How I Found My True Calling

true caling

How I Found My True Calling

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Oris Morolani. I love Oris’ story!! Seriously, we live in a world that is possible for you to find and live your true calling. Pray and listen! And after you do, come back and share your story here!]

Mary had plans for her life but I’m certain none of those plans involved being pregnant by the Holy Ghost and birthing the Messiah, Jesus Christ, the Savior of the whole world. Her dream was to raise a family with Joseph, live quietly and build a loving home but God had another plan for her life.

My story is similar. Well, not as grand as Mary’s but similar because my story is about a change of plans – Letting go of my passions and embracing His purpose instead.

It’s a story that began with my absolute love for all things fashion, beauty and lifestyle. A passion that developed from childhood, watching my mom sit in front of her dressing table, applying one stuff or the other on her face and body. Being the only daughter, we spent a lot of time together and she taught me so much. I started retailing beauty products in college and opened my dream cosmetics shop a few years after getting married, retailing well known skin care and make up brands. I very well remember the store opening. Was I glad or what! Another plus for me was that I had more time for the home front because I was self employed.

Everything seemed fine. I was living the dream, pursuing my goals as we are commonly told to do these days but I noticed that I didn’t feel fulfilled. Many a times I questioned the validity of my feelings because here I was following my passion and embracing it as what I do for a living but I just wasn’t fulfilled. Looking back now, I still remember those moments when I would sit in my shop and feel very strongly that I was being pulled in an entirely different direction, leading to many days praying to God for direction and peace and here I am today.

At the beginning of the year,  I started teaching and mentoring young ladies about faith, personal growth and character development. I also started writing and will publish my first book very soon. Dare I say that I feel like a square peg in a square hole. Time flies by when I’m teaching, counseling or even writing. Besides, I still get to share beauty and style tips during personal care/ grooming classes.

God sure had it all planned out!

My story continues as each day unfolds with many twists and turns but I continue to trust God’s leading. Mary must have been overwhelmed when the angel visited her and told her that her life as she planned it was about to change but she was willing to let God have His way.

There’s so much talk about following your passion and your dreams which isn’t at all bad but this one thing I know now –  your purpose will involve living beyond you. You were not born to live solely for yourself. This is the reason why people who live lives centered around themselves feel a certain void and emptiness inside. We are to pour out knowing that God fills us again and again.

Another thing I know for sure is that, even if there’s something else you’d rather be doing, if you make a choice in favour of your true calling, you will be deeply satisfied and fulfilled.  You may not see the future, but if you’re sure God is leading you, know that He will fill you with his peace and He will see you through.

My name is Oris Morolani, I teach and mentor young girls and teens about character development and personal growth.

 

 

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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Longing for Loneliness

longing for loneliness

Longing for Loneliness 

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Ann Grace. Boy, this devotional hit me hard. Ann is a remarried widow and military wife and mom of five with just an amazing story. Her heart inspires me. Look out for more devotionals from her because she’s got a lot more to her story, and a lot more to say. This devotional in particular is about “longing for loneliness.”]

I thought I knew what loneliness was, and I avoided it at all costs. Before my husband
died, there were many times I felt lonely and ran from it. I filled my schedule with errands, my days with household chores, and it seemed to help.

Life of this wife and mother of five was endless hours of cleaning and chauffeuring children to and from their schools. Don’t even get me started with helping with homework while holding a newborn and trying to cook a healthy dinner to be warm when my husband came home from work. Life was busy. It was chaotic. There was always something needing to be done. The laundry seemed like it had a vendetta against me, and orphaned socks were constantly screaming at me to find their pair!

I grew used to filling my lonely heart with the busyness of this life. I read my daily 5 minute devotionals, said my prayers before meals and went to countless Bible studies. My husband loved the Lord as much as I did, and we did our weekly ritual of attending church. We both strived to live for Christ as best as we knew how.

For years, the presence of my husband and kids seemed to be all I needed in life. Or at least that’s what I thought should be enough. I never admitted feeling lonely to anyone, myself included, unless I was ready to be judged. And I wasn’t ready. Where I grew up, being lonely was almost shameful, like you were ungrateful for your life, family, etc… It was kind of like there was something wrong with the person, you know?

