Her Everything

devotional diva christmas[Guest post by Jo Ann Erwin. This post is a part of the 2015 Devotional Diva Christmas series entitled, “Extraordinary Christmas.” It was originally published on Devotional Diva in 2014. I thought it was such a good message and so relevant to Christmas, that I had to use it again this year.]

On two occasions I have heard someone say “that is too good to just give away.” When I heard it, both times, I immediately thought of the widow who gave all that she had.

Mark 12:42-44  And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.   And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury: For all THEY did cast in of their abundance: but she of her want, did cast in all that she had, even all her living. 

This story is told twice in the Bible, once in Mark and once in Luke.  This is such an important lesson that God made sure it was in there twice.  The nameless widow, that gave all that she had, and gave selflessly, was brought to the attention of Jesus’ disciples and written about in the Bible.

Luke 21:3 And he said, Of a truth I say unto you, that this poor widow hath cast in more than they all.

She gave her all.  Now that’s trust. That’s faith.

I am not suggesting you give everything that you own away.  But let me tell you a story about my recent experience.

I decided it was time to clean out my closets.  The first area I tackled was my coat closet.  Yes, the dreaded coat collection:  More coats than any one person can ever wear in one lifetime.

How does this happen? I mutter to myself as I am looking them over. Two coats don’t make the cut and have to go. One down-filled coat with a hood, and one black pea coat that I have never worn.

So along with a couple of hooded sweatshirts, the items go into my car, headed for the consignment store.  Won’t hurt to make a little extra money, right?  

But a little voice inside me is saying, “You are going to give these coats away today, just keep going, I’ll get you to where they belong.”  

Soon after, I left home to deliver some Christmas decorations to a couple of friends that had recently lost theirs due to mold issues. Besides, I have too many decorations that never make it out of their boxes each year, so why was I keeping all that stuff?

I made the first drop and no, they didn’t need any winter coats.

Ok, keep going. I thought.

I get to my second destination and am unloading Christmas decorations and she is thanking me as she is carrying her grandson on her hip, telling me that times have been hard for her since she is raising her grandson now.

I pull the last of the decorations out of the back seat and I see the clothes…

“Hey, do you need some sweatshirts?” I ask.

Her reply: “Yes, all of my clothes are too big for me now since I’ve lost so much weight from chasing my grandson.”

Now I see where this is going Lord. Thank you. 

I ask, “Do you also need a winter coat?” Her reply, “Yes, I do not have a coat!”

So when I pulled out the down-filled coat, her face lit up like the Christmas tree lights that she was getting ready to put up.   

“Oh, I have wanted a puffy coat like that!”

Then I pulled out the second coat, and she is almost in tears now. “Oh my, I love that coat too, and I can wear it to church!”

I left with an empty car, and a full heart.  My cup runneth over. I could not believe how my EXTRA was her everything.

jo ann erwin on devotional divaJo Ann Erwin lives in Paris, TN and has raised two college graduates, Melanie and Matthew. She is also mom to one precious poodle-mix named Molly and one high-maintenance cat named Moma Kitty.  Jo Ann volunteers for the local homeless shelter and has for the past 15 years, fully believing that we are all equal in God’s eyes and we all deserve chances through-out our lives to make things right.

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Time of Trouble

devotional diva

[Guest post by Onome. This post is a part of the 2015 Devotional Diva Christmas series entitled, “Extraordinary Christmas.” It was originally published on Devotional Diva in 2014.]

I was reading my five-year-old’s Bible one day when I ran into the Jonah story. Reading it through the eyes of a child gave me a better perspective.

I was hit by the realization that Jonah was actually in the belly of a fish when he prayed and God heard him.

I went back to read the passage from my Bible. In Jonah 1:17, the Bible recorded that God had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

Now the belly of a fish can be anything in the present world: it can be sickness, poverty, debt, lack of friends, helpers, insecurity, joblessness…

I am moved to wonder how Jonah felt in that dark place. I have never been in the belly of a fish, but slicing through my mackerel fish on my kitchen table leaves me to wonder how Jonah felt in there.

