Give God Everything!

As I sit down to type out my thoughts, I am overwhelmed with the truth of all the thoughts that want to flow from my fingertips. God has been and continues to show me every single day, hour, minute and moment that He can be trusted with EVERY SINGLE PART of my life.

There are so many examples I can give, leading up to this past week. Two of the biggest I can recall dealt with relationships and a job.

I was married and divorced within a year back in 1990. Many years later, in 2009 my ex-husband came back into my life. I was able to make amends and extend forgiveness for what went down years ago. It was a very healing time in my life. During that, as the communication was received favorably, I thought… no, I felt I KNEW that God was calling He and I back together again.  We dated again for six months with much talk about getting remarried. I was coming into a good place of healing and relationship with Jesus and I just remember continuing to thank God and ask Him to lead things this time around.  It wasn’t long before some of our previous issues arose and things became strained.  I remember the last phone conversation me and my ex-husband had was that we needed to talk in detail about what was going on. He assured me that we would, he told me that he loved me, that he wanted to be married to me again and would do whatever it took to make that happen and that he would be calling me that night to discuss.

It might not surprise you to know that I never heard from him again. Not once. Not ever. Let me be clear, I called him, I wrote him. I wrote his family, I did everything in my power to get him to respond and even today, in 2017, I have never heard another word from him.

Before you think the worst, he was alive and well and I saw through facebook several years ago that he had remarried to the woman that he was talking too during the time of our dating that caused the strain in the first place.

I share that to say that while it took me a while to get there, I came to a place where I had to accept that I had given my heart, my life, my choices over to the Lord and I came to understand that when circumstances all seem to be going where I want them to go, yet God comes back with a resounding NO, I just have to trust Him, even when I don’t understand it.  It wasn’t until 2013 and I met my husband of today that I could fully understand that God completely knew what was best for me and had the ABSOLUTE BEST waiting for me. Had I had my way, I would have missed out on what I have now with my husband and I wouldn’t trade that for anything!!

The other similar circumstance pertained to a job.  I was working at a decent job, making decent money but as a single mom had been praying for more. A new company opened up literally across the lake from where I was working and everyone was jumping ship. The buzz was all around how they were hiring anyone and everyone, with quite a decent pay raise. I watched as my coworkers left one by one, many of them not giving a two week notice as this company wanted them ASAP.  Eventually I put my application in and started praying.  I got an interview and it seemed to go well. Then I got the call that they wanted to offer me the job. I was thrilled! Here was my opportunity to provide more for my daughter! I didn’t want to put in my notice until it was finalized and I was told I would be receiving additional hire paperwork.  I waited. And waited. And waited some more. After about two weeks, I called and they assured me they were working on it. I kept getting communication from the ones who were already over there, talking about how great it was and how much money they were making. I continued to work and pray and wait. After another two weeks, I reached out again and this time I was apologized to. They said that in the end they were not able to hire the last round of interviewees and that they would keep my name on file and if something ever came up they would give me a call.

I was devastated. What had just happened? I kept asking God what He was doing.  But! I was able to recall the situation with my ex husband and I gave God thanks for whatever it was He was doing and continued at the job I had.

You know, God doesn’t have to give us a reason for anything He does. He is Sovereign and can say no anytime He wants. Just because He said so.

But He is a gracious loving Father and showed me about six months later why His way was better than mine.

The company that everyone thought was so great went right out of business. All the people that went over there were now without jobs and many were unable to return to the previous job due to the bridge they burnt when they left.

These two instances has stayed with me over the years that even when everything seems to be moving forward, that when all lights are green, if I ask and trust the Lord for His Will and Way, He will always do what is best for me.

Fast forward to today, this past few weeks. Our entire family had a situation in front of us where we felt God was leading us to go in a certain direction. My daughter and her father were going to be able to move into a seemingly nice area into a three bedroom trailer which would be plenty of room for them and the baby. Me, my husband and his mom were also going to move into the same area, our own three bedroom trailer, allowing us to cut our rent in half and take care of some much needed bills. There were so many things leading up to us considering that decision we felt it was truly God led but because of the lessons we have learned in our journey, we were all thanking God for what was in front of us but continually claiming that if something fell through at the last minute we knew it could only be the Wisdom of The Lord protecting us.

