Today I Choose Thankfulness

Oh boy. I don’t always blog, but when I do it’s because I feel an overwhelming obligation to share something the Lord revealed to me in more characters than would be appropriate in a Facebook post. And, this moment is one of those moments. I sent my two oldest children off to school today and felt so many emotions.

Yes, partly because my oldest daughter is entering the ninth grade this year. I think I just didn’t process that until just this moment. Just the other day I remember giving birth to her and changing her diapers and nursing her and what? Where was I? Seriously, how did she become a high school student??? Incredibly puzzling moment.

Then, my youngest daughter just departed for the seventh grade retreat. It’s a bit much for me. This is a new journey for her and she was just so happy and so excited. She has worked so hard to get to this moment and overcame many obstacles. I have seen the hand of God move to provide and I am just in awe of His Faithfulness.

The Lord truly is My Provider. I cannot begin to express financial commitment of having an elementary school, middle school and high school student going through private Christian education while a preschooler makes their way through private early childhood education. The cost is extensive, but it is the investment we were led to make.

It’s an investment we do not regret that comes with many intangible benefits, but many sacrifices as well.  When you accept a call from God that results in closing your law practice to build a ministry, it is not without financial consequences. Not every ministry is a mega church, and not every church is in a position to compensate its leadership.

My husband and I have graciously accepted our assignment to pastor at a church of the latter kind.  Yet, God has provided for our family like He provided for the prophets of old. It has taught us to lean and depend on Him in ways I would likely have never experienced if financial hardship had never been a part of my journey.

But it has, and yet God has and continues to supply. So, I can’t take finances to privately pay for their education for granted . .  . I give Him thanks. I can’t take uniforms and book bags and school supplies for granted . . . I give Him thanks. Every year my children stop and smile for the ceremonious photo before walking through those doors . . . for this I give Him thanks.

And, the fact that they walked through those doors is yet another miracle in and of itself for which I praise Him.  Hardly a day goes by that I don’t forward the post of a parent’s plea for help in finding their missing child.  Daily, I read an article of a child lost to illness, accident or crime.  My heart aches in unexplicable ways for a parent that is now without their child.

So, how can I complain that the cost of private school education is increasing? Or that the school supply lists are exhaustive? Or that they need new clothes and new back packs? Glory be to God that they are healthy and continue to grow. Praise be unto God that they are alive and well and able to return to school this year. Yes, I choose thankfulness!

I choose public thankfulness because someone else needs to be reminded to count their blessings. I choose public thankfulness because someone else needs to know the struggle to provide better for your children is nothing for which you should be ashamed. I choose public thankfulness because I desire to bring hope to someone wondering this very moment how they are going to get make it.

Yes, there are organizations and charities out there that provide aid . . . our church is one of them. But, I thank God we learned how to plug into the Source and I pray that you will do so today. Let God show you, as He has shown my family, that He is an Awesome Father and He can do exceedingly abundantly above all you could ask or think to ask in your life. Turn to Him today and let Him become the Source of your Strength.

I also pray today that you will be open to whatever way God desires to provide for you. The Lord gives us the power to get wealth. My husband and I are very grateful that we have had success in our entrepreneurial endeavors to augment our income. Much of what we do is not easily duplicatable because of unique assets or talents God has provided. But, our network marketing business is indeed the exception.

I take great joy in sharing this with you because you too may be believing God for finances to fund your vision for your family. I have the ability to work my business around my obligations to provide for my family and when I am not preparing to teach at our church. It’s such a blessing to have a business that complements my ministry and my family-oriented lifestyle.  I am grateful God provided this opportunity and equips me to help others seize it as well.

I would love to hear your feedback in the comments. Are you the product of Christian Education, and if so how did your parent’s sacrifices impact your life? Are you juggling the demands of meeting the financial obligations of private school, and if so how did you create an additional stream of revenue for your family? Have you experienced God’s Faithfulness to provide in your life, and if so in what ways? Let’s learn from each other.

God is Able! If He did it for me, He can do it for you! Be encouraged.

From the heart

Those of you that have known me for a really long time remember what it was like when I accepted Jesus. It was like I discovered a lost treasure and I couldn’t stop talking about the change He brought about in my life. 

Lost a lot of friends too. I remember how painful it was. I had a new life and I knew that not everyone would embrace it or care to hear about it. Yet, I was blessed in that many caught the passion and wondered, ‘maybe I should try Jesus for myself’. I won friends to Christ and several have gone into ministry as we co-labor to win souls for Christ.

So, I shouldn’t be surprised at the response I’ve received since making Plexus a part of my life as well. If people were turned off from me sharing Jesus, I have to expect some will be turned off from me sharing Plexus.

It still hurts my heart. I share what I strongly, deeply and passionately believe will positively impact people’s lives. I want so badly for everyone to experience the joy and happiness I have that is so readily available to them.

Yet, I am reminded God has given us all free will. People are free to watch my journey, or not watch my journey. People are free to join my journey, or not join my journey. And yes, people are free to mock me, unfriend me and block me, if they so choose.

I will say this . . . if you can still see this, that means you’re still with me. Please know my heart. I pray that you will have eternal life and life more abundantly. I pray that you live a life that brings God glory. I pray that your soul prospers and that you be in good health. I pray that if you lack in any area and the Lord provides a way of escape, you would receive it. 

I pray that if something blesses you, you would share it with others who need it as well. And I pray that if you won’t share, you would pray for those with the courage to do so. May those who do good to others receive your prayers instead of your judgment.

