Kind Words are Like Honey| By Jasmine Beard

“You are such an accepting person. I know and feel like I can tell you anything,” my friend said.

I smiled and thought to myself, “If only she knew all the thoughts and judgements I thought of throughout the day. My heart is not pure. I wish I wasn’t judgemental. I’m so far from where I should be in my walk with God.”

You read that correctly. Someone gave me a compliment, and instead of receiving it, I rejected their words and reversed what they spoke over me. Instead of allowing the words of affirmation and blessing to sink into my mind, heart, and spirit, I let who I believed I was to sink into my mind, heart, spirit, and eventually into my identity.

I wish I could say this type of dialogue was a rare happening in my life, but truthfully it is far more common than I would like to admit. And what is even more hard to admit is that I am only now just realizing it.

“I’m so mean to myself and because of the way I view myself, I tend to judge others through that same lens,” I listened on the other end of the phone as another friend shared those words with me. Her words did not resonate with me immediately, but overtime I understood more and more what she meant.

Behaviors, circumstances, and interactions can become familiar to us. And when something becomes familiar, it does not appear abnormal. Take for instance, a woman’s husband has been wearing the same cologne for the last six years. After six years, she may not even smell the fragrance, but simply identify the smell with her husband. However, let’s say that same woman’s husband walked in their home wearing a different cologne than the one he had wore for the past six years, and she’d probably notice instantly.

This same familiarity can be true in our dialogues with ourselves. We can get so use to speaking harsh words to ourselves that we no longer see them as harsh, but as normal. The reality is that the words we speak to ourselves can be anything but normal and are actually cruel and self-loathing behavior.

It was not until my friend mentioned to me how mean she was to herself that I began to notice my very own self-loathing behavior. I have always chalked my inner dialogue with myself to have something to do with my perfectionist mindset and less to do with my self-esteem and value of myself.

The Bible tells us that, “kind words are like honey—sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.” Proverbs 16:24 (NLT)

Are your words like honey?

Are they sweet to your soul and bringing nourishment to your body?

Are you the person who can shower others with compliments, but can’t receive one?

Do you smile and immediately disregard the kind comment someone has relayed to you?

This was me, and it may be you today. But friend, I want to encourage you to fall in love with you, the person you are today, not the woman you aspire to become. Fall in love with the journey. And most importantly, fall in love with the King, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

His word tells us that we are made in His image. We are a reflection of His splendor and beauty, and as we fall more in love and awe with the King, the more we reflect His marvelous light.

So when you find that you have nothing kind to say to yourself or about yourself pray what the Psalmist wrote in Psalms 139:14 (TPT)

“I thank you, God, for making me so mysteriously complex! Everything you do is marvelously breathtaking. It simply amazes me to think about it! How thoroughly you know me, Lord!”

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Warfare Advantage| By Chelsea Verdin

“Swiper no swiping!”

I can hear the voice of Dora yelling as she catches a sneaky fox trying to hinder her mission. And in the midst of my chaotic, busy life, I can hear myself yelling it to my very own enemy.

In John 10:10, it says that the enemy’s main objective is to steal, kill and destroy.

Like Swiper, our own enemy runs rampant throughout our journey trying to hinder the mission that has been set before us by Christ. Using specific tactics, he slides through our lives stealing our peace, killing our joy and destroying our hope. Not only does Christ fully know us, but the enemy has studied every aspect of our lives in order to initiate a successful attack on us.

In the Bible, David knows too well about attacks from the enemy. Anointed to be King as a child, he went his whole life attacked by people, situations, and his own consequences. In 1 Samuel 30, we find David and his men returning home to Ziklag after being kicked out of Aphek. They enter their city to find it desolate and destroyed. The Amalekites who had been on a raiding spree, stole everything from their camp and kidnapped all of the women and children. Nothing was left to be salvaged. Out of anger, David’s men sought to kill him, but David sought the Lord. Instead of staying bitter and depressed, David went straight to the altar and got into the presence of God. With God’s favor and permission, he and his men went after the Amalekites and fought for everything that was taken from them. They redeemed what had been stolen and gained the rations that were raided from other camps. Not only did God grant them favor to redeem their own lost good, but He blessed them with the bounty from other camps.

