Fear & Following God’s Plan

I realized this morning that in 20 days I will be heading to Uganda. AFRICA!!

It still does not seem real. Me, a Georgia girl, that hasn’t done a whole lot of traveling heading to Africa. That’s how I know this is God’s plan and not my own. I can’t tell you how many times I have thought about not going. I have come up with some great excuses and it doesn’t help when your husband and mother don’t want you to go.

I have also worried about finances. This is not a trip I can just pay for. I have been blessed by some close friends and family, but I still have quite a bit to raise. When I do start to worry, I remind myself that God is in control and He will provide. I am not sure how or when but I trust in Him.

I have been reading Priscilla Shirer’s book, Fervent. I am learning how to pray specific prayers for all parts of my life. Well God made sure I read about fear this morning.

Priscilla reminds me that “fear is one of Satan’s primary schemes for crippling God’s people” and “if he’s working that hard to keep me from moving forward, there must be some blessing or beauty from heaven he’s trying to divert me from”.

As I look back over the last few months, fear is why I kept coming up with so many excuses not to go. Fear is what is keeping my husband and mother from being excited for me. Fear could keep me from one of the most amazing experiences of my life!

My favorite part of the chapter this morning (she is talking about Satan)…

“He’s just full of it. Full of excuses. Invested in cramming you full of fear. Why? Because fear is the antithesis of faith. And faith is what allows you to step foot on the soil of your destiny.”

I have felt Satan working harder these past few days ~ making me question so many things. How am I going to raise the rest of the money? What will it be like in Uganda? Will I get sick? Will I really make a difference?

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I do know the One who has all of the answers and has a plan for my life. I am going to put all of my faith in Him and fight fear with prayer. Will you pray with me?

I plan to share about my journey to Uganda through this blog and I would love for you to join me!

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My One Word for 2016 ~ Discipline

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As the last hours wind down to 2015, I am happy to be on my couch with a fire roaring and football on the TV ~ just a night at home with my family.

This year was a year of growth and stepping out of my comfort zone. My word this year was Hope. I realized that hope is not just a feeling or expectations. Hope is actually a person and my rock. No matter what happens in this life, I have Hope.

I started back to school this year (after a lot of years) to get my ESOL certificate. I thought that one day I might go back to teaching. I also went on a few interviews just to see what was out there. I ended up disappointed each time I didn’t get the position, especially when I felt like I would be great. I finally figured this wasn’t the year for me to go back and then it all happened very quickly. An interview on Monday, offer on Tuesday, and then putting in my two-week notice at UGA. Now I know my Father had this position at LHS waiting just for me. The people I work with are amazing!

I also loaded up in May and drove to Tuscaloosa by myself to meet other advocates for Sole Hope. I started the weekend knowing one person and left with several “sole” sisters ~ ladies that I can easily talk to and know that they pray for me. This is also when God took going to Africa from “someday” to January 2016! I still can’t believe I am going to Uganda in a few weeks. I do get stressed at times about raising the money to go, but I know deep down that my Father will provide.

I am excited to see what all this next year holds. I have to tell you that my word for 2016 was not something I expected. The word consistent had been spinning around in my head for the past few months, but as I began to read and pray about my word I realized that Discipline was a better fit.

I need discipline in all areas of my life ~ spiritual, mental, physical, and relational. I can get too focused on one area of my life and neglect the rest.

I have certainly enjoyed the quiet mornings with my Spark and Bible during our break, but I know those days are coming to an end (except on weekends). I may not be able to have those relaxing mornings during the week, but I will still start my day off with prayer and a quick devotion. I will have to make time in the evening to study and write in my journal. Writing at night may work better for me. I can write out my blessings, my fears, my frustrations, and my prayers for the day. I might even sleep better after giving it all to my Father.

