Love Beckons

When our daughter announced on January 1st of this year that she had become engaged, I thought things were moving way too fast and her boyfriend and her needed to slow down. They had dated over four years ago, and although I do not have anything personal against him, I didn’t feel only dating for a few months would be enough to accept a marriage proposal.  It took me some time to realize that they were serious and I could get on board or not. And then I realized that our baby girl wasn’t a baby anymore.

She has a child of her own. And many couples get married in their twenty’s so why was this so hard for me? I have many reasons, but I know the biggest reason is I want to make sure she is ready. It’s one thing to date someone and fall in love with them, it’s a whole other thing to commit to be married to them for the remainder of your life and since her father and I have struggled with that in our own marriages, you hope and pray better for your children, that they won’t face the same struggles.

Last week our daughter and future son in law informed us that they don’t want to wait to get married. They want to get married this summer, nothing big or fancy, but they don’t want to wait. Life is too short. When you know what you want, go for it. And once again I am bowled over by all of this. I can’t stop them and I can’t blame them, but I can say I am more frazzled than I have been in a long time. I’ve always dreamed of planning her wedding with her, but I had assumed I would have more than 4 months to do so. And since they are living with us and have not planned on a place of their own or have the budget for that, that is another concern. How much will their life change and how much will stay the same?Katlyn and Chris

Whilst we do not need to worry about a wedding gown, as she is not a frills type woman, there are still many things that must be figured out. A shelter has already been reserved for  a reception/party for after the nuptials, a theme for the party, and a very rough draft menu decided on, but that’s it. And now as we get ready to spring our clocks forward later tonight, I am reminded that time is of the essence.

His parents live in Florida and will be coming up and his mother will be officiating the ceremony as she holds a license for marriages in our state, but trying to plan things and coordinate details has been a little difficult. Our daughter knows what she wants, but can be very indecisive if given too many choices. Her fiance has had some input, but is leaving the details up to the bride to be and myself.

Today as we sat down to determine a rough menu of the types of foods, and planning on how to pull it off without a huge expense, I will say Pinterest has many helpful ideas and suggestions. I want this day to be a day she will look back on and smile, holding in her heart the memories of friends and family gathering to celebrate the love of two very special people.

RM DRAKE LOVE QUOTE

Lord, I ask that you grant clarity and wisdom as we move forward with these plans and that you will bless this couple and strengthen them as they move forward towards the next step of their journey. Allow the love they have to continue to blossom and give me the patience needed and peace to help them in any way I am able in making their dreams come true. In Jesus Name, Amen.

Life is short. Savor every moment you are given. Love extravagantly. Be thankful for the blessings in your life, no matter how small they may seem. Jesus Loves you~right where you are in this moment and always.

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings~Carlene

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Flawless to Fractured

broken-glass-2208593_1280

I’ve always been intrigued by the patterns shattered glass makes when it breaks. Some would say that it is imperfect or flawed, and not worth much or good for anything. Have you ever felt like that? Felt that you were too flawed, unworthy or no good?

That’s what the devil wants you to think. If fear and doubt creep in the corners of your mind, and you start listening to those doubts and dwell on them, it doesn’t take long for you to believe the lies of the enemy. And if you constantly dwell in the recesses of your mind, where you allow those thoughts to flourish, they can become beliefs that you hold true. When hurt and anger fuel those doubts, you start to imagine that every unkind word that has ever been spoken within your hearing distance is about you.

2 Corinthians 10:5  New International Version (NIV)
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

Earlier this month, I was grappling with my identity. Things had happened and it takes being in the Word daily reminding myself that I am not a failure, I am not less than, I am not so overwhelmed with my chaotic life that the enemy can steal my joy, but he sure has tried to.

Ephesians 6:12  New International Version (NIV)
12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

The first thing to go wrong was my cellphone screen was purposely broken by our grandson, an inquisitive tike, who wanted to see what would happen when he ran his toy shopping cart over the top of it. It cracked the screen, but not in a beautiful prism pattern, as in the photo above, but lines crawling down and around my screen. I wanted to scream and yell and make him understand what he did wrong, but he didn’t understand. He just kept saying, “Maw phone cracked.” And when I agreed with him, he gave me a hug. He didn’t realize it would affect the use of the phone. The speaker was damaged, but the phone is still usable. Is it pretty, definitely not, but it still works, even with tape over the screen. My Joy is found in Jesus, not in things.

