Following Christ, One Failure at a Time

Following Christ, One Failure at a Time

“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” - Matthew 11:28-30 MSG

I get tired. I get angry at myself for failing God and end up feeling like I’m a failure to him. I think to myself, here we go again. I made another mistake, I let him down. I gave into my flesh and said the wrong thing to someone who got to me. I regret the way I handled that situation, why didn’t I stop and think first? I lost at the challenge that I was faced with, why am I so weak? That was a test from God, why didn’t I realize it?!

Why is it so hard to live in obedience sometimes?

Let’s think of our children, toddler age for example… When they’re off in their own little worlds of curiosity caught up in exploratory fun, are they set out to disappoint us? Are they even thinking of us? When we find them covered in paint on the kitchen floor or find our walls full of the art they drew, do you think it was easy for them to stop and think on how mom or dad will react? When they are throwing a tantrum because they are upset that they can’t have their way or get what they want, are we loving them any less?

No matter how many mistakes they make or how many messes they leave for us to clean up, our love for them doesn’t decrease. Depending on our own mood that day we may get a bit frustrated, but we clean up the mess they made, maybe put them in time out as a consequence and lecture them as to why they are not to do it again. But, we don’t see them as a failure. They are still our children who are our pride and joy whom we love endlessly.

God loves us just the same. We are all his children. He cleans up our messes, allows consequences in hopes that we will learn from our mistakes, and he loves us still. He knows mistakes teach us and grow us in our calling. He desires for us to learn from mistakes so that we can become who he created us to be. He could never see us as a failure.

So today, if you’ve made a mistake, don’t think less of yourself and don’t give up. Don’t believe the lies of the enemy. You are not a failure for making a mistake, the Lord knew that would happen. Continue to follow Jesus and know that you will make another mistake, and more than likely more will follow after that one. And he will still be there loving you through it.

God’s desire is that we repent and draw close to him when we fall short. Just as we teach our children to apologize when they do something wrong, Jesus wants us to come to him and do the same. Admit that we fell short and that we will try to do better in the future. Just as us parents know our little ones will make many mistakes as they grow, God knows the same of us. He knows we live in a fallen world and therefore we can never be perfect.

He doesn’t care what we did or how many times we have made that same mistake. He loves us unconditionally & just wants us to repent and call on him. Nothing is too big or too small for God. He is there always with arms wide open pursuing us to come home.

“But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning. They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me. He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved! God made my life complete when I placed all the pieces before him. When I got my act together, he gave me a fresh start. Now I’m alert to God’s ways; I don’t take God for granted. Every day I review the ways he works; I try not to miss a trick. I feel put back together, and I’m watching my step. God rewrote the text of my life when I opened the book of my heart to his eyes.” - Psalms 18:16-24 MSG

Father God, We thank you for loving us unconditionally and being there with open arms no matter how many times we fall short. We thank you that no matter what we do your how many times we do it, you will always welcome us back into your loving arms. Father, it is so hard for us to remember not to carry the weight of shame when we mess up or do things that are not pleasing to you. Remind us, Father God, that you desire to be the strength in our weaknesses. Remind us, Oh God, that you have a calling over every single one of our lives. Help us to see that no matter what mistakes we make you do not want us to turn away, and you desire for us to draw closer to you. Holy Spirit, when we are going through struggles and hard times draw us in and bring us deeper into praising our Savior. Reminder us Lord never to run, but instead to fall at your feet and submit to you so that we may be covered in your unfailing love. Lord, we thank you for never giving up on us. We love you & we honor you Oh God. In Jesus name, Amen

Growing with you, Sandy

Do you want to be Happy?

Do you want to be Happy?

It’s time for me to pull over and let the Lord drive.

Last year, I was in this place, feeling as though I was just stuck. I felt paralyzed and unable to move. Confused, scared and not knowing which direction to step in, I’d walk around with a heavy heart daily. I’d wear a fake smile when I saw people so that no one would ask what was wrong. And when they did ask how I was, I’d say “I’m doing good”.

So here is my truth; I wasn’t doing good, but I wanted them to believe I was. I didn’t want to appear weak so I thought I had to present myself as having it all together. I didn’t want anyone to know I needed help to get “unstuck”.

I’m hard on myself when I make mistakes and I hate disappointing others, so much so that I fail to set boundaries for myself. If I’m being honest, up until a year ago I had no idea boundaries were even important.