Needless to say, everything fell through in the last hour. In that moment, nothing made sense. How could all the signs be pointing forward, all the lights were green for go, yet the no still came.  My daughter and her father were heartbroken but because of me and my husbands own experience with things like this, I stressed to them that truly, when things like this happen, it can only be God’s Hand and while we may never know why, we can certainly trust it is what is best for all of us.

Again, God does not have to tell us why. His no is perfectly enough.

However, because of His grace, we were given the answer the next morning when a dear friend of mine texted me to share some news about the place that we were all going to move into.  It was not a safe neighborhood. It had been in the news many time and the reviews were agonizingly painful about how unsafe the place was. In that moment, I forwarded the text to my daughter and her father, encouraging them to never, ever, EVER doubt that when we give our lives, our hearts and our choices over to the care of God, He WILL do what is best for us.

Do you find this true in your life? Or maybe like me, before I grew into this trust I have for Him, I was afraid to give Him every decision. Oh, I might have given Him some of the decisions, but many times when it was something I really wanted or thought I deserved, I withheld asking Him for His hand. And even when I did ask, and received even the smallest no, I questioned Him over and over again as to why.

I am thankful for today, where I know without a doubt, that He holds the answer to every question or decision I am willing to put in front of Him. I pray that as you continue your journey in trust with Him that each time you will come closer to the absolute truth that His Way is ALWAYS better than our way, no matter what!

 

 

Don’t compare!

Recently I was writing for my weekly encouragement email and I said the following:

Over these past few months, I have met more women who have either organized or spoken at retreats or other events than ever before. I have been privileged to come into contact with women who are involved in other groups that glorify God and they have welcomed me with open arms. God is bringing women into my life in creative and interesting ways, like through random neighborhood apps, conversations in the women’s bathroom at church, or reconnecting me with a friend from years ago. **end**

While writing these words, I was overwhelmed with a feeling of gratitude that God is in control of such minute details of my life.  The abundance of His love is earth shattering to me! But it was of no surprise when the accusers voice whispered in my ear “yeah, but”

“Yeah, but what difference does that make?” “Yeah but, look at how successful she is” “Yeah but, do you really think you could accomplish that?” “Yeah but, look at how fit she looks” “Yeah but, this has already been done before” “Yeah but, Yeah but, Yeah but!”

Ladies, I just want to clear something up here and now. Satan IS A LIAR!

There is no reason to compare ourselves to anyone!

Satan tells us we are not good enough. That we won’t ever measure up. That we don’t deserve.  What a BUNCH OF CROCK!

Excuse my language but we have GOT to stop letting the deceiver have ANY say so over our life. We have GOT to stop him in his tracks with The Word of God. The Word that says we are fearfully and wonderfully made’ .. Psalm 139:14 and that we are chosen, holy and blameless before God.. ‘For he chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world that we may be holy and unblemished in his sight in love..Ephesians 1:4 and that we have been created for good works that God has prepared beforehand so we may do them.. Ephesians 2:10

We need to submerse ourselves in the truth so that the enemy cannot gain any type of foothold with his lies.  The devil knows he can never snatch us completely away from God but he will sure grab ahold of our ankle in a desperate attempt to keep us from getting to where God wants us to go!

I pray that those reading this will be encouraged to not be involved in the damaging comparison game and live the truth of who we are in Christ!

 

 

 

Catching up

Whoa how time flies. It’s been forever since I’ve typed out an actual blog post.  So much has been going on. I listed in a previous post how busy things were. We’ve made it past the grand baby’s birthday and Thanksgiving. We even survived the cold weather at our successful neighborhood event. My weekly bible study is going smoothly and Freedom is being found in Jesus’ name!

