Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Love is kind




Last week I shared with you my decision to blog my way through the book The Love Dare. The book takes you through a 40-day challenge to love your spouse with God’s kind of love. The first dare focused on how love is patient. I love how the book does not simply forget about the first dare when you move on to the next one. You’re not off the hook on being patient with your spouse.

The second chapter starts by saying, “If patience is how love reacts in order minimize a negative circumstance, kindness is how love acts to maximize a positive circumstance.” We need both patience and kindness to love. “Patience avoids the problem; kindness creates a blessing.”

Love Dare #2: In addition to saying nothing negative to your spouse again today, do at least one unexpected gesture as an act of kindness.

Unexpected acts of kindness were a piece of cake. I mailed him a card, sent him an email just because, and provided him with a few new snapshots of my adorable face. ~~smiling~~ I even told him how much I appreciated everything he still took care of even though he is on other side of the world. When he received news contrary to what he expected, I responded with encouragement.

But when he dished out a few more responsibilities, I had to bite my tongue before I snapped again.

Kindness came easily until he wanted me to do something I had less interest in doing. A little bit selfish I’d say.

Let me be honest on where my selfishness stems from: Jealousy. Believe it or not, I’m jealous of my husband . . . the one serving our country in harm’s way. It became easier to admit my jealousy after a milspouse friend admitted the same. “I was actually jealous that my husband had downtime,” Jana said. She resented the fact that responsibility of the home completely fell on her and her husband had time to read and workout.

Hello!?!? Me too!

My husband does not read but the 30 pounds he has lost gives reason to believe he has extra time to work out. I also know his evenings typically end with time for a TV show or a movie.

This chapter of the Love Dare says there are four basic core ingredients of kindness: initiative, gentleness, helpfulness and willingness.

To provide an example of these four core ingredients, the book refers to the parable of the Good Samaritan in Luke, chapter 10:25-37.

The Jews and Samaritans had a deep hatred towards each other yet the Samaritan was the only one who stopped and responded with love. “Taking the initiative, this man demonstrated true kindness in every way. Gently. Helpfully. Willingly” (Love Dare, pg. 6)

If enemies can do it, shouldn't I be able to do the same towards my husband?

Initiative. The new responsibilities my husband dished out this week could have been avoided if I would have taken the initiative to try and resolve them before even bringing the matters to his attention. I need to see the need and make a move first.

Gentleness. When he talks about his down time, I need to be sensitive and remember he would much rather be home with his family.  My friend Jana shared from her experience: “Being able to comprehend how lonely he was helped me to act with more kindness towards him and be more compassionate in our interactions.” I’d much rather show my husband tenderness by being grateful for the opportunities he has to decompress considering the job he has volunteered to do.

Helpfulness. The book suggests providing a listening ear. With my husband on the other end of the world, giving him my full attention when he calls is probably the most helpful thing I can do for him.

Willingness. Instead of being stubborn when he tries to help with a matter, I need to look for creative ways for him to still contribute. I’m reminded of how it’s equally hard on him to be away and to know he has had to place additional responsibilities on me.

What discoveries about love did I make this past week?

I realized a heart check was needed before continuing on with this Love Dare. I don’t want to simply go through the motions and not have a lasting impact. My heart needs to be in the right place. And the right place is? It needs to be all about Jesus. It needs to be about wanting to know Him better and learning what it means to follow Him. He is my motivation to choose love.

And His kind of love never fails. It always wins. ALWAYS.


Dare #1: Love is patient
Dare #2: Love is kind

Next week: Love is not selfish

Friday, April 25, 2014

A different kind of randomness



My head is filled with thoughts I want to share with you. They are random thoughts and a part of me wonders why I feel they are worthy of sharing. Do you ever wish you had someone who captured them for you as they came? They sound much better as they twirl around in my head. I hope my attempt to share them reveals my heart.

****

Easter Sunday “Resurrection Sunday” has come and gone. I find myself asking, Now what? How do I respond to His death and resurrection?

