Surrendering Our Desires

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~Isaiah 55:8,9 (NLT)“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so my ways are higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Why is it, that we tend to so many times, shift things around to try and get God to go with the flow of ‘our’ plans. We invite God in to flow with OUR ways, OUR plans for our lives…when really, we should be flowing with HIS direction for our lives. Just because we a have a desire in our heart, doesn’t mean that it’s the ‘right’ time for that desire to be birthed. It might not mean that He’s saying no to our dreams, but He might just be saying ‘It’s just not the right time. I need to do some work in You that is going to prepare you for what I have in store..and it’s something great. You won’t be dissapointed! But you need to follow ME. You need to surrender to Me.”

How quick we are to dismiss the little things He sometimes puts on our hearts to do. There are times when He asks me to be obedient to Him in an area, but because it might seem like something small or insignificant or boring and mundane…My first reaction is to want to shrug it off because it’s something so small.

But let me tell you this… When God says to your heart that He’s preparing you for something…testing will come. If we aren’t willing to be obedient in the little things, then He won’t open the door for the bigger things. It’s in those little acts of obedience that He prepares our hearts to be able to take on the responsibilities and challenges that walking out our dreams will come with.

He KNOWS what we can handle and what we can’t. He knows what we’re ready for. He knows. He knows what needs to change in our hearts. He knows what’s best for us. He knows us better then we know ourselves!

Let’s not despise small beginnings!! Let’s humble ourselves before God and get rid of any pride that is shouting “I want to get my way!! I want it now! I’m ready! I know what’s best for me!”

~James 4:6 But he gives us even more grace to stand against such evil desires. As the Scriptures say, “God opposes the proud but favors the humble.”

Let’s say “God, I’m so thankful that you know the dreams and desires of my heart- for YOU are the one who has placed them there! I surrender my dreams to you and will allow YOU to take the lead and I will flow with what You’re doing in me. Prepare me. Draw me near to You Lord for that is where I am most satisfied. I will take delight in doing the ‘little’ things that you are asking me to do for I know You would never ask me to do something for no reason. I humble myself before You Lord and acknowledge that Your ways are high above my ways. I delight in You Lord and know that You delight in giving me the desires of my heart.”

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Are you willing to pray that prayer with me? Is anyone struggling with taking the little steps towards your dreams and desires? Please share if you feel led so that we can pray together ❤

God Bless,
Tara

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#Freshvision

This week wasn’t my best week. It wasn’t full of warm fuzzy’s and smooth moments.

I’ve struggled with offense.
I’ve battled with trusting God with my sweet little 4 year old who is going off to school all on his own-without me there to protect him.
I’ve questioned my purpose.
I’ve over analyzed.

I could keep going with that list, but we don’t have all day. (trust me, the list is much longer)

BUT….In the midst of all that, I’ve come to realize…(DEEP BREATH)…that it’s not. all. about…..ME. (ouch)
It’s so easy to make it all about us isn’t it? After all…our feelings are real, our hurts are real, our dreams are real. But our reality can sometimes be a little clouded I think. It can overtake and cloud God’s truth in our lives.

The revelation that I received this week in the midst of all of my insecurities, doubts and ‘ouch, sorry Lord’ moments, is that it’s not supposed to be all about MY vision..it’s about HIS. My dreams, my desires, my, my, my – isn’t supposed to be the focus.

So, I decided to ask God- What DO YOU WANT Lord? What can I do for YOU? What do You want me to do to receive the vision that YOU have? And this is what He spoke- plain and simple.

“To receive fresh vision go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 5:30 am to spend time with me”

So that’s it. Nothing to exciting! But nonetheless I said ‘yes’. I’ve started going to bed earlier then I normally would so that I could wake up more rested and ready to seek The Lord and hear from Him.

It’s time to get the focus off of me and unto HIM. I’m excited to lay down my desires and pick up the desires that God has for me. I’m excited to just commune with Him and fall more in love with Him… I’m excited to continue on this journey with Him-I really wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m ready to receive #freshvision!

Where there is no vision [no redemptive revelation of God], the people perish; but he who keeps the law [of God, which includes that of man]–blessed (happy, fortunate, and enviable) is he. (proverbs 29:18 AMP)

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Lesson Learned

Negativity is like a downward spiral, and if you don’t stop it right away, it picks up speed and just keeps going and going until somewhere…there’s a crash landing. Can I get an amen??