The night my husband died, I asked him if he was in any pain, and he whispered ever so softly that he wasn’t. He closed his eyes and fell asleep. That would be the last time I spoke with him as he had a heart attack in his sleep. I remember thinking as I was by his side in all this, “Lord, how am I going to face being alone? Why won’t you heal him?”

I desperately feared being alone.

And in that moment of heartbreak and disbelief, loneliness once again showed up to greet me. Within minutes of his passing, friends and family arrived to comfort me. But no one knew just what to say or could understand how lonely I was feeling. And honestly, all I wanted was to be left alone.

Then the Lord allowed me into a season of loneliness.

He allowed a season of loneliness in my life to create a deeper longing for Him. Husband or no husband, my heart was crying out all these years to go deeper with my Savior. To be alone with Him. To hear His voice. I needed now more than ever to know who I was in Christ.

What was my calling? To be a wife? Mother? Widow?

My life was now being redefined in the midst of this loneliness.

My identity was so wrapped up in preventing a void of loneliness that I forgot to know my King. I let the fear of loneliness drive my life into a pit of even more loneliness. In the end, the Lord allowed heartbreak to reveal a need for Him alone. He saved me. He called me deeper. He called me to love harder. He called me to a season of widowhood so that He could save me from the pit of loneliness I’d crawled into.

In the years following his passing, the Lord has shown me many things, but maybe none more profound than the gift of loneliness. And you know what was most comforting, knowing that Jesus needed to be alone too. If Jesus needed to be alone many times in order to spend quality time with God, then why would I think a busy life, husband or quick devotion would be enough?

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 NIV

Dear Lord, help our lonely hearts long for a deeper need of You. Comfort us in our times of pain and heartache. Let us bask in our season of loneliness knowing You are with us. Take our broken hearts and fill them once more with your unconditional love. Amen. 

ann grace

Ann Grace married her first husband, a Marine and Firefighter in 2002 and they were blessed with five beautiful children. She was widowed in 2015 and re-married in 2017. She had a stillbirth in 2017 and now seeks to share her passion of how Christ rescued her with other grieving women and children.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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Where There Is Peace

where there is peace

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest poem by veteran Diva writer Ana Nunez. A little over a year ago, Ana submitted a devotional called “Fully Known and Truly Loved” (read that here.) and this year, she said she was working on some poetry. I feel like Ana’s poem, “Where There Is Peace” is such a good companion piece to that first devotional about God’s love for us!]

Where There Is Peace

I want a garden to watch plants grow into what I should be
Healthy and whole, entirely free
I want to paint, to create worlds, in colors only found in the heavenly
I want to work hard at putting the earth back to how it should be
How it was before it fell
What I know it could be
I see potential in everything
I want to plaster photos on walls of trees to remember that despite the chaos

There are perfect little moments in between
Untouched by sin
Unsigned by heat
I want to read words that describe worlds where all is well
And hear stories of pain that is not my own
But comforts me in knowing I am not alone
I want to string together words that paint pictures of perfection in your mind
not any two visions alike

Every desire inside of me to create here points to the eternal embedded in me
I long for what once was, what should be, and what is in another world already
But I fear I’ll mistake my longing of that world for something here presently
I’ll try to find that feeling in a person, a place, or a thing
I’ll imagine experiences not yet had as true purpose and in the end be disappointed
I’ll confuse the physical for the spiritual
I’ll place too much pressure on what I can see

And in the end watch it break apart under the weight of my desire for it to fulfill me
Slip through the cracks because it was not meant to be held onto so tightly

There are no solutions from what I can see
So I’ll wait for the Maker to put it back together

Brick by brick
Piece by piece
I’ll wait for the builder to use gold to pave our streets
Wait for the shepherd to find His sheep
Behind all of this, there is a King
He holds the keys to freedom and He Himself shall be our peace

 

Ana NunezAna is a freelance writer & English major. She loves Jesus, reading, meeting with people in coffee shops, taking photos on her iPhone & obsessively editing them, & writing her heart out. Ana is a wife, a sister, a daughter & a friend. Her desire in life is to write to women, helping them grow in their relationship with Jesus and become all He desires for them to be. She was born & raised in Miami, FL and currently lives in St. Petersburg, FL with her husband of one year, Malik.