Several years before, David had spent his time alone in a pasture with sheep before actually stepping into his calling. This, I believe, is where his foundation and heart after God was developed. And when he was beside Saul fighting, calming him, and running for his life at times, I believe he never forgot what was promised him. His focus was sometimes misplaced as we learn about his mistakes, but he always went before God with a vulnerable heart and repentance. He had a warfare advantage over his enemies because He knew the Victor. This is how we fight our battles. This is how we redeem what the enemy tries to destroy. We stay focused on the Victor instead of becoming a victim.

So many times the enemy will use our anxiety, our fears, our failures, past, addictions, limitations and doubts to keep us from walking into what God has called us to. Each of us have a purpose, gifts,and inheritance that God has chosen for us. When we open doors to the enemy’s taunts, we are allowing him the opportunity to invade our camp.

He can’t steal our purpose, or gifts and definitely not our inheritance as children of God. He has no authority to take what has been granted ours by the King of Kings. We don’t have to ask him to kindly give us back our peace, our joy, or our hope. We have all authority and power to storm the enemy’s camp and demand back what he has taken from us. It takes knowing who you are, Whose you are and what has rightfully been promised to you. It takes courage and will to fight.

Friend, you may have had a rough year, month, week, day even and felt like nothing could be redeemed, but I’m here to tell you that you have all power and authority over the enemy and his schemes. Your fight isn’t over.

“I pray that the God who gives hope will fill you with much joy and peace as you trust in Him. Then your hope will overflow by the power of the Holy Spirit.” – Romans 15:13

Praying With Boldness| By Tori Savoy

Throughout my life, I have come against some mighty adversities. I have learned that no matter the battle, the outcome is determined by fighting on my knees in prayer. When I began to come before the Lord with boldness and confidence in prayer, I saw mighty things changing in my life.


As Christians, I think we sometimes take prayer for granted. It is something we do from the moment we are saved, but sometimes it so easily becomes a chore. We begin to recite typical Christian phrases to sound “holy” in our prayers and feel good about our prayer quality. It can so easily become a rehearsed speech rather than a conversation with our loving father.

And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think they will be heard because of their many words.” Matthew 6:7

As a young child, I would pray fervently – believing all my prayers would come to pass. However, as some prayers over the years went unanswered, I began to doubt the importance of my prayers. Instead of believing what I was praying, I slipped into a routine of praying passively. I would only pray for the things that seemed attainable – mostly things that I could control the outcome of.

Although I did not suffer from deferred hope with this method of prayer, I also did not see the hand of God in my life. It was not until into my early marriage that I truly began to see the power of my prayers. I am sure you’re thinking my mind was changed when God miraculously answered one of my prayers. Actually, no. I realized the power of my prayers when I saw that the devil was threatened by them.

Early in my marriage, God placed on my heart to pray for my husband and our marriage. At first, I did not understand why. We had no specific marital problems and were still basically in that newlywed  stage. Nonetheless, I listened to the leading of the Holy Spirit and prayed over my marriage and truly believed every word I spoke over my husband and I.

Later that evening, something broke loose between the two of us. I do not remember the exact circumstances, but both of us became edgy with one another. Sitting up that night, frustrated at my husband, God revealed to me that this very thing happened because of my prayers.

The devil, seeing how powerful my faith was during that prayer time earlier that morning, decided to shake my faith and put a stop to my prayers.

If the devil becomes threatened by your faith, he will do everything in his power to remove the source of your faith. He wants to leave you hopeless. Your faith and your prayers will stop him right in his tracks and leave him powerless.

Once I realized this, I knew the devil, not my husband, was the real enemy. In that moment, I rebuked the devil and began to pray even harder. If my one little prayer that morning intimidated him, I would pray several more times a day until he was powerless. Never had my faith in prayer been stronger.

Today, not only have I seen the benefits of praying for my marriage, but as well as other areas of my life. When I turned my prayers from praying passively to praying with boldness and confidence that God can accomplish the impossible, I began to see chains break and things restored.

“…The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” James 5:16

At the head of 2019, I am proclaiming this the “year of prayer”. I encourage you to join me in praying with boldness and faith as we see strongholds break and lives made new this year. I pray over each of you proclaiming freedom, peace, abundance, joy, success, and unending love.

“Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done.’ If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.’’ Matthew 21:21-22

Dealing with Depression During the Holidays| By Jasmine Beard

From our family to yours MERRY CHRISTMAS!

