we wander, the easier it is to get sucked back into the old life, or captivity.  Perserverence is SO important here.  She states in closing that “But as we perservere, God is faithful to continually give us the extra push of motivation to press on.”

The other day when I read this is encouraged me in dealing with Andrew and I’s call to Baltimore.  Yes, we feel some days we are “wandering” around Auburn.  We have grown through Him and yet we are not where we feel He is ultimately calling us.  This encouraged me to perservere.  God’s will for our lives will be fullfilled.  God will not go back on promises.  We both know we are called.  For now though, God is having us wait.  It doesn’t mean God is taking away His promise, it means we are wandering for a reason and we must have faith and perservere, and God WILL give us the strength to do so.

However, just this morning, this had new meaning for me.  It is in dealing with Katie.  Yesterday, Katie had another feeding nightmare.  She will go ballistic, scream hysterically when you try and give her the bottle.  She takes it at first fine, eating her normal first segment, but then after we burp her, she goes nuts, refusing to eat.  One feeding yesterday, after an hour, she only got 1.5oz, then fell asleep.  The one in the middle of the day, I did get her calm (after 40 min) and she drained the bottle, all 5 ounces.  So, we know she WANTS the food, but something is messing her up.  Daily total was only about 2-3 ounces short of what it normally is, so it was ok, but getting her to eat it was a nightmare.   We have prayed so much about this and feel sometimes we are not being heard.  We know this isn’t true.  This devotional gave me hope.  Maybe we are wandering right now to teach us something, patience, faith, who knows.  We both perhaps have an idea of what is causing this, we were both convicted of the same thing.  I will update you later.  For now, please pray.  PRAY HARD! Thanks and God Bless you!