Yes, I know the fish was very big, because the Bible called it a great fish, but it was still a fish.It had digestive systems both large and small, a heart and organs inside that just kept working and grinding and I am sure Jonah would just wonder if he would not be mashed up.

But I really wonder why he wasn’t. Now scientifically, everything that goes through the mouth goes through a digestive process and I am sure for a fish, the story is the same. So what happened to Jonah, why was this story different?

This just made me remember my heart loving the verse in psalms 23 that says:

“Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, the Lord is with me.”

Friends, I know we have all been in the belly of a great fish at some time in our Christian journey.

We found ourselves in this belly of a fish, but you know something important — even while he was there, Jonah still prayed and called on God.

I recall an experience I had some time ago. During the yuletide season, God had instructed me through one of His servants that my family should not travel during that season, but that we should spend that time together as a family.

For some reason, this instruction was not obeyed. It had come at a time when we had made all our plans for the year and closed our books and all we just wanted to do was unwind. I was very young in the faith at that time.

Before we started our journey that day, I was instructed by the spirit to go back into my house, remove all my jewelry, drop my phone and replace the SIM card into my childrens’ nearly dead phone. I obeyed.

We prayed and set forth on this journey. We stopped at so many points, bought food, ate, and prayed. We were quite in the joyful mood with our children.

But not too far from our family home, we were accosted by armed robbers.

I was in total shock. I had with me my three children, one of whom was my daughter who at that time, was just 1 year and 1 month old and she just would not stop crying. The robbers collected everything from us: money, my husband’s new phone — and then we all ran into the bushes.

More cars were stopped and robbed. That for me was a Jonah’s belly encounter.

During that time, I kept pleading the blood of Jesus and crying for mercy. I kept begging God to deliver us. Although it was an experience that lasted for between 15 – 20 minutes, it felt like a three days and three nights encounter.

Friend, anything could have happened. Stray bullets could have moved, anybody could have been hurt — but God was God.

Even in my disobedience, God showed to me that He was God, he showed to me that when we cry in the day of trouble, He is very faithful to hear us.

The word of God became so real to me after that experience and I knew, indeed, there is a God in heaven that loves His children and would never allow them to wander in the time of need. The Bible calls Him our very present help in time of trouble. (Psalm 46:1)

Friends, God warned me like Jonah but I decided to go my own way. Life is a teacher, but some lessons leave a deep scar that only God can remove.

My children had a phobia for road travel afterwards and I cannot say the least for myself. But I know of many stories I have read after our experience that ended in rape, molestation and even death, but God spared us like Jonah.

God is real and His word is real. Let’s talk of your own real life Jonah experience, let’s share from your belly of the fish experience and how God delivered you. Maybe your own story ended up with a scar like mine or even one bigger than mine, but I want to tell you that God is still on the throne and He is working to turn all our mess to a message for this generation.

Let’s talk…

onomeOnome is a mother to God’s beautiful gifts, a wife and a writer. A woman with a heart for God and a counselor who likes to listen and share God’s love through words. She likes to share her life story so that others can learn and be guided.

 

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Cross Over

devotional diva christmas

[Guest Post by Rayni Peavy. This post is a part of the 2015 Devotional Diva Christmas series entitled, “Extraordinary Christmas.” It was originally published on Devotional Diva in 2012.]

I’d never been afraid to fly. From the time I was a baby I’ve been flying on a regular basis. Even flying across the country a few months after 9/11 didn’t scare me because I trusted God with my life.

And then it happened.

Several years ago, out of nowhere, I began having anxiety attacks. Unfortunately two of them came back to back on a long plane ride overseas. It was a traumatic experience, to put it mildly. From that moment on stepping onto a plane was a trigger for extremely high and almost unbearable anxiety.

But, I have found that when I trust God and lean on Him, who is the only One truly in control, there is no room for anxiety.

On each intensely anxiety-filled flight I took after the “fateful” flight overseas, I asked God to come into my feeling of anxiety and dissipate it…to take it away.

Guess what?

Every single time He did it.

