Weaving God Through Our Life

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In August, I had the pleasure of going on a Church Camp Retreat with my daughter. It started out rocky with an insane thunderstorm that threatened the whole weekend, but God shined down and made it a beautiful and memorable couple days for everyone. It was also the weekend of the terrible events that occurred in Charlottesville. My soul ached for the hatred in the world and the toll it took on human lives and hearts. On the other hand, I felt comforted and protected by the love that surrounded us from my brothers and sisters in Christ. Our love crossed all the boundaries that society has a tendency to use for dividing us, but we embraced one another with the fruit of the holy spirit. It was refreshing watching the kids play without inhibitions in the wide open fields, laying in the hammock, sitting around the bonfire eating smores and taking an evening walk through the woods laughing with a little screaming along the way.

On Saturday, the ladies were taught a class by one of my favorite teachers ever (Isabelle if you’re reading this, you know it’s you :) about the woman of the Bible, both villains, and heroes. Our ever so clever instructor had a different color of yarn that represented each woman and red yarn that represented God. We were all seated in a circle and passed around the red yarn, then as each woman was discussed we passed around that yarn that represented them all while continuously passing around the red yarn that weaved through the others. It was an amazing class exercise that I have thought about ever since.

Here are a few practical points I took from this exercise that I wanted to share:

  1. God is Woven Into the Fabric of Our Lives Regardless of Our Choices: Whether our choices are wise or unwise God is always present, we may not acknowledge or turn to him, but he is woven into our lives every day as a constant presence.
  2. It Takes Intentional Focus to be Aware of How God is Woven Into Our Life: It was interesting and humorous watching the women in the circle passing around the yarn, especially when there was more than one yarn going around at a time, it did get a little tricky. It made me think about how we should focus our attention on how God is working through our lives and how we have to be intentional about our own awareness of his presence even when we get tangled up by obstacles.
  3.  God Creates a Beautiful Tapestry in Our Lives: We all endure different seasons in our lives. Some seasons are simple and flow easily just like the rhythm in the beginning of our exercise, but as the stories began to pick up so did the pace, and there was some struggle in keeping the yarn going around. At times it got a little delayed, but our sisters helped each other to get it moving again all the while weaving the red yarn through the colors. In the end, there was this beautiful, a little messy, but filled with love project. I think that’s how it is with us. We make all kinds of different choices, some good some unwise, sometimes we’re moving right along and then we get stuck. But, we have our family in Christ to help us get through the knots so we can keep going and all the while God is right there through the whole process and in the end there is something beautiful.

The red that represented God was dominant and I have to remember that as I face this full season in my life. That no matter my circumstances, or choices I make, God is always sovereign and in control. Isn’t it wonderful that we can take great comfort in knowing that He is the dominant force in our life? We can have faith that through it all he has a beautiful tapestry planned out specifically for each of us!

 

The Heart of God: Learning Who God is Through Psalms

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I’m standing in for a bible study class tomorrow that is on the Book of Psalms. Awhile, back I was studying Psalms and it was amazing to me how much of God’s character and heart was revealed to me and who the Lord is to me personally. This is just some of the characteristics that stood out to me. Psalms is a reminder that when we seek God he reveals exactly who he is to us.

6 Tips on Co-Parenting Through a New School Year

A new school year is upon us and the lazy days of summer will soon become a memory. It’s time to get back into the school routine and if you’re co-parenting that means getting on the same page so that your kids have a smooth transition and your stress level stays low.

Try implementing these 6 tips (or a few of them) on co-parenting through a new school year that will make life a little easier for everyone!

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Daily Dose of Scripture: Truth & Freedom

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Truth and Freedom are hot topics of conversation that are fiercely debated in our society and rightfully so. We should always seek the truth and fight for freedom for all people. But,  real truth and genuine freedom don’t come from our lawmakers or the Constitution, it comes from Jesus, our salvation. Without Jesus, we are just slaves in and to this world to sin and to the lies, it tells.  Truth is Jesus. When you’re aware of the truth, when you live it in your daily life and accept it in your heart, the chains that the world keeps you in is broken.

