Welcome Wednesday-God’s Direction

Today’s Welcome Wednesday is from one of my dear friend’s, Erin. Her post hit home for me and gave me so much hope and opened my eyes to the season I am in now. I know you will all enjoy!

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I’m one of those people who has almost no sense of direction, just because I have been there before doesn’t mean I can find my way there again.  In other words,  I’m the reason phones have GPS now!  Some times it’s frustrating, but most of the time  it’s fun!  I have an adventurous spirit so it feels like a discovery every time.  Recently I had to go somewhere in the next town over (and the next town over is much bigger with a lot more traffic , which can be stressful for me) so I put the address into my GPS and headed out.  For some reason my GPS took me a route that I had  never taken before – instead of the fast paced highway it took me down an old 2 lane with little to no traffic.  I cruised down the road with the windows down, enjoying the sunny day, in no hurry, just enjoying my drive.  Even though I was enjoying my trip, I noticed that it seemed to be taking forever to get to where I was going.  Then, as I came around one deep curve I realized I was at my destination! The route I had taken spit me out at the side of the building I was going to.  So, nothing had looked familiar until I was staring at my destination.

A few days later I needed to go back to that store again so I put the address into my GPS and headed out.  A couple of landmarks looked familiar, but I still didn’t know my way really well so I relied on the navigation system.  Suddenly, I was at my destination!  I was baffled – how did this drive that seemed to take over an hour the first time (with no traffic) only take 26 minutes?   I was mulling this over a few days later when the Lord told me something that blessed me!  He said “some times you know where you’re going (spiritually) but you don’t know how to get there, so it seems to take forever because you have never been to that ‘place’ before… You could be just around the ‘corner’ from your destination and you don’t realize it because you’re not going the way you thought you would!  It always goes faster when you know the way to where you are going, but when you don’t know the way you rely on someone who does – Me (the Lord) !”

Wow!  Yes Lord! I know where He has called me to go, and I realize that in the past the enemy has stollen a lot of the joy from my journey by making me think I was going the wrong way, I was going too slow, or that I wasn’t moving forward at all.  You see, from my perspective, I was so far from where I wanted to be and where I am called to be spiritually!  But here’s the thing, if I had gotten in my car and looked at myself in the mirror I wouldn’t have gotten anywhere or I would have wrecked.  But looking forward and listening for the instructions got me there. In Psalm 25:4-5 it says, “Make me know Your ways, O LORD; Teach me.” Your paths. Lead me in Your truth and teach me, For You are the God of my salvation; For You I wait all the day.”  And in James 1:5 it says, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him. ”  So, I can ask the Lord to teach me as I go, and His written word says that if I ask Him for wisdom, He will give it to me! He desires for us to ask Him and to travel with Him, to keep our eyes on Him. I’m not saying we should never “look at ourselves in the mirror” or examine our hearts, but we should do it when we are prepared to have grace and mercy for ourselves.  Grace and mercy enable us to be humble, and humility lets us rely on Him.  God’s written word says that “His mercies are new every morning”(Lamentations 3:22-23).   If He has mercy for us, then He has mercy through us, for us to give ourselves!

So my prayer is, whether you know where you are going or not, that you would draw on the Lord’s mercy for yourself, that you would not judge yourself but that you would forgive yourself , look forward and listen for the instructions to get you to where He has called YOU to be ! Glory to the Lord!!!

Erin M. Watras is head over heals in love with the Lord and  she is married to her best friend, her husband Tyler. Erin is a Holy Spirit filled massage therapist, artist, worshiper of Jesus Christ, and mother to one sweet dog(Agnes) . Together Erin and Tyler  live their passion to serve the Lord in their marriage, businesses, church/fellowship, and international ministry. Erin has a gift for receiving revelation from the word of the Lord and is enthusiastic about sharing it ! She doesn’t have a blog yet, but if you are local and need a massage please checkout her facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/livingtraditionmassage/?fref=ts

 

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Sunshine Amidst the Rain

The last week has been a whirlwind of emotions. I felt as if life was flashing by with all we have had going on. And in  every single moment, God has been present. He has been there with His hand upon us, his arms around us, never letting us go.