‘Tis the season for family, yuletide carols, loneliness and depression. What?! Unfortunately, here at Unveiling Eden, we know that the holidays can be an exciting time for some, but also a dreaded season for others- especially if a person does not have family, friends or a significant other to celebrate with.

If you are feeling or dealing with depression this Holiday Season, we want you to know that you are not alone. We want to encourage you to share with someone how you are feeling. Often times, when we share our emotions with just one individual the weight of our feelings can be easier to bare.

Also, if you can push through the crippling effects of depression for a moment and give back, we believe your spirits will be uplifted this Holiday Season. Whether, it be volunteering at a homeless shelter, Christmas caroling at a nursing home, or by simply calling someone who doesn’t have loved ones. We know when we take our eyes off our circumstances and focuses on the needs of others, it can at times change our own perspective.

Lastly, we’d like to encourage you to read and meditate on the word of God. His word is full of promises and encouragement that He has purposed for all of us. Take the scriptures down below as a gift from us to you, and a gift from God to you, as well.

Psalm 30:11 

You have turned for me my mourning into dancing; you have loosed my sackcloth and clothed me with gladness,

Deuteronomy 31:8 

It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”

Isaiah 40:31 

But they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.

Philippians 4:13 

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

John 16:33 

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.

Isaiah 41:10 

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Matthew 11:28 

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Jeremiah 29:11 

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Proverbs 3:5-6 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Also check out our latest video discussing this very topic.

Reflecting for the New Year|By Heaven Harris

The Christmas season is the perfect time to reflect on the year as it comes to a close, and the perfect opportunity to dream for the year ahead. Every year, I pray that God blesses me with a word and/or scripture that will mark the year and season I am stepping into or still walking in. Every year, He is exceedingly faithful in my request. For 2018, my words were JOY and ROMANCE, and my scriptures encompassed those very words.

“Therefore I am now going to allure her; I will lead her into the wilderness and speak tenderly to her.” -Hosea 2:14

“He brought me to the banquet hall, and he looked on me with love.” -Song of Solomon 2:4

This year, my divorce was finalized. As that part of my life was coming to a permanent close, I struggled to understand how joy and romance could possibly be what God was trying to incorporate in my life.  I felt empty and void of either. However, God knew the place He wanted in my life. He wanted to be my husband and show me a different side of His perfect and true love.

For the entirety of this year, I let Him pursue me and allure me through every high and low. I let Him romance my heart straight into the healing I was longing for. As my heart healed, my joy was daily renewed in ways I never experienced. It has not been easy. It has taken intentionality.  It has also taken honesty. There have been days when I have thrown my hands in the air yelling, not wanting His love or presence.

My intention is never to hurt Him, but in the humanity of it all, sometimes I feel I have nothing to give or even the energy to receive. Can we just take a moment to be thankful that even in those vulnerable moments, He never leaves or forsakes?

Actually, it has been the most vulnerable moments that He shows Himself a strong tower, and I can be nothing but thankful.

As the scripture goes, His grace is sufficient, and His strength and power are made perfect through our weaknesses. My heart simply desires that He shines bright through my pain and weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:9 paraphrased)

That wilderness spoken of in Hosea 2 was lonely at times, yet I never felt more surrounded. As I reflect on 2018, there were so many opportunities for me to let God in and romance me more.  Yet, I sit with contentment that He has my heart in a way that He never has. I sit knowing that there are worldly desires I never thought would be quenched that He miraculously replaced with an urgency for Him and His touch. I find myself hungry more for a touch of Heaven and less for pleasing people. I want eternity to be my mark.  

My prayer for you in this season of reflection is that you can see His hand in everything you have encountered this year, even those hard parts.  Even more, I pray that 2019 has your heart fluttering with hope for what He will continue to do for and in you.

My word for 2019 is MARVEL. My scripture is Isaiah 54 (NLT).

In this chapter, it speaks about a barren and desolate land. One that has been riddled with storms. I too have battled many storms in my life. But, God has a promise for this city as He has a promise for you and me.

11  “O storm-battered city, troubled and desolate! I will rebuild you with precious jewels
   and make your foundations from lapis lazuli.


12  I will make your towers of sparkling rubies, your gates of shining gems,
and your walls of precious stones.


13  I will teach all your children, and they will enjoy great peace.


14  You will be secure under a government that is just and fair. Your enemies will stay far away. You will live in peace, and terror will not come near.


