Work Unto The Lord| By T’eoria Murray

Daydreaming is a pastime most of us fall into, some more than others.

I happen to be a recovering daydreamer with a little bit of a hopeless-romantic thrown in. As a teenager, I would romanticize every aspect of my life, reliving my day in the evenings with the added bells and whistles that I thought should accompany my day-to-day life, like it was a Hallmark movie.

So you can imagine when I signed up for my first overseas mission at age 18, I had some pretty dreamy thoughts about how it would unfold. I had seen the videos of kids my age handing bowls of food to emaciated children and bringing bins of clothes to families in need. I saw collages of evangelistic meetings and people clothed in white walking to the waterside in droves to be baptized, all while soft music played in the background. 

Through all the months of preparation, I envisioned my face in the scenes from the videos. While we raised funds for travel and supplies, printed Bible study lessons, learned hymns and other spiritual songs in the native language, and practiced skits for children’s programs, I dreamed and imagined what it would be like.

Finally, the day came for us to begin our travels. With 20 other young people, I donned my oversized backpack and began the 19 hours of air travel that would take us to our destination. We met with other youth from the local branch of the organization we volunteered with and split into villages across the country. Thus, began a radical transformation of my idea of mission.

What struck me first was the sense of isolation.The area we served in was rural, with no access to electricity or running water, much less telephones. While we had been prepared for this, the reality of it was daunting. Speaking little of the local language compounded the situation, and the food felt as strange on my tongue as the language did. 

The days were long and hard. We would rise hours before the sun to pray and worship before making breakfast on an open fire. We walked for hours in the African sun to get to know the people and offer Bible studies. Of course, I was mostly a spectator here as my partner was from the region and would lead the study in their native dialect. It took all my effort just to stay awake! 

Then, we would walk back to our compound, make lunch, and prepare for our afternoon children’s program and evening evangelistic meetings. After the meetings, we would assess the day’s events and practice for the next day’s programs. By the time I was lying in my sleeping bag at night, it would be after 11 PM, and we would be up again in 5 hours. 

Just one week into this six-week adventure, I was thoroughly exhausted and more than a little disillusioned. 

How could I make a difference in this world where I did not seem to belong? 

How could I get past the drudgery of the necessary hard work to be a part of God’s plan here?

As I cried out to God in my prayer journal one night, I felt a familiar verse press its way into my spirit.

“Not unto us, O Lord, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.” Psalm 115:1 (NLT)

I realized that no matter how I tried to deceive myself leading up to this, I had been largely motivated by pride. I wanted recognition and praise for my efforts. However, there was no room for ego here. There were real needs to be met, and if any glory was to be given, it had to be for God and not myself.

I decided to pour myself into whatever task needed doing. Whether I was washing dishes or leading out in a children’s program, walking long distances over dried river beds or taking part in a Bible study, I tried to do it as unto the Lord and to learn something in the process. I gave up on my glamorous filtered ideas of the mission field and accepted the realistic beauty of giving even when it is hard.

At the end of it all, we did have the grand baptism and the people clothed in white robes singing as we walked to the river. It was made even more powerful because of the struggle that led up to the blessings – the backbreaking work of sowing if you’re going to reap. 

Have you ever felt certain that God called you to perform a specific task or go to a certain place, but the reality was not what you envisioned?

Maybe you are learning the lesson that a calling does not negate hard work, or that glamour is not promised as part of the package. If this is your experience, ask God to open your eyes to His purposes in this season and the beauty of serving Him, even in the mundane things. 

For most of our lives are not about serving God on the mountains when we are exhilarated, or the valleys when we may feel desolate, but in the inglorious ordinary plains of everyday life. 

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 (NLT)

His Daughter| By Gabby Jones

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.  I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” Psalms 139:13‭-‬14 (NIV)

When things have been taken from you, and you lose yourself, what do you do? Who do you turn to? Who do you become?

Many of us go through seasons that rock us to our core. When we lose someone or something, we forget how we operated before tragedy struck. Who we are can get so wrapped up into a person or idea that once they are gone, we become different people to compensate for the pain.

We are not meant to operate like this. When we come to the end of ourselves, that is where God begins. 

Growing up, I never had any major identity issues. Usually my identity was based on the group of friends I hung around at that time, but it rarely changed until I got saved. When God stole my heart, my identity was in Him, and it was simple; I was His daughter. Anything I did or said after that usually reflected the fact that I was the precious daughter of the most High. Once I planted my roots in that identity, God began overflowing my life with unique gifts and seasons.

After years of operating and training in the gifts God had given me, I started to lose that simple ‘daughter’ handle and picked up other identities that were given to me by friends, mentors, and pastors. These other identities were never negative, but they piled up and gave me the sense that if I did not continue to be the person I was to everyone, then who was I? God was still using me and training me, but I became so wrapped up in the idea that I was doing all of this work for people, that I forgot that it was being done for God. 

During the season that I was depressed, I still pushed myself to continue to be there for people and do many things, but I became exhausted. Month by month, I stopped serving in different areas and ultimately stopped leading at my church’s college ministry. I stopped using the gifts God gave me, and I let the sun set on the things I used to do for people, myself, and God.

Now that I am no longer depressed, I am still in a season where even thinking about doing the things I used to do for people makes me completely exhausted. I do miss how outgoing and extremely loving I used to be, but now I feel like people need to take a ticket just to hang out with me. 