 

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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The What If’s

 

The What If’s

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. Probably the worst things I worry about are “the what if’s” and it is so toxic! This is a really liberating devotional today. Thanks Agnes!]

What if…

The Doctor’s diagnosis is cancer; I can’t pay my bills; I get a pink slip from my employer; my business sales is down; I can’t feed my children; I am single and can’t find the right husband or wife; I can’t find the right job; my husband or wife files for divorce; my friends and family betray me… the list goes on and on.

 

My friends, none of us is exempt from the what if’s of life. I was recently meditating on my what if I am too old to see God’s promise of having children come to pass in my life.

 

It was at this time that the Holy Spirit provided me with the comfort I need in His word in Psalm 27:13.

I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living”.

 

What does it mean to remain confident and see the goodness of the Lord when faced with our what ifs of life?

 

It means bridging the gap between what you see and what you cannot see with the eyes of faith. (Mark 9:23) when Jesus said everything is possible for those who believe. Surrendering the situation to Jesus through prayer with acceptance that we are never in control of our lives – but Jesus is. He knows our yesterday, today and tomorrow. I don’t know about you, but I have found that this is a very comforting place to be when I am helpless with my what ifs.

 

It means un-learning your fear as God walks you through the process of finding solutions to your what ifs. Fear is the greatest enemy to achieving and fulfilling our purpose in life and that is why the Bible mentions “Fear Not” 365 times. And yes, we can un-learn our fear. You do this by knowing what your fear is, naming it and taking it to the Lord in prayer. (1 John 4:18).

 

It means Implanting into your life the truth of God’s word in Isaiah

41:10So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand”.

 

Christ follower, bring your what ifs situation to God through prayers because He cares for you. If you are currently not a Christ follower, the first step is to accept Him as your Lord and Savior and He will help you with your what ifs.

All glory to God!

Agnes Amos-ColemanAgnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals and Transforming Business With Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success.

 

 [Closing Editor’s Note: If you have any questions about accepting Jesus into your heart, or just want to talk about Jesus, as a Christian this is my duty! 🙂 I would love to help answer any questions as best I can. My contact info is below.]

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

 

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What is God’s Version of Success?

gods version of success

What Is God’s Version of Success?

[Editors Note: This is a guest story by Katie Pezzutto. This is one devotional I read and thought, “this is going to make a difference for a lot of people.” In my humble opinion, young adults are way too hard on themselves and push themselves harder than ever. Thank you Katie for your story!]

One year ago, I was on a fast track to finishing my double degree at the University of Lethbridge. With grades as high as my BC relatives, my hope for admission to the Schulich School of Law was bright. A well-known modelling and acting agency in Calgary had signed me on earlier that year. That summer, I finished writing my first YA novel and had found an agent in Toronto who was interested in representing me to a publisher.

My intricately laid plans were bulldozing along. 

But as my second practicum came to a close, I found myself covered in blistering hives, a subtle result of the massive amounts of stress I was under. I slapped on some bandaids, took a couple days to “rest” (aka: catch up on practicum related work) and brushed the incident off.

In those days, my Bible sat on my bedside table, collecting coffee mugs and dust. I offered a prayer now and then. I rarely stopped to listen. I wanted to do things my way, the best way, no exceptions.

I was so hard on myself. Not just in school, but in everything.

My hair was too frizzy and short. My body was constantly under scrutiny. The expectations I had for my friendships and relationship with my new husband zapped my energy. Whatever I did, it was never good enough. But I spent time with people anyway, convinced that the more friends I had, the less of a loser I was.

Depressing? Yep.

The December after my practicum, my husband and I flew to Hawaii. That’s when my body broke down again. This time, the repercussions were worse. Between a frantic trip from the toilet to my cup of ginger ale I heard God’s voice, loud, clear and gentle as a dusting of mist.

“Katie, do you know me?” I almost choked on my saltine cracker.

“What? Yeah. Of course.” He was silent for a moment before continuing.

“Then why do you strive?”

“Uh…” I was left speechless, with an attractive half-eaten cracker hanging from my gaping mouth. He continued, His points hitting their mark, “Katie-bug, I don’t measure success by what the world sees. Millions of people might applaud you, but it won’t make you happy. My affirmation is all you need. In the end, you will stand before me, not them.” I nodded my head, stunned at hearing His voice so clearly.