Sometimes I had to ask more than once because I was so worked up, but God has always been faithful to meet me in the midst of my anxiety and remove it. Because of this I know without a doubt that God will not fail me. Ever. But even with those victories I still had intense anxiety when approaching a flight.

I wanted the anxiety to be gone for good.

And then the Washington trip came.

The thought of having to get on a plane made me want to crawl into a hole and hide out. Forever.

My boyfriend Joel (now my husband) and I had plans to fly to visit his family. I wanted to cancel the trip…but I knew I had to go and that God would go with me. So I asked God to completely deliver me from this flying anxiety once and for all.

God requires our faith to have an action step.

I likened it to the Israelites in Joshua 3. God wants to lead them into a new place, but in order to get there they have to cross through the Jordan River, which happens to be in flood stage at the time. Minor detail, right? God tells Joshua to have the priests (who are literally carrying the presence of God in a box called the Ark of the Covenant) to take a few steps into the river and then He will make the flooding stop so all of the Israelites can cross to the other side.

“Now it was harvest season and the Jordan was overflowing its banks. But as soon as the feet of the priests who were carrying the Ark touched the water at the river’s edge, the water began piling up at a town upstream…Then all the people crossed over near the city of Jericho. Meanwhile, the priests who were carrying the Ark of the Lord’s covenant stood on dry ground in the middle of the riverbed as the people passed by them…until everyone had crossed the Jordan on dry ground.” (Joshua 3:15-17)

I love that it says that the people crossed over on dry ground. Not wet, muddy, soggy ground.

Dry ground.

As I walked toward the plane bound for Washington, full of anxiety, I asked God, as soon as I took the first steps onto the plane, to “pull the waters” of my anxiety back so I could “cross over” through the flight on dry ground.

And He did!

Two flights. No anxiety on either one. None. Coming from where I came from, that, my friends, is truly a miracle.

God’s deliverance!

What are you struggling with today?

God desires to meet us in the midst of every large and small burden we experience. Invite Jesus into it and ask Him to deliver you. Sometimes the journey is scary or painful but God’s deliverance and freedom are worth every step! What’s your story?

Over the past 15 years Rayni has discovered that nothing is better than knowing Jesus! She has enjoyed working at churches on the East and West Coasts as a Bible teacher, mentor to young adults and an event coordinator. In her free time Rayni likes staring at the ocean, exploring new cuisine with her “foodie” husband and learning to speak French. You can read more on her website www.RayniPeavy.com and follow her on Twitter.

 

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Celebrate

celebrate

[Guest Post by Heather Von St. James. This post is a part of the 2015 Devotional Diva Christmas series entitled, “Extraordinary Christmas.” It was originally published on Devotional Diva in 2014.]

Fear – we’ve all faced a form of it at some point in our lives.

I’ve learned that your fears don’t define the person you are, but rather how you deal with them. Humor is the way that my husband Cameron and I handled one of the most terrifying and trying times in our lives.

In November of 2005, after a series of biopsies and other tests, I was diagnosed with pleural mesothelioma. I was a candidate for a risky procedure called an extrapleural pneumonectomy – this was no routine surgery. It required the removal of my left lung, the pleura (the lining around the lung), the left half of my diaphragm, and the lining of my heart.

I was already overwhelmed and what made it worse was the fact that I was a new mom.

My daughter Lily would be turning six months old two days after my surgery. When I found out my surgery date was February 2nd, I nicknamed my tumor Punxsutawney Phil, or just Phil for short. I joked about when they removed the tumor, asking if it saw its shadow, would I have six more weeks of recovery? It took the seriousness of the procedure and made it not as scary.

Throughout all of this, my sister kept me laughing. Her and I share the same weird sense of humor and we can always make each other laugh with just a silly phrase or sound. My husband and sister started talking about how we should celebrate such a day.

If it was going to save my life, why not celebrate?

Now, we refer to February 2nd not as Groundhog Day, but LungLeavin’ Day — the day my lung left.