We were blessed last week to go and visit my Father for Father’s day and take my stepson Nick. It was such a wonderful trip but all we could think of is how we missed our dear sweet boys, who were still kidnapped and in Mexico. We enjoyed time in Chicago, time chilling with family and made wonderful memories.
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While there I began to not feel well and on the way back home I was cramping badly. I toughed it through and went to the ER after the long 15 hour drive. In the 3 hrs at the ER I found the devastating news, news I was prepared for because I had an instinct and had been praying to God about it. But still it was heart breaking news,  I was having a miscarriage. We were heart broken and we cried but we knew God has a reason for all things. And we were being blessed in a bigger way because on the way home, we had gotten the call that our boys had been found in Mexico! Yes our boys would be home!

We had a few hours sleep and I had to go back to the doctor. I had an ultrasound already scheduled and I am blessed I was able to see my little “nugget.’ Even more blessed my husband asked them to print the picture off for us. We saw our little nugget’s head, no heart beat but still we saw our baby. In the midst of sorrow, I am thankful I have a Father who loves me and holds me close and blesses me with something like that.
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The next day, Wednesday of this week, we were able to drive to Atlanta to pick up our boys. So many emotions ran through us. It felt like a dream. We were prepared by the FBI Counselors for all the different reactions. And I didn’t care what reaction I got because I was going to see my sweet boys again! They were timid at first but soon warmed up. They were brought back with their sweet baby sister and we were blessed to spend time with her and her father for a few days before separating. Its only been a few days but it is like they have never left. My home is filled with chaos again; boys running, nerf guns shooting, and lots of giggles. I am blessed.
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There were times I asked God, “Why?” I wondered why it was taking so long to bring them home. 19 months to be exact. But as with the miscarriage I know everything happens for a reason. We can’t always see why. We don’t always understand, yet we must trust no matter what. We must worship Him and love him no matter what. Because He is for us, not against us. He loves us and has a bigger plan than we can even imagine.

It is seeing the sun amidst the rain. The blessing in the sorrow. My husband and I are not the same people we were 19 months ago. We have grown, we had to lean on God. I personally know it drew me closer to him, it made me rely on him, trust in him. With that comes “a peace that surpasses all understanding.” (Philippians 4:7)

Yet our learning, our growing is not over. Now our boys are home and we must deal with forgiveness again, as we look at scars, ribs from starved bodies, hear of broken bones, neglect, and hear comments like,”Man it feels so  good to eat.” Or hear prayers, “That I will eat good today and have food everyday.” I have to hold back tears several times a day. And in the midst of the heartache we feel for all they endured I pray; I pray their mother comes to truly know the Lord. I hope she does the time for this horrible crime to her children and I hope from that she is able to finally see her mistakes and see she needs the Lord. She may not see the boys again but I pray her heart changes. It is all I can do so the anger and bitterness do not take root in my heart.

Those of you hurting in the world, know He is always there, waiting on you to see Him, to want Him, to call out to Him. Never think you are abandoned in your hurt in pain. It is okay to cry, it is okay to say, ” why?”  Just don’t let it consume you. Instead be consumed by Christ, he will carry you though. There is sunshine even in the rain.
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Much love,

Alissa Marie

No Condemnation in Christ!

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I love that writing helps me process what God is teaching me. That as I begin to write my mind can make sense of all I have flowing and tumbling through it.
Today as I begin to study I was feeling bad for not praising him right away instead I was on yard sale pages on facebook.
As I was asking God to forgive me, I heard the Spirit whisper, “you are forgiven, not condemned.” I needed that, as I tend to condemn myself, beat up on myself. Then in typical God fashion, I open my Jesus Calling devotional and today is about having a new mind in Christ. About how he doesn’t condemn us.
I read the first part of Romans 1:1 and the first thing I read is, “there is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus.” What?!!? Can I get an Amen!
I love how my Savior works and teaches us. How He loves us.
As I continued to read through, (8:1-17) I realized I don’t have to let my sinful nature take over, all I have to do is keep my eyes and heart fixed on Him. Have his mind… not mine!
My prayer is we will see how He loves us, how He doesn’t condemn. If you are feeling condemned, that’s not of Christ! Don’t listen to that…instead pray, read his word, praise Him. The more you do this, the more you will have His mind, the mind of Christ!!