God has moved mountains regarding helping me prepare for the Women’s Retreat coming up next year. I have been able to get my LLC updated to be currently active instead of waiting until the first of the year. I’ve started a weekly encouraging email list and my job ended which demands that I pray fervently for His provision but also allows me more time to do what I need to do. Since I’ve been laid off from work,  He has provided so many other opportunities this past week, to get things done.  I now have  a brand new website, plus an official Entrusted with the Truth banking account, a resale certificate and a business tax certificate. It was quite fun explaining to those that asked “what kind of business is this and what are you selling?” my response being a big smile and a shrug – ‘I’m not sure what God is up to yet but so far, Encouragement for all and Women’s retreat tickets is about the best response I can give’ it was baffling to some which was comical but to me it is exciting stuff and I look forward to continuing along this journey.

I don’t share any of this with you in hopes that you think, ‘wow, look at all she is doing’ I share it in hopes that if you’ve been traveling this path with me for any length of time, you will recognize that this is all of God’s doing. That it is ONLY by His grace and wisdom that any of this is happening.

Our church is getting ready to begin the fast that we do every year and I sat in awe the other day when it was announced as I was reminded again that this past year started with the fast for me.  It was during that time frame that I became even more serious about my relationship with Christ.  I actually found a few emails the other day between me and a friend while cleaning out my mailbox at work. It was just after the fast had ended and I felt God telling me to start writing down the needs we had. I’ll post it below so that maybe you can understand just a bit about how stunned I am on how this year has turned out.

**email dated January 25, 2017**

On my way out of the gym this morning (yay body pump!) I had two missed calls from my Pastor’s wife from church.  My first thought was, uh oh, what did I do lol, it was like being called into the principal’s office hehe.  But I listened to her voicemail and then called her back.

she wants me to speak at our annual women’s conference in March!?!

Like, get up in front of people and talk about my story and my love for Jesus. Like, IN FRONT OF A LARGE GROUP OF PEOPLE… <insert big gulp here>

She said she had been asking God for someone to do one of the sessions and when I showed up the other night at a prayer meeting (which I went to on a whim) she felt He was saying to ask me. She even said that she prayed about it and then took it to Pastor Jason (whom I absolutely love that man) and she didn’t tell him who she was thinking about, she said she told him she was trying to find someone and wondered if he could think of anyone and she said even he said “what about Susan”  which she took as confirmation from God.

Completely awed and blown away by what God is doing here…

I told her that as most responses from people in the bible… I want to say “I’m scared” “why me? I’m not qualified” “I’m not good enough” but on the other hand, I can’t help but feel that God wants to do something big in all of this.  I remember two years ago, I went to a leadership conference at the church and sat and cried my eyes out because I felt God was calling me to do something more and felt He spoke to me that day and said one day you will be up on this stage.  And now this opportunity comes along.

**2 email dated January 26, 2017**

Something I didn’t share yesterday is that just yesterday morning before I went to the gym, I was in my quiet time, being purposeful and writing down the different needs in my life. (one of them being a 4 bedroom house so we can have more space with the baby and help Chris’s mom out) because I had found myself the day before looking at houses for rent online and seeing the beautiful homes with gorgeous kitchens, (something I’ve always wanted) and feeling not good enough and not worthy of having such a nice place- so I committed to writing down all the things I wanted to see change in my life and was telling myself that I just needed to believe in what God wanted to do….. only then to get the phone call asking me about a conference called “She Who Believes”…. So  I sent my pastor’s wife an email this morning confirming that I would do it (we were going to confirm on Saturday when we met up and I heard more detail) but I told her what I shared with you about a few years ago and told her the above story and said I felt that God was already giving me confirmation before I even knew what was going to be asked of me and I didn’t need to know details, just that He was going to do this and not me- simply amazing when I put it into words like this!

************** end of emails **************

To read those words, to remember how I was feeling that day and to recall with absolute clarity that I had no other choice than to believe God had big plans for me, it completely floors me as I sit here in my 4 bedroom home, typing on a website that is God given to bring the gift He gave me into the world, while in the background planning my own women’s retreat next year to benefit my church and community while giving Glory to The One who made it all possible.