15  If any nation comes to fight you, it is not because I sent them. Whoever attacks you will go down in defeat.

16  “I have created the blacksmith who fans the coals beneath the forge
and makes the weapons of destruction. And I have created the armies that destroy.


17  But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you. These benefits are enjoyed by the servants of the Lord; their vindication will come from me. I, the Lord, have spoken!

Read the rest of Isaiah 54 here.

I will walk into 2019 clinging to such a love letter, and I choose to begin this year with pouring out into your cup the overflow of mine. I believe these scriptures are for some of you, and the shaky ground you stand on. Embrace His heart for you in this upcoming year. He is ready to give you every desire of that precious heart of yours.

Pardon the Interruption|By Chelsea Verdin

My eyes were closed, and my heart was heavy. I had been wrestling with God without even noticing it, until I felt a small hand brush my arm. Instantly, I opened my eyes and looked over to my friend who was standing next to me with her baby boy. So sweetly, he reached out his arms to me, and I graciously accepted his invitation to cuddle him up into my arms.

I held my worship experience, still focusing on Jesus, but also enjoying the sweet affections from this baby boy. As he gently rested his head on my shoulder and patted my back with his tiny hand, tears filled my eyes, and an explainable peace swept over me.

A flood of emotions expanded my heart, and I just stood holding him, singing and surrendering to Jesus. This sweet boy represented the image of Christ, and in that moment, He was wrapping His arms around me and confirming me in the most tangible way.

Here’s what I learned: interruptions are divine appointments with Jesus. So many times, Jesus interrupted people’s daily lifestyles and invited them to sit with Him. Often times, Jesus’ own life was interrupted by people hungry for His ministry and desperate for His love. Each of the disciples were consumed with their own lives when Jesus chose them to follow Him. They could have rejected His invitation and went on with their lives, but instead, they embraced the interruption and gained the sweetest revelation and friendship.

When Mary was to marry Joseph, she had her life planned out. She would marry and have children. She would make a good wife and mother. Then suddenly those plans were interrupted. The angel Gabriel was sent to Mary in the middle of her wedding planning. He brought great news and an even greater invitation. Not only was Mary favored by God, but He had chosen her to birth the Messiah.

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee,

27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.

28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.

30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God!

31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.

32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.

33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”

34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”


35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.

36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.

37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

-Luke 1:26-38

How differently would things look if Mary would have rejected God’s offer and decided to proceed with her wedding untouched by the Holy Spirit?

Interruptions are invitations to sit with Jesus. He invites us to be still with Him that we may learn and know who He is.

“Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world.” -Psalm 46:10

That we may honor Him and make space within our busy lives to accept the hand selected task that He specifically creates for us.

Sometimes, we see the interruptions as distractions from the plans we have mapped out for ourselves, but what if we chose to see them as encounters with Jesus. Moments to talk to Him or get alone with Him in the midst of our chaotic lives? How differently we would be if we met one of His interruptions with the heart of Samuel as he tried to sleep and the Lord called to Him several times in the middle of the night.

“Speak Lord, your servant is listening.” -1 Samuel 3:10

God has been teaching me to come away with Him in the middle of the chaos. When the noise all around me is trying to silence His voice in my life, He reassures me that solitude is not just about being alone. It is about who we are alone with. He uses the embrace of a child to confirm me and to remind me that I am still His, He is still mine, and He is good always.

Friend, if you look around you will notice Him speaking too. Maybe not always audible as we would like, but always speaking to the heart of who we are.

Like a sunset taking away the day, some interruptions are meant to be beautiful invitations to be still and know.

Unveiling Eden Gives Thanks

 

Chelsea
Chelsea Verdin, Contributing Writer

Something I am thankful for this year that is different than last year….

SOLITUDE

Sometimes we can get so focused on the busyness of life that we forget how refreshing it is to just get away – away from the noise, away from the distractions and just sit in our secret quiet place, absorbing and rediscovering who Jesus is.

I spent a fair amount of my life constantly wanting to go, or be, or do. When I received more responsibility or territory, I realized how sacred isolation can be in some atmospheres.

Isolation doesn’t always mean loneliness. It can also mean elevation.

Sometimes, He has to take us away in order to lift us higher. Sometimes, He has to quiet our souls so that we may learn to listen. And sometimes, we have to be alone to understand who He is.