My health is one area that I have neglected the past few months. It is time for me to be more disciplined ~ making sure to take my vitamins and supplements each day and exercising. I have already pinned some quick exercises on those days when I run out of time. I also want to cook healthier for me and my family. Time to use some of those Pinterest recipes and menu planners.

Discipline will be key for me this year, but the results will be worth it ~ staying in God’s Word, focusing on the important things in life, getting healthier, and stronger relationships. Bring on 2016!

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Waiting

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Waiting ~ the time between finding out something could be wrong and getting answers. The long, drawn out time that can drain your spirit.

We all go through times where we have to wait. We can let it crush our spirit and let worry and doubt overwhelm us or we can look to the One that is in control ~ our loving Heavenly Father.

Lately, I have watched loved ones wait and then get the news that they prayed not to get. I have watched them take on cancer and health problems. They have endured the kind of news that could make someone angry and bitter, but they have done the opposite.

They have a strong relationship with our Father, they know who is in control, and they let His light shine through them.

Now I am waiting. Waiting for more x-rays and answers. Worrying about the possibilities has been creeping in, but I am fighting back with God’s Word. I know that no matter what comes along in this life, I can get through it. My faith is strong and my Hope is in Him.

So no matter what comes your way ~ either in the waiting or in the answers ~ take a deep breath, relax, and give it all to Him. He loves us and will never leave us.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Start a Fire in my Soul!

It is January 7th and I am fired up for today and for this year! Heard this song on my drive to work this morning and it really got me going!

Start a fire in my soul
Fan the flame and make it grow
So there’s no doubt or denying
Let it burn so brightly
That everyone around can see
That it’s You, that it’s You that we need
Start a fire in me

I am so glad I kept my blog. I really considered just deleting it. The writing just didn’t come last year. I felt like a failure and figured no one read my posts anyway.

I now know that this blog isn’t for anyone else but me. It is a place for me to put down my thoughts and praise my Lord. I was actually shocked when I got a comment from my friend, Jennifer, last night after I posted my one word for the year. It was such a sweet comment and has encouraged me today.

This is the year where I am just me – the me God created me to be!

original-839395-1This has always been one of my favorite verses, but finally it means so much more to me – I actually BELIEVE it!! And what a difference that makes!

I also realized this morning that I want to go to Uganda – I need to go to Uganda! After becoming an advocate for Sole Hope last year, I thought about how amazing it would be to visit. Now I know that this is one of my God-sized dreams. I will leave the timing and details up to Him, but I know in my heart that I will get there.

Until then, I will continue to share about Sole Hope and encourage others to have shoe cutting parties or donate to the organization. Dru and Asher are doing amazing things in Uganda and it is such a blessing to have a small part in helping.

So today, I will hold on tight to my Hope and pray that God will use me in some way each and every day. My fire has been lit!

My One Word for 2015 ~ HOPE

Hope

HOPE ~ this is a word we hear all the time. We hope for lots of things to happen, but do we HAVE hope?

For the past few years, I have chosen one word to focus on for the year. I would take my time, read scripture, and pray for the right word. This year was very different ~ my word was all in my face!

It started at our Christmas Eve service. Our pastor talked about hope.

Hope is a strong and confident expectation.

Not quite the definition I have used in the past. How about you?

Our pastor reminded us that our hope came down to earth as a baby and then gave his life for us. He gave his life for ME! Jesus gave his life so that I could have a relationship with my Heavenly Father. I have an eternity in Heaven waiting for me.

After that service, I could not get the word Hope out of my head and then it was everywhere – on blogs posts I read, in pictures, in passages I read in my Bible.

The verse at the top of my blog is my verse for 2015.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.
Hebrews 6:19

One post I read gave me a better picture of this verse. The author talked about how we are solidly connected to God in Heaven. Jesus carried our anchor to the throne room. So no matter what storms come our way, we are anchored and cannot be moved.

How do I stay hopeful? By reading God’s Word each day and talking to my Father. He made us to have a relationship with Him. It can be so easy to let the distractions of the day keep me from building my relationship with Him, but my day always goes better when I put Him first.