And to those who are on this journey like myself enduring persecution, keep your head up. Doing what is right isn’t always popular. Keep going for that friend who will get a great report from their doctor because you shared. Keep going for that friend who was facing foreclosure until you shared an incredible opportunity. Remember, your blessings come from the Lord. He sees you and He knows your heart. 

How can I overcome the pain of betrayal?

Question: “How can I overcome the pain of betrayal?”

Answer: Betrayal is a gross violation of trust and can be one of the most devastating forms of pain inflicted upon a human being. The suffering of betrayal is often magnified by a sense of vulnerability and exposure. For many, the pain of betrayal is worse than physical violence, deceit, or prejudice. Betrayal destroys the foundation of trust.

David was no stranger to betrayal: “If an enemy were insulting me, I could endure it; if a foe were raising himself against me, I could hide from him. But it is you, a man like myself, my companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked with the throng at the house of God” (Psalm 55:12-14). The closer the relationship, the greater the pain of betrayal.

Jesus knew the pain of betrayal firsthand. The worst, most treacherous betrayal of all time was Judas’s betrayal of Jesus for thirty pieces of silver (Matthew 26:15). “Even my own familiar friend in whom I trusted, who ate my bread, has lifted up his heel against me” (Psalm 41:9, NKJV; cf. John 13:18). But Jesus did not become vindictive, bitter, or angry. Just the opposite. After receiving the traitor’s kiss, Jesus addressed Judas as “friend” (Matthew 26:50).

Despite the pain, there is a way we can overcome betrayal. The power comes directly from God and the strength of forgiveness.

After David laments a broken trust in Psalm 55, he provides a clue to how to overcome the pain. He says, “But I call to God, and the LORD saves me. Evening, morning and noon I cry out in distress, and He hears my voice” (Psalm 55:16-17).

The first key is to cry out to God. Though we may want to strike out at the betrayer, we need to take our cause to the Lord. “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing” (1 Peter 3:9).

Another key in overcoming the pain of betrayal is to remember Jesus’ example. Our sinful nature impels us to “repay evil with evil,” but Jesus taught us otherwise: “Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. . . . Pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:39, 44). When Jesus “was abused, he did not return abuse” (1 Peter 2:23). We should conform to His example by not repaying abuse for abuse, including the abuse of betrayal. Believers are to do good even to those who harm them.

Another powerful key in overcoming the bitterness of betrayal is our God-given ability to forgive the betrayer. The word forgiveness includes the word give. When we choose to forgive someone, we actually give that person a gift—the freedom from personal retaliation. But you are also giving yourself a gift—a “grudge-free life.” Trading our bitterness and anger for the love of God is a wonderful, life-giving exchange.

Jesus taught that “loving our neighbor as ourselves” should be proactive: “But I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). Without question, it is enormously difficult to forgive a person who’s betrayed our trust. It is only possible with God (see Luke 18:27).

Those who have experienced God’s love understand what it means to be loved unconditionally and undeservedly. Only with the help of God’s Spirit can we love and pray for those who seek to do us harm (Romans 12:14-21).

Source: gotquestions.org

Uplift & Inspire

Can I give you an assignment?

Speak words of affirmation into someone’s life today.

I told my toddler a few weeks ago that I was going to show him a photo of the prettiest baby ever. Then I showed him his baby picture.

Do you know he has literally approached me every single day saying he is the “pwettiest babey evah”??? (You should hear him say it though lol)

You never know how your words of affirmation will penetrate someone’s heart. You don’t always need money to show how much you care. 

Are you stunting your own growth?

First let me say that I take no pleasure in divulging my most personal experiences to perfect strangers on social media. Believe me, I do not. However, when I accepted my call to ministry, I relinquished control to my Savior to use me for His Glory. If it pleases Him, if it glorifies Him, I will tell it.

Today, as I witnessed my husband disciplining our toddler and wanted to rescue him, but did not, the Lord revealed to me his pleasure with my growth. I am reminded of a time early on in my marriage when my husband was trying to discipline my oldest daughter and I intervened. The most memorable disagreement erupted.

I called my good girlfriend looking for a shoulder to cry on but much to my surprise, she corrected me! She explained many practical and biblical truths about submission and how to maintain a strong and healthy marriage. It’s 15 years later, I am very happily married and I still hold those truths dear today. We continue to work very hard at presenting a united front before our children, and privately discussing disagreements in parenting discussions.

Of course, I could have taken offense to her correction. I could have decided I no longer wanted to be her friend since she disagreed with me. I could have determined to follow my flesh and say whatever I wanted to say whenever I wanted to say it. I could have went ahead and did it my way without heeding the Godly counsel I had received.

Oh but I give praise and honor to God that I am sensitive to His Voice and His Correction. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. I fear blatant disregard of instructions. If He gives me an opportunity to self correct, I eagerly jump at it! I dare not willfully go about a restricted path and wait for Him to have to correct me!

Today my heart is troubled for those that either do not recognize this or choose to do it anyway and gamble on the consequences. It will stunt spiritual growth. It will block blessings. It will lead to very unpleasant consequences. I pray that today someone’s heart will be turned to try it God’s way.

Reject the itching ear. The one that seeks out confirmation of only what you want to hear. The one that goes from person to person seeking approval of wrong. The one that hops from church to church hoping to avoid accountability. Settle yourself before God! 

Ask God to speak to you through those He ordained to be in your life. Whether it’s a child, a parent, a friend or a leader . . . be determined to hear the voice of God concerning all things and do what is needed to abide in His Will.