And the crazy thing is, He’s NOT DONE!

I pray that if you read through this long post, that you are encouraged. I am sure that you have experienced His goodness in many ways, maybe even something like the above. Just continue to remember, God has so much He wants to do for you and through you. Continue to get into His Word, trust what He says and take action on whatever next step He is calling you to take.  That is what I am striving to do every single day and I have never felt so sure of God’s presence and purpose in my life.

 

 

 

 

Taking another stand against fear

Oh my goodness what a morning. It started yesterday after not getting a lot of sleep the night before I was extremely tired and by the end of the day as I continue to think through this event and plan the next step I began to feel a cloud of doubt come over me. I was able to push it off with prayer but this morning on my way to work I was listening to my new favorite song by skillet called Lions and the lyrics just tore me up. All the what if’s came crashing down… what if nobody shows up… What if I sacrificed financially and it ends up hurting my family… what if I didn’t hear God as clearly as I thought I did… And the big one, what if i’m not who He says I am and therefore He won’t show up for me.

Ironically, I am set to speak at the retreat and my first subject is on fear. Go figure!

Today is ours, it’s always been

Before we face the fight

We know who’s gonna win

We live by faith and not by sight

We don’t want safe and quiet

We don’t wanna run and hide

Every time I heard those last two lines of that song this morning I cried my eyes out which isn’t necessarily a good thing considering I was driving 🙂

I am striving with all of my might to live by faith and not by sight and I have spent my whole life hiding and being safe and quiet and running and hiding and I don’t want that anymore! And I know that God is calling me out of that and into His glorious plan!

I was built up and edified by the fact that I know that my God has great plans for me. And I know that whatever He sets before me he WILL see it through. And I have no doubt that I am a child of His and He will never leave me alone or let me fall when I’m walking as best I can in His will.

I share all of that this morning to hopefully encourage you to not let fear take away the dream that God has planted in your heart. I move forward today knowing that my God is calling me out and He’s putting something before me that I would’ve never dreamed possible and all I have to do is step out and take the next step that He is asking me to take and whether 150 people show up at this retreat or five, He WILL be glorified and THAY is all that matters! That is what He’s asking me to do and that is what I will continue to put all of my effort into doing!

The most wonderful time of the year

Wow what an incredible, crazy, unbelievable, and any other adjective that I could think of to describe a wild and crazy ride, this past month of October has been.

I had heard before that once you get in line with God’s will and are seeking and striving to do everything you can to stay there that life can be very exciting and fulfilling and boy have I ever come to learn that that is true for me.

I have to apologize as there is so much going on as of late that it’s been very difficult to keep the blog updated and working on the podcast situation has just slipped right out of my mindset as I begin this new, very huge, only God can make it happen, task in front of me of creating the women’s retreat.

I know this is a very busy time of year for everyone so I’m sure each of you can understand where I’m coming from. Not even counting the holidays in front of us, my granddaughter turns one this month so we will be having that birthday party! My husband and I want to do something in our neighborhood for the holidays so in early December we will be doing HAMburgers and TURKEY hotdogs in our effort to try and do the holidays Florida style.

And once we get past Christmas my daughter turns 24 so there will be another birthday celebration and just a few weeks later my husband turns another year older so yet again another celebration 🙂 During all of this I’m cohosting a Bible study where God is doing some amazing work and to put the cherry on top-  going all in – as I follow God in this new adventure of hosting a women’s retreat. That in itself has been one surprise after another. I was not aware that as an individual I could not just go into the community and put together an event and sell tickets to it. Naïve of me I’m sure but I am learning interesting things each step that God takes me through.

Me and my good friend Christina who is helping co-lead this entire event received word from her church that they are willing to let us host the women’s retreat there which is such a humongous blessing. With that in mind I filed for and received my LLC certificate for Entrusted with the Truth. It will become an official business name on January 1, 2018.