One small misunderstanding this week turned into a BIG deal blown out of proportion because I became offended and misunderstood one of my closest friends. Instead of taking any negative thoughts captive (as God’s word tells us to do) I let my mind wander in that offense. I allowed that offense to creep in and then that negative thought led to more and more and more negative thoughts until I was actually moping around the house causing the rest of my family to suffer. I became snappy, short with my words, and so on.

By allowing this offense to remain in my heart, I was putting a wall up between God and myself. When you put up a wall on the inside, you’re not only blocking people out, you’re blocking out God…and that is something that I’ve walked through before and I vowed to never put up a wall that would not allow my Heavenly Father in ever again.

Because I shut out God instead of letting Him in, I focused on everything that was going wrong around me. Instead of communicating with my friend about what was bothering me…I just kept on assuming what I THOUGHT was truth and it just went down hill from there. (It was not truth by the way- but I took it as truth)

Lesson learned: Don’t assume. Keep the lines of communication open within your relationships. Invite God into the situation!!

Here are some scriptures that I came away with from all of this….

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5 (NIV)

Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2 (NIV)

“Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift. Matthew 5:23-24 (NIV)

(For those of you wondering, my friend and I did end up talking and clearing things up…but not before I acted less then graceful in my state of offense.)

Friends, I’m not perfect and I do mess up. BUT, God is bigger then my mess up’s and He’s bigger then yours. He’s a God of second chances. He is a God that forgives.
Although I’m not proud of my recent behavior, I’m sharing my lesson learned with you so that you to can know that we can and DO come away victorious even when we mess up if we can come humbly before God and ask Him to teach us, convict us, help us.

Take your mess and allow God to turn it into a message. Don’t wallow in guilt, thank God for teaching you, get back up and live in His grace.

Blessings Xo,

Tara ❤

Life Interrupted

My life was interrupted a couple of years ago…by sickness…And I’d just like to start off by telling you a little bit of back ground about my past and this illness.

When I was 12 years old, (19 year ago- oh my! I had to calculate this twice- Really? 19 years? I feel old!) Ok- back to the story. I woke up one morning with a swollen eye….as the day went on, it became painful, turning into a headache. The swelling increased and so did the pain. That week I went to the eye doctor and he didn’t have a clue as to what it could be….About a week later, the swelling left, the pain left, and I was back to normal….

Fast forward a few months later…again it happened. Only this time it came back with a vengeance. Unbelievable pain, swelling of my eye…to the point that the eyelid was swollen shut. We went to specialists everywhere- month after month- for years- and still, back then, no doctors knew what it was. I was checked for tumors and all the CT scans and MRI’s would reveal was swelling of the muscle behind my eyes- The cause and treatment- unknown.

I was hospitalized once with one of these flare up’s because it would last for up to 3 months at a time. Pain medications weren’t helping. Because of the pain, I could not eat or drink and when I did, I couldn’t keep it down. So, to stay hydrated, I spent time in a hospital room getting hydrated by IV.

Fast forward some more time…FINALLY, we found a doctor that diagnosed it -Orbital Pseudo Tumor-(Not cancer…but acts as a tumor would) and it was treated with prednisone- Ever heard of it? At the time, I called it a miracle drug..but soon realized that the side effects were horrendous. The medication allowed me to function because it took my pain and the swelling away but along with it came weight gain, extreme mood swings, anxiety, routine bone scans – because the prednisone could eat away at bone matter…and so on….and on. The side effects endless and horrid.

AND THEN…….

years later….. after being on prednisone for years, (12 to be exact) Beautiful sweet healing came….Jesus healed me.

I had just recently come to know Jesus, and He healed me! I was learning at that time to hear His voice..and every so often He impressed upon my heart to cut down another mg of my prednisone..until finally, I was no longer on it..and no longer sick….after YEARS, I was healed. A weight was lifted. I was forever grateful to Jesus for this miracle He had done in me.

BUT THEN……

Years later…after the birth of my second child (6 years after my healing) ….it. came. back.

I thought “God no…no, no, no. You healed me. I am healed, I am healed, I am healed.”