A letter to my daughter……

Heaven
Heaven Harris, Staff Writer

Dear Evelyn,

You are too young at the moment to read this or even understand, but my hope is that this letter finds you years from now and gives you a glimpse of my heart.

This thanksgiving is technically our second one together, but last year you were barely a week old. Therefore, this is our first real thanksgiving with family and friends that you won’t be sleeping or nursing the whole time:).

I want you to know sweet girl, that next to Jesus, YOU are what I am most thankful for this year and for every thanksgiving to come. Nothing and no one has brought more joy and love to my life. This adventure we are on, even with all it’s lows and highs, is worth celebrating and being grateful for.

Getting to be your mother and the bond that I was able to form and steward with you has brought me to life in places I was sure was dead. I am thankful to you, for that, even though it’s beyond your comprehension right now.

And know that it truly takes a village, and we have the best one around. We are so blessed with the most amazing friends and family that love and support us and surround us with laughs, hugs, and deep and strong prayers that usher in God’s presence to daily move mountains in our favor. We are beyond blessed and highly favored.

So this Thanksgiving, I will give honor and glory for us where it is due. My prayer is that I am able to show you even in seasons that don’t include the Thanksgiving holiday, how to be grateful because He works it ALL for our good.

I love you my princess, until kingdom come. 

Jasmine
Jasmine Beard, Editor-in-Chief

Something I am thankful for this year that is different from last year…

RESTORATION

“The act of restoring ; renewal, revival, or reestablishment.”

Restoration has always been something I have believed in. I know that I serve a God that can do all things, including the miraculous.

Although I know this, I did not think a relationship with a family member could ever be good. I settled in the fact that while forgiveness had been given, the state of the relationship could never be repaired.

Through my own healing of hurt this year, I was able to see the person who had repeatedly hurt me through a different lens. I no longer saw them as the person who had hurt me continuously, but as a hurt person themselves.

I had to take that person off of the pedestal of expectations I placed on them. I had to simply see them as a child of God. Once I did this, I no longer thought of all the pain they caused me. I instead saw all of their wounds and knew because of their own pain they hurt me.

” Then he asked me, “Son of man, can these bones become living people again?”

“O Sovereign Lord,” I replied, “you alone know the answer to that.”

Then he said to me, “Speak a prophetic message to these bones and say, ‘Dry bones, listen to the word of the Lord!

This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Look! I am going to put breath into you and make you live again!

I will put flesh and muscles on you and cover you with skin. I will put breath into you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the Lord.’”’-

Ezekiel -37:3-6

Just like these dry bones, God breathed life into my relationship with my family member. Something that was once dead and barren has began to sprout new life. Thank you Jesus!

Stephanie
Stephanie Cain, Contributing Writer

A letter to my mother……

Dear Mom,

Words cannot express how thankful I am for you.

I have always loved and appreciated you-  I mean,  you are my best friend and my flower girl. But this year, you helped guide me into motherhood. You showed me that perfection is not the goal and that you must allow yourself grace. You loved me through the difficult times. When my world felt crushing, you were there to hold me. You reminded me I can do it and that God gave me this new purpose the He would help me fulfill. All this while still being a shining example of motherhood for me, an amazing wife, and learning how to be a mama to my baby boy.

I will always be grateful to you for everything you have done for me and my family. I love you more than words can convey.

Sincerely, Your Sally

Tori
Tori Savoy, Editor

Something I am thankful for this year that is different from last year…

CONTENTMENT

Contentment – it is described as “a state of happiness”. I believe the world is always searching for contentment in the tangible things of life such as money, success, life milestones and so forth. If only we could reach that certain goal we have in mind, we would find contentment.

However, this is not the same definition God would like us to use.

The Apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 4:11, “…I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.”

As a Christian, my contentment is not determined by my state. My contentment, when anchored in who God is, remains when times are good or bad.

Worldly contentment gives us no reason to better ourselves, but Godly contentment pushes us closer to our source of happiness – God Himself.

This Thanksgiving, I thank God for giving me a “state of happiness” despite circumstances that try to steal my joy.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For me brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it.” 1 Timothy 6:6-7

Gives Thanks UE

Tidal Waves| By Stephanie Cain

image2 (3)

Over the last year, almost every area of my life has been stretched, prodded, or flat out attacked – especially my faith. A few days ago I was watching my son play in his walker corner when I had a flashback. A few years ago my husband’s family decided to go to the beach together. On that day, the water was rough – not enough for red flags but enough that children did not leave the shallows. However, as adults, we ventured out to chest height and jumped into the tidal waves as they rolled in.

