Joy Comes in the Morning…

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Joy.

I have joy down in my heart.

Not because I have my life figured out. Not because my life is where it needs to be. And not because anything has changed.

But I have joy, because of Love.

God’s Love.

A love that never fails. A love that never gives up. A love that never runs out.

Even though I still make mistakes and there are still mountains in front of me to overcome. Even though I ran away and feel like I am in the eye of the storm.

I don’t have to be afraid.

Because I know that my Father loves me and nothing can separate me from the love of God.

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38

In the midst of my trial and pain, when I am too weak to fight –

My God fights for me.

He is fighting on my behalf and working to ensure that all things work together for my good.

God takes my sin and failures.

He takes the things that could destroy my life and He works them all together for my good and for His glory.

How can that not bring Joy?

I am covered and protected –

By the power of my Father’s great Love.

I have spent the last few months in darkness. I was lost and wandering. I got tired of waiting on God and grew impatient. I took my life into my own hands and made a mess of things.

Today, I realize, that although I felt lost and alone, God knew right where I was the whole time. He was watching after me. He was picking up after me like a loving Father does. He has been patiently waiting for me to come back to Him.

Waiting for me to run back  into His open arms.

And so today I run.

I run into His arms where I met by His love. And surrounded by His love I find…

Joy.

The Ripple Effect

As a kid we spent much of our time during the summer at the river, lake or creek going on picnics and skipping rocks. Or in my case, I spent much of my time “trying” to skip rocks. But, to my disappointment, I was more of a rock thrower than a skipper.

When a rock is thrown into the water it causes beautiful ripple effect that grows much larger than the actual rock that was thrown in. This is a great visual example of how the choices that we make have an effect that can be much more impactful than we might think.

Sometimes we feel as though we don’t have much to offer – that our small contributions couldn’t really make that much of a difference. However, even a small “rock” that is for Jesus can leave a ripple effect much bigger than the point of impact.

God can use small things to reach far beyond us and affect the lives of others.

No sacrifice is too small when it comes to giving of our time, talent, words, and money. Not to say that we should try and get by with doing the minimal amount possible, but this should give us encouragement that when we feel as though are doing something insignificant, we can to remember that God can mightily use our sacrifices to touch many lives.

It is important to remember that every choice we make, good or bad, affects others. Sometimes we belive that when we  make small compromises such as a small addiction, one snide remark, or one inappropriate movie or picture that it is not that big of a deal, but those choices can have an even bigger negative impact than we realize.

Do the decisions you make in life cause others to be pulled away from Jesus or do your actions push others toward Him?

I want the things I do and the choices I make to leave a ripple that points back to Jesus.

Under Full Waranty

My new favorite thing to do is to sit on my screened in balcony and soak in the majestic beauty of God’s glorious creation and read. Books are wonderful, but even the most biblically based books do not hold a candle to the Word of God. There is power in the Word!

Today I read a passage from the Message version of the bible that really grabbed a hold of me.  In the 11th chapter of Romans I read, “God’s gifts and God’s call are under full warranty – never canceled, never rescinded.”

We live in a very works and condition based society where grace is often in short supply. As long as we are doing what is expected of us and pleasing those around us everything is hunky-dory.  If you meet the expectations and needs of others you are loved and admired. But, if you stumble and fall (you know become human) then the adoration quickly vanishes. Grace and mercy are hard to be found when you are struggling through the valleys of life.

I will give to you as long as you do what I want. I will serve you if I can get something in return. This is often the mindset of our culture. As a result many people have only experienced selfish generosity and conditional love. No wonder we often have a hard time believing or understanding what it means when the bible tells us that where sin is increased, grace abounds even more. (Romans 5:20)

Gods grace, mercy, and love are not conditional. God’s grace is not in short supply; He gives extravagantly.

You are under the full warranty of the King. You have been called and no matter what you do, and no matter how many times you mess up God will NEVER withdraw your gifts or calling. Isn’t that so exciting?!

Sometimes I get caught up in the daily routine of life and let precious days slip away. There are other times where I become selfish and do what I want to do rather than what I need to do. I have even completely dropped the ball, and let laziness sneak in. When that happens I beat myself up. I get caught up in telling myself and thinking that I have messed up too many times to try to continue. I have believed the lie that God can’t use me now – my time has expired.  