When I got the first ‘twinges’ of pain in my eye, I started to pray and pray hard. I emailed all of my close friends, my pastor, his wife…and I asked them to pray. I was feeling confident! …(but deep down, I was feeling panicked and battling feelings of doubt and fear.. but not wanting to admit this to God.) This, I thought, was just an attack from the devil, and I tried so hard to be determined to win this battle..after all, we are victorious in Christ right????

The pain got worse…and worse…and in my mind…my healing was…GONE.

I woke up in the night, with unbearable pain, there was no mistaking that even though I maybe didn’t lose my healing, the symptoms were real and they were back and I was broken.

My heart hurt….
I was angry….
I was scared….
I was in so much pain….
I was doubting God’s love for me…
Really, I was devastated.

I had prayed. Was my faith not strong enough? I spoke healing over my self- Did Jesus not hear me? Had I done something wrong to lose my healing? I cried. I had to go back on my prednisone- I had worked so hard to lose weight in the past and thoughts of all the weight coming back on was in my mind. The mood swings. The doctors warned me, the prednisone could cause increase in depression and anxiety when postpartum. My baby was only 2 months old.

I was so angry.

AND THEN…..

One evening, about a week later, I sat on the couch..feeling alone and broken- not because of my illness…but because I missed Jesus- so much. I hadn’t prayed. I hadn’t opened up my bible…nothing.

I decided in that moment that I had to make a choice. I had to chose wether I was going to turn away from Jesus, OR walk with Him, forever, no matter what. And I chose to stay…. no matter what.

Revelation came in that moment. He whispered to my heart “Be real with me. Don’t hide from me anymore. I can handle it. You don’t have to do it in your strength. You can’t do it in your strength”…..

Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. (John 15:4 NIV)

I was at a place in my life where I felt that I had to ‘have it all together’. I was trying so hard to be a perfect example for Christ in front of people-that it resulted in me trying to be perfect for God to. I was fearing that if I opened up to God about how I was really feeling about things- my struggles, my fears that I kept locked up to myself, that I would no longer have it all together on the outside.

There it was.

God had me where He wanted me. This sickness, this life interruption, brought me to a place where God could speak to me. He needed me vulnerable. He needed me quiet. He needed me to listen and slow down….He needed to break me in all the right places so that He could put me back together the way that He intended me to be.

It was a new beginning for me…I started getting ‘real’ with my Heavenly Father…I accepted that I didn’t (and still don’t) have it all together.

My life was interrupted….but it brought me closer to my sweet Jesus- so how can I ever be upset about that?

Therefore, there is no condemnation…

I don’t know how many times I’ve beat myself up for being less then perfect. WHY did I yell at the kids?  WHY did I get offended with my husband? WHY did I allow my feelings  to take over? WHY can’t I get a grip and just do the right thing? WHY am I always messing up?….

These thoughts can take a toll on a person! These thoughts make you wanna throw your hands up and say ‘forget it! Why keep trying? I’m not changing, so why bother?’

Then one day….

I just got tired of beating myself up. I saw that it wasn’t doing any good..if anything, it was making things worse. My pity parties were lonely and definitely no fun.

I still struggle at times with feelings of guilt. I have to be so aware of not falling into the trap of condemnation… And so I turn to Romans 8:1-2.  I have it posted on my fridge, highlighted in my bible and writen on my heart….

Romans 8:1 (NIV) ~ Therefore, there is now now condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus

And verse 2 goes on to say ‘because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.’

YES! I’m FREE! YOU’RE FREE! God’s word says so!

I’m not perfect…and that’s OK. You’re not perfect and that’s OK.

I’m learning to get back up quickly when I mess up. I’m learning to take it directly to God and get on my face and ask His forgiveness and then GET BACK UP and press into Him.

Get out your post-it’s and write Romans 8:1-2 and then post it everywhere!

Let’s allow God’s conviction to prompt us to make good changes and  let’s refuse to allow condemnation to creep up and tear us down.

Who’s with me?