I walked into church on Easter Sunday with a heavy heart for I walked in without my husband beside me. My heart hurt as I watched church friends count out the number of seats needed to cover the family members joining them. 

I came to church alone. No family to join me. I cried silently in my seat.

Then a young man sat beside me. He asked my name. After telling him my name, with a big smile he replied, “Hey, our names rhyme. My name is Seth.” When it came time for official church greetings I turned towards Seth and he opened up his arms and gave me a hug. His hug touched my heart deeply. 

Earlier in the morning I received an email from a writing friend. At a church service she attended the night before they were singing “He overcomes” and she wrote to tell me, “Ánd the Lord brought you to mind as I was standing their singing – and I prayed for you, Beth, because you will overcome! Strongholds will be broken.”

I woke on Monday morning to an email from a writing friend who discovered we may only live a few towns apart. She asked, “Would you be interested in meeting sometime?” I responded with a resounding YES.

On Wednesday a new writing friend reached out to say, “I just wanted to take a minute to thank you for your continued encouragement through your comments on my blog!”

Then a friend nominated me for a blogging award and I won another friend's book giveaway. The book just happens to be titled Chasing God.

I see God’s hand so clearly in each act of kindness. He used friends to encourage my heart and reveal His love for me just when He knew I needed it most. It was Him saying, “Beth, I see you. I am with you. You are never alone.

I opened up to the Book of Ephesians this morning. The book takes my breath away every time I read. His glorious grace and love for us is revealed so vividly throughout the pages. Do I walk in a manner worthy of such love? A love so graciously lavished upon me from Easter morning to right now. 

He placed on my heart recently to begin a new writing series. He tugged at my heart to put love in action. It’s been only a week since I made the commitment to love my husband with God’s kind of love. But when we choose to chase after God’s kind of love something powerful happens. I’m not sure how to explain it yet, but the problem with my heart . . . He’s transforming . . . He’s healing.

How do I respond to such grace?

I remember how I have doubted Him and believed the lies of the enemy instead: You are not pretty enough. You are not thin enough. You are not smart enough. You are unworthy. You are not enough. Those thoughts lead me to destructive behaviors.

Bob Goff shared shortly after Easter, “Every time we believe the lie that we're who we used to be, we roll the stone back into place like nothing happened.”

Do I really want to roll the stone back? Is this how I choose to respond to His grace?

What amazes me; He doesn't leave me in my moments of doubt. John the Baptist doubted. Read how Jesus responded in Matthew 11. Jesus didn't turn His back on him. Instead, He sends John’s disciples back to him with a message to answer his doubts and then says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). 

If I believe Jesus is who He says He is, how do I respond? My only response should be to get on my hands and knees and say, I am yours. With all of my heart I am yours. Make me anew.

And He does make all things new.

So I join Paul in his prayer from Ephesians 3:16-19. I pray this prayer for you and for me. 

“I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge — that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Love Dare Challenge



I've reached the half-way point of my husband’s deployment. If I'm really honest, this deployment is beginning to wear on me. How could we only be half-way?

Murphy's Law has been prevalent in my home. If it can break, it breaks. It began with a broken bone in my foot. From there I've had to repair all three of our cars, replace an oven twice, replace a vacuum cleaner twice and call a plumber. And let’s not forget the horrible winter we had. When I returned home one evening last week and the door from the garage to the house would not shut I looked up shaking my head at God saying, “Enough is enough!” Obviously, He is not to blame.

My patience has begun to run thin.

So when my husband asked me, for what I perceived as far too many times, if I had called our village forestry department yet about the new tree they are to plant in our yard to replace one of the ash trees cut down as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer, I snapped. “It’s not like I’m sitting around doing nothing.

Deep Sigh.

Our conversation did not end on a high note. The tension was sensed. Actually, there has been tension our past few conversations. I've begun to get angry with the army for taking my husband away from home. I'm being selfish and it comes out with my anger pointed toward my husband instead.

