New Life

new life imageI used to think growing up if I just could escape a situation everything would be good.  If I could be part of the “in crowd” or win that award, I would be happy, and life would be good. How would you fill in the blank? My life would be complete if_______? It took a while, but I finally realized all these things were temporary, and soon I would be back to wanting things to change and my life to be like those fairy tales moms read to their children. Years went by with no knight in shining armor that would instantly change my life.

Isn’t that how it always goes in the fairy tale. Well life is not a fairy tale and knights don’t exist that can rescue you or me from our emptiness, erase mistakes, and make life brand new. Getting married I expected my husband and my new life as his wife to be free from emptiness and feeling incomplete. Well that bubble didn’t last long! Don’t get me wrong – my husband is a wonderful man and though our road together has included speed bumps and sometimes hurdles, I am very thankful for him and my love for him has only deepened.

Fast forward to a point in my life when I began to seek out God. I had been away from church for a long time. Once I started going back and getting into God’s Word I realized I wasn’t sure of knowing Jesus at all. God was so gentle, and I made sure I was His child. As my walk with Him continued, I came to know why my husband or no one else could take away my emptiness. Only God could do that, and it was unfair of me to place that weight onto anyone else. Only He could heal my hurts and my life be made new through Him.

My journey with Jesus has included speed bumps and hurdles too. But they have been used by Him to change, grow. and bring beauty from ashes. Now I know where contentment, satisfaction, and fulfilment are found. In JESUS alone.

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners., to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort those who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion-to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.

Isaiah 61: 1-3 NIV

Blessings,

The WM Team

Time Out

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Okay, I admit it. I have had days when I could just spit nails!! It doesn’t matter that I had started my day with God. Somewhere along the way, everything He may have shown me in our time together went out the window and down the drain. Do I hear some amens? Surely I cannot be the only one who feels somedays that if God put us in time out I would not ever make it out of the corner! I would need to have my meals brought to me there, because there was no way He was letting me go! There is a life lesson going on, and He loves me too much to let me go before I get what He is trying to show me.

It could be a person, a thing, a habit – but whichever it is really drives you crazy. More often than not it is a person.  Do you have individuals in your life that, even in your family, can push your buttons or get on your last nerve? I have a sign that says “I have one nerve left and you are standing on it.”  And to top it off, they may not even know they are on your last nerve! I remember a study that had a term EGR which stood for “extra grace required.” I’m sure we all have someone who is our EGR person. Okay, maybe more than one!  Can we just be real about it? It happens. And can we take it a step further and be honest with ourselves that we are probably someone else’s EGR person? Ouch, my toes hurt. How about yours?

Here is the wonder of all of this. God uses it to grow us and build our character. Yes, we might think the lesson could be another way, yet He knows what is best for us and what He is showing us at that moment!  God extended extra grace to each one of us through His Son. I don’t want to think about where I would be apart from His grace. When we extend grace to others we are imitating Jesus. So the next time you and I find ourselves wanting to spit nails, may we stop and count our blessings and maybe, just maybe, we will find ourselves extending grace towards that EGR person just as God extends grace to us.

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 8:38-39

Father God, how we thank you that no matter what, if we are your child nothing can change that truth. Even on days when we are at our worst, you still extend grace and love to us. Help us to be mindful that just as you have extended grace to us we are to extend grace to others. Thank you that you use all things to mold and shape us more and more into the likeness of Jesus. Amen.

Blessings,

The WM Team

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The Abundant Life

abundant life picAbundance. What does that word bring to mind?  Is it houses, cars, vacations, or luxury beyond imagination? Being able to purchase whatever, whenever, with no thought to the impact on finances? How about a day spent in a hammock with your little one or playing in a mud puddle, swinging in a porch swing on a spring day or laughing without restraint with friends? Time spent in quietness in our busy, loud world? Now granted these last images are truly gifts and blessings, but are they the abundant life Jesus speaks to us about?