I’ve told myself, God is with me so I can endure anything [Because with God we can]. I’ve told myself that I can handle anything that comes my way. But if that is the case, why are there times that I feel as though I can’t carry the weight? And why are there times it feels as if my own heart is about to burn right through my chest?

I think some of us have been in this place of pretending. Not for the world but, pretending for ourselves. Because if we were to admit that we needed help, or if we were to let go of the circumstances hurting us, to ourselves that would be giving up, and giving up is not supposed to be an option. At least it never was for me.

As circumstances arose in my life, I coached myself by telling myself that giving up is only for the weak. I told myself, “If you are strong, you must be able to endure any type of pain.”

As I grow and draw closer to God, I am beginning to realize that I was in denial. Because as I was coaching myself to “endure”, I’d been allowing the pain to slowly break me to pieces. I had to self reflect and ask myself, “Is that really how I want to live the rest of my life?” The answer was clear: No it is not.

I want to be happy.

I want to smile and feel the joy that only peace can cover us with. But how do I get there? I don’t know how to fix what is wrong. I’ve tried. I don’t know how to make others see my heart, I’ve tried that too.

I always end up trying in my own strength. But why? I know that God’s strength is made perfect in weakness [2 Corinthians 12:9], so why was I stopping him from showing up? Why was I stopping God from showing me his power?

I knew the answer: It was because of fear.

I was comfortable holding onto what hurt me because I feared facing reality.

When someone or something hurts us, we need to step away from it. Otherwise, we will never begin to heal.

Living in daily pain blinds you. You become so used to being hurt that you believe it’s wrong for you to stop the hurt, because if you do, you’re either giving up or you’re going to hurt someone else.

Hurting someone else is the absolute last thing you want to do, so you cope and you endure.

But sometimes it takes loving ourselves to stop the hurt.

If loving yourself enough not to let someone hurt you causes them to label you as selfish or self-centered, you have to be ok with their label. You have to be willing to accept that their opinion of you is “theirs” and theirs alone

Do you want to be happy?

If so, accept that you will not find happiness in an unhappy place.

Accept that pain and happiness cannot coexist.

Accept that there are some who are incapable of showing love to “you”, even when you love them.

Believing in someone will not guarantee they will believe in you. Being kind to someone does not mean they will be kind to you.

So know this…

It’s ok to walk away from what is breaking you. It’s ok to have a boundary. Letting go doesn’t make you a failure.

Will it be easy? No. Will it hurt? Of course! Will it take time to gather up the strength to make the decision to do it and then follow through with it? Yes! For me it took years to get to where I knew I had to let go and let God take the control.

Are you in this place? Is your relationship with a close family member, friend, partner, or work superior hurting or diminishing who you are?

Be strong enough to realize that living in pain is a cycle that must be broken. You may not know how to break it or what direction to go in, but you don’t have to. Surrender yourself to God’s lead and take him at his word. He wants us happy.

Staying in pain or constant discomfort will not bring you happiness. It is time to stop just existing. We will always have struggles in life but we must choose not to allow them to keep us feeling stuck daily.

It’s time to enjoy the life you were blessed with and start to live! Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Make the choice to be Happy and let God handle it🙏 It is a choice you will never regret. Get out of your way and ask Jesus to lead. You must guard your heart in order for the healing to start.

Allow God’s truth to change you and restore joy to your life. Choose to be happy!

Growing with you,

Sandy

Father God, Thank you for loving us even when we feel unlovable. Thank you for standing with us through doubt and uncertainty until we are strong enough to surrender our circumstances and situations over to you. Thank you for never giving up on us and for waiting for us to place our lives in your hands. Jesus you pursue us even when we try to live without you in our own strength. You love us through our bad choices, downfalls and when we are stuck in our valley. Thank you for never giving up and for showing me what unconditional love truly is. Father, tonight I lift up anyone who is struggling in a dark place which they feel they cannot come out of. Father, I ask that you restore the joy in their lives and reveal to them that your grace is sufficient for them and that your power is made perfect in weakness. May they seek after you in their valley, oh Lord. May they surrender it all at your feet Lord and place their trust solely in you. In Jesus name we pray, Amen!

This is my Happy now!

Begin Anywhere

Begin Anywhere

Change is hard. When life seems to be falling apart we either struggle to hold it all together or we just give up. When you feel defeated and as if pieces of your life or situation are all over the place, that is when it is time to take a break, slow down, pray and put things into perspective.