I hate admitting my selfishness.  I'd like to say he's the one being selfish. My husband serves our country on the other end of the world to defend our freedoms and I’m calling him selfish? Even if he had been selfish, I must first take a look at my own selfishness (Matthew 7:3-5).

We hung up the phone and it didn't take long for satan to do what he does . . . enter guilt and condemnation.

I've had enough of him. He will not win. Instead, I’m putting love in action. I downloaded a copy of the book The Love Dare for my Kindle. There happens to also be a Love Dare devotional to help military families stay connected during deployments. I’m armed and ready for a Love Dare Challenge.

Day 1 (of a 40-day Love Dare Challenge) is ironically titled Love is patient.

I read the day’s devotional and came to the words, “Anger is usually caused when the strong desire for something is mixed with disappointment or grief." I want my husband to return home now. I know he cannot which disappoints me and makes me sad. “You don’t get what you want and you start heating up inside. It is often an emotional reaction that flows out of our own selfishness, foolishness, or evil motives.” I’m angry. And I've been selfish.

Anger and selfishness are sins. Jesus does not condemn me for my sins but He does say, “Go and sin no more” (John 8:11). I have a choice. I can continue to be angry and selfish or I can choose love instead.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. ~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I purchased a Life Application Study Bible recently to help me dive into scripture. For 1 Corinthians 13:4 it says, “Much irritability comes from a love of perfection, a deep desire that programs, meetings, and structures [everything] be run perfectly.” I desire for things to stop breaking. It would also be desirable for my husband to be more sensitive to my growing list of new responsibilities. I'm reminded of how perfection only exists in God. I need to love my husband, not my vision of perfection.

My study Bible goes on to say for 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, “God’s kind of love is directed outward toward others, not inward toward ourselves. It is utterly unselfish.”

I want to love my husband with God’s kind of love. I want to be a patient wife. “Patience is where love meets wisdom.” (Love Dare, pg. 1)


Love Dare #1: Here is today’s dare during deployment: In email, phone, or letter—do not say or write anything critical or negative. Even if you are on the receiving end of a verbal attack, choose to be quiet.

I had one item to take care of first. That tree issue I mentioned has now been resolved.

Since the day I snapped at my husband I've been intentional to not write or say anything critical or negative, even if temptation aroused, because patience “gives you the amazing ability to hold on during the tough times in your relationship rather than bailing out under the pressure” (The Love Dare – pg. 2). Trust me, tough times come along with deployments . . . I’m not bailing though.

Lesson learned: I need to do the Love Dare Challenge without expectations of something in return. Not that my husband doesn't love me back. But I was reminded of how God’s kind of love requires nothing in return. We cannot do anything to make Him love us less or more than He already does.

I've decided to blog my way through the Love Dare Challenge (more like a journey). Since it’s a 40-day challenge this could be a 40-week series. We shall see. Maybe I will get creative along the way to shorten. I'm in no hurry. Are you? ~~smiling~~

Next week: Love is kind.

Friday, April 18, 2014

For your Easter Weekend



"Father, Your heart seized shut, hanging there on the cross. You faced him who slithered sin into the beginning, satan. And crushed his head. Price paid. Sacrifice made. It is finished-our debt, our bondage, our estrangement. So You rise! You hold the keys of life and death!

It's Resurrection Sunday, Lord. But isn't every Sunday, always, a celebration of this. You commanding light to shatter the darkness? Our wonder, our gratitude, our awe draws us to celebrate this, the linchpin event of history, every seven days, over and over again. You have made us perpetually the people of the Resurrection, touching Your wounds, feeling for You... and declaring, "He is alive."

So give us courage to run, Father, great joy coursing through these veins, to tell the world! We, the Resurrection people, call the world to come see You! You who breathe before us, Who come out to meet us. We fall at Your feet and worship a risen, living, embracing God, a Saviour who lives forever with our names etched, scars, on the palm of Your hands."