One time I did not jump soon enough, and the wave swept over me. Suddenly, I was tumbling under the water with no clue what was up or down. My feet found the ocean bottom, and I pushed up, gasping for air as soon as the next wave rolled in. I was immediately toppling under the water again desperately trying to find the surface for air. This happened two more times until finally my husband caught me and helped me stand. It was such a scary experience that I stayed in the shallows after that.

Where I am now in life feels a lot like that beach. As soon as I find my footing and catch my breath, a new wave is rolling in on top of me sending me spinning again. However, Jesus reminded me of something He did while here on earth.

Mark 4:35-41 chronicles the time when Jesus and His disciples were in rough waters because of a storm. Jesus spoke to the storm and said “Peace! Be still!” The winds and waves obeyed him and stopped. Jesus reminded me that He does not just calm physical storms, but He can calm the waves in our lives. If we listen to Him as He speaks through the Holy Spirit to us, “Peace! Be still!”, we will see the waves that were engulfing are now a soothing ripple. This is not to say that we will not have storms. Of course we will! There may be times in our lives that the winds and waves are so loud and big that you can’t hear the Lord’s still, small whisper of peace.

Another time in Jesus’ ministry (Mark 6:45-52), His disciples were in a boat rowing against the wind. This time, rather than calm the wind with His words, the Lord walked on top of the water. He invited Peter onto the water with Him, and as long as Peter kept His eyes on the Lord, He walked over the waves too. This is HUGE! In those times when we cannot hear Jesus speaking peace in our situation, we look to Him and trust Him for every step onto the waves.

In my life, that looks like this:

A problem arises. I see no possible solution. Anxiety swells. Rather than allowing it to topple over me I say, “I can’t see a way, but I trust you Lord. I know you have a plan, a purpose, and it is for my good.” Take a deep breath. Move forward with my life one step at a time.

My hope is that these words encourage you today. Whether you are in the storm of life or not, I pray that you keep your eyes focused on Him because walking on the water is a much bigger adventure than hiding in the shallows.

“The LORD your God is in your midst, The Mighty One, will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.” – Zephaniah 3:17

A Mother’s Redemption| By Amanda Maduell

image2 (2)As I lay and watch my two-year-old sleep, it is hard to believe that not long ago he started out as a tiny “blip” on the monitor. As I laid on the exam table at my OBGYN office, tears of guilt, shame, and fear rolled down my cheeks. This is not the reaction that any woman deserves to have as she experiences the expected arrival of her first child. A woman’s heart should be full of joy, love, and excitement during this time. My story is not the same.

For I know the plans I have for you ,”declares the LORD, “Plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

Everyone knows this Bible verse as it has become so incredibly popular, but it is so much more to me. This verse was my bread and butter. I had it saved on my phone screen saver for my entire pregnancy. Every time I was in despair, God reminded me of this message.

When I was encouraged by the father of my child to have an abortion, I turned to God and this verse.

I would think to myself, “God created this life inside of me, and He already knows the plans for it! How could someone want to throw this away?”

“For you formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.I will praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” Psalm 139:13-14

I knew from the beginning that abortion was never an option for me, but I could not convince the father of my child to feel the same way. I thank God everyday for giving me His strength to see through and overcome that. I agreed that I would trust God, and I would wear the shame of my sin in front of me, whether the father of my child was willing to stand by me or not.

I have to admit that it was not easy.

At times, the enemy convinced me to believe that it was me. That I was not good enough or worthy enough for this person, and that this is what I deserved for committing these sins. But again that was just the enemy.

I felt lonely from the outright rejection that was displayed toward my unborn child, and I was immersed in pain. I wanted nothing more than to be loved, appreciated, and respected by the person whom I had created life with. I experienced just the opposite.

I remember coming home from working one of my two jobs and crying so hard in my bathroom that I would vomit. I lived alone, and I was too ashamed to reach out to many of my friends, I felt as though I had, “brought this upon myself.” I was scared of the unknown, I was scared of what people would think of me for having a baby without a father, I was scared of being another, “single mom statistic”, and worst of all, I was scared that I would never be able to trust or love again.

