Concerning Change | Part 1

After marrying in May 2015, my husband and I decided to step down from camp ministry and take time to pray, consider, and seek God for our next life step. While away from organized ministry, I grew as an individual, discovered things about myself that needed changing, and came to conclusions about things in heart that had been submerged.

Throughout this time, Ben and I would ask each other — So, what do you think about camp? We’d discuss the pros and cons. At the end of most those conversations, we didn’t feel any closer to a decision. Although bit by bit, we made headway.

Change1

Soon, it became clear that returning to Christian camp ministry was the next right step for us as a couple. We enjoyed camp work, loved the atmosphere, desired to serve God with all our hearts, and knew that camp ministry was a place where we could learn and grow for Christ! In December 2015, we confirmed our decision, and by January, everything was set to head in that direction.

Ben and I looked toward this next step with excitement. We prepared and enjoyed the remaining months before our move in May. When May came, it hit us hard and fast! Though eager for this new life adventure, transitioning back into camp life proved more difficult than I’d anticipated.

I wanted to take this step but struggled with all the change. Confusion and emotions warred inside me. All the new responsibilities and expectations felt unmanageable. I was overwhelmed. Questions flew through my mind. How? Why am I here? How am I supposed to do this? Change shouldn’t hurt this badly!

I experienced highs and lows, especially in those first 48 hours. As the days passed and the second week of this new life came, I felt more comfortable even as I gained confidence. However, the feeling of being overwhelmed would still rise and my physically tired body would respond in rebellion. No, I can’t! How will I make it to the end? I can’t do it! My mind continued to spin … how, how, how? NO, NO, NO.

Then, I received a gentle reminder. It was not my responsibility to deal with an entire week at once. God didn’t ask me to live Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday all in one fell swoop. How often I try to live all the days in one sitting! It’s exhausting. I can’t do it. I’m too fragile. God knows this and He only give me one moment at a time. One small, real, pressing moment. “Sierra, live this moment right here, right now.”

I am not to dwell on yesterday, or worry about tomorrow. I am only to live this small, real, pressing moment. Just this one. When I do this, it isn’t overwhelming. It doesn’t break me. One step at a time brings me forward. One step at a time brings me through a busy, transitional week. One step at a time has me living life well!

One step at a time for the rest of my life sounds daunting until I actually start living this way. One step. Two. Three steps. Four. I don’t have to be afraid. I don’t have to be overwhelmed. I don’t have to give up.

What is it in your life that worries you? Are you concerned that you can’t do everything that you’re asked to do? Remember that God doesn’t ask you to live all your days at once. He gives you strength for the moment right in front of you. Live that one moment. Live it well. Live it for Him!

Throughout the rest of July, I will share some personal stories, and some practical tips that I hope will help you as you undergo your own life changes!

In Christ,

Sierra Straightforward

 

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Sharing the Joy of Others

One of the biggest lessons I learned this last year is to share in the joy of others. In November, I took to my blog to write those reflections for my readers. It weighed on my heart. I stayed up until the early morning hours to finish it, eager to share my discoveries.

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In the last month, we have discussed the value of others, the variety of our life stories, and the importance of coming alongside other people on this long, hard, worthwhile journey. Thinking of others doesn’t come easily, we are selfish people — every single one of us. Considering others takes work, especially as we trudge through deep valleys of our own. However, I want to encourage you to not only look at other people, but to see themA task that requires purpose and thought.

Most of us have social media accounts. Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Pinterest, we have accounts! While participating in these online communities, we often rebel against the perfection that our friends post. We wonder why we don’t have such beautiful lives. We judge our whole person-hood by likes on a photo. But last November, as I started to realize the uniqueness of my story, I also began to see the lives of my friends in a different way.

Our lives are something to be shared, not shown off. I pulled today’s reflections from my November blog post, “It’s Not about My Messy Life.” 

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 What if —

Instead of going against the tidal wave of edited photos and pretty life moments, I purposefully decided to enjoy the lives my friends are living.

What if —

I shared in their joy, took their happiness as my own, commented kindly and sincerely on the beauty, the laughter, the smiles, and the honest highlights of their lives.