~ Ann Voskamp, An Easter Devotional: Trail to the Tree

****

“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die." ~ John 11:25-26

****

"So be it, O Lord; be with us unto the end; guide and strengthen us in life, and bring us safely through the valley of the shadow of death, to thy blessed presence, where is the fullness of joy forevermore!" ~ Matthew 28:20, Pulpit Commentary


This Easter, "I pray that the love of God is resurrected, reborn and renewed inside your heart."

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Knowing You, Jesus



I wish today's post included news of it being eight weeks since I fell to the temptations of that slithery snake. My hope was to approach Easter morning, the end of my Lenten journey, saying I was completely free from my eating disorder. Was it an unrealistic expectation? Can complete freedom be declared in eight weeks?

There is hope. There is always hope. There is hope because of His grace.
Grace upon grace.

"But he said to me, 'My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.' Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me." ~ 2 Corinthians 12:9

I know one day I will step on the scale and be able to say, "I am a Jesus girl who can step on the scale and see the numbers as an indication of how much my body weighs and not as an indication of my worth." ~ Lysa TerKeurst, Made to Crave: Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food

I was made for more than this. I was made for victory.

"We are made for victory. Sometimes we just have to find our way to that truth." ~ Lysa Terkeurst

Truth: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well." ~ Psalm 139:13-14

To find my way to that truth I need to know Him better.

"Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." ~ John 8:32

When I fail the enemy then tells me I need to try harder  do more. I’m not spending enough time in His word. I’m not praying enough. I’m not . . . enough. I wonder how many times God will forgive me for failing. Seventy times seven times?

The way to truth isn't through my works though. In the Life Application Study Bible it tells us in reference to Philippians 3:2, 3, "What believers do is a result of faith, not a prerequisite to faith."

It goes on to say, "… God values the attitude of our hearts above all else."

I’m reminded again of words said by my pastor, "The heart of the problem is a problem with the heart."

And Jesus … he specializes in transformations of the heart.

Jesus wants me to have victory. But He is more concerned with my spiritual healing than the physical healing from my eating disorder. He knows the problem is not the eating disorder  it’s a problem with my heart.

My heart continues to believe I’m not worthy of His love. The problem with my heart gets in the way of having an deeper relationship with Christ. I've been lingering at the surface with Him . . . believing what He says about me but continuing to seek the approval of others.

As Jennifer Dukes Lee writes in her book Love Idol, "My illness has become a way of life, a steady companion. Some days I feel trapped by my sickness; other days  crazy as it sounds  I can't imagine life without it." I hoped for the 46-day quick fix, a miracle of sorts, but maybe there is more He wants to teach me on my journey towards victory.

I have not arrived at my goal, "but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me." ~ Philippians 3:12

As Good Friday and Easter Sunday approach I reflect on what He did for me. This overwhelms me . . . I’m overwhelmed by His grace. We sang the words to the song Knowing You (All I Once Held Dear) this past Sunday and I lifted up my head, turned my palms upwards and worshiped Him.

"Knowing you, Jesus
Knowing you, there is no greater thing
You're my all, you're the best
You're my joy, my righteousness
And I love you, Lord"
~ Knowing You, Graham Kendrick

I want to know Him. Maybe that is what He still wants to teach me. To really know who He is. To know in the deepest part of my soul there is no greater thing.

"I want to know Him inside and out. I want to experience the power of His resurrection and join in His suffering, shaped by His death, so that I may arrive safely at the resurrection from the dead." ~ Philippians 3:10-11 (Voice)

I’m devoted to following Him. I’m devoted to knowing you, Jesus. It might not look perfect. I may fail again but I will press on.

"I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." ~ Philippians 3:14

I was made for more than this. I was made for victory – a victory that is only found in Him.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Friday Randomness (Vol. 22)



Scripture speaking to my heart

"The joy of the LORD is your strength" ~ Nehemiah 8:10

I'm sure this appeared in a previous post as the scripture speaking to my heart but God has been using it to speak to my heart again.