I was disappointed in myself for taking a chance on someone who had consecutively lied about his commitment. I had become so consumed in sins of the flesh. Although I considering myself a “Christian”, I still thought it was okay to have sex with my ex-boyfriend. I justified it by telling myself, “we were in love”, and because we, as adults, have “needs.”

However, I was reminded that God has a purpose for us. Although we may not always understand it, the Bible clearly states that His plan is solid. God knows before we sin against Him, and He still sends His love and grace down upon us in ways we don’t even realize in the moment. For some, like myself, it takes “struggles” like this for us to see God’s unfailing love and mercy for us.

“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” Jonah 2:2

Before my son was born, I picked the name Jonah after reading the short book of Jonah in the Bible. In Jonah’s story, he disobeyed God, and he was swallowed by a big fish. He prayed to God and asked for forgiveness from inside the fish. After three days, the Lord had the fish spit Jonah out, and he was forgiven.

Jonah knew that he was disobeying God by not following his instructions to go to the city of Nineveh and speak out against its wickedness. Just as I knew that I was disobeying God by continuing a sinful relationship with my son’s father. I felt as though going through an unplanned pregnancy without the father was my storm.

However, the birth of my son was my forgiveness, my redemption, and my second chance. We are children of a loving and forgiving God. I cried out to him at my lowest point, when I experienced the rejection, fear, and disappointment, He forgave me and restored me by allowing me to be the mother of one of His precious children.

After the birth of Jonah, The Lord continued to be the father that my child and I deserve, time and time again. Just when I reach my breaking point he catches me and says, “Trust me.”

Two years later, my son and I are doing great. I am blessed with phenomenal parents who were there for me during my pregnancy and birth of my son and also now. I am part of a women’s group, and I just signed a mortgage on our first home. All of this is possible because we are the children of a perfect and faithful God who has a perfect way for us, even when we can see no way for ourselves. 

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Behold Your King| By Heaven Harris

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“Girl, you are a precious daughter of the King!”

Sounds amazing right? Who doesn’t enjoy being called a princess?  I know I do!

But who is your King?  Do you know Him? I mean, really know Him?

“Women, teachers, let’s shift our emphasis from ‘girl, you are a precious daughter of the King’ to ‘behold your King’,” -Jen Wilkin

I read this quote recently, and it has not stopped burning deeply inside me since. I have heard for years that I am a princess of the Most High God, that I am royalty.  It is right here in scripture.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellence of him who called you out of the darkness into his marvelous light.”  -1 Peter 2:9.  

Learning I was royalty when I first surrendered my life to Jesus was quite amazing, and my heart still skips a beat when I hear it. However, the depth and true wonder of that statement was still not eternalized within.

Growing up, my self- image, my vision if you will, was that of a peasant girl.  I always pictured myself and even dreamt of being dirtied up, scouring in a corner wearing filthy rags and begging for scraps from the table where royalty laid their hands.  No number of compliments or words could change that movie reel playing over and over in my mind.

But JESUS.

I encountered Him.  I encountered His love and experienced His passion for me. I sat at His feet beholding His beauty and all He had to offer. I began to know him. – know him intimately, freely.   From then on, as the days passed, and I continued to lay myself bare at the altar of this mighty King, I realized my rags were stripped away and replaced with His robes of righteousness.

Isaiah 61:10 (ESV) says, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall exult in my God, for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation; he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself like a priest with a beautiful headdress, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

Have you allowed yourself the chance to lay before the feet of Jesus and simply behold who He is and let Him begin to portray Himself on you?

“We can all draw close to him with the veil removed from our faces.  And with no veil we all become like mirrors who brightly reflect the glory of the Lord Jesus.  We are being transfigured into his very image as we move from one brighter level of glory to another.  And this glorious transfiguration comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 (TPT)

The only way to understand how to walk out the royal name given to us is to be in the presence of royalty. The more of your life you spend willingly in that sacred place, the more you will be able to mirror and walk out being His princess and complete the calling He has on your life.

My charge to you is this…

Find your secret place.  Set everything and anything aside and sit and behold the creator of the universe, the maker of your heart, the one whose face shines like the sun.  Let Him take over everything you think you are or aren’t, and let Him become the mirror to your reflection! I promise, you will never walk away from the moments disappointed.  Behold your King.