Today I was invigorated with the truth that the gifts and call that God has on my life are under full warranty. If I don’t do what God has called me to do then I might miss some opportunities. I might slow down the process. I might put a kink in the hose. But, when I am ready to hop back on the horse I will not be met with rejection, I will be met with unconditional grace and a big huge “Yes!” from my savior.

 

Romans 11: 36

Everything comes from Him,

Everything happens through Him,

Everything ends up in Him.

Always glory! Always praise!

Yes. Yes. Yes.

 

I have experienced conditional love on this earth. I have experienced rejection when I did not do what someone else expected of me. I have felt the hurt and the pain that came when no grace was to be found. But, I have peace today. Peace that even when I mess up – Peace that even when others judge me and let me down –  God WILL meet me with grace and He STILL holds me in His hands. EVERYTHING ALWAYS ENDS UP IN HIM.

I am fully warranted. I am fully protected. I am fully loved.

Living then, as every one of us does, in pure grace, it is important that you do not misinterpret yourselves as people who are bringing this goodness to God. No, God brings it all to you. The only accurate way to understand ourselves is by what God is and by what He does for us, not by what we are and what we do for Him. (Romans 12:3)

Clean Slate

I love a clean slate and starting fresh.  Whether it is starting a brand-new calendar at the beginning of a year or decorating a bare room. The possibilities are endless and I can let my imagination and creativity fly. Contemporary? Traditional? Shabby Chic? Country? Eclectic?  I can design it into anything I want it to become. Too often we hang on to things from our past. We let the clutter of what is behind us define and affect who we are today. But did you know that you can have a clean slate? That you can become “brand-new”? You can start the New Year free from bondage and guilt.  

We just celebrated Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. God sent his only son, Jesus, to this earth to be our Savior and to die on the cross for us so that we could have a clean slate. He died to wash away our sins; He bore the punishment of our mistakes for us. We don’t have to let our past cripple us. We don’t have to live in guilt and shame.  

One of the worst lies that I have ever believed is that I don’t deserve to be forgiven; I am not worthy of a clean slate. Then one day I realized that by carrying my burdens alone and not letting go, allowing God to forgive me (or forgiving myself) I was basically saying, “Jesus, what you did for me by dying on the cross was not big enough to cover my sin. The crown of thorns you wore was too small. The beatings were not brutal enough. The sacrifice you made was nothing compared to what I have done.” The reality of what I was implying broke my heart. There was no way that I was going to minimize the greatest act of love ever committed. On that day I laid down my burdens, I forgave myself, and the freedom that followed brought an unexplainable joy.

As time goes by and I inevitably make more mistakes, I often have to stop and remind myself of the realization that I had. Since 2011 is coming to a close and we are getting ready to embark on a New Year I don’t want to bring any baggage along on this new adventure. I want to forget what is behind me and move forward with expectation of what is to come.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:12-14

This year I challenge you to view your mistakes as stepping-stones rather than stumbling blocks. Let all of your choices, good and bad, be learning experiences that push you forward rather than hold you back. For we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him and have been called according to His purpose.

You are more than the choices that you’ve made,
You are more than the sum of your past mistakes,
You are more than the problems you create,
You’ve been remade.

‘Cause this is not about what you’ve done,
But what’s been done for you.
This is not about where you’ve been,
But where your brokenness brings you to

This is not about what you feel,
But what He felt to forgive you,
And what He felt to make you loved.

You’ve been remade

Let’s start 2012 off together with a clean slate!

The Possibilities are ENDLESS!!

 

A Night to Remember

Day: Monday, October 10th
Time: 9:45pm
Place: My bedroom 
Mood: loved and fully loaded
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I have a million things to do to prepare for my job tomorrow and I don’t want to do it . Don’t get me wrong I love my new job, BUT, I wish I could just soak up the love of my Father tonight. There is not a lot I am going to write but I have to take a moment to record what happened at church tonight.

I am so overcome with emotion… and with pure PEACE.

I just have to breathe it in. Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.

ahhhhhh….. God is good, folks, God is good.
Okay, so on with the story….