Favorite Quote

"O believer. Let gratitude be awakened; let humility be deepened; let love be quickened." ~ Charles Spurgeon (Shared by Lisa Buffaloe)

Joy - My One Word

"As we've all heard time and time again, life is about celebrating the small things and relishing in the uncomplicated pleasures. These moments will stay with us long after the stress has settled. To spark your own love affair with life again, here are 50 simple ways to welcome joy back in..." ~ 50 Ways to Love Life from Darling Magazine // I was going to pick a favorite but I loved all 50 ways.

"The thing is: we only repeat the sounding joy, re-joice, re-joy again and again, when we remember to give thanks — and again repeat." ~ The Best Gift for the Overwhelmed: Sometimes You Need Joy-in-a-Box, by Ann Voskamp // I just want to meet her and hug her to say, Thank You.

"We need to fight for joy and be joy-warriors." ~ Ann Voskamp || Watch a moving video with Ann Voskamp and Tara Jenkins from IF : Equip here.

I love that God choose JOY as my one word for the year.

Circles of Faith + Three Word Wednesday

On Monday I shared with Circles of Faith and on Wednesday one of the co-founders of Circle of Faith shared with us for Three Word Wednesday. Read here and here if you missed these posts.

I truly love the hearts of the two ladies behind Circles of Faith. If you have not already, come meet them here and follow them on one of their social media outlets. You will be happy you did.

A few of my favorite blog reads

"Create your art and continue to put it out there! God is the one who makes a place for your talent." ~ Pursuing Passions and Experiencing Rejection by Diane Bailey // I thought a quote from Jennifer Duke Lee's new book Love Idol went well with this post: "She risked failing, for the sheer joy of trying."

"The feeling of not being included, not being valued, can hurt us whether we're five or fifty five. It can strike us when we see on Facebook that a group of friends had a get together without us. It can strike us when there's a conference or retreat that everyone's going to except us. It can strike us when our gender, or our skin color, or our age is used as an excuse to exclude us or make us feel devalued." ~ When you're feeling overlooked and left out, by Elizabeth of Just Following Jesus // Encouragement for something I know we have all felt at one point in our life.

"Be awed by His unlimited, unconditional love, His unmerited, undeserved favour ~ poured out freely." ~ Calling for hush, by Joy Lenton @ Poetry Joy // A beautiful poem.

"I am praying for God to help us find joy in our reflection. We are made in the image of the One who is Beautiful and He, God, delights over our bodies the way He has created them to be." ~ Delighting over our significant image, by Tracy of One Degree Ministries // Don't skip over her video. She gives a beautiful message.

Just for fun

Have you ever photobombed? Alison of Embrace the Struggle had me smiling with her post Enter the Photobomber.

A giving opportunity with a giveaway

Head on over to read this post ~ Clothed in Love Matching Gifts of Love Opportunity, by Kristin Smith via God-Sized Dreamers. // Because I want to contribute I've decided I will pick a winner from those who leave a comment and send you one of the $20 priced items from Delonna Gibbs' Etsy Site. Winner will be announced on Wednesday, April 16th.

Online friends become #INRL friends

When you mention you are headed to a particular city there is surely a writing friend who will chime in saying she lives in the area. I just think that is SO cool! Don't you?

I had the opportunity to meet my friend Satin of My Heart, His Words while in San Diego. We had breakfast at a lovely place called Sulaluna Cafe. Their coffee is SUPER good. My son and his wife joined us too. Afterwards we did what girls do . . . we went shopping (my son went golfing)! It was a delightful morning. I adore this lady even more than I did before we met in real life.


Song of the week

"And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own;
And the joy we share as we tarry there,
None other has ever known."

~ In The Garden

One of my grandma's favorite hymns . . . she is missed dearly.


Hymn Radio on Pandora has me inspired to pick up the piano again time to make use of the beautiful one sitting in my living room. Oh, how I'd love to use the gift (even if rather rusty) to worship Him.