Several days later, my computer screen was damaged beyond repair, but thankfully the hard drive is okay. Accessing it right now is not easy, but at least I know at some point I will be able to retrieve the data and photos I have stored on my computer. Yes, I cried and lamented once again that one of my electronic devices had been damaged, and even felt as if it was my fault and I was a failure because he had managed to damage it. If I had been more proactive in closing my lid when not using my laptop; if I had never let him sit with me when I worked on it; if I had put it away when I was done with it – the same speech I give when he is done with his toys and things. All the “if I had” thoughts tried to make me believe that I had somehow failed as the adult in the situation.  And then depression set in. Worry took hold. Once again, the devil tried to steal my joy and harden my heart, but I love Jesus, so I asked for forgiveness for the anger I was holding onto and forgave this young child because once again, he didn’t understand what it all meant.  And no amount of explaining or reasoning would help.

As a child of God, I choose to love others. I choose to show grace and mercy even when that is the last thing I want to do. I make those choices because Jesus shows me grace and mercy and loves me, no matter how many flaws I have. No matter how broken I am, He is always there for me.

As I have leaned into the Lord and continue to learn how merciful He is, I realize that all the material things in the world mean nothing – they are simply things. Is it a lesson I wanted to learn, heck no. But it was one I needed to learn. God uses every single trial and test we go through to refine and purify us into the person he wants us to be. Even broken electronics. Even broken dryers and broken down vehicles. The fractures I’ve experienced in my home these last few weeks, all boil down to “stuff”.

Psalm 73:26-28 The Message (MSG)
25-28 You’re all I want in heaven!
You’re all I want on earth!
When my skin sags and my bones get brittle,
God is rock-firm and faithful.
Look! Those who left you are falling apart!
Deserters, they’ll never be heard from again.
But I’m in the very presence of God—
oh, how refreshing it is!
I’ve made Lord God my home.
God, I’m telling the world what you do!

I serve a loving God. I walk with Him daily. He holds me up when I feel like caving in, he sends love and support through prayers and helps from friends,  that I call angels here on earth. He loves me enough to let me go through trials, minor tribulations compared to what many in the world face today; in my mind’s eye, they seemed pretty big at the moment. When I rely more on my cell phone, my laptop computer, my clothes dryer and even my vehicle, more than I rely on God, I needed that wakeup call.

Jesus is enough. The phone, computer, dryer, and van make my life easier, but it won’t get me into Heaven. Only Jesus can do that. And Jesus is the only one that can heal our hearts and minds.

Ephesians 6:14-18 New Living Translation (NLT)
14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.[a] 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil.[b] 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere.[c]

Wearing the Full Armor of God is the best way to live. When calamity strikes, no matter what it is, I can stand firm in knowing that no matter what problems I face, they are only temporary. And there is nothing wrong with me. I am worthy, I am good, I do my very best every day and because I am human, sometimes I fail. But that is not held against me by God. There is no condemnation in Christ Jesus. Only Love.

If you are struggling with your identity and who you are, remember this, Jesus knew you before you were formed in your mother’s womb. He knows everything about you and He loves you. Right where you are, right now, at this moment. Do not give the devil and foothold in your mind. Because that’s where many battles are fought.

May you remember you are more precious than rubies. Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to you~Carlene

#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

 

 

Gift of Love

James 1:17 New International Version (NIV)
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

 

As I sit here this morning, watching the snow fall outside my window, it reminds me of how the Father covers us.  When we come to know Jesus Christ and accept Him as our Lord and Savior, he covers us by the sacrifice of his blood on the cross. And we are made pure in his sight, white as snow.

I’ve always said I don’t like snow and I have to confess I love watching it fall outside my window, I simply don’t care for the cold temperatures associated with falling precipitation.  Earlier, gazing out my window, I saw a muddied yard, with brown, lifeless trees and now I see white all around, and everything appears pristine and fresh.

2 Corinthians 5:17 New Living Translation (NLT)
17 This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!

No matter who you were or how your life was before Jesus, you are given a new life, one held together with love, mercy, and grace. Your sins are covered by the blood of the Lamb, similar to how God covers the muddled, messy ground with freshly fallen snow.