The basic idea of writing fears on a plate and smashing them into a fire during LungLeavin’ Day came from my sister, who had done firewalking. In firewalking, you write your fears on a plank of wood, throw it in the fire, and walk across it – very symbolic. We wanted to take a similar approach, but instead of wood, my husband came up with the idea of plate, and instead of actually walking through the fire, we would smash the plate.

From that moment a tradition was born.

On February 2nd, 2007, one year to the day since my surgery, my husband went out and bought two stoneware plates and a sharpie. We spent a few minutes writing our fears on them before venturing outside. It was bitterly cold that evening, but that didn’t stop us. Cams cleaned out the fire pit, and got a nice little fire going. We bundled up and went out to the fire and smashed our fears in the fire. It felt GOOD! We decided right then and there that we needed to share this with our friends and family.

The following year, we made it an official celebration, and every year since then our little party has grown to include over 75 friends and family who come to celebrate life with us.

Within these past few years, Cams and I felt the need to make a difference by using the occasion as a fundraiser for mesothelioma cancer. We donate all the money raised to the three organizations that have been such an important part of our lives. The International Mesothelioma Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation and the Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization all played an important role of who we are and what we do.

LungLeavin’ Day is not just for cancer survivors or warriors, but also for everyone.

This year, we wanted to reach out to an even broader base of people, and besides webcasting the event live via my Facebook page, we’ve also created an interactive page where you can go write your fear and smash your own plate virtually.

We hope that you take a moment to be thankful for the simple things, and all that life offers. Even in the face of adversity, something good can come of it, and our LungLeavin’ Day celebration is how we took something tragic, and made it a positive in our lives.

Heather Von St. JamesHeather Von St. James is a seven-year mesothelioma cancer survivor and continues to provide unending inspiration to mesothelioma victims around the globe. She carries out her mission to be a beacon of hope for those afflicted with mesothelioma by sharing her story of faith, love and courage both as a keynote speaker at conferences and through social media. Read more about her and LungLeavin’ Day at http://www.mesothelioma.com/heather/lungleavinday/.

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Thankful to Be Thankful

thankful to be thankful on devotional diva

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Bonita Brewington, or @bbprep as she is known on social media. Remember how I said last week’s devotional was more of a why? to gratefulness and this week would be the how? I was so struck that these two submissions (by two different authors) could go together so well! I hope you enjoy, and if you celebrate, happy Thanksgiving!]

Thankfulness has become so “mainstream.” It’s a clique to give thanks — as no one wants to be that person who gets busted for not being thankful!  In a world of surface gratitude and accolades, how can you find your true thankfulness? As a Kings Kid, our level of thankfulness should run well below the surface.  A fleeting thought of what God has done, should unleash a wellspring of indescribable emotions that only He can decipher.

Listen to this-1 Thessalonians 5:18-Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you!

So it’s good to give thanks in all circumstances — in every situation, in every instance, in every success, in every failure, thankfulness is the will; the desire of God, for our lives.  True thankfulness creates a bridge between us and God, through the blood of Jesus Christ.  The bridge allows us to openly communicate with Him, and allows us to hear His responses.

A thankful heart is a Godly heart.  A thankful heart is a forgiving heart.  A thankful heart is a receptive heart.  A thankful heart should be our heart.

But what if my heart doesn’t look like a thankful heart? No problem — that’s the blessing of the cross!  By confessing to God that you’ve messed up, that you’ve tried things your way with unsuccessful results, and that you need Him to take charge of your life, you’re a great candidate for a heart transplant!

He now can remove your current heart and replace it with the one He desires for you to have. We pray in Jesus name, from this day forward, you will live a life of true thankfulness, allowing God to do a good work in you.

Thankful to be Thankful-

<3 bbprep

 

bonitaBonita Brewington is a southern gal who loves Jesus, potatoes, mascara, and any kind of decorative tape!  She spends her days teaching at Grace Prep, a small Christian school she and a good friend co-founded in 2009.  Having a renewed passion to share God’s word, “bbprep” can be found on social media using hashtags such as #Godwins  #planwithHim  #Godovereverything  #faithblogger   #Godgirl  or #Godandglam  When not sharing creative content, Bonita enjoys spending time with her husband Jeff, managing their 21 year old son, and grooming their two teenage daughters! 