What if —

It wasn’t about fixating on the mess, but deeply enjoying the mountaintops. And shouting a CONGRATS to those on the top when I am in the midst of a valley.

What if —

I delighted — relished — absorbed — cherished — held close the wonder and magic in the lives of my friends.

What if —

It’s not about me at all. Not even the stripped divulging of my mess. Not even the promoting of my world. But the sharing, the sharing of each other. Life to life. Bare of comparison, clothed in the joy of each other.

What if —

I threw back their joy double the size they had initially.

Honestly —

I should care less that its edited. That it looks perfect, pristine, and magical. I should care less if the Newsfeed is full of highlights that look nothing like my current life.

By now, I should be mature enough to inwardly, purposefully accept that life is messy and that my friends don’t have perfect lives. I should be mature enough not to compare my life to the edits. I should be well past the proving of my authentic existence.

I should value —

Knowing who to share parts of my mess with (hint: it’s not the whole world).

Knowing when to share the highlights.

Knowing when to share hardship and when to share wonder.

I should remember to hold the private moments — both good & bad — in the corners meant for my heart.

I should remember to live and cherish my own memories, nurture my personal relationships, and deepen the bonds in my life all without an audience.

And maybe —

I am given a daily chance to cherish the lives of others through the edited pictures, strings of happy moments, and special milestones posted on social media. And maybe that’s all OK. It might even be really good, because perhaps this is something I was meant to do: delight in the joy of others. 

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Can I just tell you how sharing in the joy of my friends and family has enriched my life? I am content in my story while sharing in other stories. Social media provides a way for me to be a small part of so many lives. That should not make me jealous, envious, or discontent. Rather, it should fuel joy, gratitude, and sincere relationships!

Living within your own story means hard work, but it is so worth it. As you live within your own story, don’t forget to look out and share in the lives of your friends and family. Don’t forget to see their joy and celebrate alongside them. When sharing, and not showing off, becomes the goal, the social media community becomes a joy, not a burden.

In Christ,

Sierra Straightforward

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Your Story Is Different than Mine

Comparing my life to someone else’s always comes easily. Chances are, if you’ve been in this Internet world long enough, you’ve read a blog post — or two or three — about the futility and vanity of comparison. They are right! It destroys and leads to pride or discontent.

I’ve fallen in the comparison trap plenty of times. Too many. We all have! By this point, most (if not all!) of us know that comparison is empty and we don’t need another blog post to tell us all about its vanity. Instead, I want you to get excited about your story. Look at what you have, the experiences you’ve been through, the adventures you’ve enjoyed, the trials you’ve endured, and become excited for this gift of your life!

differentstory

Not too long ago, I stumbled into the comparison game. Unrest plagued me as I pondered on what I had missed as though it held the key to my happiness. I became so absorbed in what might have been and in trying to squeeze into another person’s reality that I totally disregarded my life.

It left me drained and restless. So, I embarked on a partial media fast. I steered clear of Instagram and the Facebook Newsfeed, and I only used Pinterest for recipes. Instead, I focused on my own story. I decided to remove distractions to get to the heart of my problem.

Continue reading “Your Story Is Different than Mine”

The Kitchen, Cooking, & Confidence

My husband and I recently celebrated our first year anniversary (May 23rd!). It has been a full year! I have enjoyed being a wife and not having to plan a wedding anymore! I’ve also learned a lot.

I’ve had a good start to my journey as Mrs. Sierra Fedorko, but I had to re-learn a lesson that can apply to anyone’s life, married or not.

our fist home
Our first home

I used to call myself a go-getter. The kind of person who confidently plunged into new things. It turns out, I’m confident with the things I know I do well, those that hold minimal risk of failure. I accept failure as long as I don’t believe I can succeed. I automatically cross off anything that doesn’t fall under my natural gifts and abilities. I don’t try to learn it. I give up before I even begin. I’m notorious for this. So much for being a confident, go-getter!

Leading up to marrying Ben, I convinced myself I couldn’t cook. Now, I do have some horror stories in the kitchen department, including a box cake that turned out flat and super oily brownies (stories for a different day!). But I had barely spent time in the kitchen. I just assumed that since I wasn’t a natural, I wouldn’t excel at it.

