3 Ways to Stand Firm in the Faith (Linkup #2)

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If you don't stand firm in your faith, you'll fall for anything. Here are 3 ways to stand firm!“If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Ever heard that quote? While it’s a true and positive quote and is used quite frequently in secular media, I prefer to say it this way “If you don’t stand firm in the faith, you will fall for anything.”

It’s true, isn’t it? Satan does his best work when we’re not standing firm, and if we’re not careful we will find ourselves succumbing to his schemes before ever realizing what has hit us. Standing firm in the faith even in small things can bring such victory in our lives!

So how do we stand firm? How do we stand against Satan’s tactics? How do we shut down the opportunity for him to weasel his way into our lives?  I will admit, sometimes this is hard, but we CAN!  Nicole offers 3 ways. Be sure and check them out! When I read this week’s feature, I got chills. Nicole shares truth here and I know you’ll love it just like I did.

If you don't stand firm in the faith, you'll fall for anything. #SaltandLightLinkup Click To Tweet

Thank you, Nicole, for linking up with us at Salt and Light. Be sure and grab the button below! Now on to the link up! If you’re a blogger, read the guidelines below and join in. If you’re not a blogger, stick around. I’m certain you’ll find some nuggets of truth!

I'm loving @NicoleAKauffman tips on standing firm against Satan's deceit! #SaltandLightLinkup Click To Tweet

If you don't stand firm in your faith, you'll fall for anything. Here are 3 ways to stand firm!

If you don't stand firm in your faith, you'll fall for anything. Here are 3 ways to stand firm!

Shannon Geurin


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Alisa Nicaud

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If you don't stand firm in your faith, you'll fall for anything. Here are 3 ways to stand firm!

Shannon Geurin


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Why Being Part of a Tribe is Important (S & L linkup #1)

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Being a part of a tribe is important.

Did you know that we were created for relationships? We were created to be seen, known and loved!

Friendship with women is like a sisterhood. It helps us belong and be known. It fuels creativity, strengthens, and grows us. We go deep instead of stay to the surface. This is very powerful because when we go deep in friendship it forms a bond and is a force all on its own. When we form authentic relationships we find out more about ourselves and it grows us.

We were created for relationships, to be seen and known. #findyourtribe Click To Tweet

Find your tribe, friend! 

I’m blessed to be a part of several different tribes, in person and online with blogging and also creatives on Instagram. Knowing people from all walks of life have certainly blessed my life!

Being a part of a tribe is important. Here are 4 tips to help!

Tips for finding your tribe:

Be real. 

#1 tip. When we’re authentic with each other it breaks down walls. It builds lasting friendships and breeds the “oh, you too?” phenomenon. There’s nothing like talking with a friend and finding out that maybe you have the same quirks. Being real is an automatic connector. If you want connection, you gotta be real!

Being real is an automatic connector in relationships. #findyourtribe Click To Tweet

Lose the judgment.

Decide to look past whats on the outside and get to know their soul. We’ve all gone through stuff. We’ve all had our regrets. Look past all the junk and see the beauty, because it’s there.

Put yourself out there.

Being the newbie is hard, let’s be honest. But, if we want to find a tribe it’s essential that we put ourselves out there. It might be awkward at first, but do it! Just do it. The awkwardness will be so worth it in the long run.

Ditch the victim mentality.

In my life, I’ve failed at connecting with some great people simply because I played victim. I felt like if they really wanted to be my friend that they would reach out to me. It’s the “nobody likes me, I think I’ll go eat worms” mentality. And today, I say let’s punch that mentality in the face. It’s a decision. You’re beautiful my friend. You have gifts and talents that others need in their life. You captivate a beauty that no one else has and you’re one of a kind!

Find a tribe is important, and when you find them, love them hard!

 

So, find a tribe, and love them hard!

Speaking of tribes, I’d love you to be a part of the #fiercelyHis community! Simply click on the subscribe button below this post. You’ll also get some cool freebies!!

I’m so excited to start something new this week. Through blogging, I’ve met so many amazing writers with like faith. It’s refreshing to know that I’m not alone in this big writing world. If you’re a blogger link up! If you’re simply a reader, stick around, link ups will help you find other like minded bloggers and you’ll likely leave refreshed and renewed!

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Shannon Geurin


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Alisa Nicaud

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Carmen Brown

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Shannon Geurin

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Natalie Venegas

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Shannon Geurin


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How Being a Mom Has Drained Me

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Mom-ing can be very draining, and sometimes we're drained until there's nothing left. Things like impatience, hate, bitterness...being a Mom has drained me of those things and I'm grateful!

It’s true, being a Mom has drained me. You get it. We give and give and give.

There were days when mine were younger that I didn’t even want to get out of bed. It wasn’t that I didn’t love them; it was just that I had no energy to give. Watching one more episode of Teletubbies made me want to scream. Making sure they had breakfast and homework finished seemed like torture. I couldn’t fathom the responsibility one more day of making sure that every need was met.

We’re Moms, and we give.

So we give. And then we give some more. Some days we give until there’s nothing left.

Mothering is draining. But the thing is, it’s totally worth every ounce drained and every single given.

Let’s be honest. No one really and truly sees all we do for our children except us, right Momma? But, oh, my heart. What I wouldn’t do for my girls. No doubt you feel the same.

Cheerleader hair.

One day when Alex was in the 8th grade she came home and informed us that she was going to be a cheerleader. The junior varsity team was in jeopardy of being dismantled because there weren’t enough girls on the team. So, her friend asked if she would consider joining the team. It meant that Alex wouldn’t have to officially try out.

Alex was a very anxious child. There were days that she would call me from the school bathroom stall in tears. I would stay on the phone with her and coach her to breathe. So, the fact that she even agreed to join the cheer squad was a blessing that no one except her and me will ever even begin to understand. I’m not sure her friend will ever know what she did for Alex that day.

