Hi Friends, As many of you know I live in the Houston area that was recently pounded by Hurrican Harvey! It is beyond my feeble human mind to comprehend the wide spread destruction that has affected millions upon millions of people. A staggering number of people have lost everything, homes, cars, furniture, clothing, food and basic necessities! Some had flood insurance, but a staggering number of families did not. It will take months for Houston to begin to recover, and years to fully recover.
First, I would ask for you to pray!
This is a marathon, not a sprint.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”U5dUe” via=”no” ]It is going to take copious amounts of hard work, determination, and grit to see our city through this disaster.[/ctt]
Immediately, you can pray for the people who still need to be rescued, the first responders that have worked tirelessly for days on end. Pray that the dams will hold and the flood waters will recede. Many roads in Houston and the surrounding area are still under water, which makes an already congested city of millions difficult to get around in. Pray for peace for those who have been devastated by the loss.
Second, if you would like to do something to help, you can give to our church. Champion Forest Baptist Church is taking donations to rebuild our community, and 100 percent of the funds will go directly to help families affected by Hurricane Harvey. If you would like to help, you can donate to the link below.
In John 16:33, Jesus warns us that as long as we are living and breathing here on planet earth will have trouble, the storms in life will come, but Jesus tells us to be at peace.
” 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.”
Praise the Lord He has overcome the world! We can trust in Him in our time of need, and when we abide in Him, we will have peace. He will never leave us or forsake us but is with us in the midst of the storm.
Have you ever been really hurt by someone you love? Yeah, me too! It stinks, doesn’t it? When we love others, it makes us vulnerable, and sometimes we get hurt. We live in a fallen, broken, sinful world. People will disappoint us, they will fail us, and they will hurt us, and this is particularly the case when we are hurt by those we love most.
This week I encountered a woman who was deeply wounded by her adulterous now ex-husband, and her father who divorced her mother to marry a woman who was younger than she was. Those are the people that we least expect to hurt us. Our spouse, our parents, our children, our friends, the people we attend church with are the ones we expect to love us, and never hurt us. But they do.
When we are hurt by others our flesh wants to lash out in some visceral way. We want to share our hurts with others in hopes that we will find answers to our pain. If we receive wise counsel it can help us to process our feelings and emotions, and point us to Jesus. Faithful friends will be sure to pray with us and for us.
Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working. James 5:16 ESV
We need to be cautious who we share our hurts with because if we receive the wrong counsel it can further provoke us to foolishness, anger, wrath, and malice. We are responsible for ourselves, and we can not control the actions or emotions of others.
What should we do when we are deeply wounded by others?
First, we should pray!
Lay your worries and cares at the foot of the cross, because Jesus cares for us.
Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you,casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. – 1 Peter 5:6-8 ESV
From these verses in 1 Peter we are first told to humble ourselves, and cast all of our worry, concern and cares on Jesus because he cares for us. He loves us so much that he laid his life down for us that we might be saved.
In Psalms 46:1 we are told, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Second, we must choose to forgive.
Sometimes in our flesh, this is impossible to do. My heart was broken this week when I heard about a friend whose special needs son, who reminds me of my Connor, was horribly mistreated by his aid worker at school. Or another friend whose child was sexually abused by a classmate at school. It is situations like these that make forgiveness unthinkable, unfathomable, without the help of God.
For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, – Matthew 6:14 ESV
When we are unable to forgive, we must seek God to supernaturally forgive through us.
When we choose to forgive others who have wounded us, we are partaking in the mysteries of God. Jesus was despised, wounded, and rejected on our behalf. A man acquainted with sorrows. Who is our great high priest!
“Since then we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. – Hebrews 4:14-16 ESV
We can boldly enter the throne of grace and draw near to Jesus who understands our frailty and our humanity where we may obtain mercy and grace in our times of trouble! We do not serve a God who is far off, but one is who is near.
The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. – Psalm 34:18 ESV
When the disciples asked Jesus about the greatest commandment, this is what he said.
“Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.This is the great and first commandment.And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” – Matthew 22:36-40
We are to love God, and love others.
Even when they hurt us? YES!
What about when they hurt the ones we love? YES!
When they are our enemies? YES, even then.
What is impossible with man, is possible with God. We must choose to pray and seek God in times of trouble. Forgive those who have wounded us, and decide to love.
I can’t believe summer is almost over and it is still HOT as Blazes here in Houston! We are savoring our last few days of summer before we head back to school. I love the freedom and flexibility that summer offers, but part of me really likes getting back into a structured schedule for the school year.
Today I am excited to share that I finally got my social media channels all rebranded, thanks to my lovely new headshots taken by the beautiful and talented Sara Quinnett at Sara Jane Photography! Sara has done our family photography for years, but I really love the vision that she has for my blog!
You will see the lovely photo below is my new social media profile picture.
A special thank you goes to Black’s Table Market for opening their restaurant to us to use as a lovely air-conditioned backdrop for our photo session. Black’s Table Market is a farm to table restaurant that you might find located in one of the hip and trendy Houston hot spots, but fortunately for us, it is nestled in a shopping center near Vintage Park in the suburbs of North Houston. They have great food and lovely farm to table decor!
The shot above is my new banner on my social media platforms.
The Lord is teaching me all kinds of things that I can’t wait to share with you in the coming weeks! Until then be blessed.