1 O’clock am

It’s 1 O’clock am…And I’m awake. And so is my precious little Rae-Lynn. My beautiful baby girl who,for some reason, cannot sleep. I’ve tried a bottle…I’ve tried rocking…I’ve tried putting her down in her crib to see what happens.(What happened, was that her 2 year old sister whom she shares a room with, woke up because of the fussing.) So here we are..me and my wee one, awake, contemplating the things of God 🙂

You know, when you say yes to God…whether it be, ‘Yes, God, I surrender everything to You,’ or ‘Yes God, I will encourage my husband more’ or ‘Yes God, I will allow You to interrupt my content little life for You to have Your way over my way’…..

Whatever it may be, there’s sure the be opposition that follows. Nothing makes the devil more angry then a life sold out for Christ…and you can bet that he’ll try to get in there and mess with it. Awake at this time in the morning is definitely opportunity for the devil to throw me off. When I’m tired, I’m not myself…You could say my personality resembles that of a bear being woken up out of hibernation. (Not pretty folks, NOT pretty)

Being awake with children at this time in the morning might not bother some, but you have to understand how much it bothers me. I like my routine. I like my babies to have routines – which include sleeping through the night!- When my routine gets messed with I go into ‘irritated’ mode.

But tonight (or this morning I should say) I decided to make a choice. I could get angry and let the devil steal my joy (which is totally his plan) OR I could keep my peace and go with the flow…. I went with peace. I chose to say ‘ God, I will keep my cool and not let my emotions control me just because my routine is thrown off.’

You see I’ve started this online bible study…”What happens when women Say Yes to God”…I’ve started saying YES to God and so opposition is coming my way. Opportunities to be offended, my nice little life being interrupted, and so on….

So what do you do when that happens?
~Trust God…let Him prune you.
Run after Him, seek Him, get into His word….
KEEP SAYING YES!

(sorry for any spelling mistakes…it’s the middle of the night and I’ve been up for what feels like years now)

Family Before Ministry #sayyestogod

I woke up this morning feeling unsettled…I asked God why and this is what He showed me….
Last night I was working on a blog post about honoring my husband and saying yes to God by doing acts of service for my husband…
so anyhooo, as I was working on my post, my husband was trying to talk to me about this new endeavor that we’re embarking on.
Well… I’m confessing to you that at the moment I was so focused on getting my blog post done that I was only ‘half listening’ to what my husband was saying. I was nodding my head at all the right times, but missing bits and pieces of the conversation because I wasn’t focused on what he was talking to me about. Yikes…talk about disrespect!
Talk about missing the mark!
I was blogging about honoring my husband all the while my husband in that moment was trying to talk to me about something important- and I wasn’t giving him the full attention that I should have been giving him. What I should have done was stop, listen, and continue with my post later on.

God has been impressing up on my heart to put my FAMILY BEFORE MINISTRY. Which, really, in a nut shell, means I’m supposed to be putting my family at the top of my priority list. (Before a blog post, before facebook, before my bible study…) God first, then my family and then everything else.

God’s word says in Genesis 2:24 (ESV)Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

To become one, to honor each other, to work together isn’t something to take lightly. Family is so important to God. As well as the scripture above, God’s word also states in Psalm 127:3 (NLT)

Children are a gift from The Lord; they are a reward from Him

It starts in the home my friends… If you have the gift of encouragement, use it in your home. Encourage your husband and children. If you have the gift to serve, serve your family….You catch my drift…

When we put our families first, God will use us in mighty ways to bless others as well!!!

God won’t bless our ministry if we’re ignoring our families

I choose this day to get my priorities in order and ask the The Holy Spirit to come in and show me ways to bless and serve my family.
I’m excited about this! I’m not only desiring to bless my husband and children, but I’m desiring to be obedient to God in all of this and bring glory to His name.