In truth there is freedom. The freedom that can’t be bought, that isn’t given to you at birth but the freedom that comes from Jesus. The world’s truth is distorted and gives you a false sense of freedom. How many of us said when we were younger, ” I just need to find myself.” I banked on finding myself for years! I searched for truth in the world and believed that freedom was based on my terms. Word of advice, to find yourself, first you must seek Jesus and accept him otherwise it’s a futile attempt that leaves you wandering in a wasteland. Identity doesn’t lie in self it lies in who you are as Christ and when that’s understood that’s when you find real truth and freedom.  As disciples of Christ, we are so blessed that our freedom is secure in the truth of Jesus! Identity doesn’t lie in self it lies in who you are as Christ and when that’s understood that’s when you find real truth and freedom.  As disciples of Christ, we are so blessed that our freedom is secure in the truth of Jesus!

Truth and freedom come with a price, not the price that Jesus paid, but it demands of you that go against the grain. It requires that you turn away from the world’s belief system and its falsely perceived idea of freedom and turn away from its norms. The counterculture life of being a Christian isn’t always comfortable, but when has being a follower of Christ ever been comfy? It requires courage and a deeply rooted faith that can stand among the criticism and not follow the crowd even when it seems easier. As disciples of Christ, we are so blessed that our freedom is secure in the truth of Jesus and doesn’t depend on the knowledge of the world!

Daily Dose of Scripture: Which Water Are You Drinking?

John 4-10

I’ve always loved the story of the Samaritan woman. A story of forgiveness, redemption and a revelation of truth. Although I’ve never had five husbands, I do understand drinking from the well of the world.  The well with its enticing water that quenches your thirst for a moment, an hour, perhaps a day, but leaves you dehydrated and always needing more. The water that is so satisfying for a short time, but never really makes you full, but only empty.

Like the Samaritan woman when I first had a taste of the real living water it was beyond anything I had ever tasted. Finally, I wasn’t thirsty! No, longer was I searching for the elusive well that would fix my permanent thirst. I wasn’t dipping my cup into waters that offered empty promises, my cup was constantly full.

I think about when my lips first tasted this living water, a day that would be etched in my mind. Also, like the Samaritan woman, my shame was washed away. The chains of my past fell off. My identity was no longer defined by my mistakes, but it rested in Christ. The water had given me a new life, one that was a spring bubbling with faith, hope, joy, and contentment. It’s that spring that bubbles to the surface and inspires you to share your testimony so others are encouraged to drink the living water, to be refreshed, redeemed, and to live in the fullness of the Lord’s love. I often think of the Samaritan woman’s story when the world’s wells are calling me back to drink from its water. I remember the thirst and then I pull out the cup the Lord has filled and there is no comparison.

Daily Dose of Scripture: Prayer… A Powerful Weapon

 

Matthew 26-41

 

Temptation is always beckoning to our flesh. Temptation says, “Come try this, cross that line, it’s not that bad.” It’s always whispering in our ear, hoping to weaken our spiritual consciousness, with its ultimate plan which is destruction. It aims to deafen us to the Lord’s word, by contradicting it with fallacies. It fools us into thinking that after a few victories it will disappear quietly into the night, but temptation is always lurking and ready to attack. But, we have a powerful weapon at our disposal if we choose to use it…prayer. Stay on watch, guard your heart and mind and above all pray because the Lord is on your side and his plan for you is

Stay on watch, guard your heart and mind and above all pray because the Lord is on your side and his plan for you is victory! The flesh is mighty but the spirit is mightier!

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Guest Post: Lincoln’s Story: How a Recovery Survivor Found Hope

lincoln

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Addiction continues to grip our country in ways we never imagined. Every day there are countless news stories about overdoses, drunk driving incidents, and violence associated with the drug trade.