We went to the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, North Carolina, and I was overwhelmed by the purity of his message; he preached the gospel and Him who was crucified. Billy Graham packed stadiums across the globe with the simple gospel message. People came by the thousands upon thousands to hear that Jesus loves them, that they should repent of their wicked ways and turn to Jesus Christ because only Jesus saves. The beauty of it brought me to tears. The message was not about Billy Graham, but about Jesus.
We live in a world that tries to convince us that it is all about me. Me time, my wants, my needs, my desires, anything I want. We should get as much as we can from this world that promises it all but leaves us feeling empty.
This makes me think of the “icky side” of Christian publishing, as a Christian author and blogger, the competition is fierce. There is a push to promote yourself and grow your platform to reach thousands with your book so that you can get that elusive book deal from the coveted publisher.
God has given us two hands – one to receive with and the other to give with. We are not cisterns made for hoarding; we are channels made for sharing. – Billy Graham
For me what grew from my love for my Lord and Savior has become a constant striving to go and be and do all of the things. To attend the right conferences, meet all the right people, and do all of the things in the name of Jesus.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”Rbd8b” via=”yes” ]When I am pushing and striving to grow my platform to help propel my ministry, then it becomes all about me, and not about Jesus.[/ctt]
Make sure of your commitment to Jesus Christ, and seek to follow Him every day. Don’t be swayed by the false values and goals of this world, but put Christ and His will first in everything you do. – Billy Graham
Taking a break from writing over the last few weeks to ponder and reflect upon my life has been good for me.
Making last minute preparations for my son’s wedding took priority over writing. Witnessing him make a covenant with the Lord in front of hundreds of people to love, honor, and cherish his bride proved to be a very emotional time.
Jane getting ready
The launching of my adult son into the world was much more emotionally charged than I had anticipated, and was followed by a much-needed vacation with my younger boys to rest and recharge before school starts.
As my sweet friend said, “Parenting adult children is not for the faint of heart”!
My son Jacob and myself
This break has been good for me as we have traveled across the country. We encountered the protective hand of God and His ministering angels, as we spun out into a ditch along the way but drove away unharmed.
We reconnected our hearts to longtime friends and spent hours talking, breaking bread and hiking out in the wonders of God’s creation.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”WJN1q” via=”yes” nofollow=”yes”]There is something special about getting away from it all, and spending time out in God’s creation that is so good for your soul.[/ctt]
Lake Norman State Park
[ctt template=”2″ link=”z3Vd5″ via=”yes” ]Face to face Christian fellowship is so important to build each other up.[/ctt]
We attended my friend’s church Elevation, the praise and worship was fantastic, andPastor Stephen’s powerful sermon blew me away as it felt like it was written specifically just for me! I love how God’s word can speak to us both corporately and individually!!
An opportunity to model for a fashion video with Fashion Meets Faith to teach women how to dress for their body types, in a way that is modest, but fashionable turned into a day filled with joy and laughter with some sweet Jesus girls. Look forward to seeing the finished product in September!
A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22 ESV
We also spent a day with my cousin on his organic farm, Coldwater Creek Farms.
There is so much of God’s truth that we can reflect on at the farm. You can see firsthand the principles of seed time and harvest, the types of soil, and be reaping and sowing, and so much more.
If you live near the Charlotte, NC area and love organic produce as much as I do, then you should check them out! You can find them on Facebook at Coldwater Creek Farms LLC.
My son Ian on the tractor at Coldwater Creek Farms
As I have taken a short break, God has spoken to me in many ways. God reminded me of some fundamental things I want to share with you today.
Ruth Bell Graham faithfully served her household and raised five children while Billy Graham traveled around the world as an evangelist. She considered being a wife and raising her children a divine calling.
Motherhood Matters, it is a divine calling
The Lord reminded me that Motherhood is a divine calling and until my children are fully grown my heart and attention should be turned to them. My time with them is fleeting, and I have the ability to shape and nurture souls to be used in the service of King. Laying my life down to serve my family, sometimes feels like denying myself and taking up my cross to follow Him.
[ctt template=”2″ link=”L_JSY” via=”yes” ]But what I do matters, both now and eternally and I need to choose wisely.[/ctt]
Prayer and Bible Study is paramount
I can not affect the kingdom, let alone my household if I am not spending adequate time studying the word of God, and in prayer. As believers, we have the resurrection power of the cross at our disposal and the blood of Jesus Christ. We have weapons of warfare at our disposal to tear down strongholds and set the captives free. Our prayer life should be alive and active like the word of God.
But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. – Matthew 6:33 ESV
Billy Graham preached revival to thousands upon thousands because he lived a life fully surrendered to the Lord. He spent time studying the word of God, and time in prayer.
The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, ‘O God, forgive me,’ or ‘Help me.’ -Billy Graham
It is not about me
The gospel message is simple and speaks for itself. It is not about me, but about what Christ has done for me, how Jesus has changed my life for the better, and what I can do because of Him. It is all about the cross, and Him crucified. The creator of the world, and Savior of the World, who loves us so much that He even knows the number of hairs on our head.
Heavenly Father, help me to be a good steward of everything that you have asked of me. I pray that my friends here that read this blog see my heart for you and may I always point them to you Jesus. It is all about you Jesus. Thank you for your love and grace and for the cross.