Could we live off of chocolate chip cookies? After all, that entailed the extent of my culinary prowess. It became our joke, but I knew I had to learn. I was nervous about it. When I voiced my concern to Ben, he assured me that we could learn together. I didn’t marry a make-me-a-sandwich man, and I was thankful he’d learn alongside me. It comforted me.

So, we got married on a windy May day. I wore a pretty dress. We took a thousand+ photos. We said our vows. Happiness abounded. But do you want to know something?! The wedding day doesn’t last forever, and I had to buckle down and learn how to cook!

Remember, I had already accepted failure. I let fear stand in the way and put unnecessary limitations on myself. So my kitchen days began. I scoured Pinterest for easy recipes, I fumbled with pans and measuring cups, I had a horribly hilarious experience baking bread, and I made a surprising discovery.

I enjoyed cooking!

Wait a minute … how many times had I vocalized my inaptitude in the kitchen? How many times had I said how much I disliked cooking? How many times had I accepted failure, before making any true attempts to learn? So, so many times!

You can’t pick and choose when to exemplify confidence in life. It doesn’t mean doing only what you’re good at and avoiding anything new and different. Don’t pull a Sierra!

Understand that failure is inevitable, but don’t place limitations on yourself and accept defeat as the final word. I’m learning to tackle new things and exhibit confidence even in areas I struggle with. I now plunge in, knowing that failure means I can learn from my mistakes.

Being confident doesn’t mean I’ll thrive in everything. It means I refuse to limit myself to a little Sierra Box. I want to keep learning, undertaking challenges that scare me. And folks, cooking scared me! However, a year later, I have learned I love spending time in the kitchen. Can you imagine if I had gone on forever just believing that I was a terrible cook? I almost did.

These days, I experience more successes than failures in the kitchen, but the failures make for hilarious stories. All because I made myself learn something that didn’t flow naturally.

My advice? Don’t give up before you begin. Don’t be scared of failure. Confidently plunge into the things you don’t do well and let yourself learn. You may be pleasantly surprised!

Sierra Straightforward

 

Straightforward

As I started the process of writing for this ministry, Takiela asked me to come up with a name for my column. I didn’t know what to do. It stumped me for hours! My husband had some really good ideas. He claims he’s not a writer, but he’s quite poetic. Anyhow, we threw around good names, but they weren’t quite right. So, hours passed and I remained stuck in a rut!

Then, straightforward came to my attention. I wish that more adults would be straightforward. Let me tell you something, spending time with children can be refreshing and embarrassing. Why? Because, they are straightforward. They say what’s on their minds without the expended energy of beating around the bush. Kids don’t have a bush!

As you get older, you learn discernment. This is good! We should be discerning with what we say. But with age, we’ve also learned how to hide within ourselves and shut people out. We’ve learned to gloss over our problems and only show so much.

However, as a young woman, I want older women to be transparent with me. I want them to tell me what they have experienced, what they have learned. I want to hear their stories, so that I can grow from them. As people, we have all these experiences that we stack in a corner of our heart. We don’t tell or show anyone. Our hearts are closed tight, and we are closed off.

 

Sierra Straightforward

But this little column here? It’s going to be straightforward. This place will share, open up, and welcome you in. This tiny nook is going to be the corner of my heart that you get to sit inside. I’ll be discerning in the things I share, but I’ll also be straightforward and transparent. I hope you’ll do the same. Leave comments, tell me your story, and become a part of this FLOURISH community. I want to get to know you as you get to know me!

You don’t know many things about me yet, so I hope to take the next few weeks to show you some of the biggest mountaintops and deepest valleys of my life. Let me tell you, my story isn’t all sunshine and lollipops. No one has a sunshine, lollipop story! We just don’t. Each life holds hardness, goodness, heartbreak, joy, suffering, pain, hope, wonder, fulfilled dreams, and unfulfilled ones.

My life doesn’t resemble Pinterest-perfect images, and I’m glad for that. Life is much better than a perfect image. The tattered parts bring me closer to God, as the joy and fullness show me how much wonder God has given.

I hope that as I write and we share our lives together — we will come to realize the joy of imperfection, the wonder of life, whole and beaten.

Oh, how whole and beaten it is!