“When you stand before me do you know what I’ll ask you?” I shake my head, no.

“Did you learn to love?” I dropped my head into my hands, my heart wrenched. Tears started streaming down my face. At this point, I didn’t know how to love God, much less people. Truth be told, I hadn’t even learned to love myself.

After that conversation, much prayer and wise counsel I made one of the most difficult decisions of my life. With one practicum and four classes left, I chose to not finish my degree. I didn’t apply to law school. I started modeling less and auditioning for fewer acting gigs. I took a low-stress job with the City of Lethbridge and released myself of writing deadlines.

As the Lord gently led me beside still streams, I started my time with Him on my knees, hands lifted, giving my dreams to Him. I sat with God and listened, dove into scripture and sought His Fatherly heart. I received less attention from people but I felt peace, so much peace.

The more time I spent with Him, the deeper in love I fell. Instead of anxious pandering and tears of stress, joy filled my mornings.

I have discovered that the joy of knowing our Abba is nothing compared to human accomplishments. That’s not to say that God is going to keep us from our heart’s desires. Far from it, He tells us in Psalm 37:4 to delight ourselves in Him and He will “give us the desires of our hearts.” The key is: we spend time with Him and become enamored with what He values. When that happens, our will comes in line with His. We get to partner with God, not with the world.

Not only do we get to live a life filled with peace, we can escort others into the multifaceted, backwards thinking delight known as the Kingdom. There’s nothing more valuable than leading God’s beloved ones deeper into His crazy heart.

Nope, not even a law degree.

With much love,

K.L Pezzutto

Katie Pezzutto lives in Lethbridge, Alberta with her business-dude husband and freak circus budgies. She is currently working on her first novel “The Fisherman’s Daughter” and earning her Masters in Old Testament theology from Briercrest Seminary.

 

 

[Closing Editor’s Note: If you have any questions about accepting Jesus into your heart, or just want to talk about Jesus, as a Christian this is my duty! 🙂 I would love to help answer any questions as best I can. My contact info is below.]

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime.

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Not Nice or Knot Nice

Not Nice or Knot Nice

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor June Windle Bare. June is so great with metaphors — if you read her last post, Spiritual Garbage Disposal, you’ll know what I mean! This devotional might make you re-evaluate some “knots” in your life!]

My favorite necklace! How in the world can I get this knot untied? If I attempt to wear it without taking the knot loose, my neck will get sore. It will drive me nuts. And it won’t hang at the right place on my neck. The chain on this necklace is a very delicate, fine-gauge gold chain with a lovely heart pendant. My sweetie gave it to me, and I want to wear it to please him.

I work the knot out. It takes time, patience, eye strain, and a challenge to my arthritic fingers. I work at it for seemingly a life-time until” Eureka!” it comes loose.

As I look at it against my neck, I reflect on the knots and the “nots” in my relationships with other people. Why should I bother? Why encourage a relationship with others who are “not” my faith, my family, my friends? They are not my style, not the kind of necklace I want to hang around my neck. Why should I care? But those “nots” are like the many knots on a fragile chain that links people together.

I think of a woman down the street, who calls me every so often to tell me about the problems in her life and remind me I am a praying woman. She ties up my phone and my plans for so long I worry my ear will fall off. As I think of her, I try to call. No answer. I leave a nice message, but do I hope she won’t call back, and let someone else unravel her knots? But I do care.

I think of my friend who, because of aging concerns, has been sidelined. She has dropped so many of her interests in the church and her social life. Should I offer to do something with her, or just let that knot alone? I call and offer to take her to lunch and to visit another friend in worse condition than she is. She is delighted. Me too. A knot untied.

I think of a relative—well, the widow of a relative. I am the one who always initiates the call or sends the card. Why bother? She never gives me the time of day unless she wants something. Why not drop that knotty chain to the bottom of the box? No, I will try to pick that knot apart, too. I write a note, telling her of family things. I hope she writes back.

A visit, a phone call or a letter may be one way to untie the knots, but what about an e-mail, a text, an emoji as a response to someone’s Facebook posts? These efforts seem so impersonal. Why not spend a few minutes commenting on their post with a word of encouragement? This may be the only way to engage the nots and the knots. Cannot God use any reasonable means to connect us in His greater family? And then sometimes the only way—and the first way—to loosen a knot is to pray for the “nots.”

