A Song in My Heart


Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor June Titus. See her last post, What to Wear, for more encouragement!

A SONG IN MY HEART

I don’t know about you, but I am one of those fortunate people who have a melody constantly playing in my brain. Sometimes it is the same one for days on end; sometimes it is a tune my head makes up as it goes; sometimes it gets downright annoying, especially when I can’t connect the tune to the words or a title. Mostly, it is enjoyable.

Music has always been a part of my life since I was a tiny child. I could carry a tune by the time I was two or three and could harmonize at age five.

Music, too, has been a balm for me in trying times, bringing comfort to my hurting heart, producing needed tears when I needed to grieve, and lifting my spirits when work seemed overwhelming. Song lives in me and I am thankful.

I call to remembrance my song in the night;
I meditate within my heart,
And my spirit makes diligent search.

Psalm 77:6 (NKJV)

Recently a dear friend has been going through yet another heartache in her life. She, too, loves music and sings beautifully in the church choir. She quietly goes along in these difficult days with their important decisions, yet when it comes to singing in the choir, she is there. I can see the tell-tale concerns etched on her face, yet when the music begins, and she sings, her entire face lights up with the joy and praise in the anthem. The beauty of our Lord Jesus Christ is in her face.

I spoke to her later and told her how encouraged I was seeing her singing when I knew what she is going through in her personal life. She told me how difficult it was to sing that Sunday, although it was a simple song. It was not the choral arrangement that was so difficult; it was the words, Oh when I am alone, give me Jesus.” 

My friend knows from experience she is not alone in this struggle; Jesus is there, guiding, listening, healing.

What is it about music that can fill our hearts with joy, peace, courage, and hope? Psychology explains it in part—what the Bible has been saying for thousands of years—that chemicals are released in the brain for different emotional reactions. Soothing music will alleviate depression; pleasant music can help someone do a difficult task. Music can speed healing, increase creativity; improve memory; help us fall asleep. There are negative effects of music as well, such as: too loud, irregular beats, disharmony, and repetitive patterns. The result can be anywhere from learning disabilities and behavioral problems to anger and boredom—among others.

“Music absorbs our conscious and sub-conscious mind and directs those thought either in spiritual or unspiritual directions.”

If music itself has an emotional impact on us, how much more do the words of the music touch us in communing the attributes of Jesus to our soul. Those musical strains that run through my head, so long as they relate to meaningful words, might do me some good. My friend is working through her difficulties singing the lovely music along with the deep meaning of the words, and she is given courage, being blessed, and blessing others.

The Lord is my strength and my shield;
My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;
Therefore my heart greatly rejoices,
And with my song I will praise Him.

Psalm 28: 7


June Windle Bare

June W. Titus is a retired nurse and poet and mother and grandmother, living with her husband 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.

Continue Reading

Daddys Home

daddys home

Daddy’s Home

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by Holly McConnell. I can’t say I didn’t relate to Holly’s mom life devotional, Daddy’s Home. It is such a sigh of relief when my husband is actually home from work!)

 

It’s that sigh of relief when you hear the garage door open and the kids start jumping up and down or when he texts and says, “be home soon”. It’s a moment like no other. Your partner, your love, your friend, your help…he’s home.

 

To me, it’s a wonderful feeling, not only because he’s off work,  but he’s home!!!

 

Vaughn’s job has always been challenging for me. When we didn’t have children it wasn’t as bad. He would work 8:00-5:00 most days and it was a normal schedule. After Wade, his work changed. It’s a great thing! He has moved up in the company and deserves every promotion he has worked for. He is a hard worker and dedicated to his job. However, this requires more hours and more stress.
He works hard! He travels out of town most weeks and is gone two, sometimes three days a week.  I know I’m not the only one out there….right? I know there are men and women who work shift work, are on call, who work straight days, who sacrifice holidays, and time with their children. I wish I could wave my magic wand and all the mommy’s and daddy’s could be home together all the time. I wish it was that simple…However, it’s not reality.