I have struggled with anxiety since the age of 12. It doesn’t burden me all the time. Rather, it comes in waves and knocks me off my feet. I fall flat for months at a time as I re-learn how to apply God’s truth to the battles in my mind.

At 15, I transitioned into chronic pain. It confused me. My thoughts grew dark. I took various pain medications. At times that the pain became so bad, I just wanted to die. The deepest part of the chronic pain valley stretched on for four years before I found a semblance of relief. I still struggle with pain today, but God has poured His strength on me. I have sought and found the comfort He provides. Even more, He has shown the mighty power of His healing.

So you see, my life is beaten and torn, but it is whole and joy-filled. That’s what I want to share here, the details of this beaten, whole, weary, full life. I’ve barely even scratched the surface of my young heart, but today, I wanted you to see some of what Sierra Straightforward will be about. I’ve said it before, but I can’t wait to share this life with you. And perhaps, you’ll want to share your life with me too.

In Christ,

Sierra Straightforward

Meet Sierra Fedorko

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How do you compose the opening sentences that will introduce you to a community of people? How do you jump in and introduce yourself? First meetings can be awkward, so maybe it’s nice you’re behind a screen for this one!

All that to say, I’m Sierra. I’m glad you joined me, and I’m thrilled to be here! I won’t attempt to explain myself in one post. You might get bored and my fingers might cramp. But I can tell you that I’m thankful to start this journey alongside you.

Before we dive in too deep, I will share a few things about me. I’m young, though this last birthday had me feeling old. I mean, I’m in my 20’s now! YIKES. Also, I’ve never been a flower girl, but both my sisters and a lot of my friends have. I jokingly started the Never Been a Flower Girl club. Feel free to join if you fall under this category! Our club is small. Really small.

I started writing at about the age 10 or 11, and I took to all things poetry. I had a little desk in the trees where I wrote quite a bit of my young poetry. As I got older, I continued to write, but my writing and thoughts became darker as I endured heavy, hard chronic pain.

I eventually created a blog. My need to write only increased as I journaled, composed short stories, and worked on my first book. The journey of my life traverses through valleys and mountains, and my writing expressed all of that. Looking back, I see joy and anguish in my penned words.

As life moved forward, I continuously wrote on my blog. I recorded my journey, wrote from the darkness, wrote from the joy, and shared my life with people. Then in December 2014, Leading Young Women to Hope presented me with an opportunity. After reading my blog, talking with me, and explaining the ministry, LYWH offered me the position of columnist. This provided a place to write, a place to share my hope in Christ, and a place that would stretch me. Of course, I was excited.

The opportunity was right there, open for me, ready for me. Without obligation, they gave me time to consider it. Boy, did I consider it! The opportunity dangled close enough to touch, but I found myself in the middle of the busiest two semesters in my life (so far anyway)! To top all that, I got engaged soon after the offer came in.

A bit into the New Year, I made the decision that I couldn’t commit, not yet. I wouldn’t be able to give my best, not between teaching, taking classes, planning a wedding, enduring chronic pain, and going to numerous doctor’s appointments while waiting for approval for surgery. I couldn’t dedicate the time needed when embarking on a new project. Time is tricky. You never get more of it, forcing you to choose how you use your limited supply. So I did. I said no, and in doing so, I said yes to commitments I already had.

I took my busy classes, continued teaching JH students, planned a wedding, went on school trips, had doctor’s appointments, had surgery, got married, and honeymooned.

AND SURVIVED.

November 2015 rolled around and with it, perhaps the time to say yes to this writing opportunity. I had less commitments now and could devote my time even if it came months and months later. So here I am. I can now confidently write, invest, and share with this community, with you. I look forward to it! I want to share many things in my life with you.

I want to impart my experiences, my hope in Christ, His grace in my life. I want to cry the anguished tears together and walk hand-in-hand as we encourage each other to press on for Christ. I don’t want to hoard this journey but rather open up and let you in. I want God to receive glory as we walk together along this beaten path.

Thanks for letting me be a part of your life.

In Christ,

Sierra Straightforward

Your Season Premiere

Katrina Hunter

Set Free (Hannah’s Corner)

 

Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:

Psalm 1:3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither– whatever they do prospers.

