A Change of Pace

It’s been quite a while since I’ve written. I’ve wanted to. I’ve thought about it probably a thousand times, but something else always took priority over finding time to sit and spill it all to my little piece of the internet.

It could be that.

Or it could be that I have found myself in a rut. Writer’s block, if you will? That I have become so focused on other aspects of life that the creative outlet I love so much has become more of a nuisance.

When put that way, it sounds bad. It sounds like my love for writing may not be love at all. Loathe, perhaps?

You see, God has an incredible way of working in our lives. When God called me to create Coffee, Cuddles, and Jesus I knew He was on to something great. I knew He was using me to reach people in a way that I would have never had the confidence to do on my own. I knew He wanted to me write and to share my story.

The problem? There was something missing.
Passion.

Yes, I absolutely have a passion for Christ but I also have personal passions and goals. My biggest passion in life, especially now that I’m a mom, is setting a good example for my kids by exercising regularly and creating healthy meals for my family; all while keeping my focus on Christ and all He is doing in my life.

This is my passion.
This is my identity.
This is me.

So, friends, please bear with me as we go through a transformation.
Being anything but our best is not an option.

Many blessings,
Amity

 

And Now Why Do You Wait?

I talk so much about the amazing ways in which the Lord speaks to us.

A month or so ago, I decided it’s time for me to be baptized. I emailed my ministry team at church and signed up. Last week, I received the emails back and have been hesitant to respond.

Am I ready?
Have I changed my ways enough?
Have I repented enough?
Is my heart as pure as it needs to be?

Earlier today, I had a conversation explaining my feelings about it to a couple of my Christian girlfriends. I explained my thoughts and worries and they reassured me and we moved onto another topic. Later this afternoon, I began listening to Christian music on my iPhone. I was listening and browsing for new music and “Back to the Garden” by Crowder, came to mind. It is my absolute favorite song at the moment.

Upon listening and being deeply moved — as I always am with this song — I decided to watch the video. This, my friends, is the perfect example of God speaking to us through music.

As I watch to the end, I begin to weep. Weep with thanksgiving to our God, who makes things so clear. To our God who doesn’t require us to be perfect to receive His grace and love.

This is what our Savior does. When we begin to doubt the Truth, when we feel as if we aren’t worthy of Him, or when we doubt ourselves and what we are doing; He delivers. He uses whatever means available and He speaks what we need to hear. He speaks His Truth and makes things in question clear again.

And now why do you wait? Get up, be baptized and wash your sins away, calling on his name. – Acts 22:16

Blessings,
Amity

A Change of Season

Mamas, the change of season is inevitable. We find ourselves shifting from hot days filled with barbecues by the beach to cool evenings spent warming ourselves by a fireplace. Although summertime may be what speaks to our soul, autumn is always around the corner. The same goes for changes in our lives. In my own life, I have noticed God tend to stir things up just as I begin to get comfortable — just as I figure things out. The changing of seasons in our lives is also inevitable, but it is how you adjust and the outlook in which you have, that make all of the difference throughout your journey.

Philippians 4:4-7says, “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of god, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

As I enter a season of change in my life, I am finding myself spending much more time with the Lord in prayer. I have been consistently reminding myself that He is in control and that His plans for my life are greater than anything I could imagine. Although normally at this time I would be overcome with anxiety and stress, I am now experiencing a sense of peace like I have never experienced in my life.

No matter what it is that you are facing, know that by placing your faith in Him and all your burdens on Him, you, too, can be overcome with peace in the most stressful of times. In all honesty, I am proof of that.

Phil. 4-6

Seek God
In seeking God through your most difficult or unknowing times, you ultimately are preparing your heart for His great works. Instead of holding onto anxieties, by seeking the Lord and placing your burdens on Him, you will be freeing yourselves of unnecessary fear so the you will be able to experience the power, love, and self-control given to us by the Lord. (2 Timothy 1:7)

Maybe you are new to seeking God or you aren’t quite sure how to go about trying to find Him. God speaks to us through our circumstances, our relationships, through music, through Scripture, and through prayer; you just need to search for Him. If you are having trouble finding Him in the midst of your time of chaos, take heart and remember the message from Jeremiah to the Exiles, 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. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:11-13)

Relinquish control
As a mama, I will be the first to admit that I may have a control issue. (Hi, I’m Amity and I love being in control!) But that’s just the thing; I am not! God takes the burden of constantly being in control away, all the while sustaining us on our journey through the unknown. (Psalm 55:22)

Exodus 14:14 says: “The Lord will fight for you, you only need to be still.”
Be still.
It’s easier said than done, am I right mommies?! But that’s exactly what the Lord wants us to do. He wants to work in us and through us while we sit back and enjoy the ride. When you learn to turn your control over to the Lord, marvelous things will happen!