I am reminded of St. Paul’s admonition in 1 Corinthians 12: 24-26 (NLT):

God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

I want to be “knot” nice.

June Windle BareJune is a retired nurse, poet, and widow, living in southern Georgia. Now in her eighties, she remains active in her local church. Among other church responsibilities, she teaches a Sunday school class of her peers. She writes a weekly blog on Facebook, entitled “Monday Musings.” Prior to moving to Georgia, she was a regular contributor to “The Watauga Democrat” newspaper, and “All About Women,” a monthly magazine, both in Boone, North Carolina.

 

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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The Little Church that Could

the little church that could

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Heidi-Marie Ferren. This is the story of Heidi’s church (“The Little Church That Could”) and I just adored it. Way back in 2014 in my “How I Became a Christian” story, I talked about my home church and reading Heidi’s story brought back so many memories for me! One is truly blessed to find a little church home like this.]

The Little Church that Could

Deuteronomy 15:11 For there will never cease to be poor in the land. Therefore I command you, ‘You shall open wide your hand to your brother, to the needy and to the poor, in your land.’

Miss USO, Singer, Speaker, Actress, and all of the titles we give and get in life; One would never think ‘former homeless person’ would be in that list, but it is. However, this story is not about being homeless.
It’s about our journey to a home full of gifts that only God could give through the kind and generous hands of a church. A church that brought new meaning to the term “good works.” This story begins at the end of my 7-month stint living in a car with my mother in Southern California; After my mother’s feet had turned pitch black from diabetes and we had been turned out of the hospital that feared we couldn’t pay.
I’ll never forget the ache as we drove away from Los Angeles, a place I rested the realization of all my dreams. While it felt like a failure, there was also relief. It had been so hard and we had lost so much. We left with hope and money and came back with less than zero of both.
Suddenly I felt pangs of shame; remembering the faces of church members at our going away party. I started anticipating the “I told you so’s,” and, “oh well’s,” that were in my future. We arrived home late at night to find a raccoon had clawed its way through one of the walls in the living room. There was a family of wild cats living in the crawl space, a skunk den in the bushes and a broken A/C and heater. Too exhausted to think, we pushed boxes in front of the raccoon hole, pulled out blankets from the car and huddled on the floor of a bedroom for heat until we finally fell into a restless sleep.
I awoke the next morning to a man banging on the front door calling out our names. I hid in the hallway, hoping he would leave, not ready to face the music just yet. But, he didn’t leave, he wouldn’t leave and I couldn’t bear more guilt than I was already nursing, so I meandered to the door.
It was David Gates, a deacon at the First Presbyterian Church of Rogers, Arkansas; a kind man who happened to be one of the people that planned our going away party. I opened the door with a smiling, yet heavy heart. At this point, I was just grateful to see someone who made me feel home and David was just that. He had sparkling white hair and the friendliest love filled eyes you’ve ever seen.
He was a tall man, and, like most of the folks at our church did not look his age, which was 82. He leaped at me with a hug and told me to grab mom we were going to breakfast. I stumbled to the bedroom where mom was still tangled in blankets. I tried not to startle her awake too much, since she was still heavily medicated from her pre-gangrenous foot. However, despite my efforts she sprung like a zombie from her uncomfortable slumber.
“What is it?! What?! What is it?!” “Momma, David Gates is here to take us to breakfast.”
“What?! How’d he know we were even here?” “Guess he saw the car.”
That is exactly what happened. The only part we missed was that he had been driving by for days to see if we had made it back yet.
Apparently our little church in Rogers, Arkansas, whose average congregational age was at least 70, had organized and executed a plan to get us back to square one.
David had submitted us to Rebuilding Together, a non-profit that helped repair uninhabitable homes for those who can’t afford it.
Charles Hudson had a job for me at his appraisal firm and the church needed help on Saturdays. David had four bags of groceries from the food pantry that didn’t need to be refrigerated, since our refrigerator didn’t work either.
They also wanted mom to come be the drama director again when she felt up to it. It was a tidal wave of met needs before those needs had even been uttered.
We were flabbergasted. How on earth could they have known? They hadn’t even stopped to think if our pride would be hurt, or whether, or not we wanted help.
No, they loved us and took us in the palm of their hands like family. Family like neither of us had ever known. David dropped us home a few hours later to find Ed Molitor waiting with a mattress and a chair.
A few hours after Ed left, I heard the sound of a bag drop on our porch. It was Pat and Charles Teeter hurrying off, so their kindness wouldn’t be caught. The Teeters had more zip in their 90 year-old bodies than I had at 16. Pat always filled the church with what she called her “roadside bouquets,” wildflowers she had picked from the road. She took flowers someone else might call a weed and made them magic in a vase. It turns out Pat heard I was starting work with Charles the next day and thought I’d need clean clothes. I fought hard to hold the tears back.
As I opened the bag and pulled out the first item, I saw it was a solid black turtleneck. It’s silly, but I had always wanted a black turtleneck. I never told anyone. It was silly and small, but to me, it was a giant glaring message from God…I have you. I have the smallest desires of your heart in my heart. Even in the lowest of lows I will shower you with your heart’s desires. I hear you. I remember and you are never forgotten.
My mother and I had never had one church we went to regularly before the First Presbyterian Church of Rogers. In fact, the only reason we started attending regularly was because we thought it was the prettiest church in the area to have a wedding. It’s funny how God blesses us beyond our plans. I never went through with the wedding, but I never let go of that church and thank God they never let go of me.