 

Before having Wade, I read the book Power of a Praying Wife and did the study (Editor’s Note: Devotional Diva affiliate link). If you haven’t read it and you are married or soon will be…go get yourself a copy. It put things into perspective for my prayer life for Vaughn. I knew I needed to pray for him, but this laid it out so beautifully and took you through how to pray for your husband fully and completely. It opened my eyes! Two kids later, I struggle. I focus more on them sometimes. But, I pray for my husband. I pray for him to have wisdom and strength to get through his work day. I pray for him to be kind and respectful. I pray for him to give advice and be a mentor for younger and older employees. I pray he is an example of Christ while he is at work. I pray for him to strive in his job daily,to make wise decisions, and to be a light for those who might not know Jesus. I pray! I pray! I pray! I pray for my husband.

 

Something I have been doing lately is praying with scripture. God gave us a guide book, a life book…use it!!!

 

Psalms 90:17
Let the favor of the Lord our God be upon us, and establish the work of our hands upon us; yet establish the work of our hands.
Prayer–Jesus, may the favor of our God be upon my husband. Please bless and establish the work of his hands and heart each day.
Ephesians 4:1-2
I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one in love.

Prayer–God, Please help my husband to live in accordance to you will. Please allow him to be humble, gentle, allow him to have patience in stressful times, allow him to love people as you have asked us to.

I grumble a lot..ummm I do, about his work schedule.

 

It can be hard some days when he doesn’t get home till 7:00 and he left at 6:00 a.m. or earlier. But, I need to remember that God has blessed us and allows Vaughn to work. This job has allowed me to be a part time stay at home mom.. and truthfully I’m mostly just a stay at home mom. It’s the biggest blessing God and Vaughn could have gave me as a mom and wife.

 

So, I’m going to try to grumble less and pray more and remember that God hears my prayers. He hears my heart and my desires. He knows how much I love Vaughn and how much I want him home so we can be complete again. But, I’m also going to pray for myself that God would take this grumbling and negativity that I have sometimes towards his work schedule. I pray that I would speak kindness, have understanding, and love. And I pray that Satan would flee because you know…he’s the one placing those thoughts in my head. So, NOT TODAY SATAN!!! And not tomorrow either…pray for those husbands…and tell them to pray for you too!!

 

Holly McConnell is from Northeast Tennessee where she resides with her husband and two kids. She serves in her church as the women’s ministry leader and assistant youth director. She writes weekly on her blog at www.honestmom87.com about connecting scripture and words from God to mom life, adventures, and battles that she personally faces. Instagram @hollymcconnell87

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.
Continue Reading

Why I am saying ‘Just Because’ a lot more these days

Why I am saying ‘Just Because’ a lot more these days…

(Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by veteran Diva Rachel Myers. Love Rachel’s ‘just because’ outlook in this season of her life! Be encouraged by this devotional.)

My husband and I recently took the kiddos up to NYC for the day. We did not have any grand Broadway tickets, fancy dinner, nor high-end shopping spree in mind (well… it might have been in my mind, but that’s the only place it was). We simply gathered the kiddos into the car on any empty Saturday morning and headed from the Philly Suburbs up to NYC… ‘Just Because.’

My family is doing a lot more ‘Just Becauses’ lately. I used to be very good about taking the kiddos places when they were younger. As my kiddos have gotten older, school, church, sports, dance, and electronics have crept into our daily lives and we tend to have less family outings.

Yet, last year my world stopped in May as my 100% healthy, bursting with life 73-year-old dad turned gravely ill within 24 hours, suffered dearly and took his last breath 3 months later due to a rare version of the Shingles Virus. Dad was my pillar of support, beloved best friend, moral compass and best babysitter ever. Since my mom has Alzheimer’s, I was honored to be the one by dad’s side every single day of his battle. Dad and I had a bond like no other, and I truly believe that God blessed us both with the gift of those 3 months to help us each endure the impending loss.

Prior to becoming ill, dad would jump at any opportunity to go on an adventure no matter how great or small. After he worked tirelessly to provide for his family, he had just a moment to relish retirement. Dad was willing to book any next vacation just as quickly as he would throw on his brown loafers when asked to grab a quick ice cream with the grandkiddos. Once dad fell ill, he never could use his body nor mind, again. He never left a hospital nor rehab facility, and he most certainly had no more outings.