Pray, pray, and pray some more
“I prayed to the Lord, and he answered me.  He freed me from all my fears.” Psalm 34:4

Personally, it is through prayer when God speaks the most clearly. He has brought forth so many answers to lingering questions that I have had for years; He has released me from my fears and made me see that He is the one in whom I should be placing all of my trust. Prayer has brought me closer to my husband and to my children. Prayer has helped me to see that I am ultimately not the one who is in control and that I need to allow God to follow through with the amazing plans He has for me. Praying is humbling. Praying is refreshing. Mamas, above all else, pray.

Allow your walls to crumble
What could possibly be scarier than witnessing your walls of protection crumble around you? I cannot think of many things more stressful than Daniel’s situation as he was thrown into the lions’ den. Consider for a moment his faith in the Lord as he was face-to-face with a lion. (Daniel 6:16-18) How amazing! Would you be courageous? Would you have doubts in the Lord’s ability to keep you safe?

What happens next is even more incredible!

Then King Darius wrote to all the peoples, nations, and languages that dwell in all the earth: “Peace be multiplied to you. I make adecree, that in all my royal dominion people are to tremble and fearbefore the God of Daniel,
for he is the living God,

enduring forever;
his kingdom shall never be destroyed,
and his dominion shall be to the end.
He delivers and rescues;
he works signs and wonders
in heaven and on earth,
he who has saved Daniel
from the power of the lions.”
So this Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian. (Daniel 6:25-28)

This potential disastrous event was made wonderful all because of Daniel’s allowance to let his walls of protection crumble and to place all of his faith in the Lord. When you turn it all over to God, not only are you giving the Lord the opportunity to set you free (Psalm 118:5) but you are also allowing non-believers to see the way God works wonders in our lives; which draws them closer to Him.

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
I discussed this passage here; it is a favorite of mine!

God may drag us through the snow only to show us the tulips of spring but if we don’t give him the opportunity to do so, we will never fully appreciate the beauty of the blossoms. When you feel uneasy about a new season on which you are about to embark, keep your eyes peacefully set on those tulip buds. May this season be your best!

Blessings,
Amity

Testimony

Today, I am feeling inspired to write. Maybe it is the wonderfully lively aroma of coffee in the air and hearing the hustle and bustle of the other zombie-like beings eagerly waiting for their daily pick-me-ups. It could even be that I know my husband is enjoying himself golfing and my kids are at school, having fun with their friends (aka: mommy time!!). Whatever it may be, I’ll take it!

IMG_1175After much prayer, God made it clear to me that I need to make it known how my love for and trust in Him all began. This is lengthy and personal. This isn’t easy for me to write but, it is me and it is how I came to know my Savior. In sharing this, my hope is that at least one other person comes to see that through all of our difficulties and failures, our Father is so loving and forgiving that no matter what you do, you cannot disappoint or upset Him enough to have Him quit on you.

He will ALWAYS be here to catch us.
He will ALWAYS be here to love us.
He will ALWAYS be here to redeem us.

I wasn’t raised in a home of the Lord. My grandparents went to church and occasionally brought me with them when I was young. I went through most of my adolescence without the presence of God and when I was a teenager — a rebellious one, at that — my parents decided they wanted to start attending a local church. I did whatever I could to not go. At that time of my life, I was angry and bitter; I was angry at certain family members for their lack of presence in my life. I was bitter for decisions that others’ in my life had made which directly affected me. I was wiser than what the adults around me believed. I got into fights at school and pushed away friends. Around this same time, I had a cousin who had just attended a Young Life camp. She had a great time and convinced me to attend a meeting with her. Enter: my mustard seed (Luke 17:6).