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From Depressed to Blessed: How I Found an Attitude of Gratitude

depressed to blessed

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by Kristen Vortices. I wanted to have some gratitude-focused devotionals in November, as we are celebrating Thanksgiving in the US. This week’s devotional is the why? to practicing gratitude and next week’s answers the how?]

A few years ago I found myself depressed. My job became really frustrating and the more I tried to fix my situation at work the more stressful my job became. I became short with my family and friends who I loved. Instead of focusing on others I began to focus on myself. As I focused on myself,  I became less and less happy. Finally I fell into depression.

For months I lived with my depression until I discovered that God gave us a solution for depression in Jesus. Obviously because we have been forgiven we should be happy. But let’s go one step further.  I began to read through the book of Luke and found Luke 9:23, Jesus said “whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.”  This scripture convicted me.

Had I denied myself and crucified my needs and desires?  No. I was so focused on myself and my situation that I could not see all the good things God had given me.

I began to realize how I felt about my job was not important. My circumstance was nothing compared to Jesus dying on the cross for me. My emotions were indicators not dictators of who I am.  So I replaced my feelings with Christ and all He has for me. Because He gives us victory over ourselves.

“But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Corinthians 15:57 ESV

An Attitude of Gratitude

The easiest way to combat depression is to live with an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude is the opposite of depression.  Every good thing in life comes from God. And whatever my circumstance may be I can always find something to be thankful for.  Today I am thankful I can step out onto the back deck and see the crystal blue ocean glistening in the sunlight. I am thankful God made it. I am thankful He gave me eyes to see it. I am thankful to have my family to share it with.

When I begin to find things that I am thankful for, my mindset transforms.

It shifts from what I don’t have to all the things I have to be thankful for. The Bible says every good gift is from God. Everything in my life is a gift from God and I am not entitled to my car, my house, my job. I don’t deserve them, because everything in my life is a gift from God.

Give thanks.

When I give thanks in all circumstances, I fulfill one of God’s purposes for my life. I am happiest and feel fulfilled when I am living in God’s purpose for me. Thanksgiving is so important God made it a command in the New Testament.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

1 Thessalonians 5:18 gives us a command, and the command is not conditional. It doesn’t say, “When you feel like it give thanks,” or “Give thanks on a good day.” God’s Word says give thanks in ALL circumstances. Because when we live with an attitude of gratitude we stay focused on God’s character and his abundant blessings. Blessings that are all around us every day.

Count your blessings

            I have started making a list of 10 things that I am thankful for everyday. Now when I begin feeling discouraged by my situation, I go back and read my list. Looking back on all my blessings, I remember the many things I am grateful for. In conclusion I am so thankful God showed me through His Word how to be thankful. Our God is so faithful to provide everything we need in Christ Jesus.

“give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 ESV

kristen-vorticesKristen also enjoys speaking to girls and women of all ages about their worth in Christ and his undying love for them. She posts a weekly blog “The Young and Beautiful” where she talks about living, staying and being young and beautiful in Christ. To find out more about Kristen follow her blog http://www.theyoungandthebeautiful.com

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Messy Sin

slide[Editor’s Note: This is a guest post from Alice Carter. I love devotionals that illustrate God in the fatherly sense!]

When I was a little girl, I think I must have spent at least half of my time in the local park. It certainly felt that way.
There is one time that particularly stands out in my mind: I was stood at the top of the slide, ready to go down. Just like I had done so many times before. When out of nowhere my dad shouted. “Stop don’t go down the slide.”
Why wold my dad tell me to not go down the slide. I had been down it so many times before. Surely there was no point in listening to him.
“Stop, Alice.”
Why would he not want me to go down the slide? Going down the slide was fun. If he loved me he would want me to have fun, wouldn’t he? And besides I had done it so many times before.
“Don’t go down the slide!”
I can be quite stubborn, so I went down the slide, despite my dad yelling at me not to. What I didn’t realise was that the little girl who had gone down the slide before me had actually peed herself on the way down. Now the slide was covered in her urine… and so was I.