Much love,

Alissa Marie

Welcome Wednesday

I’m excited to announce that I will now be doing guest posts on Wednesday’s….Welcome Wednesday!

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A great friend of mine has written us an amazing first post. Please take a moment to welcome her and to let her inspiring words soak in!

    A few weeks ago I began a journey through the One Thousands Gift Devotional by Ann Voskamp. I started working through this particular devotional because honestly, I was struggling with finding not only grace and thanks in what was going on in my life but I was also having trouble finding God’s will. My health was starting to fail, my oldest son’s school was on the brink of closing, my daughter had multiple things going on with her health and I’m sure there was more although now it all just seems to be running together. I was in God’s Word everyday, I prayed multiple times a day, I journaled my thoughts and feelings. I needed more though. I was missing something. I wasn’t feeling the peace and contentment I wanted to feel. Why was I not feeling like I was connecting to God like I should? Like I wanted?
   
    I had heard so many speak highly of this devotional and how it has helped them connect on a deeper level with God. It was helping them recognize grace and give thanks for even the simplest things. I realized that I had gotten out of the habit of thanking God. It is so easy to remember to thank Him when things are good but what about when things are not going well?

    The first few days I would read little bits here and there that would speak to me. I was starting to open my heart and mind to looking at things in a different way. Then it happened. I got to Day 9 and it all clicked in my mind. I finally saw what He was waiting for me to see. Here is what hit me like a ton of bricks:

What if I woke to now and refused to hurry because I didn’t want to refuse God?
What if I didn’t discount the moment but counted it for what it is-God here?
It is only the present moment alone that holds the possibility of coming into the presence of God. Look around, breathe deep, enter into this one moment.

    I suddenly became very aware of how much of my time I was spending rushing through life. Rushing through my children’s childhood, rushing to find answers to my health issues, rushing through this amazing through this amazing life that God has blessed me with. I have a husband who loves me and has been there walking this crazy health journey with me, I have 5 beautiful children, I have a home and food to take care of my family. As I thought about this I started asking myself how many times I gone to Him in praise and thanks? How many times have I slowed down to simply enjoy this life and these moments?

    I looked at my oldest son and no longer saw my little boy. My first born son that would crawl into bed with me. The little boy always so eager to show me something new. I look at him and I see a young man who is traveling through his teenage years just trying to figure out his place in life and who he wants to be. A young man that in just a few short years I will be seeing off to college.

    I look at myself in a 32 year old body that is wearing down quickly. I am watching my body give into the effects of living with an immune deficiency. It makes me reflect because I can never get those lost moments back. What if God is using my illness to teach me to slow down? What if He is using it to show me how to take each and every moment and just be present? To open my eyes and see the blessings. What if I start looking at my health not as a burden but as a blessing in a way?

    I may have rushed through so much in my children’s but that doesn’t mean I have completely missed everything. I can stop and enjoy helping my olders navigate those hard teenage years. I can start savoring and enjoying the firsts of my littles. I can start living in the moment with my husband and enjoy simply being with him. I can embrace my condition and let it bring me closer to God and the things He is trying to teach me. I can stop rushing and just be thankful.

Cassondra is a wife of 13 years to her high school sweetheart James and momma to 5 amazing children. She has a passion for growing closer to God and is enjoying following the journey He is leading her on. Struggling with the effects of living with an immune deficiency, she has had to lean on God like never before and learn how He is using this to teach her about how to let go and trust His path for her. She enjoys living simply, baking/cooking from scratch, reading, journaling and spending time with her family. Cassondra blogs over at https://onewifesjourneyblog.wordpress.com/ and she would love to have you join her as she blogs about this journey God is leading her on!
 

You Are FREE

Man, I’m just wanting more….more of God. More of my Christ. I so want me out of the way so He can reign in me. So the Holy Spirit can do a mighty work in and through me.
I began reading in Colossians 2 today. As I first read verses 6 & 7, I read about letting my roots grow deeper in Him, allowing my life to built on Him. Growing strong in His truth and allowing my thanksgiving to grow in Him.

“Let your roots grow down into Him and let your faith be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught,and you will overflow with thankfulness.”

All I could think was, ” Yes!!! Amen!!!” Thankfulness was filling my soul!