Matt Shull spoke at church on Sunday about destiny and that is when I realized I was finally “Planted”. Well, he spoke again tonight continuing preaching about destiny and how God needs us full and fully loaded to accomplish His destiny for our life.

Tonight…
I was filled.
I was re-loaded.
I was restored.

“God’s annointing is on you.All that you have lost will be given back to you and your life will have a 180 turn around this year. it is all coming together.”

Big things are coming. Watch out world!

Tonight I am filled with peace and joy. I want to bottle this feeling up so I never forget how I felt on this day.

THANK YOU JESUS!

God is Good

Day: Sunday, October 9th
Time: 9:00pm
Place: My bedroom 
Mood: Recharged
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Well……

The last I wrote I had just taken a leap of faith by trusting God’s voice,  declaring His plan, and letting go of my own. Since taking that leap, it has been simply amazing and encouraging to watch God work in my life. Here are just a few of the things that have happened……

#1 – – The same Friday that I leaped of the edge (the day of my last bog) I was told of a job a couple of hours later by the mom of two of my Beautiful You girls and it far exceeded my wildest dreams. Then, on Monday morning, I got a phone call asking  if I could interview at 3:45 that day. I wondered if I was qualified, but I guess I was because they hired me on the spot!!! I am now the newest Behavioral Health Rehabilitation Specialist at Hartsell Psychological Services. I am working with students one-on-one to help them build skills in areas that will help them be successful both in academics and in life. Skills such as: managing anxiety, coping skills, self-esteem, anger, and school performance. I believe that this job is a spring-board for me to pursue a career in counseling and if that is not exciting enough to top it all off the pay is fantastic. God is my provider! I had been looking into a different position that I thought was amazing but I found out the job had been filled. I was disappointed but God had an even bigger and better plan in mind!!

#2 -– A verse that God gave me a year ago for Beautiful You was clarified in its’ meaning.

 I’ll call nobodies and make them somebodies;
      I’ll call the unloved and make them beloved.
   In the place where they yelled out, “You’re nobody!”
    they’re calling you “God’s living children.”  – Romans 9:25 The Message

When God first gave me this verse I thought it was geared towards the Beautiful You girls. But over the last two days in multiple forms God showed me that it was not for the girls but for the board and the staff of Beautiful You. This is what I wrote in church today:

Beautiful You, Inc. is going to use “no-bodies”, those that the world has discarded as yesterday’s trash because of their past choices and circumstances, to fulfill our mission. I am going to help women uncover and develop their God –given purpose and strengths and provide them with a place to shine. I am going to give them a place to belong and to flourish. Beautiful You will be successful because Christ will be the strength in our weakness NOT because we are the best at what we do, know it all, or have all the answers. God will get all of the glory for our success because without Him we know we are nothing. I have learned that you don’t have to be the best you just have to care the most, and with God as our source nothing will get in our way. Beautiful You is going to prove that God can and will take broken people who feel as though they are nothing but a wasted mess and turn their lives into something beautiful.

And all I have to say about that is AMEN!

#3 -– When I first started this journey a lady whom I had never met gave this word…
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“Erin, you are in a soil that is being tilled up and you are going to be uprooted spiritually from where you are and replanted in ground near running waters. You are going to get stronger “fertilizer” and constant watering. This will make you strong rooted and able to withstand anything, because the tree that is planted by the water is firmly rooted.”
~
“Then he showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb……” – Revelation 22:1
Today’’s church service was titled ““Planted”” and talked about God’s destiny for our life. I had this peace in my heart with the realization that I was uprooted and I have now been planted where God wants me. God often calls us to a “”land”” aka our destiny, but often we get discouraged way too quickly and leave the land that God called us to. Recent heartache has made me question if I had made the right choice in going on this journey. But our guest speaker, evangelist Matt Scull, said at church today, “”God says, stay where I planted you and I will visit you there. A tsunami of success will come behind you if you stay where I told you to stay.”” Sometimes we feel like giving up or quitting because of discouragement. But the Holy Spirit is saying “”Don’t you dare leave my voice!””

I am not leaving the voice. I know I have been planted in Tahlequah for a reason and I know that what God has revealed to me is just the beginning. I am thankful to serve a faithful God – a God who always delivers on His word.

God is Good All The Time and All the time God is Good.