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

Discipline

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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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!

A Reminder ~ Psalm 37

I love how you can read a passage in the Bible many times over the years but then when you read it again…it jumps off the page.

Psalm 37 was that way for me today. Have your read this passage lately?

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Our Lord reminds us that He is here for us. Life may be hard and it may not seem fair, but He will take care of us. He is our refuge.

3 Trust in the Lord and do good

4 Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.

5 Commit your way to the Lord: trust in him and he will do this:

6 He will make your righteousness shine like the dawn,

7 Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him

8 Refrain from anger and turn from wrath;

23 If the Lord delights in a man’s way, he makes his steps firm;

24 though he stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

39 The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble.

These verses remind me of how I am to live. I am to trust my Father and follow His plan for my life. I can only do that if I spend time with Him and stay close to Him.

Sometimes fear keeps me from stepping out and doing what He wants me to do. I have to remember that as long as I am following Him, He will hold me up with His hand and help me.

My Father loves me and He loves you too! What desires has He put in your heart? Are you following His plan for your life?

Just some things to think about on this beautiful Sunday morning.

Blessings to You!
Melissa