I’ll never forget her first game. She wanted me to help with her hair. Oh, the “cheerleader hair.” I mean it’s a thing, cheerleader hair. (And all the cheerleader Mom’s respond with a resounding, “Amen.”) It should be trademarked and sold, seriously.  I spent at least 45 minutes helping her make sure every hair was in place.

Every. Single. Hair.

At war with my daughter’s hair.

If one piece of hair was out of place, well, it would just have to be fixed. There was no consoling, reasoning or trying to help her understand it looked beautiful the way it was. It had to be fixed. So, as frustrating as it was, (there was dinner to be finished and clutter to be picked up; I had things to do, people) and as much as I wanted to scream and walk out of the room, I took a deep breath, strapped on my body armor and helmet and did whatever needed to be done in order to make her happy.

We were already running late..because, you know, the #cheerleaderhair. We scrambled out to the garage to get into my car. Alex opened her door first and immediately closed it. “I’m not going in this car,” she exclaimed.

What? I opened the driver’s door and the stench about knocked me down. The stench of spilled soured milk from the day before.

“GET IN THE CAR!” And she just stood there with her arms crossed, one foot tapping the floor. So much for the helmet and body armor.

At war with my daughter, or..

I was infuriated, and that word doesn’t seem to describe how mad I was. But, it was a battle that I didn’t have time to fight, and it wasn’t worth it. As Mom’s we learned to pick our battles, don’t we? I stomped over to John’s car and off we went. We drove out of the driveway, through the neighborhood and smack dab into the back of someone’s car.

Can you please imagine this day with me?

We drove back home, explained to John what happened and drove the smelly car to the football field. As we drove into the parking lot Alex burst into tears. “I can’t do this, Mom.”  

In my head I wanted to shout, “OH YES YOU ARE, I DIDN’T GO THROUGH ALL OF THIS CRAP TODAY FOR YOU TO GIVE UP NOW!” That’s what I wanted to say. Somehow I mustered up the strength to bite my tongue while I carefully considered what to say next. I stopped the car and put my hand over her’s.

She was anxious. Nervous. Scared. And all of the describing words in between.

Sometimes Mothering is all about understanding, rather than punishing.

Sometimes Mothering is all about understanding, rather than punishing. #MothersDay Click To Tweet

When we got to the game, her hair was perfect. Every hair was in place, while mine looked like a frazzled mess. She looked beautiful while my clothes were wet from sweat.

And this is just what we do for our kids. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Looking back on this day 6 years ago, I can’t tell you how grateful I am for the memories. I‘ll admit, raising Alex Elizabeth was certainly no walk in the park. She was a difficult one, that girl. Honestly, I still pick my cuticles to this day. She was a handful. But, in raising her, I learned more than I ever thought possible.

Both my girls are so different and each has brought their own special heartaches upon this Momma’s heart.

Maybe God gives us children to teach us valuable lessons? Because in teaching them, they teach us so much more.

How beautiful is that?

In teaching our children, they, in turn, teach us. #mothersday #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

To this day, Alex and I have very fond memories of me helping her with her hair. It’s kind of our thing, even though a lot of the time it ended up in a yelling match.

Mom-ing can be very draining, and sometimes we're drained until there's nothing left. Things like impatience, hate, bitterness...being a Mom has drained me of those things and I'm grateful!

Yes, being a mom has drained me.

It has drained me of impatience, ingratitude, hate, bitterness, unforgiveness, and much more and it has filled me with patience, endurance, tolerance, love, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, and peace.

I owe much to these littles of mine. I’m a better person today in part because of my girls. The really cool part is that they’re still growing.

And I’ve still got much to learn.

My girls are the best gifts I’ve ever been given. Being called Mom specifically by those two is an absolute privilege.

Children are truly the best gift we've been given! #MothersDay Click To Tweet

Today, my Alex is wise, understanding and kind.  I don’t know if I could be more proud of who she is.

Chin up, Buttercup.

Keep your chin up, Momma. A lot of the things we do will never be seen. The tears wept, the hours worried, the deeds sewn. No one will ever see how all of these things impact our hearts. No one sees except God, and He’s all that really matters.

The things you do matter. Everything your little one does to drain you will be given back a thousandfold.

What you learn from being a Mom will be worth every single ounce drained.

What you learn from being a Mom will be worth every single ounce drained. #MothersDay Click To Tweet

Happy Mother’s Day, Friend!

 

The Amazing Struggle

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The Amazing Struggle: The lessons in life we learn come through our struggles

The past year (or so) has been ridiculous (crazy is my definition of ridiculous) and the struggle has been real. God never promised us life would be easy. He DID promise us that He would be with us every step of the way.

2016 was certainly the year of struggles. Here’s my list:

  • I struggled when I shared my story with the entire freaking world. {God gave me the words to speak}
  • I struggled when my daughter drove to high school for the last time. {God dropped peace in my heart knowing she was on the brink of spreading her wings into a new season}
  • I struggled when I had to watch my youngest little say good-bye to her friends of almost 10 years. {God whispered I’ve got other plans for her}
  • I struggled when we had to walk away from family and friends to move to Colorado. {God took me by the hand and showed me visions of our future}
  • I struggled when I watched my oldest little who rarely cries sob when we dropped her off at college. {God assured me that her wings WOULD spread and that she WOULD fly}
  • I struggled when finding a house in Colorado became a huge frustration and I realized that the market in Colorado is much different from the market in Oklahoma and that buying a home in Colorado within our budget was almost comparable to what a starter home might look like in Oklahoma. {God scolded me and told me that I needed to drop the pride}
  • I struggled when my youngest wasn’t developing friendships in our new town as quickly as we had hoped. {God said, “where is your faith?”}
  • I struggled when my oldest was hurting from a break-up and I was a thousand miles away from her. {God said, “you have to trust me.”}
  • I struggled with different family/friend issues that I can’t discuss on a public website. {God said, “I know you’re hurting and it will grow you if you allow it”}

Struggles schmuggles.