Finding JOY in a deployment #JoyDare #1000gifts

#234 ~ Canvas and Cocktails night with friends
#235 ~ Finding my inner artist
#236 ~ Blending colors
#237 ~ Adding stars to my painting
#238 ~ A painting made by me (oh my!)
#239 ~ Seeing the inner artist in others
#240 ~ A day of shopping with one of my best friends
#241 ~ Buying a few new outfits with a gift-card from my boss
#242 ~ Finding a beautiful dress made for an evening in Hawaii
#243 ~ Sharing bread and wine with a dear friend
#244 ~ The love of a brother-in-law and sister-in-law
#245 ~ A warm and sunny day; perfect for an extra long walk
#246 ~ Singing praise to Him while I walked
#247 ~ Spring . . . it's surely here
#248 ~ The American flag held by my husband while on the other side of the world
#249 ~ My plane touching down safely in San Diego
#250 ~ Being able to hug my son again
#251 ~ My sons willingness to listen to me talk about my faith
#252 ~ A quiet morning in San Diego
#253 ~ Stories from others . . . seeing pieces of you in their stories
#254 ~ Coffee ~ always coffee ~ really good coffee
#255 ~ The joy of meeting writing friends in real life
#256 ~ Thrift stores
#257 ~ Sexy shoes . . . high heels
#258 ~ A girls day
#259 ~ Cocktails on Coronado Island by the fire
#250 ~ Game night
#251 ~ Sunday morning church with my son, DIL and their friends ~ Glorious!
#252 ~ Fish tacos. Yummy!!
#253 ~ Relaxing by the pool
#254 ~ A walk ~ a cute cage ~ and delicious sangria
#255 ~ Movie night . . . time alone with my son and DIL
#256 ~ A delightful partial family photo
#257 ~ Grandma to a cute little puppy
#258 ~ Good-bye's ~ they only happen because we are together again
#259 ~ A new ability to sleep on the plane
#260 ~ Daily evening walks again

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Faith ~ Life ~ Community {Guest Post}


I consider it an honor to be a regular contributor for Circles of Faith. It has been a little over a year since I stumbled upon this beautiful community and the co-founders, Elise Daly Parker and Kimberly Amici, have been such a blessing to me. They have embraced me as a friend and sister-in-Christ from the very beginning.

Today I'm excited to have Kimberly Amici sharing with us for Three Word Wednesday. You will get to hear from Elise next month!

Both of these ladies are AMAZING. I really hope you take some time to get to know them by visiting Circles of Faith and their personal blogs.


****


In my kid’s playroom we have bins. Each of them has a label on it that marks the contents of what’s inside. There are buckets for pens and pencils, tubs for balls, and crates for toys. It not only helps my little ones put things back where they belong but it satisfies my need to be organized.

Just like my children’s stuff, my LIFE used to be compartmentalized. My relationships fell into separate categories: work colleagues, playgroup moms, gym buddies, and playground acquaintances. I had work clothes, everyday wear, and my Sunday best. Everything had a particular place.

Even my FAITH had its own bucket.

I live in the Northeast where most people do not wear their religion on their sleeve and somehow I had become one of them. I listened to Christian music with my Christian friends and secular music with my “not so religious” friends. I didn't talk fashion or design with the church gals nor did I speak about the deep matters of the heart with ladies I knew in my COMMUNITY. Even my ‘spiritual’ books were on different shelves from my novels and self-help/how to books.

I hadn't meant to do this, it just happened.  I began to wonder, What would it look like if all of it, FAITH, LIFE, and COMMUNITY came together? I began to think not just about myself but the region I lived in. Was it possible for the body of Christ, in this part of the country, to cross denominational lines and become unified and do life together?

I wanted to live out my FAITH in community.

Little did I know that God was working behind the scenes and stirring a similar desire in the heart of a woman I was yet to meet, Elise Daly Parker. God brought us together and after almost two years of sharing our hearts with one another Circles of Faith was birthed. It’s the place where FAITH, LIFE, and COMMUNITY intersect.