I should have listened to my dad.

Looking back at this I know realise that there are a few things I could learn about my heavenly father from this incident with my earthly father.
Sometimes God will tell us to do things that we don’t understand.
What seems like a good idea to us, might not be such a good idea to him. But he has the whole picture, he knows the future and he knows what is best for us. After all going down the slide seemed like an excellent idea to me, I just didn’t have the full picture. God knows when our brilliant ideas will lead to pain, and he really does want to protect us from that.
If we don’t listen to God we will end up in a mess.
My disobedience to my dad led to me being covered in urine. Our disobedience of God will always have consequences. We might not see it straight away, but they will reach us eventually. Don’t be stubborn, like me, listen to God, unless you want to end up like me.
When we disobey God, it is sin. Even if it doesn’t feel like it. And all sin leads to mess!

God will not leave us in a mess.

After this happened my dad didn’t stand there laughing at me. He loved me, he took me home and cleaned me up. He never made me feel bad about it. When we do something wrong, if we say sorry to God, he will forgive us. He will make it like it had never happened.

alice devotional divaAlice Carter is Devotional Diva’s social media intern. After completing a degree in applied theology at moorlands theological college and then working at a church as a children’s and family worker, Alice married the man of her dreams. They are currently living in the East End of London. Alice loves to crochet, read, bake and blog atwww.cherrydropprincess.com — she would love for you to check it out!

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The Miscarriage Club

the-miscarriage-club

[Editor’s note: Do you recognize the pretty lady in that picture? That is Devotional Diva’s one and only founder, Renee Fisher. Today she is bravely sharing about her initiation into The Miscarriage Club. I’m so glad she could do this, because I think miscarriage is a subject that needs to be talked about more openly.]

I coughed before my eyes fluttered open. I coughed again, and suddenly woke up.

“Where was I?”

A nurse quickly walked over to me and asked how I was doing. I told her how excited I was to have the surgery, and how grateful I was to find my new doctor just in time. She told me, in fact, that I had already come out of surgery and that I did great! She asked me if I was ready for some crackers and juice. Then she quickly added,

“Welcome to the club!”

“Thanks,” I said. It wasn’t until a moment later that I fully processed what she said. I quickly added an “I’m sorry.”

The nurse told me her story. I shared mine. She had a miscarriage in between her first and second child. I told her this was my first, and that we would try again.

I couldn’t help but think about the nurse’s Welcome to the Club, although I never asked to be invited.

The miscarriage had already happened.
There was nothing I could do about it now.

MY STORY

I found out on August 24th that I was pregnant. I peed on a stick because I had missed my period—not because I was having any symptoms. I had taken a few pregnancy tests before that had all came up negative.

I was 100% sure I was not pregnant. When both lines flashed across the screen right away I gasped.

I.
Was.
Pregnant.

I called and made an appointment with the OBGYN who previously called me overweight. I wasn’t sure who else to go to since we were new to Austin. I booked my first prenatal appointment, and went to Cancun days later with Marc on our vacation.

When we got back, I went to the doctors and they confirmed that I was, in fact, pregnant. I brought the sonogram home to Marc who told me it didn’t look like a baby. I had no clue what a sonogram was supposed to look like, so I didn’t give his words a second thought.

I got a call from my OBGYN’s office that I needed to retake my gestational diabetes test. Something didn’t feel right. They continued to call and harass me while adding more things I needed to do.

But.

I didn’t have time to think about it because I was flying up to Dallas to see my parents and tell them in person. I couldn’t wait to bless them with the news that they were going to be first-time grandparents!

It felt like a prophetic moment to tell them in front of their ministry partners. I knew God was there with me when I told them. I knew God had given me a vision a decade earlier that I would be married with a daughter.

When I was in Dallas the nurses at the OBGYN practice continued to call and harass me.

When I got home, I called a friend in Austin and asked for her doctors information. I called the very next morning, and made the switch. I was 11 weeks when Marc went with me for my second doctors appointment with my new doctor.