 

heidi-marie ferrenHeidi-Marie Ferren is an award winning writer and content creator. She has directed and written for Comedy Central Stages and is the producer, director and head writer for Defiance Theatre Company’s award winning sketch comedy series. She is a founding member of ValleHo Productions and her content has been featured on Funny or Die, YouTube and a number of streaming platforms. For six years she served United States and Allied Servicemembers and Veterans as Miss USO, performing and speaking across the globe as an ambassador and steward of gratitude. She has performed and lectured in over 1,000 venues including performances at CitiField, Nassau Coliseum, Madison Square Garden, and President Clinton’s Inauguration. As a country, jazz and gospel recording artist, Heidi’s credits include performances with Taylor Swift, Joan Jett, Patti LaBelle, Lee Greenwood and Tony Orlando. Heidi is currently in pre- production for a major feature franchise and series slated to premiere at Cannes in 2019. She is a resident writer for two production houses in Los Angeles and a songwriter for the Roundtable. Heidi has her BFA from Southern Methodist University’s Meadows School of the Arts and her MFA from the University of Delaware’s Professional Theatre Training Program. She is currently recording her second album to be released early 2018 as well as preparing for the launch of her latest speaking series and book. Heidi also continues her work in support of service members through time, song and service as an Ambassador, Performer, and Volunteer.

 

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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Are You a Living Sacrifice?

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. The question Agnes is posing this week is, Are You a Living Sacrifice?]

Are You a Living Sacrifice?

When I think of living sacrifice, the story of Abraham trying to sacrifice Isaac on the alter comes to mind (Genesis 22:1-13). However, I don’t think God expects us to literally lay our lives on the altar for Him.

My friends, I believe what God’s purpose for our lives when He instructed us in Romans 12:1 saying,

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship

is to:

  • Start with giving our lives to Jesus and recognize that our body, soul, and spirit belong to God
  • Acknowledge that everything we have come from Him and we are only offering Him back what He gave us in the first place. These include the use of our praise, worship, time, talent, resources, money, career and business to serve the Lord.

Christ follower, ask yourself a pointed question on whether your life is a living sacrifice or not. If not, ask the Holy Spirit to help you be a living sacrifice for Him.

If you are currently not a Christ follower, life without Jesus has no meaning -so come and experience Jesus today by giving your life to Him.

All glory to God!

 

Agnes Amos-ColemanAbout The Author
Agnes is a leader with proven business acumen in a variety of industries. She holds an executive MBA from the University of Hull, United Kingdom, and is also a Certified Meeting Planner (CMP). She is the author of God Cares for Me in Every Season: Godly Insights for Singleness, Marriage and Divorce; The Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals and Transforming Business With Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success.

 

 

[Closing Editor’s Note: If you have any questions about accepting Jesus into your heart, or just want to talk about Jesus, as a Christian this is my duty! 🙂 I would love to help answer any questions as best I can. My contact info is below.]

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime.