It is so hard to not take things for granted. It’s human nature. I preach to my own kiddos that they take so much for granted as I look around their rooms, backyard, lunch boxes, schools, churches and more! Yet, I too, take so, so, so much for granted. I get annoyed when my K-cup machine water vessel is blinking, and I must walk all the way over to the facet to refill before my freshly brewed coffee can arrive in my cup within 60 seconds. Yet, I watched dad lose his ability of mind to make coffee, hands to refill water, legs to walk, and mouth to swallow. Dad was just one of the hundreds of patients that I came across during his battle in the hospitals and continue to encounter as I walk the halls of mom’s long-term care living facility. Both dad and mom are not the only ones enduring a state of without.

I continually refer to the experience of dad’s illness as ‘game-changing’. It has made an imprint on me and I am forever changed. I WISH I could walk a life where I continually feel so blessed and grateful for every breath, moment and thought that I take. I WISH I could be that perfect mom that so thankful that she has 2 darling, healthy kiddos even though they are in a moment of bickering and driving me crazy.

Yet, I can say for sure that I look at life oh so differently now. I know that dad is in Heaven and wants me to live this life to the absolute fullest and embrace all of God’s great gifts. So, the ‘Just Because’ outings are happening a lot more in this household these days. Every time I take my kiddos somewhere ‘Just Because,’ I know that I am honoring my dad and feel so very grateful that I have the mental, physical, financial, and spiritual ability to do so.

So, NYC baby… Here we come!!!! We snapped a quick family selfie in front the Hudson, let my youngest run in the water fountain, grabbed embarrassingly, huge, street vendor pretzels, headed to Central Park, purchased pounds of candy from Dylan’s Candy Store, and wrapped up with a delicious dinner at the famous Angelo’s Pizza. All of this… ‘Just Because.’

I bet that this special NYC memory would not have been made prior to the death of my dad. I would have let that Saturday go, and got a few extra loads of laundry finished. I now thank God every day for the ‘just Becauses’. I make an intentional effort to fill our lives with special blessings and more importantly have fun in the simplest of moments, as it is the ultimate way to honor my beloved dad and praise God for His great glory.

I transitioned from Corporate America to stay home with my kiddos, and recently received my Masters in Education to teach at my church PreK. I suffered the horrific loss of my beloved dad this past year, and continue to walk the journey of caring for my mom with Alzheimer’s. Despite my difficult times, I feel more connected to the Lord than ever. I feel called to find my purpose, make a difference, and foster a sense of community in God’s love that will lead, inspire and nurture myself as well as others. Dealing with the loss of a parent, caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, navigating through long-term care living facilities, raising a Christ based family within the everyday community, and deciding if I want to go to Barre or Yoga are just a few of the pieces of the puzzle in my life right now.

 

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.

Continue Reading

God’s Way or Your Way?

god's way

God’s Way or Your Way?

[This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. If you missed her last post, it’s right here: The What Ifs. This post is regarding following God’s way rather than our own…such a good reminder!]

I don’t know about you, in the past, I have prayed for situations in my life to change and in the process, I attempted to manipulate God for answers. In this situation, God did answer my prayer but it wasn’t His direct will for my life but His permissive will.

As you can imagine the consequences of the answers to my prayer were disastrous but because of the mercy of God, I live to testify today.

The story of a Bible character that comes to mind who wanted his way, not God’s, is Balaam.  In the book of (Numbers 22: 1-39), King Balak summoned Balaam to come and curse the children of Israel. The Lord warned him not to go, but he kept pestering God because of the great reward that the king was offering for counseling fees. Balaam became greedy and as a result, he started manipulating God’s hands in prayers. God finally said he should go ahead. It was not God’s direct will but His permissive will.

However, God was angry with Balaam and He sent His angel to oppose him by standing in his path, but for Balaam’s donkey, the Lord would have killed him.

My friends, there are lessons here for us to learn as follows:

  • it isn’t pleasing to God whenever we force issues in prayers – the consequences are often disastrous. As Christ followers, we should refrain from insisting on our way over God’s way.
  • We should always pray for God’s will to be done not our will. God’s will is always the best, though we don’t always see it at the time. We can never have anything better than what God intends for our lives.

Christ follower, ask the Holy Spirit to help you accept God’s will for your life, so you can enjoy His blessings for you. If you are currently not a Christ follower, today is the day of salvation – come taste, and see that the Lord is good.

 

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 Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success; 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

 

 

Continue Reading

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.