After a very rough year last year, I am excited about 2015! I am stronger in my faith and I have a strong and confident expectation that God will do great things this year. I am sure we will still have hard times, but I cannot be moved because I have an anchor for my soul.

I am pushing back the fear that keeps me from being completely obedient and I am ready for Him to use me for His glory.

This Hope will keep me going through the hard times, it will give me courage to dream, and it will make me strong and courageous!

How about you? Do you have Hope? Do you have a word for 2015?

Blessing to You!
Melissa

Good-bye 2014 ~ Happy To See You Go

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Good-bye 2014! You were a hard year to get through, but you leave me with some wonderful memories and a stronger relationship with my Father.

This year I realized just how fast life goes with children. We had one start high school, one start middle school, and one start 2nd grade. In just four short years, our oldest will be heading off to college. He keeps us busy with three sports, but I will cherish all of the moments with him. I enjoy all of the time I get to spend with our children (well not ALL of the time – there are those rough moments). They do make me feel loved. I never get tired of hearing that I’m the best Mom in the world. :)

Our finances were the hardest part of this year. Paycheck to paycheck and still never enough. Money needed to go in every direction. The company my husband worked for wasn’t doing well in this area, so his commission check dwindled. He had already started looking for another job when his boss told him they were leaving this area. Already struggling and now he was without a job.

A few years ago this situation would have sent me into a panic and depression. Christmas was coming, bills needed to be paid, what were we going to do?

I prayed.

I prayed for a good job for my husband and I prayed for peace and direction. My Father provided what I asked for. It did not happen as fast as I would have liked it to, but I could feel Him working. Not just working on our situation, but working on me. Me learning to lean on Him and trusting that He would provide.

I can now see God’s hand all over the situation. A friend talking to her husband about his company – him talking to his boss – his boss talking to my husband and then pushing for him to be hired. We are so thankful for Angie, Mike, and Keith and their willingness to help us.

The beginning of 2015 will be a challenge – time to get caught up and pay off some bills. I am excited though! I know that 2015 will be a much better year for us.

I plan on attacking the year with well thought out goals, not just wishes. Goals for our finances, our health, and our family.

Most importantly, I will continue learning and growing. I will continue to spend time with my Father so that our bond will keep getting stronger. I will work on letting go of my fears and following His plan for my life.

Good-bye 2014 ~ I am not sorry to see you go. Hello 2015 ~ Let’s get started!

October 4 – X-rays, Cuban Food & Football

Those three words pretty much sum up our Saturday…

We started the day off by going to the orthopedic doctor to have Patrick’s hand checked. We were thankful the ligament was okay, but we found out he had a fracture at the base of this thumb.

They put a splint on and will put a cast on later this week. He is hoping Coach will still let him play defense. This mom is not too sure about that! He even said he hoped they could mold the cast so he can still snap the ball. That’s my boy – doesn’t want to miss anything.

While we were in the beautiful city of Athens, we went to one of our favorite places to eat – Cali n Titos. It feels like you are miles away from the city even though you are right next to campus. The food was great and it was a beautiful day to sit outside!

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Not happy about his hand, but happy about yummy food!

I wish we could have stayed and gone to the game later that day, but we headed on home and spent the rest of the day watching football on TV. It was one of those crazy Saturdays ~ lots of top teams lost! We were just happy that our beloved Bulldogs won and TCU upset Oklahoma.

It was a fun Saturday ~ minus the broken thumb. I always enjoy days when we can relax and spend time together. I am a blessed woman!

October 7 – You Are Not Alone

God can say a lot if you just listen!

I have been stressed. I have tried not to be, but it just creeps in and grabs hold of me. The company my husband works for has informed him that they will be pulling out of the Southeast ~ which means he will lose his job. I get stressed because we are struggling to make it by right now. I keep reminding myself that God has taken care of us before and He will take care of us again. The hard part for me is waiting to see what He has planned.