Lately, I have not been embracing the woman I am now, but I am steadily trying to cling onto everything I was a few years ago. I recently spoke to one of my mentors, and she opened my eyes to realize that I do not remember who I was before all of the gifts, the tasks, and the positions I was put in.

Before God placed me in those different seasons, I was first and foremost HIS daughter. When I sit and worship, pray, or simply wake up in the morning, I am His daughter first before any other label.

After this stunning realization, I began to ask God to strip away any and everything from me that was not of Him, everything I tried to hold on to, and everything that tried to hold on to me. I wanted it to be just me and Him; Father and daughter; back to the beginning.

“For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will.” Ephesians 1:4‭-‬5 (NIV)

This is not a one-time prayer, and you have to face it everyday.

Before you go out into the world today, tomorrow, and every day, pray for God to remind you that you are His before you are anyone else’s.

The title of being HIS child will triumph over any president, king, or CEO. Whatever season you are in, cling to the hope that God does not just see you as you are. He sees you as His precious child, and there is nothing you can do or will be that will change His mind otherwise. 

You are His child.

I am His daughter.

Label Me Not| By Stephanie Cain

Have you ever lost yourself? You travel through life, days flying past like exits on an interstate, and all of a sudden, you realize you need to Google Map how to find you – the real you.

I think everyone has been there at one point or another. We live in a world where everyone wants to fit into these perfect boxes. The thing is, we are not designed like that. Each person is so multifaceted! We are all complex, beautiful, masterpieces handcrafted in God’s image. (Psalm 139:13-16) So we put on labels to help clarify what is in our box.

Mother. Daughter. Sister. Wife. Caretaker. Housekeeper. Big. Tall. Short. Sassy. Quiet. Bookish. Athletic. Loud. Friendly. Not-so-friendly. Giving. Driven. Selfish. Professional. Hippy. Glamorous. Natural. Happy. Anxious. Funny. Boring. Weird. Popular. Loner.

By the time we put on all these labels that are meant to help “define us”, we cannot even tell what was in the box to begin with.

I struggle with this SO much! I am a relatively newlywed, new part-time working and part-time stay-at-home mom, and the only child to two wonderful parents who have illnesses and need help. I feel the weight of these labels daily. The pressure to be a great mom, and feeling like if I am not, I might ruin this gift God gave me. Wanting so badly to be a loving wife who keeps her house in order for her husband. Knowing that there is work to be done at my house, but also that my parents’ grass needs to be cut soon. Desiring to be fun and outgoing like other young moms even though you are an introvert. Striving to be skinny so the new cute trends will look good on you. Trying to have a meek, quiet spirit with a mouth that runs faster than a cheetah at times.

In the struggle to live up to these labels, I lose sight of me – the me that God made and saw as good. There is no labels, no hoops, no striving. He sees me, knows me deeply, and loves me unconditionally no matter how many dishes are in my sink.


“Then, by constantly using your faith, the life of Christ will be released deep inside you, and the resting place of his love will become the very source and root of your life.
Then you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences—the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching is his love! How enduring and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding—this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God!” -Ephesians 3:17-19 (TPT)

My Facebook friend Leslie, who happens to be an amazing writer, recently posted something that stopped me in my tracks. She said this:

“We need grace to sit in a space and just BE…to remove the titles and responsibilities and roles and embrace the one identity that brings rest to the soul, ‘Child of God.’ We don’t have to strive with that name. We can fully and overwhelmingly just BE. He welcomes it.”

When I read those words, I realized how weighed down I was feeling from trying to be everything for everyone. When in reality, the most important thing I am is a Child of God. Walking in that calling will make everything else fall in line. So if you are where I was, one step away from asking Alexa how to find you, please take a moment to just BE, to remember who the Lord says you are, and to rest in Him.

Searching For My Identity| By Tori Savoy

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Who am I?

Have you ever looked in the mirror and asked yourself this question? Or laid awake in bed contemplating what defines you?

For me, this question really hit me hard right after college. I was diagnosed with a health condition that impacted my mind and my emotions. The hobbies that I once loved, I no longer had the desire or energy for. Many of the areas I excelled in became some of my biggest weaknesses.

The only thing I knew about myself was that I had Hashimotos, and that it made me hate myself. I felt as if I walked around with “Hashimotos” stamped on my forehead. It became the only thing I talked about because it engulfed the majority of my life.

When you’re at a point that low, it is so easy for the devil to stoop in and attack your weakness. I was meditating on who I was, and the enemy started to hurl his false lies at me.

“You are worthless. You are a downer. You are a burden to everyone around you. You will never be more than walking sickness,” he’d whisper to me.

And the lies just kept getting worse and worse.

But deep down, I knew these were lies, despite how true they felt. I cried to God “Who am I really? Who do you think I am?

You are a CHILD OF GOD!

I immediately began to cry.  Those words were so freeing for me.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God” 1 John 3:1

“And if children, then heirs – heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.”  Romans 8:17

Society has a way of placing stigmas or labels on us by categorizing who we are into negative groups such as nerdy, preppy, dumb, smart, goofy, quiet, fat, skinny, etc.

However, God looks on us and sees His child, each of us unique and just the way He created us to be.

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

As His child, He sees me as more than just another human on this earth, and I have access to all of the benefits that come along with it. The few that immediately pop into mind are chosen, protected, and loved.

Instead of wearing negative labels society gives or the ones I give myself, I can choose to proudly live as His child by being joyful, caring, loving, forgiving, and all of the things that He is. When people meet me, I want them to know that I belong to Him.

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. All who have this hope in him purify themselves, just as he is pure”John 3:1-3