 

 

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Resurrection on Easter Sunday

[Editor’s  Note: This is a guest story by contributor Maria Drayton. I’m still planning on doing one post a week for now, but when Maria sent me this Easter post (and I realized, Oh man, I really don’t have an Easter post this year…) I decided to post it this week too! P.S. Have you ever wanted to know what Easter was called in Italy? Pasqua! So this Sunday, happy Resurrection, Easter, and Pasqua!]

Easter on Resurrection Sunday

1 Peter 2:24, “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

It’s almost that time again. The time that all the stores fill up with Easter baskets, eggs and candy. The time that the shopping begins for the perfect Easter outfit. The time that the people you haven’t seen all year show up to church. It’s funny what things become about when it comes to Easter. A national holiday that encourages everything EXCEPT what it really is.
I fell for it. I saw a sale and jumped on it. I had everything and was prepared. I had a 20% off coupon, plus a $70 gift card to use. I was ready. I chose my son to focus on this year. He has grown a lot in the year, needed a new dress shirt, pants and shoes. I saw the sale and moved in for the kill. There I stood in the middle of the boys section going back and forth.

First, it was the green shirt with the blue tie and the blue pants. But then I couldn’t find the right size pants in the navy blue. Then I switched to the blue shirt with mixed blue and gray tie with gray pants instead. But the shirt was too small. When the lady came to ask me if I needed help to find anything, I immediately said, “yes!” She went to the back to look for the right sizes of either and could not find any that would fit. I switched again to the tan pants instead.

Then I found the right size pants but the shirt didn’t look quite right. Eventually I left the store settling on the green shirt with the blue tie and the navy blue slacks (just got a bigger size). I figured he could “grow into them.” All of this over Easter Sunday. Not only did I go and make the Easter outfit purchase an event but the pants definitely didn’t fit and I had to go back again for round two.

Then it happened, a church that we often visit, proclaimed “we will not be dressing up this Easter we want everyone that comes to feel comfortable”. I thought to myself, “After all I went through for the perfect outfit for my son?!” Instead I made the decision to go to another church where “tradition” still rules.
It really didn’t hit me until after the postcard came from the church (in which I decided on) to advise that there would only be two services on Easter Sunday. One at 6am and the other at 10am. My family often went to the early service since we lived so far away- traffic generally wasn’t as bad in the early morning hours.

Then I showed it to my husband and said, “We will probably have to wake up at around 4am on Easter- I just wanted you to know.” He answered, “Maybe we don’t have to go to this church but the one we visit instead.” “What?!” I thought to myself. Maybe it was me that needed to change. After all, tradition doesn’t have to “stay” tradition.

As a child, I knew I could always count on this time of year for a new outfit from my mom. We would all walk in church with our crisp new dresses, stockings and shoes. That was the tradition, Easter Sunday meant dressing to the tee. Now here I was, being challenged in my thought of this tradition. Realizing, “Why do we need to get extra fancy?” Even as my son grew, it was filled with Easter baskets and egg hunts in addition to the church attire. I’m not even sure if my son even really knows what it’s really about at this age. I have to admit; I’ve dropped the ball. After all, Easter is about Jesus’ resurrection not about outward appearance. It’s about the offer of salvation from our very own sins through His resurrection.

Romans 3: 21-26 (NIV), “But now apart from the law the righteousness of God has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished—he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

I’ve decided it’s not too late. This Easter Sunday, we will be visiting the other church. This “Easter” we will be dressing casually instead, giving “Easter” its proper focus. What an awesome God he truly is! Happy Resurrection Sunday!

Romans 4: 23-25 (NIV), “The words “it was credited to him” were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousness—for us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

Maria Drayton

Maria Drayton, originally from Seattle, Washington is a graduate of Washington State University and has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Journalism through the Edward R. Murrow School of Communications. Maria currently resides in Deptford, New Jersey with her husband and son. With a passion for the Lord, she desires to bring a young, fresh, new look into intimacy with the Lord. Purchase Maria’s newly released book, “The King and I: Steps for Living in Today’s World Through Intimacy with the Lord” on her website: www.mariadrayton.com !

 

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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Freestyle Faith: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

freestyle faith

[Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from Ronel Sidney’s new book, Freestyle Faith: Around the Table. I feel so blessed to share this excerpt with you today. I think all women know that there are things that happen to women in this world that just aren’t right (understatement), and the more we speak up the more things will change. We can change things. P.S. military friends, this one is for you, too!]