Continue Reading

Are You Easily Angered?

anger

[This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos-Coleman. Another wonderful devotional from Agnes that forces us to face the question…are you easily angered?  Plus, she just released a new book this weekend, Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace Success. Congrats, Agnes! ]

Are You Easily Angered?

Anger is the result of unmet expectations – some expectations are unrealistic and some are right. Regardless of the type of anger we are dealing with, the Bible cautions us in (Ephesians 4:26-27) that in our anger we should neither sin, nor let the sun go down while we are still angry and not give the devil a foothold in our lives.

Oh, how Satan loves to torment and destroy our testimony with the spirit of anger. I know this because I was once afflicted with this vile spirit. I was easily angered by life’s situations and circumstances. By the grace of God and daily surrendering my life to Jesus, I intentionally walk in victory from the spirit of anger.

My friends, we cannot fix the situations and circumstances in our lives that lead to anger by trying to put a distance between us and our past. The more we try to, the angrier we become. We must intentionally choose to learn from the life of David by:

  • Allowing our anger to draw us nearer to God – (Psalm 142) reminds us that David’s hope was in God and so should ours – even when we do not know how God will take care of the situation.
  • Letting Hope defuse our anger – this can be accomplished by starting an honest conversation with God, asking Him to show us what’s underneath our anger and choosing to put our hope in God, not the outcome of the situation. (Hebrews 6:19).

Christ follower, ask the Holy Spirit to destroy every spirit of anger in your life.

If you are currently not a Christ follower, please accept Jesus into your life today and He will give you a hope that can change the future.

 

All glory to God!

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 Transforming Business with Godly Governance: Nine Characteristics for Workplace SuccessGod 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

 

[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.

Continue Reading

The Black Cat: Scripture vs Superstitions

the black cat

The Black Cat: Scripture vs Superstitions

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Maria Drayton. Check out her last guest story here, I Am Royalty. Today she’s tackling superstitions!]

I was almost home when I turned the corner and continued to down the street. All of a sudden a black cat darted from one side of the street to the other. At once my mind said, “Oh no! That’s bad luck!” I quickly realized the thought and rejected it. “I don’t believe in superstitions anymore!” I said back to the thought. I continued, “I believe in God’s word not in superstitions,” at this point I was actually laughing. How sly the enemy is when he comes into our minds. He operates on things that we “used” to believe. Things he hopes that we still believe. But in this case, I didn’t believe those anymore. Scripture tells us to,

“…demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”(2 Corinthians 10:5)

It’s taken years for my mind to be reprogrammed by the Word of God and it is still “under construction.” It doesn’t happen overnight, like I wished it would. I remember one day I was at work and a lady saw me put my purse on the floor and she rushed over, I thought something was on fire. When she said to me, “you shouldn’t put your purse on the floor! That means you’re always going to stay broke basically money will always be leaving you.” I thought to myself, “Wow, this is a new one!” I got my purse off the floor! I figured “what’s the worst that can happen? I need everything to be working for me not against me.” I chose to believe what she had said.

It didn’t stop there, one day I caught myself saying to my son, “Don’t put the umbrella up in the house! That’s bad luck!” He looked at me like I was crazy and I didn’t “capture” that thought. That thought slipped right in and I believed it and now my son believed it too. That one I didn’t catch. Perhaps this is why the enemy came again with discreetness on this same issue. “I had already succeeded once, maybe I’ll do it again”, could’ve been his thought. It’s constant, the renewing of our mind. Daily, we must consecrate our minds to the living word of God. It’s been a lifelong journey for me.

Scripture tells us,

“Do not be conformed to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2)

There are some things that are so deeply inbred in us that we don’t see it regardless of what the Word of God says. I believed the enemy for so many years. But he’s a liar, he cannot tell the truth. I believed what he said about me. I believed what he said about my circumstances. I believed what he said about my future. Now, I choose to believe what the Word of God says about me, my circumstances and my future.

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.”

Funny how the mind works, it will hold on to old beliefs and until they are confronted, they’re still there. And these things can be so subtle that we don’t even recognize them….like the umbrella being open inside. I have to stay watchful like a lighthouse with the light of the Word of God exposing these beliefs.

“Your Word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119:105) I must say what God says, using His word against thoughts that creep or flood into my mind. After I saw that black cat, I said “I am blessed!”