When my doctor started the sonogram, we both stared in shock at the screen. There was no baby!

My new doctor was so gracious to the both of us. We were both so shocked. She told me that I had a blighted ovum. She showed me the pregnancy sac and the umbilical chord. She was surprised that the previous doctor told me I was pregnant since there was never a viable embryo. She also said that I needed a D&C surgery right away.

That’s when it hit me.

Marc and I both knew. We knew something was wrong with how I had previously been treated. It wasn’t until I was faced with the truth that I understood. I couldn’t believe that God allowed my body to wait one more month for me to find the truth!

I wasn’t grieving the loss of a baby, but the loss of a pregnancy. God gave me a way out of my pain.

I told my friends and family that I had failed to miscarry, and that I needed surgery the next morning. I made it through the night with their prayers.

Although being welcomed to the miscarriage club certainly wasn’t the outcome Marc and I had hoped for, I am hopeful because God opened my womb. This past week, I have been welcomed to the miscarriage club over and over by friends and family members. I had no idea just how many women were part of this club.

According to Maria Durso, “Faith is a process. Nobody blesses like God the Father blesses. And the blessings of God will make up for more than any loss that you will incur.”

Through this whole unfortunate experience, my hope has grown.

My dream for a future child has not died. I look forward in faith to seeing the unseen become seen. I will one day be a mother because I am standing on God’s promises!

renee fisher on devotional divaRenee Fisher is a spirited speaker, author, coach and consultant. She is the Founding Editor of DevotionalDiva.com. A Biola University graduate, her mission in life is to spur others forward (Hebrews 10:24). She recently located from San Diego, CA to Austin, TX with her adoring husband, Marc, and their fur child named Star.

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God's Miracles

God's Miracles[Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Delinda Layne. She is a Christian singer and speaker. Not only is she sharing a guest post, she is sharing one of her songs with us today! Enjoy.]

Miracles. Are all miracles big and bold or can they be small?  What do you think about that? I believe God is at work all around us. Every day in so many ways He is pouring out His favor and blessings. Have you noticed the countless blessings that are right in front of you?

God’s Miracles is an original song I co-wrote with my friend and excellent drummer, Brian Kell. It was inspired by the many miracles that God does in our lives every day.

My favorite little miracle is a parking place.  I know that sounds a little silly, maybe unimportant, but to me it’s special.  One of the reasons that I think there is a parking spot for me is that I always ‘look’.  It drives my husband crazy.  He usually just pulls into the first place available, but because I believe that there IS a spot waiting for me, I go and look, and …98-99% of the time, THERE IS! It is so cool. I smile and say ‘Thank you Lord’.  I don’t know why He does it, I’m just thankful.

How many times we may miss a beautiful miracle, big ones and small ones because we aren’t looking, or we aren’t paying attention.  I think God gives blessings and miracles every day, and they are different for each of us.  Maybe you needed groceries, or a way to pay your electric bill, and somehow the money appeared.  That is God.  Maybe a friend called you ‘out of the blue’ and it cheered you up. It isn’t an accident or coincidence.

Watch this week.  Be open and available.  Ask God to show where He is at work.  He is there, I promise.  He never leaves or forsakes us.

We don’t have to be perfect, hallelujah for that because I am so Not.  He is God, and we are not.  His love is unconditional, forever, and never wavers.  Claim it and appreciate it.  I believe the more thankful we are the more avenues of blessings open up for us.  The flowers, the trees, the rain, the sunshine, the parking spaces, the checks in the mail, the newborn baby, there is no end to the list.

Watch for God this week and let Him surprise you.

Many blessings and I would love to hear from you.

Here is the song: God’s Miracles

[Note: If you are unable to play the song in your email, please visit this link to view the original post.]

Lyrics by Delinda Layne

chorus

God’s Miracles, happen everyday

God’s Miracles, ordinary some say,

God’s Miracles, come in big and small ways,

Take a look and you will see,

God’s Miracles for you and me

delindaDelinda is a singer and speaker, and is touring the country with her Fun Fearless Female Event for Women. She loves life, loves the Lord and loves to share His message of Hope and Joy. Check out her blog and website www.delindalayne.com

 

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Musicianaries

musicianaries[Editor’s note: This is a guest post from Michelle D. Hand. Michelle emailed me to share about her amazing life with her husband as musicians and missionaries, or musicianaries. Enjoy!]