We all have them, it’s life.

I look in the past at all the struggles I had this year and really they’re small in comparison to what God is doing in my life.

The lessons we learn in life come through our struggles.

The Amazing Struggle: The lessons we learn in life come through our struggles.One morning after I dropped Averee off at school I decided to go run down a little sidewalk where the rocky mountain views are just jaw-dropping. As I was running tears started streaming down my face. It was surreal. I can’t even really tell you why.

Everything we know and love is in Oklahoma, yet I know that Colorado is exactly where I personally am supposed to be in this season of my life. My husband’s career is what moved us here, but for me personally, it’s as if God plucked me from everything I knew to insert me into everything foreign. And sometimes that’s just what He does.

Sometimes God takes us from everything we know and places us into the unknown for our benefit.… Click To Tweet

My husband’s career is what moved us, but that’s not why we’re here. 

What is your circumstance that is causing you to struggle? Is it possible for you to look through your struggle so that you can see the overall purpose? Is it possible for you to see that the struggles in your life do not come to destroy you, but for you to realize your hidden potential?

3 things to remember when you face struggles:

You are bigger than your struggle. We face so many struggles in our lifetime, but we must remember that they can be overcome.

Acknowledge your struggles. Please don’t be in denial. Denying your struggles are only a temporary fix. The more in denial you are, the more you will struggle, if not now, later in life. So, face them. Meet your struggles head on and have faith that God will see you through it.

Your attitude is crucial. During times of struggle, it’s normal for us to have negative thoughts and be in a stressful state of mind. We’re human and those feelings will come. We just can’t let those feelings linger. When we have positive thoughts we are able to see past the struggle and into the end result.

The Amazing Struggle: The lessons we learn in life come through struggles.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.

Looking back I am extremely grateful for our struggles and I welcome the more struggles that will certainly come my way.

I encourage you to make a list of your own struggles and write out a truth about God beside it like I did above. 

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below.

 

 

 

Blind Abandon Faith | #FierceFriday

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What is blind abandon faith anyway?

“By the world’s standards, our confidence in God is foolishness. They think we’re a bunch of blind people giving our lives over to what we cannot see. By faith’s standard that blind abandon is the very definition of hope—the expectation of a future blessing based on who God is despite what we see, feel, or think.”

I’m so excited for today’s #fierceFriday post. Tiffany Parry is our guest and she is so wise and so encouraging. Tiffany is like a magnet and has the kind of faith that we all need! I have had the pleasure of becoming friends with so many writers lately and Tiffany is one of them. I know you’ll be encouraged today!

What is blind abandon faith anyway?

Faith and lessons learned. (not)

It was a classic Southern California summer day. Puffy, white clouds scattered across blue skies paired with basking in the sun temperatures. More than anything, I wanted to be racing toward the beach, radio blasting, friends laughing in the back seat.

Anywhere but the dingy bathroom stall where I was sobbing uncontrollably.

The worst thing about these messy, burned out, bitter tears? They were self-inflicted. No one had broken my heart or stabbed me in the back. These were the tears that come when you think you know better, then have to stare your mistake square in the face.

My college advisor had cautioned me that after maxing out on units the semester before, working part time, and completing an internship, trying to cram an 18-week anatomy class into a 6-week summer session was not at all “advisable.” Because that’s what advisors do—give wise advice.

But twenty-somethings with a bend toward perfection and an I’ve-got-this mentality, don’t listen. They chart their own course, then end up a puddle begging for a course drop slip.

I wish I could tell you I learned my lesson that day.

Oh, how I wish.

I’m prone to self-inflicted over-commitment. Somewhere on the double helix of my DNA is this trace of genetics that pushes me to do more so that I’ll be more…worthy, successful, satisfied.

The ironic thing is, I’m also wired with a total aversion to unpredictability, uncertainty, and plans gone awry. It’s as messy as it sounds up in here.

When the going gets tough, my flesh screams quit. It justifies the easy way out. But my spirit—the Spirit of God alive in me—whispers, “Not so fast, Jesus girl.”

What is blind abandon faith anyway?

I’m an expert at reasoning with God.

“I’m a wife, mom,  and employee trying to balance it all, and it’s hard. It feels like I’m doing everything and getting nothing right. I promise I’ll read my bible, I won’t complain, and I’ll have dinner on the table by 5:00 every, um, other night. Lord, I’ll be good if You just make life easy, simple, and safe?”

Ever have these conversations with God? The kind where you’re sure He rolls His eyes at least once and laughs a time or two? Surely, I’m not the only one.

But then, with endless grace and matchless love, He says, My way is better than good, it’s holy. It won’t be easy, but I promise it will be exactly what you need to make you holy too.

It may not be easy, but God's way is always good! @tiffparry #fierceFriday #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet
In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:6-7

At heart, I’m still that twenty something trying to prove to the world that I can do it all. But now, I’m the forty-one-year-old who by the grace of God has learned that she can’t, she doesn’t want to—and she doesn’t even have to.

Take that twenties!

I love predictability and plans. Order, understanding, and certainty are a few of my favorite things. But life doesn’t look like that. Sure, I can create it where I can, but ultimate control is not in my hands.

I control my response to the fire, and I want it to prove my faith genuine.

Here’s the thing: We have no idea what tomorrow holds. It could be pure hell or pure joy, and chances are we’ve all skirted the fringes of both.

What we do know is Who holds tomorrow. We know that God is good, gracious, just and mighty. And if we believe what we say we do, then we believe that He is big enough to get us from start to finish and every millimeter in between.