Then you have the stories of people who are stuck in the quicksand of addiction. And while we hear about the criminal aspect of addiction, we don’t hear the human aspect. We don’t hear about the struggles associated with addiction or how people are finding their way back to a real life through recovery.

Truthful and scary as the news stories are, it’s important to counterbalance the negative with the positive. Those who suffer from addiction are humans, too; humans who need support and strength to help them right their ship. Sometimes the very best way to consider the other side of addiction is to hear the story of a survivor — particularly a survivor who found his way back and now dedicates his life to helping others.

“People with the ability to change lives have the responsibility to change lives.” – Lincoln, proud graduate of addiction treatment

Lincoln came from a family of alcoholics. His father and grandmother, both former alcoholics,  helped found AA support groups in their community, and none of his sisters ever suffered from addiction. But Lincoln said he always felt like addiction was patiently waiting in the wings for the day he would arrive. Sadly, that day came.

As a college student, Lincoln found himself caught up in a lifestyle of drugs and alcohol. Unable to manage his studies, he was ejected from school. And after a revolving door of detox programs, he became homeless. In a rehab program associated with a homeless shelter where he was staying, Lincoln found himself talking to a Marine recruiter. With a perfect opportunity to force himself into sobriety, Lincoln immediately enlisted.

However, even though mandatory testing kept Lincoln off drugs, he found himself drinking more and more.

“Once I was in the military, I realized I couldn’t stop drinking,” Lincoln said.

After having neck surgery, Lincoln was prescribed pain medication that he couldn’t stop using, and he kept finding ways to get more. Finally, another visit to rehab prompted by his commanding officer forced Lincoln to quickly wrap up his service. But being out of the military made it easier for Lincoln to return to his former lifestyle.

“The military had kept me sober, so once I was out, I quickly went back to drugs. I was doing heroin, cocaine, pills, weed … anything I could get my hands on,” he said.

As his life began to spiral out of control, Lincoln’s family recognized that he was a danger to himself. Thanks to a Kentucky law, his family was able to commit him to involuntary drug treatment. He didn’t realize it at the time, but Lincoln’s arrival at Treehouse Rehab started the journey of a lifetime.

When he first arrived, Lincoln said he wasn’t convinced rehab would work.

“Nothing had ever worked before — not that I had really tried. But I knew something had to change,” he said. “At the Treehouse, I hit the ground running. I knew if I was going to be there, I wanted to be 100 percent. … I immersed myself in it and went to all of the classes that I could.”

“I showed up at the Treehouse as a Godless, fearless man,” he continued. “While I was there, I connected to a 12-step program and came to find my higher power.”

But Lincoln said he also realized the only way this was all going to work was if he flipped the script.

“I learned I needed a new start. Anyone who knew me would have never imagined that I could do it. I didn’t want to uphold my reputation. I needed to establish a new identity and not conform to what others thought I should or could be.”

And so it began that Lincoln not only found a way back to himself, but he realized he could be a force for change with others suffering from substance abuse.

“I’ve found a God of my understanding and I’m working with other alcoholics and addicts. It’s a passion and joy for me – and that’s what drives my life.

“I regularly attend AA meetings and have nine sponsees. It’s a snowball effect that’s infinite. It’s such a joy in my life that wasn’t there before. It’s a joy I never knew I could find,” Lincoln said. “Being an outlet for people has been my greatest joy in recovery.”

Here’s a man who hit rock bottom but was able to carve out a new life for himself through sobriety. Lincoln is a shining example of someone who found the support and strength needed to pick up the pieces. Let his story be one that can inspire others to do the same.

Written By: Constance Ray at information@recoverywell.org

Stand Firm In Your Faith So You Can Withstand The World

Isaiah 7-9

 

Every day our faith is tested and every day we have to dig in deeper, stand stronger, and turn toward Jesus. The world is always pushing us around trying its best to make us stumble. But, when we are rooted in the word of God and when it is planted in our heart and minds we can stand and withstand the lies of the enemy. When we fall in our faith we’ll fall in the world. Stand strong my sweet sisters!