When you’re feeling overwhelmed, give yourself time to feel and sort through the pieces.

I’ve never been one to love puzzles, I’ve always found it overwhelming to look at 500+ pieces all at once. But I do know that when you invest the time to just pick up one piece and slowly start to build, eventually you create an amazing picture. By taking the time to slowly focus, and take it piece by piece, with patience you can put together what seemed at first to be a very overwhelming project.

In real life, we face challenges of all kinds. You get through one hardship or obstacle only to be faced with another. When you feel overwhelmed don’t avoid the issue and don’t run from the situation. Instead, take time to rest and spend time with GOD.

There’s something about being in GOD’s presence, he brings peace that can come from no other.

{Look up Philippians 4:7}

Many of us are so focused on trying to take control of our circumstances or on running away from them, that we fail to invest time to find mental clarity. Once these important steps (rest, time with God, refocusing) are realized and completed, that is when it will be easier to actually pick up one piece and begin creating something new or begin to restore pieces which seem irreparable.

It doesn’t matter where you start, what matters is remembering that you will get no where if you don’t begin somewhere.

Nothing is perfect and not many things come easy or without struggle.

When I have a problem all I can think about is how the issue can be eliminated. I don’t want to struggle, be hurt or feel defeated. But sometimes GOD allows certain things to break because it just wasn’t what he had planned for us. If we seek his guidance through the uncertainty, and invest time, eventually all pieces come together as GOD planned for them to.

After completing a puzzle many are left with a feeling of accomplishment. Their final result is an awesome picture made by themselves (or family and friends who may have contributed). Life is very similar to puzzles. As we navigate through life, each challenge, situation, and hardship are strategic pieces that are needed to create a bigger picture – Your life story.

GOD blessed you with purpose, chase it!

When we are overwhelmed with what seems like a mess, we are incapable of seeing the masterpiece that God has created. So when we are overwhelmed, lets run to GOD rather than running away. Lets set on our minds towards focusing on each circumstance, moment by moment, step by step, building piece by piece. One day we will reflect back in awe and pride.

Don’t allow giving up to be an option. Make up your mind not to turn back. GOD is a finisher of all things. We are not battling relationships, family, friends, or problems. We are battling our minds which the enemy fights to gain control over. Do not allow him to make you feel defeated. Decide that you are not a quitter and begin picking up those pieces.

Philippians 1:6 (NLT) says this, “And I am certain that GOD, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.

Father GOD,

We thank you today for your love and mercy. Father you are good and have a perfect plan set out for each of us. Father when we feel defeated or overwhelmed, help us to call upon your name. May we never quit and never label ourselves as being incapable of accomplishing the work that you have called each of us to. Father, we know that in time all pieces are needed for a greater purpose. Please help us to never loose sight of that.

In Jesus name, Amen

Reflect: What situation or challenge are you currently being faced with? Are you feeling as if you just don’t know where to begin? Bring your pieces before the LORD and ask GOD to redirect you so that all things fall into their proper intended place.

Growing with you,

Sandy

His Love Will Shine Through

His Love Will Shine Through

When Jesus holds your heart, no matter what you do to hide, He will always shine through!!

There have been times I’ve tried to hide who I am and deny that God called me to share his heart. I’ve labeled myself unworthy, lost, sinful, not smart enough, not holy enough, and more. I’ve listened to people tell me I was fake and how hypocritical christians are. And I’ve felt useless in those moments.

I’ve come to realize that may be the opinion for some, but no matter how many times I ignore the Lord’s pull on my heart nor how many times I deem myself to be unworthy he continues to remind me that his call is simple:

No matter how many times you’re knocked down, keep choosing to get back up & draw closer to me, I your Lord, will do the rest.

For he is the light 💡 and the only one which can never be dimmed.

God isn’t asking us to be perfect. He knows that we will make mistakes and sin. But don’t label yourself what you are not. Do not be defined by opinions, mistakes, your bad days, or by the voices in your head telling you what you are not.

Let God’s love shine through and allow others to see that you are a work in progress. You’re set apart because you are called by him, to remind others of his sacrifice and undying love ❤️

Father God,

We thank you for your unconditional, undying love. We thank you that you are so amazing that you have chosen us and called us. Lord when we feel weak and unworthy, remind us who we are. Remind us that it is your light [YOUR LOVE] that will ultimately shine through. We know that mistakes will be made. But remind us to never loose sight of who we are in you. Thank you for being the light within.