God is big enough to get us from start to finish and every millimeter in between! @tiffparry… Click To Tweet

That surrender can feel terrifying though, can’t it?

“Though you have not seen Him, you love Him.
Though you do not now see Him, you believe in Him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible…” 1 Peter 1:8

By the world’s standards, our confidence in God is foolishness. They think we’re a bunch of blind people giving our lives over to what we cannot see. By faith’s standard that blind abandon is the very definition of hope—the expectation of a future blessing based on who God is despite what we see, feel, or think.

God IS good, and that good God works ALL THINGS together for us, even the messy, self-inflicted things.

So, we surrender ALL.

Do I still want safe and simple? All the time.

What I want more is to look like Jesus.

To become the woman He sees—teachable, wise, fierce, and willing to go where He sends me—even if I do it uncertain and afraid.

There’s something freeing in that devotion. There’s something beautiful in that “I won’t quit even if” kind of faith because this is what it gets us:

“…an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading
kept in heaven for you…” 1 Peter 1:4

That is an unwavering promise, pure certainty, a future free of unpredictability and full of glory beside a God who says we’ll be safe and whole forever more.

How about that? It’s exactly what I wanted all along.

God is just that good.

Tiffany is a warrior, and she is #fiercelyHis.

Tiffany is marveled by the endless grace and relentless love of her Savior in this life that can be so messy, too busy, and entirely imperfect. Her heart is to share God’s precious promises of grace and love with others and invite them into honest and authentic conversations about faith and life.

Tiffany welcomes you to join the journey at her blog, Simply for One, or on Facebook and Instagram.

 

A note from Shannon: How are you today, friend? What does your faith look like? Is your faith tired? Fearful? Alive? Sometimes we have to scramble to even find our faith, don’t we? You’re not alone, sister. You’re so not alone. Here’s the cool part- all we need is faith that is the size of a mustard seed. That’s all.

Here are Jesus’ exact words out of Matthew 17:20. “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

You see what He did there?

He just made it SO easy to punch that devil in the face. All you need is a tiny speckle of faith, friend. Now, go on and go forth. Move that mountain. It’s in your grasp!

I love enjoy hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. 

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

When God’s Love is Fierce {Fierce Friday}

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There isn’t a doubt in my mind that many of you can identify with Crystal’s story, and you suffer in hurt alone. Crystal bravely and vulnerably shares how the fierce love of God was more than she ever thought it could be. Lean in, friends!

God’s love is fierce, and sometimes we’re not fully aware of how fierce it is for us until we look back and see all that it saved us from…especially ourselves.

Brutal memories stuffed for the sake of survival began to surface throughout all three of my pregnancies, but most intensely with my last child, my only girl. With the memories of trauma and abuse came great fear. Fear that I didn’t have what it took to raise one child let alone three.  Fear that I would never be able to escape my past.

And most importantly, fear that I would repeat the same destructive cycle with my own children.

Growing up the only girl with 4 brothers, life for me was anything but that of a princess. Being raised by a violent, abusive mother and a passive, “don’t rock the boat” father left me wounded both inside and out.  And living with the truth that the abuse was reserved for me alone screamed that I was unloved, unworthy and most certainly unwanted. Most days I answered to the title of “girl” so any sense of a healthy identity alluded me for years, even well into my adult life.

By the time I found myself a pastor’s wife and pregnant with surprise number 3, I was already experiencing battles with shame, anger and an overwhelming sense of self-imposed perfection.  The combination of fear and insecurity left me spiraling at the slightest failure. The mess inside was beginning to seep outside.

But God’s intervention seems to always arrive just in time.

God's intervention in our lives always happen just in time! #fierceFriday #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

A few months after my daughter was born He caught my attention long enough to show me that he had a plan to free me and show me a different way to love and live.  But before He could free me, He had to plant the depths of his love into the depths of my broken and tattered heart.

In order to do this, He began calling me to trust in a way I had never trusted anyone before.  He showed me that simply remembering the pain and misery wasn’t enough.  I needed to invite Him in to do surgery.  To open up and expose the wounds and surgically remove the dead scar tissue which was clogging my filter and hindering me from embracing the very love that I so desperately needed. Before I could ever hope to pass it on to and through my children.

It meant letting God show me all the ways I saw Him as a relentless, unpleasable tyrant who was quick to punish and unwilling to love me, protect me or fight for me. It meant identifying all the lies born out of each and every difficult act of abuse and trusting enough let Him extract them, one by one and replace them with truth.

The journey was long and grueling at times.

Most days I thought the remembering alone would break me. But throughout the process, God made it clear that He was the process.

It wasn’t about me; it was all about Him.  I simply had to yield to the One who never intended to leave me in my broken and exposed state.  With the skill of a master surgeon, he placed a group of counselors in my life who weren’t surprised or overwhelmed by my pain and a group of prayer warriors from all over the world who prayed for me throughout my soul surgery.

Knowing what my heart needed, He began to show me the times He was there before I ever knew who He was.

God is with us even when we don't know who He is! #fierceFriday #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

I emerged from that surgery with a new heart and vibrant, fresh truth circulating through my veins. An accepting and unwavering love emanated from my soul and washed over me. For the first time, the knowledge that I was deeply loved and fiercely His spanned the 18” gap between my head and my heart. And the path became clearly visible for how to parent my children from a place of grace, hope and unconditional love instead of from a place of fear and insecurity.

It didn’t happen overnight, and it didn’t happen without a few more follow-up procedures, but it happened.

Today, I’m so profoundly blessed to be the mother of 3 fiercely loved adult children; a son who is a History Professor in China, a second son who is a Worship Pastor and a daughter who is soon to graduate as the Biologist of the family.  To be here, now, is a testimony of a love too fierce to fully comprehend. That this love chooses to save even one soul from disaster would be enough, but that God also chooses to heal and restore all that was taken and right what was wrong is simply astounding.

