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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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 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 1 – Am I Really Doing This?

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Hello October and Hello Friends! I have to be honest with you ~ I had absolutely no plans to participate in this challenge. I have way too much going on to blog each day this month, but God has other plans for me.

When I talked to my Father this morning, I told him that I am already leading a Praying for our Boys challenge, I have signed up for Teri Lynne Underwood’s 31 Verses to Pray for your Girl, and I am doing the 31 Days of Prayer Marriage Challenge over at The Time-Warp Wife (I am not reading the book yet – just can’t do that right now). I have dedicated this month to boldly praying for my family!

Still ~ I felt him nudging me to do this. To come back to my blog and write. He must be planning to work on me through my writing this month. I will be praying and writing a lot this October!

I also felt His hand in this when He gave me the title for the month – 31 Days of Faith, Family & Fun. I feel that it gives me a hint for what is in store for us.

So here we go ~ I hope you will join me on this journey and I pray He will bless you this month!

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Lost ~ Five Minute Friday

LOST…

A good word to describe how I have felt lately. Lost, disappointed, worried, not sure of my path or purpose. Have you ever felt this way?

I left a job about 5 years ago to work at my son’s school. We went through some rough times, but I don’t regret the time I got to spend with him. I have missed the people I worked with and have looked for an opportunity to go back and then the “perfect” job for me was posted. I just knew this was what I had been waiting for. I went for an interview, felt good about my chances, and then I got the email. Yes, an email letting me know that they had selected a few others to move on to the next interview. I was crushed!

Then the next week, I thought I had finally found a teaching position that was a good fit for me. I wasn’t sure I wanted to go back to teaching full-time, but I felt really good about it after the interview. Nope ~ got the call yesterday.

If you know me then you know I try to be positive. I look for silver lining. I trust that God has a plan and His plan is so much greater than mine. Lately though, I have struggled.

Today is a new day and I am holding on to His promise…

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I will continue to praise and thank Him for what He has done and look forward to what He will do ~ in His own time.

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Five Minute FridayHop over to Lisa-Jo’s to see what others are writing today!

You Are Beautiful…just as you are

You…that reflection you see in the mirror…YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

If you are like me, it is sometimes hard to see past the extra pounds, the wrinkles, and the hair that just won’t do what you want it to do. God sees past all of that and we should too.

He created us, every little thing about us. Our looks, our gifts, and yes, even our quirks. All of these things are what make us special and unique.

I know it sounds cliche, but it is truly our inner beauty that matters. That’s what people remember about us…a smile, a hug, or just being there to listen. Our beauty from within comes from Him…spending time with Him, reading His word, and trying to live like Him.

So the next time those negative thoughts start creeping in…remember who you are and whose you are. You are a child of God and…

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Blessings to You!
Melissa

I am linking up with Holley for the 2014 Encouragement Challenge – will you join us and help spread the encouragement love?!

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2013 ~ A Year of Change, Growth, and God-Sized Dreams

What a year! As I look back over 2013, these words come to mind…faith growing, reconnecting, confidence, God-given dreams, stepping out of my comfort zone. This has truly been a year of change and growth for me!

I wasn’t sure what to expect at the beginning of the year with my God-sized Dream Team, but I knew God had included me for a reason. Holley’s book was inspiring and helped me to open my heart to whatever God has in store for me. Our team has become more like a family. A group of ladies that love and encourage one another.

My dreams have changed over this year. I have to admit it was hard when God shut a door or pushed back a dream I was excited about. I would love to see some of those dreams come true, but it will be in His timing or He might have someone else in mind to do it. I just want to focus on the plans He has for me right now.

I have to tell you that I certainly didn’t expect to be sewing and starting a new business at the end of this year! I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to buy something I had made. I am still amazed that I sold so much over the past two months. I don’t know where it will go from here, but I am excited to find out. I know I’ve got to catch up on the other side of the business – making dresses for girls in the Dominican Republic and Liberia. What a blessing it would be to be able to deliver some of these dresses myself in 2014!