There is not one of us that can claim to be Holy or Righteous without the Cross. Jesus bore the sins of the world so we could be reconciled to God. When sin entered the garden, it separated us from God. With Jesus’ death on the cross, it gives us atonement for our sins, once and for all. When we come to Jesus, repent of our sins, and choose to follow Him, we are considered children of God. Jesus is the bridge that brings us back to a Father that sin keeps us from.  Living a life as a Christian isn’t easy.  He died for us so we could live life abundantly.  He didn’t promise there wouldn’t be problems, but in life and in death, he showed us how to live and overcome hate.

love hearts

Live your life with purpose, choose Joy that only God can give. Accept peace and hope as the things we seek and cling to. Live passionately, love extravagantly, Choose life. We are only given one chance to get this right. Choose to love others, help those that need help, pray and expect miracles. Leave a legacy.

May you know how much Jesus loves you~right where you are, right now!

Blessings~Hope Always, Have Faith

Carlene

 

Words Have Power~Use Them Wisely

Personal growth

When you do something for the first time, no matter what it is and you have success, how does it make you feel? On top of the world? Excited? Fuel your passion? But what happens if you try something you have never done and you don’t succeed like you thought you would. What happens? Do you try again or accept defeat? Do you give up and say defeating things to yourself? Things like, “I’m not good enough,” “I’m a failure,” “I can’t do this,” “What was I thinking?”.

Listen up people, our words have such power and sometime’s we don’t even realize that we speak them over ourselves or others. We speak and don’t stop to think about the impact our words can have. We don’t even have to speak it, we can just think defeating, negative thoughts, and they too can have power, if you let them.

As many schools across the nation gear up for students coming back, flooding the hallways and classrooms with chatter, backpacks, books and forming new memories, I encourage you to speak life into others and over yourself, too.

It is so easy to get caught up in what the world thinks about you. Your looks, your attitude, the clothes you wear, the books you read, the exercise regime you have or don’t have. There are so many times that all it takes is for one person, whose self-esteem is so low that one comment, not even made directly to them, can have such an impact on how they view themselves and if they are good enough. Good enough to get a raise or a promotion, good enough to be chosen for that one sports team they really want to be a part of, good enough to have friends and not feel so alone and isolated.  And we are all guilty of saying things, without meaning to hurt anyone, that our words and actions do. At least I am guilty of that.

I remember when my children, were school age and struggling with math, I made the mistake of sharing with them how hard math was for me, how much I struggled and how much I disliked the subject. I didn’t learn algebra or geometry because it wasn’t a requirement for me to graduate high school. That statement has haunted me for years because I indirectly influenced how and what they thought about math and numbers and equations and learning about it. They began to believe that if it was difficult for me, it was difficult for them. However, I didn’t realize how much that one statement affected them until they needed to buckle down and become proficient in those areas so they could graduate high school several years ago.  Only when my daughter referred back to my statement of how hard it was for me, did I realize that I had negatively impacted her learning. Boy did I feel horrible.

I’ve been reading a book by Psychologist Shad Helmstetter, What You Say When You Talk to Yourself and it has been eye opening how much we can make statements and not even realize that we begin to believe what we have said and those lies become beliefs.

In the Word of God, God even warns us to take our thoughts captive and to not speak or think things that are of the world and not of Him.

Proverbs 4:23Good News Translation (GNT)

23 Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.

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Proverbs 4:13Good News Translation (GNT)

13 Always remember what you have learned. Your education is your life—guard it well.

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Proverbs 18:21New King James Version (NKJV)

21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue,
And those who love it will eat its fruit.

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Our words have power. We can destroy people with thoughtless statements, or we can choose to think before we speak and we can build others up. We can encourage one another and believe in people and instill belief in others.  A tiny spark can set a forest ablaze.  A positive statement can have a ripple effect and change the world!

I am reminded of something my mother used to say to me, “do unto others as you would have them do to you”. In other words, be kind, think before you speak. Remember this acronym to help you:

 

May you know that you are Worthy, You are Loved, You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made and may you know how much Jesus Loves You!

Blessings to all~Carlene

 

 

My Heart

My heart sees what the world cannot comprehend.

My heart sees the loneliness that she feels when the world shuts her out.

My heart sees the ache when all she wants are friends that include her and think about her.

My heart sees how walls have been built because they are a form of protection.

My heart sees a young woman trying to find her fit in this life and feeling hopeless.

My heart sees a child that looked for love in all the wrong places because she didn’t feel loved enough at home.

My heart sees a child that wants to feel needed and loved unconditionally.

My heart hurts because I cannot fix the problems she fears and the failures she remembers

My heart sees what all the negative words have done as they have penetrated her soul and become her beliefs, that she is worthless, useless, lazy, not loved.

My heart cries because this is not who she is. She is beautiful.