God’s fierce love is the kind of love that breaks every cycle and calls us to forever hope in Him.

Gods fierce love breaks every cycle and calls us to forever hope in Him. #fierceFriday… Click To Tweet

Crystal is a warrior, and she is #fiercelyHis!

Crystal is an advocate of living outside of comfort zones as a means to unlocking hidden potential and experiencing God’s wild and uncontainable love.  She writes on combining a little bit of intention with a lot of passion to create an overwhelming legacy of hope.  She’s also a lover of fresh markets, lattes and all things French.

You can connect with Crystal through her Blog and also on Facebook , Twitter and Pinterest.

 

Hey you! I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below.

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

When God is Silent | Fiercely His {Fierce Friday}

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Oh my friends, what a treat I have for you today. The author of today’s post inspires me to no end. I have never met Sarah face to face, yet this woman I love so dearly. As I was putting the finishing touches on her post, tears streamed down my face. It’s my honor to share others’ stories. It’s not my blog, but His; and your’s. This is why I share so many stories here.

At one point I had to stop and just weep and ask God to bless her life and give her favor over her health. She has such a sweetness about her, and I know you’ll be touched by her words. Can I ask something of you? As you read her words will you just pray for her? I feel so strongly about this. Will you visit her blog (link is at the end) and consider supporting her in some way, whether it be following her on social media, subscribing to her blog, or just simply committing to praying for her over the next several days?

When God is silent, He is simply working on our behalf the most.

When God is Silent

“I don’t think God would allow the same thing to happen twice. Why would He allow you to get so seriously sick again when you’ve already endured that testing once?”

That was the response of my husband, then brand new boyfriend when I warned him about my health condition and how serious it had been in the past while we were sitting outside of a coffee shop, tucked away in a private moment away from the bustle inside.

He had that dreamy glow in his turquoise eyes, and I guess I must have as well because I said, “Maybe you’re right.”

He was right and wrong at the same time.

He was wrong because God still did allow me to become seriously ill again, but he was very right in that God didn’t test me the same way twice.

Where Is God in the Silence?

My head involuntarily slumped to my left shoulder as my mom brushed my hair just three days after the assault to my body that landed me in a wheelchair- without my consent.

My husband was at my side as I said the words half-jokingly, half-serious, “Would you still love me if I looked like Stephen Hawking?”

I had never experienced the involuntarily slumped head, drool pooling at my chin or that nagging question within me, “Would he seriously still love me if he was wrong that day and God did allow a serious testing of my health?”

“Sarah, you’re way cuter than Stephen Hawking, no worries.” He said it with a smile curved to his lip as he was trying to place me at ease.

Even though my husband was there during this long stretch, I couldn’t help but feel like God was absent. You remember how I mentioned that my husband was correct in saying that things would never happen the same way twice?

While I was enduring what felt like a splash over of hell in my first trial of a serious illness, I also had such a surge of comfort from God.

But now, God seemed strangely silent except for the briefest interlude of comfort.

When God is silent, He is simply working on our behalf the most.

There Is a Time For Everything, Sometimes Even Silence

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” -Ecclesiastes 3:1 (NIV)

I couldn’t help but think this was all just a  terrible mistake. Every morning I would wake up, trying to jar myself awake from this nightmare. And every morning, I would attempt to thrust myself forward to walk, but my legs would buckle and send my body with a thud to the ground.

I really tried to take the situation in stride at first, but then, the pressing question came, “Where is God and that warm blanket of comfort everyone says you feel from Him when you face a crisis situation?

“Did I do something wrong?”

I tried to tick off the usual reasons for feeling silence from God, unconfessed sin, not seeking after God in Word and in prayer, and then that last one, a season of testing.

But then I remembered Esther, the Jewish beauty of humble origins turned queen who may have faced her own season of silence from God as there is no mention of “God” anywhere in her story. Yet, He was so there, guys! You can see His hand in her story, the way He nudged King Xerxes to take Esther as his bride. The way after Haman intended to enact the first Jewish Holocaust, his plan fell through because of Esther’s providential placement in a story that never uttered God but yet, He was there.

God is nowhere mentioned in Queen Esther's story yet He was there! #fierceFriday Click To Tweet

I knew God was pressing me to still remain faithful to Him when everything around me seemed to be falling apart like my buckling legs.

When God is silent, He is simply working on our behalf the most.Sometimes, I’ll admit, I was afraid to trust God because I was so afraid of the domino effect that was happening in my life, knocking down all of my dreams, my abilities, my finances which shriveled up because long-term serious illness will usually do just that.

But I also had to remember that these things were never mine in the first place.

They were given to me by God Himself. Even in what seemed like silence, I was tracing back the hand of God and the continuous times He had come through for me by using His hands and feet- people, through my husband the caregiver, who was only a shadow of Christ as the ultimate Caregiver, through my medical progress that although has been slow, has nevertheless been present.

God’s hand has been in my story, even in the silence.

God's hand is in our story, even in the silence. #fiercelyHis #fierceFriday Click To Tweet

And I know that even in what seems like random chaos in your own life, He is still present wanting you to still remain fiercely His.

Sarah is a warrior, that’s for sure, and she is #fiercelyHis!

Sarah Chardavoyne drinks too much tea for her own good and loves to read anything from C.S. Lewis to Francine Rivers. She is trying to keep the hope alive in the Author of life in spite of her life’s interruptions. She blogs regularly at Ink Blots of Hope.

 

You can also connect with Sarah on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter

I hope you were blessed by today’s #fierceFriday post as much as I was!  If you resonated with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member …?