#yestoGod~My small act of Obedience

I was so excited and so nervous. I was the happiest girl in the world with the vision of ‘happily every after’ in my mind and on my heart. It was my wedding day!! Dressed in my princess dress and ready to embark on my new adventure with my friend and life mate! It could NOT get any better then this …could it?
Fast forward to 7 years later (which is now)….As blessed as I am to have a wonderful man by my side, I don’t always show it. I pray all the time John 3:30~ He must become greater, and I must become less~and I still struggle daily with the flesh and selfishness. God has been teaching me the importance of FAMILY BEFORE MINISTRY. God first, then my husband then my children …. then everything else. God has been prompting me to honor my husband and children…So I said “YES God, let’s do this! Help me to put my family at the top of my priority list. What do you want me to do?”
You’ll never guess what God asked me to do. Just guess. Did you guess? This is what He said
(So these were not HIS words exactly and I didn’t hear an audible voice, but this is what He impressed upon my heart)-“Pick up the dog poop and bring out the garbage
I think to myself “You’re KIDDING me right?” My first thoughts were these #1 “I do the dishes, the laundry, I cook, I clean, I , I, I……” then #2 “I didn’t want the dog. I told Dave my hands were too full to have a dog. The dog poop is HIS job. It was our deal breaker in keeping the dog…and then finally #3 I change the poopy diapers all day that go out into the garage and so it’s always been Dave’s job to bring them out to the trash after work..”

Then God stopped me in my tacks- You said you would honor your husband. You said yes to me. If you won’t obey me in the small stuff, how will you obey me with the big stuff.

And so I got out the shovel…and I picked up the dog poop that was spread across the yard. -It’s so funny how I can clean a child’s bum without gagging but dog poop just churns my stomach- and then I loaded my hands up with small bags filled with dirty diapers from the garage to bring outside to the garbage cans.

I just wish I hadn’t argued with God before I decided to obey. Nothing He asks us to do should ever by questioned. EVER. Sometimes He’ll ask us to do BIG stuff, sometimes small. It’s doesn’t matter what it is that He asks. He commands us for a reason. In this case, He gave me a lesson on love-doing an act of service (one that I don’t particularly enjoy) to show love to my husband. I can’t even remember if Dave said thank you for the ‘poop removal service’ and you know what?…it doesn’t matter. God is teaching me to love on my hubby.
It may seem like a small act of obedience…but it was one step of obedience that honored my marriage….

Run The Race

“Keep going, don’t stop, don’t give up!! Go, go, go!! Push through. It’s worth it! It will be so worth it!”

This is the sentence that God has been putting on my heart the last few days..morning , noon, and night… Everyday. And He’s using everyday life to get His point across to me. {You know…our God will never MAKE us do anything…but He sure knows how to be persistent- Do you ever notice how when He speaks to your heart on things, He doesn’t just say it once. I’m so thankful that He continues to gently nudge me when I’m being stubborn}
So like I was saying..He’s been giving me this message in a nut shell :”Don’t give up!.
Last night while running on my treadmill, my lungs were burning, my legs were on fire, my hair was falling out of my ponytail (gosh that’s annoying) and I just wanted to stop..and I don’t mean stop running and continue to walk..I mean, I wanted to stop running and go lay down on the couch! Ha! Then I decided to get determined…and that’s when the shift came. I didn’t only keep running, I picked up the pace and ran longer then intended. You know what my motivation was? God whispered to me in that moment…’I’ve placed a steadfast spirit within you. Keep going, don’t stop, don’t give up.’
Yes, hearing His voice gave me the motivation to keep running..but more then that…He was telling me to keep going in my spiritual walk…when it get’s hard, keep going, don’t stop, don’t give up! GET DETERMINED. Because in the end…IT WILL BE SO WORTH IT!
Can anyone relate? Do you ever just want to throw your hands up and give up? Do you ever get frustrated and feel beaten down? Well, let me encourage you!
One day at a time…
One step at a time…
Jesus by your side every step of the way…through every high and every low…On every mountain top and every valley.
If you’re walking (or should I say trudging through what feels like quicksand) it is just for a season…it may feel never ending…and it might feel like you’re running and you’re tired and you just want to go lay down and sleep and give up..but the end results my friends…will be breath taking! If I would have just stopped my run last night and went and sat down, I would have regretted it this morning…But I pushed through and it gave me energy, it gave me confidence and it lifted my mood! The same goes in our journey with Christ…when we push through and walk with Christ, we have a newfound confidence, a hope never ending!

Hebrews 12:1 tells us this…Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Jesus, some days, weeks and months and even years are just plain HARD..but you already know that. You go before us. You’re always with us, cheering us on and I’m just so thankful that I’m not running this race alone. Lord, would you just give us all a steadfast spirit and bring encouragement from your word and through Your children. You know what we need to keep running this race. Lord, give us this day our daily bread. In Jesus’ name I pray

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