I love how this business has brought me and my husband closer too. He has been so supportive. He bought my embroidery machine as an early Christmas present, he goes to the store to buy the fabric I need, and he delivers and ships orders. We make a great team!

The best thing about 2013 is my relationship with my Father! This is an area of my life where I have struggled. I would give Him most of my life but not all of it. I have a hard time letting go of the planning and trusting that He will provide. If things aren’t going the way I think they should then I try to step in and take care of it. I am thankful for His grace as I work on this. I can tell you that I do more praying and less worrying and taking control now.

I had a hard lesson during the year that ended up making my faith stronger than ever. I went on several interviews to go back into teaching (and a lot more pay), but nothing worked out. I couldn’t understand why He was closing the door on each opportunity. Didn’t He want us to be better off financially? What I realize now is that He wanted me to depend on Him. I didn’t see how we would ever get through the year on my current salary. We have made it and He has taken care of each need and blessed us more than I could have imagined.

2013 was definitely a year of changing and growing. I look forward to this new year and how God will change me and use me!

I pray that each of you has a Blessed New Year!
Melissa

Are you ready to go after your God-sized dreams? Join us at this beautiful, new website and get ready to see what God does in you and through you!

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New Year ~ New Word: What is your One Word for 2014?

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I can’t believe in just a few short days it will be 2014! A new year, new goals, and a new word. I found a great devotion about finding your one word. It is a 4-day devotional on the Bible app…https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/809-one-word-that-will-change-your-life. I am on day 3 and I believe I have my word ~ Strength. At first I didn’t think it was a good word for me, but God led me to this verse…

Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage. Psalm 84:5

I have never considered myself as strong. Actually, I have seen myself as weak, lacking confidence, and looking for approval from others most of my life. I have been growing and changing over the past few years though ~ realizing that I am the King’s daughter and He loves me no matter what! My confidence comes through Him and I only need His approval. What a difference this has made in my life and in the lives of my family. 

No, I can’t be strong on my own, but with God I can be and I can do anything through Him (Philippians 4:13). This is a verse I have read over and over throughout my life, but this year I choose to believe it and live it. This year I will rely on God’s strength and follow His plan for my life. I will make myself available to Him and believe that ANYTHING is possible!

How about you? Have you found your word for 2014? Please share it when you do – I’d love to hear from you throughout the year about how God is using you and your word. I believe God has amazing plans for us in 2014!

(Do you need a button for your One Word? Let me know and I will create it for you.)

Happy New Year and Blessings to You,
Melissa

Day 1 ~ A New Beginning

Don’t you love the beginning of the month? A new beginning…and payday for me and my hubby. 🙂

This month I am excited and nervous about my 31 day challenge. Living With Purpose…what does that mean? To me, it is about taking a hard look at my life, setting goals and priorities, and learning to live the life that God has planned for me.

I can tell you He is already working on me. I almost decided to give up on this challenge before it actually started. I wanted to be able to plan each and every day before today, but He wouldn’t let me.

You see, I like to plan, I always have. The hard part is that I stress out when things don’t go according to my plans. Did you catch that…MY plans. This is an area of my life that I have struggled with over the past few years. My Father has been working on me and is helping me learn to follow HIS plans.

I have to be honest and tell you that it makes me uncomfortable not knowing what I will write about each day, but I feel that He is teaching me to trust and lean on Him. I feel that He will use this to help me grow and hopefully help others to grow and change over the next 30 days.

Will you please pray for me and ask God to use me and to help me end this month with a stronger faith and be able to release all parts of my life to Him? I’d love to pray for you too…just leave a request in the comments. If it is too personal, just ask for prayers. God knows all of our needs.

Today I will be working on setting my goals for the month. How about you? Do you need to take a hard look at your life this month and change some things? I’d love for you to join me on this journey.

Here is a FREE printable just for stopping by today…Psalm 25 4-5

Blessings to You!
Melissa

Don’t forget my giveaway going on this week. Courtney Joseph’s new book ~ Women Living Well. Just click here to go to my review and giveaway post. Winner will be announced this Friday!