 

You might also enjoy:

To all the Terrible Mama’s

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Welcome to the terrible Mama club! So, you’re a terrible Mama too, huh?

Yeah, I get you. We were married 6 years before we had our first child, Alex Elizabeth. She came out looking just like her daddy. Uggh. Can I be honest? I was SUPER frustrated that this child looked nothing like me. I carried her for 9 months, 6 of which I threw up half the day. It was kinda nice when our second born Averee Grace looked just like me, and believe me, I totally stuck my tongue out at John that day:-) Thank you Lord.

But that’s not what this is about. I was a terrible Mama, and I just wanted to make all the other terrible Mama’s feel better.

I nursed both my babies past 12 months.

Exclusively. {gasp}

Not that I didn’t try to introduce Alex to baby food at the appropriate age; I did. She just wouldn’t have any of it. Alex is a stubborn one, that girl. She hated veggies and fruits of all kinds. And come to think of it, right after she was born I struggled even getting her to nurse…I remember being laid up in the fetal position in my bed for several days afraid to death that my first-born was going to starve, and the Dr telling me that she would eat eventually, and that she would be fine, (how could she be fine?!?! she wouldn’t eat!!!)and I remember my Mother consoling me telling me that she would be fine. Stubborn much, Alex Elizabeth?

The struggle was real y’all.

By the time she was 2 1/2 Averee Grace had entered the family. Averee was different in that she would eat fruits and veggies. How crazy is that two kids from the same parents can be so different!?

Having two babies under the age of 3 isn’t a walk in the park. I hear you, Mama of 4. I get it. 2 is easy peasy, right? Well, tell that to the young mama of 2 who feels like she’s at her wit’s end. Whether you have 2 kids or 5, being a Mama can be hard. Especially if you take it seriously, which I did, and I bet you do, too.

We’d go to Chick-file and I’d let both my girls run around in the play area barefoot because I forgot to put socks in their bags on the day they wore sandals. YesI was that Mama. 

I never really made either of my girls stick to a regular “chore” schedule. It just wasn’t something that was important for me to teach them, and if I were honest I’d say that I’m a bit obsessive-compulsive. I wanted the house cleaned a certain way, ok? Yeah, huge fault of mine, I get it. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t the Mama who let my girls do whatever they wanted. They had rules and boundaries that they had to stick too. They got spankings. {gasp} Yes people, I spanked my children.

To all the terrible Mama's: you're not so terrible

I just wanted to be a good Mama.

But who doesn’t? I mean, right? I wished and prayed that Alex would eat fruit and vegetables but she just wouldn’t. I remember telling her that she couldn’t get out of her high chair until she ate her veggies; yet what would she do? She’d sit there all day. She’d even fall asleep in her chair. Heck, it was comfortable, why not?

As she grew into a middle schooler nothing changed. We’d sit at the dinner table and Alex rarely liked anything I made. Her Dad would make her sit in her chair until she ate just a couple more bites and 3 hours later she was still sitting there not phased one bit. Eventually, I stopped cooking as much because it was just a battle we chose not to fight.

Alex had me pulling my hair out like a child steals a toy from another. Honestly I look back and think to myself; how in the world did I make it? And while now at almost 19 she’s far from perfect, that stubborn girl today is independent and loyal and kind. She’s a girl who thinks for herself and is the most giving and patient soul I know.

I’ve always picked my battles as a Mama. I’ve always just done my best and done what I could to survive; all the while hoping I didn’t traumatize my two little ones.

Can I just say something? Never EVER judge someone because of the way they raise their children. You have no idea what they go through at home or what they face as a family. 

Here’s what I know. We’ve been given general guidelines by seemingly supposed experts who say what is right and wrong to do as a parent. And while that’s all well and good, each family is different. Each child is different. What may work for one child doesn’t work for another, and I believe it’s a good thing to raise children based on their unique differences.

Motherhood is about picking your battles.

Don’t give up, because here’s a #truthbomb for ya- you will reap a harvest of blessing if you’ll just hang in there!

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Galatians 6:9
Dear Terrible Mama: don't grow weary for doing good, you WILL reap a harvest! #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet Today my girls are almost 19 and 16, and I’ve reaped so many blessings I can’t count them all. I am one proud Mama and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve never really been the type to brag on my girls and today I’m taking the opportunity!

To all the terrible Mama's: You're not so terrible!They are smart, caring and loyal. They will fight for you until the end. They exude honor and respect for others. Both so strong, independent and wise beyond their years.

Both have had a very tough year. Alex has dealt with heartbreak and confusion, and Averee has dealt with change and loss of friends, yet both are coming through it with flying colors. They are two beautiful women who love Jesus and let His light shine through them.

And while they’re certainly not perfect, they’re beautifully flawed in every way imaginable.

So, maybe I’m not so terrible after all? Maybe I was just a Mama who chose her battles. One who took each day as it came, did the best I could, and loved them dearly.

To all the terrible Mama's: #truthbomb>>you're not so terrible. #fiercelyHis Click To Tweet

Guess what?

You’re not a terrible Mama either.

Chin-up buttercup- you got this. You’re doing your best. Do not grow weary for doing good- for you WILL reap a harvest of benefits when the time comes.

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. 

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? If you know a struggling Mama; maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

 

 

Fiercely Fighting for my Marriage {Fierce Friday}

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Today’s #fierceFriday post comes from Sarah Geringer. Sarah is strong and brave and fiercely fought for her marriage when it was crumbling. I highly respect Sarah for doing exactly what it took to transform her marriage! I’m honored to have her today and I KNOW you’ll be blessed by her story.

Fiercely Fighting for my Marriage

One night in April 2015, my husband moved out, leaving me and my three children alone in our home.