Sometime over the next few weeks I will be filing the document with our tax office as well as obtaining a resale certificate because God has laid on my heart to offer T-shirts at the retreat which then leads me into creating my logo etc. As you can see I was not kidding when I said that the Lord has me on a very exciting journey!

I do not share all this to brag about where my life is, I share this with you in hopes to encourage you to continue to put God first, to continue to ask Him to reveal what His plan for your life is. Because I assure you at the beginning of January 2017 when I committed to Reading my Bible daily I would have never dreamed 11 months later that this would be happening.

I will keep everyone updated as more information comes about regarding the retreat we do know the date is set for March 3rd of 2018 but other than that it’s all in God’s hands LOL

Please stand with us in prayer as we ask God to show up in a mighty way and bring women from all over Jacksonville to come and draw closer to Him.

9 months

I can’t believe it’s been 9 months. I am amazed as I sit and reflect that since 9 months is the length of a pregnancy, God was taking the last 9 months to birth this dream inside of my heart.

I have longed to be used to change this world. I have always felt the pull to be an encouraging light for women. In my makeup days, I thought that was the whole plan but never did I dream that today I would be praying about, and planning a women’s retreat, with a sole purpose to strengthen and encourage women in their walk with the Lord. And I would have never thought it possible that in as short as 9 months, this purpose has become abundantly clear to me.

Back on January 25th when my pastor’s wife, Anne Cullum called me to ask me to speak at our Church’s Women’s Conference, I was floored and excited for the chance to tell my testimony. Praying that God would use it to encourage the women I stood in front of. I could have never dreamed on that day, God was continuing His plan to draw me further into public speaking. I most definitely would never have thought then, that 9 months later I would be praying and asking God to open doors to a women’s retreat where I am willing and excited to talk to women about the many struggles they have and how they can find continued strength in The Lord, our God.

I sit in complete awe today as I reflect back over the past several months and shake my head in disbelief. God has a future out in front of me that I can’t even begin to wrap my head around but I promise you this. If He has it for me, I am going to give everything I have, to make sure I don’t miss a moment of it. I pray that you will begin to see the future He has for you and surrender to His plan and fight the enemy with everything you’ve got until you’ve taken hold of it. C’mon, let’s go grab our abundance together!

All In

All In. That was the theme of the Matthew West concert on Sunday night. What is absolutely incredible is that I have felt I have been in the “All In” space for these past several months. But that feeling keeps getting bigger and bigger. God is definitely up to something!

In my last post, I shared how I feel God is calling me to do a podcast. I still believe this is something I am supposed to do. There are just a few things I need to work out on the techie side to make it happen, but I am looking forward to doing it. At the same time, He is calling me to start a new bible study as well as there is the pull on my heart to do another “day event”. At the concert, there was an incredible story that needs to be told on my webpage and blog so I’m praying for the time to put that together and now, just recently, He has taken the day event idea and whispered in my heart “Women’s Retreat”

There is so much that I feel He is calling for me to do. And I want to do it ALL! At the concert as Matthew poured his heart out about being All In for Jesus, my heart cried out in the same manner. Whatever you want Lord. I am Yours. I will do all that you ask of me, just show me what my next step is. I want the life You have for me, whatever that looks like. I won’t settle. I won’t give up fighting for what You want. I won’t cave to the pressure of life and miss what You died on the cross to give to me.

The more I think about it, the more I focus on the knowledge that I feel God moving, that I watch as life shifts around me, I actually start to tremble with excitement (and probably a little bit of fear) as I wait expectantly to see what comes next. I know it’s something. And it’s coming fast. My prayer is continually desperate. I want to be ready. I know God is making me ready for whatever He has coming. I’m just holding onto His Word and Promise and trusting Him with every fiber of my being. I ask each of you for prayer as I continue this journey and know, I will be praying for you as well. I know if God is doing all of this for me, He might be doing, and will do, if you ask, all of this for you too. My prayers go out to each and every one of you as we take the next step into our future of where Christ is calling us.