At the time of my high school graduation, I was dating a guy whose parents were devout Christians. He had been brought up as a Christian and his family was very involved in their local church. His mom convinced me to go with them and, although I still didn’t believe the Word, I read it. I attended church with them on several occasions and for my graduation gift, his mom gifted me a Bible. My very first Bible! Due to many circumstances, I eventually lost contact with this family and also lost contact with God.

Fast forward a few years and I met Greg, my husband. Greg was also raised in a very Godly home but together, we never attended church. After dating for three years, we married. It was during our first deployment as a married couple (our fourth deployment together) that I had my first encounter with God. This specific separation was particularly difficult for me because I had recently received news of possible infertility, I was missing my husband, I needed my childhood friends who were across the country, and through my tears and out of desperation, I pleaded to God. I opened my Bible to a random page and witnessed, for the fist time, the Lord speaking to me.

This was the verse to which my Bible opened:

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Isaiah 40:28-31 states, “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God. He does not faint or grow weary; he is understanding and unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; 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 be faint.”

Everlasting? Understanding? He gives power to the faint? He increases my strength? This is exactly what I needed; God knew it and He delivered. I began attending church and started putting my faith into the Lord. Unfortunately, though, later that year my faith was tested: My husband lost a dear friend and two months later, I had a miscarriage (after consistently trying for a baby). Instead of running to God when I needed him most, I turned from Him.

I was devastated.
I was angry with myself and I was angry with God.
How could God allow such terrible things to happen?

Not long after our loss, we moved to a new duty station where I tried to, once again, find God. I tried to find a church home but none of them seemed to be a good fit. I no longer felt God’s presence and I no longer heard Him speaking to me. I felt betrayed by Him and demanded answers. So, I prayed. I prayed and prayed and prayed. Though my faith wasn’t strong, I still prayed. I prayed for comfort during my time of mourning. I prayed for peace over mine and my husband’s hearts. I prayed for God to seek me, once again. I prayed for God to bless my womb.

On November 6th of the next year, I bore a son.
Almost two years later, I bore a daughter.

Though you would assume this time was joyous, I instead was succumbed to postpartum depression. After having my daughter I begin with withdraw from my husband and even my new baby. I became negative and began to feel hopeless. My husband was sent away again and I was alone with my six-month-old and my two-year-old. I had no family to help and my friends’ husbands were also away so I felt as though I couldn’t lean on them. I had nowhere to turn so, once again, I opened my heart to God.

In seeking the Lord, I began to hear Him calling to me. This time, unlike the past, I began to obey what He was asking of me. I started attending church. I joined the local chapter of Protestant Women of the Chapel (PWOC), and I even began to host a Bible study in my own home. I began to see my life in a different light and God has enabled me to feel hopeful. Through my faith and prayer, I have also had a positive influence on my family; my husband is now a believer, as is my toddler. I have gained several sisters in Christ and I have even registered to be baptized at my church, next month.

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John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit and that your fruit should abide, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name, he may give it to you.”

It is thanks to our Heavenly Father that I am where I am today. I didn’t have a picture-perfect childhood and I am far from perfect, but in the Lord’s eyes, I am enough.

I am the mother whom He chose to raise two of His children.
I am the wife whom He selected to love Greg.
I am the friend whom He is enabling to serve my Sisters in Christ.
I am the daughter whom He is using to disciple and to speak of His great name.

I am enough; and mamas, no matter where you are currently or what you have experienced in your past, so are you.

Many blessings,
Amity

Guiding Your Children Through Prayer; Repentance

Acts 3:19 tells us to, “Repent, then, and turn to God, so that He will forgive your sins.” 

As parents, I believe it is extraordinarly important for our children to hear and see us pray. Not only does this promote normalcy with prayer in our home, but it allows our children an opportunity to see how we handle situations. If we are grateful, where do we go first;  to worldly friends to potentially boast, or do we go to God in thanksgiving? If a problem arises, to whom do we turn; to family to ask for their opinion or do we pray to God in supplication? Our children are watching and it’s our job as Christian mamas raise our littles to know and trust in God’s unwavering love.

pray

How this all began: One day my three-year-old son decided it was a good idea to hurl a block at his seventeen-month-old sister, hitting her smack-dab in the back of head. Instead of putting him in time out — which if I’m being completely honest, I would normally would do — I took a deep breath and allowed the Lord to bring forth an opportunity to use this as a teaching moment. I knelt down next to him and softly asked him to apologize. He said sorry and gave her a hug; but this time I took it a step further and I told him he needed to pray to God for forgiveness. With a slight look of confusion, he did it. We moved on and proceeded with our day.

