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

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

Faith and Refinement

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Acts 3:16- “Faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus’ name and the faith that comes through him that has completely healed him, as you can all see.”

As I read the verse above I think about my own faith in Jesus, I can’t help but wonder if my faith is that strong. Strong enough to believe I could be healed in the way this crippled man was. So many times I awake and praise His name…I feel alive, on fire, and hungry for Him. Then I go on my way, without another thought of that glory all day. 
Faith is defined as, Complete trust or confidence in someone or something.
COMPLETE trust, COMPLETE confidence..
I want to live out my faith, that complete trust and confidence in Jesus, in all that I do. To let prayer be my first response to all situations. Too many times its not. Too many times I turn to worry, doubt, and fear; my ever faithful companions. I can count on them to show up everyday. And I always invite them in and allow them to stir up disaster in my heart. So that to the world I am down, broken, sad, and grouchy.
Who wants Jesus when His followers look like me? Where’s the change, the victory?
In this season of refinement, through the 5 Habits of A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit study, I am grateful Jesus has been showing me these things. Showing me there is more. Showing me I make a choice daily to have complete trust and  confidence in Him daily or to choose doubt, fear, and worry. 
Slowly day by day, as I’m learning and listening to Him, I am choosing that complete trust over the other junk. I’m getting there one day at a time.

And you my friend will too, if you “accept that assignment of refinement, ” from Him. Will you join me on this awesome journey to the heart of the Father?

Giving Grace Instead of Fire

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I love how our Father ties things together. How he gives us what we need, even when what we need isn’t all rosey and bright. Yet I sit here and smile and my heart feels lifted because He has shown me an area I really need refined in and He has shown me how to be refined in it. Isn’t that a part of what makes God so amazing? He doesn’t leave us hanging.

Today I felt lead to read James 3. As I begin to read, I knew I needed it!
“Controlling the Tongue
3 Dear brothers and sisters,[a] not many of you should become teachers in the church, for we who teach will be judged more strictly. 2 Indeed, we all make many mistakes. For if we could control our tongues, we would be perfect and could also control ourselves in every other way.”

A wave of repentance washed over me. Just last night I wasn’t being nice with my words to my husband because his words weren’t nice to me. Therefore I did what most of us do….I extended to him what he had given me. But is that what we are called to do? I just read in His word I’m to control my tongue.
Then came the Book, 5 Habits Of A Woman Who Doesn’t Quit, by Nicki Koziarz. I open it up and read, “Habit Four: She gives others what she needs.”  Did I give my husband what he needed? No. I gave him what I felt he deserved and in it I felt fully justified because he hurt me first.
Yet as children of the most high King, we are called to a higher standard. We are not to dish back out to others what we feel they gave us  no, we are called to give grace, as we have been given grace.
As I continued to read chapter 7 I was moved by the words God gave Nikki, the lesson He has allowed her to share. A lesson I needed to learn from. One of grace, of extended to others what we need in our lives…that is where blessings thrive.
I leave you with the final words  in Chapter 7, because this is my heart’s cry,
“I want to be a woman who thrives, not just survives, through life. Life is tough, but so are you. When you give others what you need, God will give you what you need. Keep sowing good seeds, invest well. There’s a harvest for your life just around the corner. Follow his instructions and you’ll get there.”

Much love,
Alissa Marie

Influence for Christ

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“The world’s sin is that it refuses to believe in me.” John 16:9

That verse in John 16, really grabs at my heart. It is heartbreaking to hear Jesus speak this….the number one sin of the world is, it doesn’t believe. How many souls are perishing daily because of unbelief?

And the bigger question…how many of us Christians are doing anything ? How many of us are saying we believe but are  living like we don’t?

I know I don’t always live like I’m saved. I gripe, complain, worry, gossip, and the list goes on and on. If my life doesn’t look different to the outside world then why would they even want Jesus? How can I make a difference if I live like the world?
God is really growing me and helping me see areas I need to refine, areas I need to change, things that need to be done. And in this process I’m praying I can be a person of influence for Christ. That others will look at me but see Him. I want to go out among the lost and dying world and be a light of His glory.

I think about our NYC trip in December and how we felt lead to bless the homeless. It was simply amazing to give to others in that capacity. To pray for them and to still be praying for them. I felt so alive and excited, my husband said “look how happy you are in that picture. It’s like your meant to do this ”
I do still feel a calling to the streets of NYC. I’d go now but I know it’s all in God’s time. And in that waiting time I can still be blessing others here, I can still pray for others, give to others, and love others.
That’s the key….serving Him no matter what…helping the world to let go of the sin of unbelief. To be a light to this dark world no matter where we are!

Are you shining God’s light where you are or are you waiting for that special calling that may never come? Don’t wait! The world needs you today!

Jesus, thank you for all you are teaching me! Thank you for these truths. Help us each to go out into the world and shine your light in the dark. Help us to help us be set free in your name, oh Jesus. We love you, thank you , and praise you!  In Jesus name amen!