Hey, there. My name is Michelle and I’m a vagabond. (And everyone says, “You’re a what now?”)

See, it’s not how it sounds, but then again maybe it is! So what? 😉 Here’s a quick history of how I came to be in the scary-exciting, awesomely-adventurous situation God has put me in.

Nine years ago, God called me to be a missionary in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. I was jazzed. I’d gone on dozens of mission trips and loved it; what could be better than serving God full time in a fun new culture? But then just two years later, God called me back Stateside. And I was like, “Okay, um… why, God?”

Being a missionary was my dream. I could spend hours telling you the ways that coming home again both crushed and grew me in ways I’m still discovering. But you and I just met, so let’s save that for a later date, shall we?

So, then five years ago, I was still killing time in the States hoping for a way back to the mission field… and that’s exactly when I met this cute Christian rapper named Erik who stole my heart and eventually asked me to marry him. I mean, how could I not? Strangely, he swore he’d traveled enough for a lifetime and never wanted to leave our hometown of Phoenix, Arizona.

See, here’s where it gets tricky: I knew God wasn’t done with my calling to missions. How could He be? It’s in my blood. But I also knew that he’d brought Erik into my life. Neither of us could have orchestrated the way we met or the fact that we shared the same heart. (Okay, long story short: we both locked our keys in our car on the same day at church. Got stuck talking since we were the only ones left and discovered we had a crazy amount in common… Obviously we fell in love in like two weeks. Cause that’s how we roll!!)

I took the leap, trusting that God would change one of our hearts. Thank God it wasn’t mine.

So God obviously knew from the start that he wanted to combine Erik’s passion for Christian rap and my passion for traveling and missions. And in April of this year, He called us both (along with our one and a half-year-old Pomeranian fur baby) to get rid of everything we had, including stable employment and a decent apartment, and tour the United States full time in a van.

Did I mention God impressed on us that it would be done His way and for His glory? No superstar status for us. No manager, booking agent, set fees or perks. We call it being musicianaries- or music missionaries. We get to go to towns all over the country and partner with churches of all shapes and sizes to put on community outreaches and share the Gospel through rap. Who would have thought?

It hasn’t been an easy adventure but it has been the best thing we’ve ever done. And in case you’re wondering, our faith didn’t start out huge. We were scared. And a little doubtful at times it would all work out.

But let me tell you what we’ve learned: we serve a *big* God. Do you know that? Do you feel it? ‘Cause it’s so true. There isn’t anything He can’t do.

Maybe today you have some things you’d like to trust God for but you’re scared. Maybe you think He’ll disappoint you or you have a nagging fear that He doesn’t really support your dreams. 

Do you know what I’ve seen Him do, time and again? Prove to me that He’s good. Prove to me that I’m incapable of devising good dreams without Him. Prove that He gave me my good dreams, and that He’ll be faithful to accomplish them in me if I’ll just take His hand and trust Him.

Can you do that? Can you muster up the strength to trust your heavenly Father? He knows exactly how much strength you have, and He won’t ask anything you can’t do. Just test the water with your pinky toe and watch Him grow your faith until you’re walking on water beside Him. It is pure joy to Him to do this with you and for you.

How do I know this? Well, in 1 Peter 1:7 it says that your faith is much more precious than gold which perishes. So I know that my faith and your faith are things of great value to God. Of course He wants to grow it! Of course He wants to test it! And, of course He’ll come through for you beyond your wildest dreams.

Don’t believe me? Try Him. 🙂 

michelle-hMichelle D. Hand is a blogger, full-time traveler/missionary and author based out of Phoenix, Arizona. She’s married to the coolest guy ever, a Christian rapper named Erik Stephen. They have a puppy and a van and have been traveling the United States since May 2015 sharing their life, faith and art. Find out more at www.teamkingmc.com!

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