Mark 9:23, “Jesus said to him, “if you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”

What do you believe?

 

Maria DraytonMaria 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.

Continue Reading

Exstresso: God’s Way to Live without Stress

exstresso

[Editors note: This is an excerpt from the book Exstresso: Taking a Coffee Break with God by Leah Whitton with Jessica Casarez. I received a copy of the book for review, and this excerpt is uesd with permission. I absolutely love this devotional! I’m not a big coffee person (in fact, I really only like espresso) but the coffee break theme of the book just makes it cute. It’s refreshing to read (and I go through a lot of devotionals!) with its STIR method which stands for Scripture, Thoughts for the Day (the devotional/story aspect) Invitation to Prayer, and Respond (questions for the reader). I chose a devotional from the second week of the book to share, aptly titled “Exstresso.” It really summed up what the whole book was about for me! Enjoy.]

Week 2, day 1

“Exstresso”

By Leah Whitton

Scripture 

Out of my distress I called on the Lord;
    the Lord answered me and set me free.
The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.
    What can man do to me?

Psalm 118:5-6

 

Thoughts for the Day

Have you ever been stressed? I would imagine most of us have been or currently are under a lot of stress. Life is stressful and messy at times.

When you combine “ex” with “stress,” you get “ex-stress,” which means without stress. How can we live without stress?

When we call out to God, he answers us and can help us live a life with less stress. One of the Greek words in the Bible for stress is thlipsis, which means pressure, burdens, affliction, or trouble. When Stephen was preaching in Acts 7:9-14 about Joseph from the Old Testament, he used the word thlipsis to describe Joseph’s plight. If anyone had a right to be stressed, it was Joseph. He was sold into slavery by his brothers, wrongfully accused of rape by Pharoahs’ wife, and thrown into prison and forgotten-all while being completely innocent and serving God. Joseph could have asked God: Where are you? Why have you left me?

Have you ever caught yourself asking those same questions? I know I have had times in my life where I had to go through extremely challenging, stressful, and heartbreaking situations, yet God was with me through each of those seasons.

In the year of 2001, I was pregnant with my first child. My husband and I were thrilled and anxious for our son’s arrival. On December 27, around 10:00 p.m., something was about to change. We had not anticipated any problems—we expected joy, not stress—but suddenly our situation changed. Hudson was born with an aggressive infection called Strep B. This infection was so powerful it began to shut down every working system in his little body. The doctors estimated that he only had a 50% chance of survival. So, here we were, brand new parents, not knowing what to expect, and feeling the heartache of possibly losing our newborn son.

Hudson was placed in the NICU and was not improving. He was living on a respirator and IV antibiotics. The worst of it was that I was not able to hold him or touch him because it affected his blood pressure too much. I was at the end of my rope and I remember screaming out to God saying,

“If you are really God, you will send someone here face-to-face to tell me audibly that my son will be healed and that he will come home with us.”

That evening, a young pastor who we were friends with felt a strong sense that God was telling him to drive to our hospital. He wrestled a bit (especially because of the time and the distance) and he asked God if he could just called the hospital. “No,” God said, “You must go.” Around midnight that evening, this young pastor showed up in our hospital room. He told us God had woken him up and that he was supposed to come and tell me face-to-face that my child would live and he would come home with no complications. I called out to God in my stressful time and He answered my prayer in a powerful way. God showed himself faithful. The next day, Hudson began to improve and two weeks later came home 100% healthy.

During Joseph’s distress, he called out to God. Joseph didn’t allow stress to overwhelm him, and thus “God was with him and rescued him out of all his afflictions and gave him favor and wisdom before Pharaoh, king of Egypt, who made him ruler over Egypt and over all his household.”

Joseph could have let stress swallow him up, but instead he brought his stress to God. Life will bring stress, but before letting that stress consume you, drink a good cup of God’s exstresso” (God’s grace, mercy, and love) and allow him to bring healing to every area of your life. 1 Peter tells us to “cast all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” Hold onto that scripture when you walk through stressful times. God was with us through the horrible nightmare we faced when my son was born, and he will be with you also.

Release your stress to him today and have a coffee conversation with God who is ready to carry your burdens.