I had sensed a separation brewing for many years, especially in the past six months.  After consoling our heartbroken children and dealing with my own pain that awful night, I was surprised to feel relieved. We had finally hit bottom, and the looming question of “When will he leave us?” had been answered with a date and time.

Yet many new questions loomed.  Will he do what it takes to address our problems? Will he finally agree to healthy changes? Will he ever come back home?  Will we become destitute? Will our children ever recover from this loss?  I wondered in the loneliness of our king-sized bed.

Fiercely Fighting for my Marriage

Fiercely Fighting | Getting to the root of the issue:

In the year 2000, we were drawn to each other in a whirlwind romance.  Both from divorced homes, we possessed a keen awareness of one another’s hurts and sorrows.  Both starved for love, we rushed to the altar eight months after our first date.  Our problems began only two weeks after our wedding since each of us came into our marriage with a bushel basket full of unresolved issues.

During our frequent arguments, I withdrew in hurt while he lashed out in anger.  The more I withdrew, the angrier he became.  The only way to stop the bitter descent was to appease him.  I became an expert pleaser, unconsciously granting him myriad avenues for taking advantage.  But he lost respect for me when I appeased him and the cycle of hurt and anger reignited.  We were both toxic for each other’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health.

When our first child was born in 2004, I felt a new, powerful sense of self-worth.  Our baby depended on me for everything. I had the power to give him life through feeding, attention, and care.  For the first time ever, I felt needed and valued.  I joined a mother’s Bible study group at my church and began connecting with godly friends.  I steeped myself in God’s word and began reading Christian self-help books. My goal was to become emotionally whole.

The stronger and healthier I became, the more my husband resisted.  He was used to being in control and didn’t like being challenged.  He pushed back with emotional abuse, having not learned healthy relationship styles in his childhood.  God granted me special insight into my husband’s past, which gave me compassion for him.  Yet I realized I couldn’t fix his problems.  He needed to choose to get healthy all by himself; I couldn’t make his choice for him.  After years of abuse, I doubted he would make a good choice.

Fiercely Fighting for my Marriage | Sarah GeringerFiercely Fighting:

So, I cried rivers of tears.  I attended counseling for four years.  I read scores of helpful Christian books.  I sought wise advice from trusted friends.  I wrote out my pain in my journals.  I uttered thousands of prayers for healing in our marriage. As a result, my faith grew exponentially and became as strong as steel.  But my marriage problems seemed to multiply as the years passed.

No matter how difficult our marriage became, I never gave up on my belief in God’s great plan for marriage, instituted in the Garden of Eden.  I thought God’s plan for intimate union between a husband and wife was beautiful and within reach for every married couple, even though we hadn’t attained it yet.  

On the morning after my husband left, I sent the kids to my mom’s house while I called an army of supporters.  I asked them to pray fiercely that God would not allow anyone or anything to permanently break the bond we had sealed on our wedding day.  

Fiercely praying myself, I asked that God would soften my husband’s heart and speak to my heart too.  Again and again, I prayed Psalm 139:23-24 out loud:

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.  See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting. (NIV)

I did not know what would happen next. But I put all my hope in God, who moves mountains. I knew God’s will was for us to stay married, but I also knew God had given both us free will to choose our own paths, whether wayward or righteous.

Fiercely Fighting | Marriage transformed:

As April turned into May, we made progress.  When he came over and visited on Sunday afternoons, he showed clear signs of regret.  I needed proof he would repent from emotional abuse, and I fiercely set boundaries against old behaviors.  As the spring flowers and trees bloomed in an unfolding parade, I saw my husband’s heart transform from week to week.  His resistance toward me began to fade, and his regret changed to repentance.  My own heart softened toward him and opened toward hope for lasting change.

Boundaries in marriage are a must if healing is to take place. #fiercelyHis #fierceFriday Click To Tweet

The weekend before Memorial Day, my husband and I had a special meeting.  He wrote me a letter, crying openly while he read it out loud to me.  The Holy Spirit spoke to me while he read, saying, “It’s time to welcome him back home.”  We embraced a new tenderness, willing to accept each other.  We were a new couple in a new marriage, working hard to turn our backs on the past.

Our five weeks of separation were over.  New life slowly came back into our marriage.  We had both been transformed by God’s miraculous intervention.  If I had not fiercely fought for our marriage with prayer and boundaries, our marriage would have never survived.  God prepared me over the years to fiercely fight for our marriage.  

Now I tell our story to others who feel trapped in painful marriages.  Healing and hope is possible with God’s help.  If my story helps just one woman fight more fiercely for her marriage, it is worth the telling.

Healing and hope IS possible with God! #fiercelyHis #fierceFriday Click To Tweet

Sarah is a warrior! And she is #fiercelyHis

Sarah Geringer is a wife and mother of three. She lives in her beloved home state of Missouri. On her blog, she focuses on helping women find peace in God’s word. She enjoys reading, baking, gardening, and walking in nature. Her theme verse for 2017 is:

“You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, for they trust in you.” Isaiah 26:3 NIV

Keep up with Sarah on her blog, Facebook  Twitter  and Pinterest 

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below. 

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

 

 

 

The Testimony Tour | Why I Believe

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The Testimony Tour | Why I believe

The Testimony Tour | Why I Believe

I’m so very excited you’re here today because you’re in for a treat! I’m so honored to be a part of “The Testimony Tour” in the blogosphere with 9 other amazing bloggers who I admire greatly. We will each be sharing how we came to know Jesus.  Each of our stories are so different yet they each reveal just how amazing the love is that He has for us. Each day this week we will share our stories, and today happens to be my day. Veronica is on the tour with me today and she is AMAZING, so be sure and check her story out here! If you’re new here, welcome! I’m so glad you stopped by. If you’ve got a minute, grab a cup of coffee and look around!