A positive thing is that my husband has gone on three interviews at a local company over the past few months. He had hoped to start working there anyway, but now he wants to start and start soon. I tell myself that God knew what was going to happen and He started moving on our behalf before we ever knew we needed Him to. The hard part is just the waiting.

Each day I keep expecting my husband to call and say, “I got the job!” And each day I am disappointed when it doesn’t happen. This morning I couldn’t even expect it. The stress had just weighed me down. He knew I needed Him. He knew I needed to know He was there and would take care of us.

First, there was a beautiful sunrise. The sun was warm and bright and I felt like my Father was covering me with His love. It wasn’t long before the clouds moved in and the beautiful sunrise was gone, but He reminded me that even though I can’t always see or feel Him, He is ALWAYS there.

I also heard the perfect song on my way in to work ~ He is With Us! My sweet Father really spoke to me this morning through those words. Have you really listened to the words before?

So don’t fret, my friend. Even when you are down and feel all alone – He is with YOU! I will be singing this song to myself each day as we go through this rough time. I will trust Him and trust in His timing.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

October 3 – Friday Knight Lights!

I Love Football! I actually love everything about Fall ~ cooler weather, pumpkins, picking apples, going to the mountains to see the changing leaves, and Football!

I have to tell you that I wasn’t thrilled when my firstborn told me last Spring that he was going to play football and Varsity football at that. It really changes things when it is your baby out there.

Now I could not be more proud of Patrick and his team this year. They have worked so hard and it was fantastic to see them get their first win at their homecoming tonight! They went into this game 0-6, but you would never know it by their attitudes. They played hard each and every game and left it all on the field.

The BCA Knights are a great group of boys and they have coaches that push them, encourage them, and believe in them. I have watched my son grow up ~ literally and figuratively. He is more responsible and a fun teenager to be around. He told me it has a lot to do with being on his football team. I am very thankful for that!

The scary part of the night was watching my son come off the field and talk to the trainer and then see him holding ice on his hand. It felt like forever until I could talk to him after the game. Looks like a trip to the orthopedic in the morning. We pray that it is not too bad.

Win or lose I am proud of our BCA Knights ~ but it sure is fun to get a win!

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October 2 – So Much To Do ~ So Little Time

Do you have that problem too? Way too much to do, but not enough time to do it?

so many things

I took the day off from work today so that I could try to catch up on some orders and work on the house. Well I got some orders done and a new shirt for my girl, but not a lot got done around the house.

Do you struggle to keep the house clean and neat? That is one thing that I struggle with each day. One of my children told me that the house will never be clean by my standards. You know what – He is right! It certainly doesn’t help when I get frustrated and start barking out orders to everyone.

We have started something new. I took popsicle sticks and wrote chores on each of them and even put a color on each one – one for each child. Instead of me telling them what they need to do, I just tell them to go check their popsicle sticks. It still needs some tweaking, but it has started to help.

I need to let go of the “perfect” house. Yes, there are some things that need to be done this weekend – like cleaning the kitchen and bathrooms and maybe finding homes for all the clothes in the basket in my room. Are my kids’ rooms ever going to look the way I would like them to – probably not.

I am working on relaxing more at home and just spending time with my family. My husband reminds me that once the kids are grown, then I can have my perfectly clean house. He is right!

I need to figure out the level of clean that I can live with and not stress over so that I can concentrate on the wonderful people I get to live with.

I hate to admit it, but I considered skipping Science Night at my son’s school tonight just so I could get some things done around the house. I am so glad I went with him instead. I got to hang out with my hubby, son, and daughter and do science experiments. Making Memories ~ That’s what life is about!

Do you struggle with the same thing? Do you have any tips for me?

(You can see that this post did not get posted on the 2nd. I told you – just not enough hours in the day!)

Blessings to You!
Melissa