Then it only got better from there. Yeah, I know how could it get any better?
Well here it is,
That sin we struggle with, the enemy that we fear at times and let have too much footing…yeah that one. Well, grasp this, he’s already been defeated! How easily we forget.

Verse 15 says “in this way He disarmed the spiritual rulers and authorities. He shared them publicly by His VICTORY on the cross!”

AMEN! How amazing is that!?! It’s awesome…he only has the power we allow him to have over us!
And finally as the chapter comes to a close I was just ecstatic to read about not being condemned by others, for not following legalism. It’s so easy to fall into the trap of do’s and don’ts. It’s so easy to push it on others. Yet we forget we are set free! Yes I said FREE! this doesn’t mean we stay in sin, rather it means we allow Christ to change our hearts, we stop trying to do it on our own! That right there got me more excited than anything! Because sometimes I try too hard. I work in the flesh to serve Him, instead of the Spirit.

I leave you with Verse 20 today. Ponder on it…..let it fill you up! You are FREE, so live like it!!!!!

“You have died with Christ, and He has set you FREE from the spiritual powers of this world.”

Amen dear friend! You are FREE!

Much Love,
Alissa Marie

And how fitting God gives this message to my heart on a weekend when we remember those who died giving us our freedom. My prayers for all those who have lost loved ones for my freedom. They are truly heroes!

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Filling Yourself With the Word

It’s been so long since I’ve been here. Life has felt hectic and busy. I’ve been getting up and spending time with Him but I’ve been so tired, it’s been hard to keep my eyes open! So today I knew I couldn’t put it off anymore.
I’ve been thinking about how easily I fail Him. How I let anger and frustration take over at times. I don’t trust Him like I should or give things to Him like I should.
This happened last night as I got frustrated with my husband. I let anger take over. Earlier this week I let someone hurting my feelings open the doorway for hateful, smarty texts.
As I was praying this morning as I poured my coffee, and was thinking about the choices I had made and telling Him I want to do better but I don’t know how, then I heard the Holy Spirit whisper, “Remember my word. Put it in your heart.”
Scripture memory….. reading those words over and over again until they are deeply embedded in my heart, my mind, my soul. That’s the key, not only reading the words, His word, but letting it sink into my innermost being. I remember a time I did this and it’s amazing the verses that would pop up when I needed them. They allowed me to make better decisions, they calmed me, they gave me peace.
Soon I’ll be starting a study called Master Life, The Disciples Cross with some dear friends. I can’t wait because it focuses on scripture memory and I’ll have friends to hold me accountable. I’m ready to let God have all of me, to reign supreme. I want me out of the way; my selfishness,my brokenness, so He can fully fill me and it can spill over onto those who need Him. I want to understand as He does. I want to give as He does. I want to love like He does.
Until the study starts in a couple of weeks, I’m gonna still start some scripture memory.
I hope you will begin to make scripture memory a part of your walk with Him, as well. I pray as you do that you will know Him in a deeper way, I pray your life will be overflowing with His grace and love.

I leave you with the verse He lead me to today,

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“Actually I was born and came into the world to testify the truth. All who love the truth recognize that what I say is true.” -John 18:37

Much Love,
Alissa Marie

The 5 Habits

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Well, I finished The 5 Habits Of A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit today. I’m sad the book is done but so excited about all I’ve learned through this study! And that I actually finished it!
The habits, outlined in the book, are something I will need to keep working at. I’ll never be perfect but if I remember these habits when I’m ready to quit, to give up, to throw in the towel,  I will find the strength to keep going on. And the best part? It’s not strength in myself, it’s strength in Christ!
There are so many goals and dreams I’ve given up because it gets hard, I’m tired,  I’m overwhelmed, or I just don’t know what to do. But I’m challenged now, by this book and the example of Ruth’s story, from the Bible (outlined in the book), to keep trudging on.
I’ll leave you with the 5 Habits but I encourage you to read the book…I think it’s a good read for women and for men! And I encourage you to not give up today!

5 Habits:
1. Accept the assignment of refinement.
2. Follow through with your commitments despite how you feel.
3. Stay open to the movement of God.
4. Give others what you need.
5. Move forward in faith.

Be blessed,
Alissa Marie