Amen 🙏

Growing with you,

Sandy

Never Give Up!!

Never Give Up!!

There are so many challenges we face in life. One day you’re full of joy and so thankful to be alive. You wake up feeling good and as if you’re capable of taking on anything that comes your way. You leave the house and go outside soaking in the rays of sunshine, feeling warm and counting all blessings.

But other days are not so good…

Other days we wake up with a heaviness thinking of our problems and issues. Feeling stressed, weak and clueless as to how we can overcome the challenge we are are faced with that day.

Life is that way. We will experience moments and seasons of fear, sadness, depression, anger, discouragement, defeat, hopelessness & confusion. It’s important to acknowledge your feelings and know it’s OK to feel. We are human!!! Don’t feel guilty for hurting. Let the tears fall! Tears renew strength.

Take time to feel and sort through your feelings. But remember: Don’t stay in that place, PUSH yourself to get threw and C̳O̳N̳Q̳U̳E̳R̳!̳!̳!

After you spend time acknowledging your heaviness try to find ways to help push you past them. Meditate, pray, nap, relax with a warm cup of tea or coffee or do whatever brings you fulfillment. Seek renewed strength and remind yourself of the good in life. Remember you got this!

“Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors and gain an overwhelming victory through Him who loved us [so much that He died for us].” ROMANS‬ ‭8:37‬ ‭AMP‬‬

If ever you feel as though you are unable to overcome a heaviness on your own, know that it’s OK to seek help. Engage the help of a counselor or a wise mentor who can help you navigate through your negative feelings and work towards a resolution to the problem. Know that there is always hope even when we don’t feel it. GOD IS ABLE!

Growing with you,

Sandy

A Critical Spirit

A Critical Spirit

via Daily Prompt: Critical

crit·i·cal
adjective
1. expressing adverse or disapproving comments or judgments.

When you are critical of someone or something you tend to be expressing your disapproval or judgement on something they did or said. When I go onto social media lately, it seems that critical comments and posts are the norm. I see battles and arguments over politics and religion daily now. It seems as though everyone is out to prove that someone else is wrong. What happened to respecting others? Does respect even exist anymore?

Many are being quick to speak and put others down and react out of emotion.  This is not always good or healthy.  As a mother, I do my best to teach my daughter to think before speaking or posting on social media. I believe that our words [and posts] are a reflection of our character. While I don’t live my life based on what others think of me, I live trying to be mindful of the way my words or comments make others feel. Of course I am human so I too have made the mistake of blurting something out that I have regretted after the fact, but I do my best to be cautious with my words and statements.

Words should be used to build other up, not break them down.

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A Piece of My Story

A Piece of My Story

I thought I would take some time to write a little bit about myself so that my readers get to know to me. Like every human being I have been through many difficult times in life but I have also experienced joy.

I had a rough upbringing, I come from a broken family without a dad in the home. I was raised by a single mom who struggled independently and needed assistance to raise three children on her own. As a child, I never experienced what a healthy family life felt like so it is a hunger I have carried with me my entire life. This hunger caused me to have a blind eye to love. I have a huge heart and allowed my heart to lead me in my choices, this resulted in me having many painful life experiences.

I became pregnant at the age of 17 and gave birth to my beautiful daughter at the age of 18. She represented life to me. She was so innocent and precious so I made a promise to myself to always be her provider and protector. God graciously blessed me by opening doors to jobs that paid me enough money to support my daughter and provide for all her needs. We had all the material things we needed to survive, but somehow my inner hunger for a life partner led me in the wrong direction.

Parenting helped me discover that I have a giving heart. I found joy in providing for my daughter and seeing her face light up. This birthed a strong desire within me to help others. I know what it’s like to be in need so when I see someone with a need my instinct is to help them. I find myself having a desire to make their load lighter. So I try my best to help them in any way I can. I give the encouragement I know I would need if I were them.

I know what it’s like to have a longing for something in my heart and I know what it is like to be broken. I also know what it is to feel hopeless and shattered because the one you trusted to protect your heart left you in pieces instead. So when I come across someone who feels shattered or lost, my heart is lead to encourage and help uplift. I don’t want anyone to feel the emptiness I struggled with in my past.

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