I have several television shows that I thoroughly enjoy, but unfortunately most of these shows no longer air on regular television anymore. I have to rely my DVD collection or Netflix in order to enjoy a good laugh. A couple of my shows were cancelled for various reasons, but on the other hand, some of these I shows that I love went off the air due to a mutual creative decision by its producers and cast. Therefore, it wasn’t cancelled – it was just simply time for the show to go.

In both cases, depending on how long the show aired, I began to notice a couple of things.

1- The difference in the pilot episode of the show compared to the other episodes that followed it.

The way the characters looked, spoke, and behaved changed throughout the show’s life. Let’s not even go there with the hair and clothes! Sometimes cast members even changed. People who were there in Season 1 are gone by Season 3. You can see over the years how the show developed from a cinematic point of view in the way footage was shot. Sometimes more background music was incorporated into episodes. There were times when I actually preferred some of the new episodes of shows verses the old ones because they looked and sounded so much better. Why? Over time (seasons) – improvements were implemented to make the show fantastic and look refreshed.

Then I also noticed this.

2- Each season of a show, there was always a building up to a climax.

The start of a new season and the ending of an old one.  A season finale may contain a cliffhanger ending to be resolved in the next season or it could bring open-ended storylines to a close, “going out on a high.”  Season premieres are the beginning of one season with several episodes in between that tells you a story that leads to a season finale…and has you on the edge of your seat until the new one begins.

I wonder, Beloved – which one of these places do you find yourself in now?

Is it the person who is looking back over their life and seeing how far you have come yet see so much more of how far you can go? Are you finding yourself in a new place (new season) where you need to do some growing? Are you just starting school? A new business endeavor?

Or beloved – are you finding yourself in a season finale of a situation? You are ending one season in your life and now you are on the edge of your seat as to what is about to happen next? Perhaps your season started 5 years ago. Your season started with a diagnosis from a doctor and now you are on your way to restoration and healing.

Or… Are you in both situations?
Reflecting on old seasons and growth – but holding on for your SEASON PREMIERE?other image - season premiere

Galatians 6:9 says “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

I must confess that I can remember a time when reflecting on how far I had come in God and with God just wasn’t good enough for me. I didn’t care much about growth and being thankful for it. I just wanted the future – NOW! I got tired of meditating on how far God had brought me (though I was thankful) – I just wanted him to take me past where I was at the present. I needed more of Him but I also wanted more FROM Him.

Almost gave up on myself. Lord help me – almost gave up on Him.

When things are not happening when we think they should, as we think they should – we can quickly say “God is not at work in my life.” We will focus on all of the things that ARE NOT and completely overlook the things THAT ARE.

Beloved, what has been your focus lately? Seasons past or seasons yet to come?

In seasons of our lives, we can get easily distracted and forget that He is at work around us and in us – we just need to pay more attention. I believe that once we can appreciate what God has done for us in previous seasons and open our eyes to see how he is currently moving NOW in where we are, he will draw “this season” to a close.

Then my dear – you and I can really begin holding on to the edge of our seats! We will be telling ourselves and others that our Season Premiere will be

#EXPLOSIVE!  

The season coming up will be the most viewed in our history.

Get your popcorn & soda and #tunein!

It’s gonna be a great one!

My Son

Starlet Ware Encouragement and PrayerNovember 2014 Downloads 041

I believe God gave me the absolutely best Son ever!  He has always been very independent, sensitive, stubborn, flexible, quiet, smart and good humored.  There were times when he was younger that I felt like I was getting it all wrong due to words that were spoken to me.  I let those words crush me until a school teacher spoke encouraging words to me that canceled out the previous negative words.  I thank God I love to learn and apply what I learn.  I also tell everyone what I learn.  I believe my Brandon listens and applies what he learns as well.

My Brandon isn’t perfect, but he is perfect for our family.  I love him so much.  Sometimes I don’t believe I was so blessed to be his mom.  He is a college student studying Culinary Science.  He is such a studious young man.  He rooms with 3 other guys and he is the ‘mature’ one.  I have to giggle when he tells me about some of the things that bother him because they are the things that drove me up the wall when he was home.  I am so proud to say this 21 year old MAN has been doing his own laundry, cooking for himself and cleaning up after himself for many years.  Hallelujah!