The Story of Why I Believe

As I swept up the shards of glass that were all over the floor, I couldn’t help but see tiny pieces of my life scattered about. There were sharp edges all around me; their soul desire to expose my jugular and drain every ounce of life from me.

Pain and devastation surrounded me.

What had I done, and what would my future look like? At the time, it looked just like all of those tiny pieces of glass all over my floor that had no hope of being put back together.

Everything I held dear and believed in was stripped away. Everything that I had become up to this point in my life was now mute. My life no longer mattered.

There was no hope.

The daughter that I had become was nothing but a disgrace to her parents. The mother that had kissed her babies boo-boo’s and wiped the tears away had fallen so hard that nothing could heal. The wife that honored and loved her husband had disrespected and disgraced him in every possible way.

For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins. Colossians 1:13,14

I thought I knew.

I’ve known about and loved Jesus for as long as I can remember. Some might look at my life and call me the good little church girl because honestly, that’s what I had always been.

We went to church every Sunday. I remember the frilly dresses, ruffle socks and little-colored barrettes that my Mom so perfectly placed in my hair as a pre-schooler. I remember the untucked, haphazard shirts and messy hair walking out of elementary children’s church after mightily singing actions songs like Father Abraham, Deep and Wide, and Castle of my Heart. I’m certain I was the loudest singer in the room. I remember the floral dresses and big puffy sleeves; the pantyhose and heels; and the aqua net hairspray that held my bangs up 6 inches high as I walked down the aisle to find a seat in the pew at “big church.”

I am so grateful to parents who raised me in a church; who taught me how to love and know Jesus, and how to have an authentic relationship with Him.

So, how is it that I didn’t really find that authentic relationship with him until years later? How is it that it took a devastating trial in my marriage to bring me to my knees and dependence on an Almighty God; that I thought I already knew?

I believe.

I’ve been saved practically my whole life yet I didn’t experience real, true salvation until I was 36 years old. That was 9 years ago.

After 15 years of marriage, I did the never of all never’s. You know… that one thing you say you’ll never do? My “never” was betraying my husband. It’s the thing I said I’d never do.

But at the age of 36, I found myself smack dab in the middle of devastation and heartache from the never.

I had done the unthinkable and had committed the ultimate sin (in my eyes).

There was no way out and certainly no redemption for me.

Oh, but I was wrong…

There was a way out.

And His name was Jesus.

My story is a scandalous although beautiful one; but only because He made it beautiful. His thumbprint’s are everywhere. Looking back it’s hard to believe I made it.

It’s hard to believe we made it.

Through all the devastation and heartbreak, when we didn’t know if either one of us would make it to the next day; we did. We made it. We made it because of Jesus. Today our family is healthy. We are happy, and we are thriving.

Because of Him.

You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:13

The Testimony Tour | Why I Believe

This is why I believe.

How many marriages do you know that have survived an extra-marital affair? You may know some, but I bet not many. Not only is it biblical to walk away from a marriage after infidelity, it’s expected.

Infidelity wrecks a marriage in every way possible and it’s hard…really hard, to get through it; although we are proof that it can be done.

The only way our’s survived and the only way I survived personally was because of faith in Jesus Christ. There’s just no other explanation.

Sometimes, your heart has to break completely in two before it can become whole again.

Sometimes, your heart has to break completely in two before it can become whole… Click To Tweet

My husband was the ultimate picture of love and forgiveness to me. I finally learned what I had been taught after so many years; that Jesus Christ was real.

I finally understood what true love looked like.

Through my husband, I learned just how much Christ loves us. He forgave me even though I broke his heart into a million tiny pieces. He didn’t turn me away even though he had every right to do so. Just like Jesus Christ does for each one of us.

The Testimony Tour | Why I believe, Fiercely His

“By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us” 1 John 3:16 

Instead of leaving, my husband decided to fight. He decided to fight through the hurt.

What is more; Jesus knew everything about me, but He loved me anyway. He knew every vile thing I had done yet He still wanted me. I was still His (#fiercelyHis); and He had finally become mine.

Jesus knows everything about us, yet He loves us anyway; unconditionally. #TheTestimonyTour… Click To Tweet

“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1

So, this Jesus thing… this Jesus thing is REAL.

Jesus Christ is REAL.

He literally SAVED me. He picked me up and dusted off all the guilt and shame. He made me clean. He made me whole.

And I am worthy; not because of anything that I did, but because of everything that HE did.

“He has paid a full ransom for His people. He has guaranteed His covenant with them forever. What a holy, awe-inspiring name He has!” Psalm 111:9

This is why I believe and this is why I call myself a Christian.

I get it. Sharing my story is risky. I only do so to let others know that there is truth and light.
There is peace.
There is happiness.

I am a living miracle. My marriage is a living miracle. And I just can’t keep it to myself.

I believe and am a Christ-follower (Christian) because Jesus loved me when I was unlovable. No one will ever be able to convince me that He isn’t real. He changed me, and I will never be the same.

For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past.. Romans 3:23-25

The Testimony Tour | Why I BelieveI hope you’ll join the rest of the tour!

There are some amazing stories that you don’t want to miss! The next stop on the tour  is the amazing Lauren! Be sure and check it out! You will LOVE her!

I love hearing from you! Please take a minute to say ‘hi’ and share your thoughts below.

Also, would you do me a favor —if you resonate with this article or it has helped you today— would you share it with someone else? Maybe a friend, coworker, or family member…?

 

You can also visit the rest of the Tour by visiting the links

below!

Day One

Milk and Honey FaithMarried By His Grace

Day Two

Searching For MomentsSeeking God with Jaime Wiebel

Day Three

Simply For OneCord of 6

Day Four

VeronicaAnneShannon

Geurin

Day Five

Friends With GodFlourishing Today

 

 

 

 

 

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