Fast forward to just after dinner and he, yet again, did something against his younger sister. Just as I asked him to notice how sad Rory was and after giving him the, “we need to be more considerate” speech, he closed his eyes and began to pray. “Jesus, please help me to be a better Ivo. I’m sorry I took a toy from sissy and made her cry. Amen.”

What?!

I had no idea that the simple act repentance earlier that day would have enough impact for him to remember it, nonetheless pray for forgiveness on his own. It was in this moment when I realized it was time to dig deeper in our relationship with God through prayer. Since this scenario, about four weeks ago, we have made it a point to not only repent during our nighttime prayers but to also stop what you are doing and confess your sinful behavior to Christ, as it happens. Since doing this we have seen significant improvements in his behavior.

Mamas, I am challenging you to try intentional repentance in your home with your children. After one week, I will check back and I would love to hear how this simple act of obedience improves your relationship with your child, and even more so, your child’s relationship with their Father.

Have a blessed Monday,
Amity

The Power of Persistence in Prayer

Mamas, let’s talk about the power of persistence in prayer for just a minute.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 tells us to “pray without ceasing;” and let me tell you, I have done it. I have prayed for so many things in my life and, in His time, God always comes through.
He is, after all, an unfailing God who hears our cry.

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This verse was written in my planner on March 18, 2013; nearly five years ago.

“Wives, in the same way, submit to yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the Word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives, when they see the purity and reverence of your lives.”  -1 Peter 3:1-2

Each day since this was written I have prayed for the salvation of my husband. I prayed that he may keep an open mind and a soft heart when it comes to our Lord; that God would bring and keep His spirit in my husband’s heart; that He would remove Satan’s binding influence; and that the Lord would clearly show him that all wonderful things are blessings from above. In this, I also had to pray for myself. I prayed for a soft, humble, and understanding heart toward my husband; I prayed for an opportunity to minister to him and to bring him closer to God; I prayed for patience; I prayed for understanding; and I prayed for other believers to have an influence on him.

Well, mamas, our gracious Father has came through, yet again. Last night it became clear that God has been doing His mighty work on my husband’s heart. After years and years of prayer, God is, once again, showing his unfailing love! What a wonderful blessing!

Mamas, when you begin to feel discouraged in your prayers or feel as if God is not hearing your cry; know He is. Jeremiah 29:12 says, “Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you.” He hears you. He has a plan for you and He knows what is best for you. He loves you and He will never fail you. Patience mama; your time is coming!

Happy and blessed Monday,
Amity

Leap of Faith

God has a beautiful way of speaking to us. Whether it be through His Word in Scripture, through prayer, through our children, through music, or through our circumstances. It is no coincidence that on the day of my initial blog post, this is the ‘Verse of the Day’ on my YouVersion Bible app (this app is AMAZING, by the way!).

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The day where I am overcome with hesitation.
The day where I am fighting anxiousness.
The day where I am lacking confidence.

Joshua 1:9 states “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

The book of Joshua begins with the death of Moses. At this time, God appointed Joshua to be the new leader of His people, to help them get into the land God had promised them. Who better to take on this role than Joshua, who had previously been trained and equipped by Moses through God. (Numbers 27:18-23)

Knowing that Joshua was nervous and fearful, God spoke words of comfort to him. “Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you.” – Joshua 1:3 The most beautiful component of this passage is Joshua’s submission. Though he was apprehensive, he still followed God’s command and overtook the promised land.

Mamas, God knows we are fearful. Whether it be concerning our children, our marriage, or our finances; the Lord knows and commands us to be strong and courageous, for He is with us wherever we go. Let that sink in for a moment. Wherever we go. We cannot go anywhere or do anything to prevent God from being our stronghold and our refuge.

Let’s think back to the passage. God clothed Joshua with His mighty strength, ordering him to not be afraid nor discouraged, and Joshua listened! Joshua heard the call of God and obeyed God’s word. It was because of Joshua’s obedience that the mission into the promised land was successful. What an incredible blessing!

So mamas, you tell me; are you listening when God is speaking?

Have a blessed Wednesday,
Amity