For a few years, my Brandon didn’t like his mother or at least that is how it felt.  I chalk that up to him searching for his way in the world.  I kept talking to him and most of the time, he listened respectfully.  He was in charge of checking our mail while we were on our cruise.  When he came over after we returned, he stayed and chatted with me about school, his graduation date, finances and his current classes.  I enjoyed our conversation very much.

My sweet, little boy is now a handsome, grown man!

God gave me his very best!  What else would he give since He “gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” John 3:16.

Someday, I Will…

“Someday, I will go on a cruise/travel, go to school, get out of school; learn to paint/cook/skate/write/ride a bike.  Someday, I will learn to read my Bible for understanding.  Someday, I will get a different job.  Someday, I will quit this job that is killing me and start my own business.”

What is your “someday” excuse?  Each of us has one (two or more) or had one or more before we made the decision to go for it or as Nike says: Just Do It!

It has taken me a long time to ‘decide’ to go ahead and do the things I have held myself back from doing.  I took swim lessons in 2014 after years of saying “I will learn to swim someday.”  I also said I wanted to travel.  I found a company that allows me to travel with great prices and destinations.  The personal development allowed me to leave a job I was unfulfilled in for several years.  A year ago, 2014, I left that and haven’t missed it.

What encourages me to keep going after what I want is the growth and freedom I feel due to making the decision to go for it.  It’s a beautiful feeling to live what God promised in the verse: “A thief comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.”  John 10:10

Please don’t read into this and think that all is roses and skipping through the sun-filled fields.  There are thorns and dung in the fields, but keep your goals in mind and remember yet another promise from God: “Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Your someday may just be today…

Starlet

Who Are You Following?

whoareyoufollowing2The Cross before me, still I will follow. The Cross before, still I will follow. No turning back. No turning back.

I had a really stressful day today! I wanted to turn and run but I stood firm, fought the tears back, stiffened shoulders and all. I made it through my day, work finished. I walked out the building headed to the bus stop, looked for my bus pass, had to turn back around, go back in my building. Thank God I had dropped the bus pass in my office. That does it! I got home and I had powdered donuts and milk for dinner and cereal for dessert! Please don’t tell my husband. LOL

Tomorrow, I will go back to work with more vigor in my step and determination in my heart because Jesus is before, behind and on the sides of me. Who are you choosing to follow today?

John 14:6 says “Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. No goes to the Father except through me.”

John 15:15 says “I am the vine. You are the branches. Those who live in me while I live in them will produce a lot of fruit. But you can’t produce anything without me.”

I want nothing if Jesus isn’t up in and all through it! Be blessed young people. Choose Christ and shower those around you with his love.

Starlet

 

Armed and Dangerous

lifeanddeaththepowerofthetongue2 Words can kill or heal. They can selfishly rob or sacrificially give, destroy without mercy or edify with grace. Our verbal expressions can be sweet and decadent or bitter and foul. As seeds are planted so comes the harvest and what is grown is determined by what is sown.

Like bullets from a gun, so are words from the tongue, once fired the damage resulting from it cannot be undone. Physical assault with a deadly weapon can have fatal consequences, but most people don’t realize that verbal assault can be just as deadly. Verbal assault with a deadly weapon (the tongue) can lead to not only emotional but spiritual assassination as well.

As parents, youth group leaders, etc. we play vital roles in the lives of teens. We are a powerful influence but unfortunately we are not the only influence. In most cases, we are outnumbered by the legions of tactics and schemes trying to pull our teens’ hearts away from God. We may be small in numbers but through God we have the power to claim our teens for the Lord and to do so victoriously!

I’d like to challenge you to be intentional in regards to speaking life and hope into the lives of your teen. For example, create a calendar and specify an allotted amount of time each day for the length of your choosing (three days, two weeks, one month, etc.) and speak words that will heal and uplift your teen (in spite of their behavior during that time). This will help you develop the habit of speaking hope into the lives of your teens and as you do so they’ll heal in the process. It may take time and you may not see results right away but don’t give up because in due season, you’ll reap what you sow.

Blessings to you,
Takiela!