My heart sees the struggle she lives within herself; I remember when she was carefree.

 

 

My heart sees that coping isn’t easy and sleep never comes.

My heart sees a woman that loves her child but doesn’t know how to show it all the time.

My heart sees a woman who wants to have a job, have friends, be independent, but doesn’t know how to achieve it, because her self-esteem has been battered and bruised.

My heart sees where I have failed and my heart forgives itself because holding onto that kind of thinking can cripple a person.

My heart hopes for her, that one day she will be the person God has created her to be.

My Heart Katlyn

My heart sees the fierce compassion she carries within her own heart and will defend those she says she doesn’t love because that’s what family does for one another

.My heart longs for her to accept that she is worthy of love, real love and so much more.

My heart waits for her to understand that life gives us lessons to make us stronger and not to withdraw more.

My heart leaps when I see her artistic ability and I only wish she could see this gift of a talent she has.

My heart perseveres in knowing she can be anything she wants to be, she can be the best at what she hopes for and she can soar.

My heart prays for the day that she is not afraid to spread her wings and fly.

My heart weeps because the anxiety that is part of who she is how it  stops her in her tracks and as much as she wants to be a part of something, anything, she doesn’t know how to move forward without fear creeping in.

My heart loves this person with so much love, that I will never look at her except as the beautiful child I know her to be. She grew inside of me for 9 1/2 months. She is my daughter. She struggles with depression and social anxiety. She has but a few friends and I weep because I know she desires so much more for herself than I can give. I love her with a fierce love and I always will. I pray daily that she will know how much she is loved and will not only know it but embrace it. I love you, Katlyn Nicole with all that I am.

May you know how much Jesus Loves You!#HopeAlwaysHaveFaith

Blessings til next time!

Life

heartguard

Each time that I am faced with a dilemma of sorts, I am reminded that each reaction I have or how I respond comes directly from my heart. Is my heart full of grace, mercy and love or hate, anger and resentment?

I was discussing with some friends a few weeks ago, that our Spiritual Heart functions much like our physical hearts. If our Spiritual Heart isn’t guarded and taken care of, it can become diseased much like our physical hearts. I believe that is why there is much importance placed on our hearts as it being the wellspring of life.

If our physical heart becomes damaged and/or diseased, it may “misfire” and or stop functioning and keep us alive. I believe that if our spiritual heart becomes damaged or diseased, we may go down a darkened road we had not planned, thus causing death in our spiritual life.

God wires each of our hearts differently, but there is one thing we all can share and experience together. Love.

If the love banks in our hearts become empty, what do you think happens to us? If we are not filled daily with the food that fuels our hearts, how will we guard our hearts and pour into one another? For me, my love bank is filled when people spend quality time with me when they give me a hug or a good foot massage. Caring for others, encouraging them; sharing Jesus-all of these fill my love bank.

We must guard our hearts, so they do not become bitter. If we allow bitter root to take hold and resentment to dwell there – our hearts become hardened and have no room for compassion and kindness. Our hearts were not designed to hate, but to love.

Every word that is said in anger, can never be forgotten or returned from whence it came. Every hurtful, hateful lie that comes from our lips cause pain and grief and sadness. Evil causes evil. Good never causes evil. We must watch our tongues and use the words wisely. Healing can come from the tongue, but so can devastation.

treeoflife

Imagine if all you hear on a constant basis, are hurtful words that crush your spirit. Do you rise above these words or do you embody them? And if you have been emotionally abused by words, do they not affect your heart and how you perceive yourself to be?

Living in a world where words are thrown around like daggers we must guard our hearts and minds. We must take care when speaking. We must speak life into others. We must remember that no matter what we face or how large the storm seems, we serve a God that is bigger than anything we will ever face! In the Word, we are told not to fear, because God goes before us and prepares a way. (Deuteronomy 31:8)

The devil comes to steal, kill and destroy, but Jesus came so we could have life and have it abundantly. Having a life that is overflowing with abundance means we must guard our hearts, we must watch what we speak and we must trust in the Lord for everything. And most importantly, we must thank the One who gives it freely.

Lord Jesus,

Thank you for the many blessings you have given to us. Thank you, Father, for the gift of your Son on the cross. Thank you for always showing grace and mercy, even when we do not deserve such a gift. Thank you, Jesus, for being the Light in our darkness and for never leaving us or forsaking us. In Jesus name. Amen

 

Jesus Loves you! Blessings to you today!

~Carlene