I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows]. John 10:10b Amplified

What about enjoying His presence, joy, peace, comfort, mercy and grace?  Knowing that no matter what He is with you always walking each step with you? He is in your corner. When you feel you can’t go on He is your hope, lover of your soul, and lifter of your head. He carries you through difficult times, laughs with you, sings over you, and counts your tears. Now it just doesn’t get any better. So how do we arrive at this abundant life? It could be said by letting go of our ideas and letting God have His way in our lives. Sounds easy right? But it isn’t. It is daily placing our hands in His and saying, “Here I am, Jesus.”

In a study I took they suggested taking a blank piece of paper addressing it to God, signing it at the bottom, leaving the middle blank, and giving it to God allowing Him to fill in the blanks according to His perfect plan and purpose.

Imagine for a moment you are standing on the bank of a river and this flowing body of water represents Jesus.  Are you still on the bank? A toe tester? Or maybe you have waded in and are enjoying some refreshing, but you still know there something missing. Now imagine diving in, head first, just relying on Jesus to keep you from drowning. Just letting go and flowing through life with Him. All the twists and turns, the ebbs and flow, are in His hands.  Now that’s abundance. So what stage are you?   If you haven’t let go, why not ask God to give you the courage to dive into Him and enjoy the abundant life He came to give us. Truth is, if we don’t, then we are allowing the enemy to rob us. So let’s dive in. Can’t swim? No worries, Jesus is your lifeguard!

Father God, we are all on a journey with you. We ask for courage to just let go and let You have Your way so we will know the “abundant life” You came to give us through your resurrection. That abundance begins the moment we acknowledge You, admit and confess we are sinners, sincerely ask You into our hearts, and surrender ourselves to You turning from our sin and walking with You.  We want to be drenched in You, to experience the downpour of You in our lives. Help us so our lives will bring glory to You. Amen.

Blessings,

The WM Team

Christmas Joy

It was my 5th store looking for that perfect gift. Christmas was still three weeks away and I was already exhausted. Work obligations and gatherings with family and friends had not slowed down since Thanksgiving. I desperately wanted some time to exhale. Can you relate? I can’t help but wonder is this what God wants? I got into my car to head home without the item I had hoped to find. There was baking to be done tonight for the elementary school celebration.

As I pulled into the driveway I couldn’t help but notice the bright star right above our home. Was God trying to tell me something? I walked into the house to be greeted by our pair of terriers so excited to have anyone home. Shortly after, the kids came in the door with their dad, dirty and tired from soccer. While they hit the showers, my husband came into the kitchen and gave me a quick hug, too quick. I just wanted to stay embraced in his arms for a little while longer. He opened the fridge door and retrieved a soda. Brushing past me he went to change clothes and find a game on TV to watch.

I pulled all the ingredients out for the dessert I was making and begin to blend the flour with cocoa. Opening the pantry door to throw away the empty containers I was looking at an overflowing bag. Once again our son had not taken out the trash even though we had just discussed this with him two days ago.  Sitting the containers down I pulled the bag out, tied it up, and went out back to put it in the large trash can. There was that star again, was it brighter than when I first got home? I stood there just gazing at it, and once again couldn’t help but wonder if God was trying to get my attention. The wise men had followed a star that led them to the Messiah.

Walking back inside I finished the dessert and went upstairs to take a long bath. After soaking for thirty minutes, I got up with my skin looking like a prune. Putting my robe on I walked over to the window and there it was again. The star! Just like a light being switched on, it hit me. God was telling me, “Stay focused on Me. After all I am the reason for all this celebrating.”

Have you ever felt like you were the last one to get something? My heart had been aching for some peace and it was right there all the time in Jesus. He had put that star in front of me three times saying, “I’m here, just whisper my name.” We find ourselves exhausted from our schedules. God says, “Come and sit with me awhile. Take time to truly enjoy Me and the gifts I have given you.” He tells us, “Be still and know I am God.” (Psalm 46:10)

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”  ~  Matthew 11:28-29

Father, forgive us when we get caught up in the hustle and bustle, and before we know it we have left You out of Christmas. Without you there would be no Christmas!  May we be intentional about exhaling, resting in you, and rejoicing in the gift of Your love and salvation. Keep us sensitive to the ways you speak to us, even by a star. Amen.

Blessings,

The WM Team

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(image credit: crosswalk.com)