Freestyle Faith: Breaking the Glass Ceiling

No glass ceiling was ever shattered by a whiner.”–Melanie Hope

Struggling and pushing to breakthrough to uncharted territory can be daunting and painful. Women have been treated as less capable and valuable than men for years, and yet many people do not want to discuss the topic. Much like avoiding talks of racism, people think if we pretend it does not exist then we can continue life without making any waves. The problem with this idea is that not talking or fighting to change the stigma keeps us stuck in the cycle of labeling, marginalizing and holding women back from reaching their full potential.

Recently I heard someone describe breaking the glass ceiling in a broader sense of the phrase. Breaking the glass ceiling is when you embark on pushing outside the box of what you were told was normal or acceptable in society or even in your family of origin. This description really intrigued me and gave me words to describe how I had been feeling for years. Guilt, shame and striving for acceptance kept me from speaking out or even breaking out of the “box” I was told was good enough for me and my life.

It began in my last year of high school, when my father and brother sat down with a military recruiter and it was as if I did not exist. The whole conversation was about what the military could do for my brother. There was no mention of what it could provide me and my future. The stigma of women in the military has been fought for years before me; however, women are still fighting to gain recognition and acceptance among their male counterparts. I have been “voted out” of offices, told I could not attend school, and even told by my own recruiter that I would do fine in the Navy because I was “decent” looking. I am sure you can imagine my surprise at these words.

The way we treat woman in the military and society in general keeps them stuck and often silenced about the wrongdoing that occurs aboard ships, during deployments and in the world environment. It is much like when you leave home and realize the way you were raised was not exactly conducive for the reality of the outside world.

We all come to a point of fight or flight. In some ways, I wish I could run from the glass ceiling, and yet, I have been able to break through it enough times to know the pain is worth the reward. Dealing with the intangible barriers within society and the military was expected; however, the barriers I faced within the church and my family took me by surprise.  Fighting for a position or school in the military was much easier than fighting for a place at the table in the church. Being told I could attend classes with men at church but could only perform some of the duties because I am a woman infuriates me to no end. I tried to stay and wait patiently for change, but why do we do this to women?

Why do we tell women they aren’t equal to men or they are incapable of doing what a man can do in ministry?

Acceptance is easy. Fighting to break the mold can be depleting. While attending seminary, I realized the truth was that we allowed men to keep us from being equal in order to make them feel okay with our presence. How crazy is that? We are minimized because of their insecurities and inability to accept us as equals in work, home, life and ministry? Seems a bit old school.

I have come to accept that we have two choices. We can stay within whatever system minimizes us, or we can choose to do things differently. In the military, I had no choice but to fight. In ministry and the church, I decided not to fight and instead begin a new journey outside the Sunday morning meeting and the building we call church. Within my family of origin, I have also decided to reject the “rules” of acceptance in order to embark on a journey of healing and self-discovery.

The choice is yours. You get to navigate this life with God, and He will give you the power to make changes in whatever situation you face in life. I believe the hardest part of breaking the glass ceiling is choosing not to whine and instead to be a part of changing the way women are perceived in the world. Yes, there will be women who make choices we may not agree with. However, standing together and fighting for equality is a must for the next generation.

I do not have a daughter, but I pray my nieces have less of a fight ahead of them because of the battles I decided to fight. I pray they have more opportunities because of other women who choose to fight and stand up to the stigmas of our culture. Mostly, I pray that we as women can begin to see our worth and value together and not in competition with one another.

Excerpt from Freestyle Faith: Around the Table by Ronel Sidney 

freestyle faith around the table

ronel sidneyRonel Sidney was born and raised in Northern California but, has made San Diego home with her husband and son. She has a business degree and works as a contractor for the United States Navy. As the National Director of Praise and Coffee she has a passion for encouraging women to share life and faith outside religious obligation.

Thanks for reading! Blog comments are closed. You can follow Devotional Diva on Facebook here, on Instagram here @devotional_diva, on Twitter here @devotionaldiva and email me, Maggie, at editor(at)devotionaldiva(dot)com anytime. If you’d like to join our email list to receive new posts, please follow this link.

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