 

[Closing Editor’s Note: This is a good opportunity, in light of a blog post about “stress” to say that I’m experiencing a lot of it in my life and I’m going to honor taking more time for rest and family. I’m transitioning, starting now, to a one post per-week Devotional Diva Lite schedule for the time being. Thanks for understanding!]

 

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.

 

Continue Reading

Are You Ready for a Transformation?

are you ready for a transformation

[Editor’s Note: This is a guest story by contributor Agnes Amos. Please check out her last guest story here. So it’s February and we are still beginning our New Year…but maybe you feel like you’re struggling with your resolutions, or maybe in a rut. I felt like this was the perfect time to place this devotional on Transformation from Agnes.]

Are You ready for a Transformation?

My friends, as we still begin a new and glorious 2018 that the Lord has blessed us with, it is noteworthy to give God all the praise, honor and adoration for His provisions that include our life, health, physical, spiritual and emotional needs. So, take a pause with me as you read this month’s devotion and meditate on (Psalm 148).

What is transformation? The dictionary defines it as a thorough or dramatic change in form or appearance. Personally, I like the Biblical definition in 2 Corinthians 3:18.

“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

So, what gets in the way of our transformation? In my experience, SHAME is the number reason. Again, the dictionary defines shame as a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior. Friends, there are two types of shame – (a) a well-placed shame that comes because of our disobedience and (b) a misplaced shame that comes because of not meeting standards.

Regardless of the of the type of shame we are confronted with, to live a transformed life this new year, I encourage you to:

Break the cycle of shame – by accepting you can’t change the past. There are many things in my past that have caused me great shame but I am emboldened by the word of God in ( 2 Corinthians 5:17) that I am new in Christ, the old is gone and the new is here.

Do the work of forgiveness – by simply confessing your sin(s) and making a total turn around and not touching that sin again. Be intentional about your decision by staying away from behaviors that will lead you down the path you have forsaken (James 5:16).

Do the work of freedom – by embracing the reality that God can forgive and remove your shame and that Christ can and wants to change your future – after all, that is why He died on the Cross of Calvary. The Lord reminded me recently not to allow my past to weaken me – how cool is that! (Isaiah 43:25).

Christ follower, live in transformation this new year and let God manifest His glory in your life.

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 begin the work of transformation in your life.

All glory to God!

 

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 DivorceThe Provisions of God: Insights from a Cat Named Mascot, and  Weekly Insights for the Workplace: A Devotional for Christian Professionals

Continue Reading

3 Days in Paris (with a toddler) — A Diva Travel Diary

3 days in paris 1

3 Days in Paris (with a toddler!)

Happy Galentines & Valentines! I thought, in honor of such a romantic season, I’d finally share my travel diary from Paris, the city of love! I ended up with such a backlog of guest stories over the Christmas season that getting those up were priority over this. I almost didn’t bother with even sharing this since we went just before Christmas, but I know a lot of you guys enjoy my travel stuff and I really enjoy sharing it, too. And, is Paris ever a bad idea?

We had a wonderful holiday in Paris. We did about a week in Paris overall, with 3 days in Paris (including a trip to the Palace of Versailles) and then the rest at Disneyland Paris (and traveling) because we have a major Mickey Mouse fan on our hands. This post is just about the first half in the city, which really was romantic.

The Seine, near Notre Dame. Great time for a photo!

O and the Eiffel Tower — he’s showing off a leaf he found.

This is Les Invalides, which we ended up spending quite a lot of time standing outside of thanks where we had to switch our hop/on hop/off bus.

O did pretty good on the hop on/hop off bus! We were on it all day, Day 1, and it enabled us to quickly see what we wanted and take in a lot of sights!

Ah, Notre Dame! The lighting was PERFECT when we were there and the clouds looked 3D.

3 days in paris toddler notre dame

arc de triomphe
This is pretty obviously the Arc de Triomphe! We were on our way to shop the Champs-Élysées because we had no clothes! Our luggage was lost en route to Paris.

paris 3 days toddler
O at the gates of the Palace of Versailles! Just a little world traveler!

versailles gardens
Versailles’ gardens were everything.

versailles-toddler
This is the grounds of Versailles. We got O a coloring and sticker book at the gift shop. We could have walked around for hours. Days, really.

paris 3 days toddler versailles
In 10th grade French class, I wrote that Versailles was one place I wanted to visit most. In the world. Dreams come true!

 

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.

Continue Reading