God’s Plan, Our Purpose

godsplanourpurposeIsaiah 14:24
The LORD Almighty has sworn, “Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will happen. NIV

Droplets formed on the rim of her brow and she clenched the life in her belly. Her body quivered while uncontrollable sobs escaped her petrified soul.

Again…he spun the barrel of the gun, gave a quick flick of the wrist and pressed it against her temple.

He enjoyed the game of life and death, also known as Russian Roulette.

Before I took my first breath, while in the secret most inner parts of my mother’s womb, evil attempted to murder me at the hands of my father.

This was the first of many attempts on my life, but my God had a plan and a purpose that would not be thwarted by anything or anyone according to Job 42:2 which states:
“I know that you can do all things; no purpose of yours can be thwarted. NIV

God can do ALL things. There is nothing He can’t do, including preventing a bullet from leaving its chamber. Although we may sometimes forget there is (absolutely) nothing He can’t do, don’t you simply love being reminded of what He can do (and has done)? The world is full of miraculous displays of love and power that can only be accredited to our majestic Lord and Savior.

God has a plan and a purpose for each of us, not even death can touch us without the Lord’s consent. Isaiah 46:10 says “I make known the end from the beginning…I say, ‘My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.’ The Lord has made it quite clear that He is in control and His plan and purpose will prevail. Not our plans, not the plans of those who hate us, not even the plans of those who love us, but only the Lord’s plan will stand. The Bible states in Jeremiah 29:11 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. This Scripture gives me peace during the unsure moments in life. God Himself is quoted saying His plan is not to harm us but to prosper us, to give us hope, and a future.

Let us pray…

Heavenly Father we love you. We absolutely adore you. We believe with all our heart that you can do all things. We believe that you have a plan and purpose for our life and no plan/purpose of Yours can be stopped by anything or anyone. You are all powerful, all knowing, and everywhere all the time, there is none like You. I trust that Your plans are what’s best for me and you are not out to harm me. Forgive me for the times I’ve doubted You. Forgive me for the times I’ve thought you didn’t care or love me. From this day forward, if I ever doubt, please bring Your loving words back to the forefront of my heart to remind me that Your plan is one of hope and prosperity. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Teen Depression – The Point of No Return

She’d taken several pain killers to prevent her from feeling any pain. Besides, she needed a backup plan in case the other thing didn’t work out.

She located the vein, turned her head and quickly slid the razor across her flesh. She winced at the sharp sting. The warm ooze drizzled down her hand and left its trail on the hard wood floor. She climbed into bed and hoped for death to quietly greet her while she slept.

That was a dark day in my teen life, one I’ll probably never forget. The pain and hurt I endured left me beyond hopeless; I’d reached the point of no return.

According to the dictionary, the point of no return is defined as the point in a course of action beyond which reversal is not possible. Have you even been at a point in your life, the point of no return? Have you even been broken by life’s circumstances and craved death? Have you even made plans for your life only to watch them come undone? If so, you’re not alone.

Although I had made plans to die that day it was not God’s purpose for me and God always triumphs…always. His word says it in Proverbs 19:21 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it’s the Lord’s purpose that prevails.

The plans we make in life are subject to change especially if it’s not what God has intended for us. Our plans is not limited to bad, it includes the good plans we have for our lives as well. We may plan to attend college majoring in a prominent field of study, with a promising career after we graduate, get married, have children and live happily ever after. However, if that’s not God’s purpose for your life, although it’s a great plan, His purpose will prevail. Jeremiah 29:11 clearly states that God knows the plans He has for us (not the plans we have for ourselves), and His plans are to prosper us, not to harm us, to give us hope and a future.

In those dark moments in life, there are times all we have to hold on to and hope for is the truth of God’s word. It is this truth that will enable us to hang in there one more day, and then another day, and another until His word shines so bright that it becomes the only life giving light we see in a world of darkness.

“God is in control” is totes cliché I know but be that as it may, it’s true. In the midst of chaos, depression, hurt, pain, anger, mistakes, and even suicidal attempts…God is in control. I can honestly admit to you that in spite of every plan I’ve ever made in life, God’s purpose for me has always been what’s best for me. Yes it was hard, no I didn’t always understand, and sometimes I down right hated what He was doing, but looking back I know that He always had my best interest at heart and I’m forever grateful.