Nothing replaces real-life relationship, but thanks to technology I get to experience God in online community. Circles of Faith is a place to meet new people, share stories, learn new things, and hear about Christian books, music, movies, and ministries. It’s also a place where readers in the NJ area can find out about events through the local calendar. And this month we are excited to host out first in person meet-up for bloggers.

God is more fully revealed when we experience Him in our everyday and in our everything – especially in community.

My FAITH had grown since I have been in COMMUNITY over at Circles of Faith and I am so glad to have it in my LIFE.


Kimberly Amici is an enthusiastic and dedicated founding member of the Circles of Faith team. She is known for her creativity, strong faith, and commitment to living life with purpose and passion. Kimberly is a writer and community builder whose desire is for hearts to be healed, minds to be renewed and women to be connected in fellowship just as God intended.



Monday, April 7, 2014

Grace Finds Wings {Circles of Faith}



WHEN GOD DEMONSTRATES HIS GRACE THROUGH FELLOWSHIP

I had the opportunity to attend the Compel Conference in South Sioux City, Nebraska in January. The theme for the conference was A Dare to Dream with the lovely Deidra Riggs as the featured speaker for the weekend. We began on a Friday evening and I tried to write as fast as my fingers would allow to capture everything Deidra shared with us.

"We are here to reflect God’s glory here on earth.

Speak life and light into the inky chaos; that is why God breathes life into you.

He redeems us for a reason and it’s not just about getting to heaven.

They will know we are Christians by the way we love each other.

God sent His Holy Spirit to live within us.

You are the only person that God sent to this world to live your life.

We are reflecting the image of God to the world."

WHAT DO I REMEMBER MOST FROM MY FIRST NIGHT AT COMPEL?

To read more join me over at Circles of Faith.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Three Word Wednesday: Faith ~ Hope ~ Love


Three years and three months ago I wrote my first blog post. This will be my 382nd post. There is nothing significant about this post other than a desire to share with you how the journey of becoming a military family and faith in God collided.

I began writing under a different blog name ~ From an Army Wife and Navy Mom. (The writing was bad . . . very bad.) My first post was written while my husband was completing his training to become a soldier and my oldest son was preparing to leave home to become a sailor. The intent of my blog was to share the journey of being a military family.

At the time I was not a follower of Christ — my husband and I were not followers of Christ. We had never been a church-going family.

The words from 1 Corinthians 13:13 were spoken on our wedding day but they were just words . . . just a verse. Doesn't everyone share the verse on their wedding day?


I started my sixth blog post by writing, "I wouldn't normally talk about faith…." I ended that same post with two words: "Have faith." God had begun moving into our hearts. With those two words a new journey began.

"Have faith in God." ~ Mark 11:22

It was a new journey not only for me but for my husband too. We were miles apart from one another yet God planted a seed in both of our hearts. The journey of becoming a military family became a journey of having faith in God. I had no idea how having faith in Him would change our lives. He really does make all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We became what I believe is a testimony of the miracle only God can perform: a transformation of two hearts. We were a couple joined by God but never really knew God. And then suddenly, even though we were miles apart, we were led down a similar new path of allowing Him to become greater in our lives.

"He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less." ~ John 3:30

Having faith in Him united us in the way God always intended.

***

Here my husband and I are again miles apart from one another. While my husband may be on the other side of the world, the same God here with me is the same God with him.

We both have moments when we are weary from the separation and wonder why He chose this path. The moments of doubt don't draw us further from God — they remind us of how He did choose this path for us and He will surely bless us for our obedience. Our hope is in Him.

"He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name." ~ Psalm 33:20-21

We depend on Him. He is everything we need.

My words at times may reflect a weary heart but I hope they also reveal how God is moving in my life in ways that leave me in awe. He chose this path of becoming a military family for us because it was the path that led us to Him. The time we spend apart is teaching us to lean on Him for strength. Absolutely nothing we experience in this journey will be wasted. He will use it all to show His glory.

"And this is the secret: Christ lives in you. This gives you assurance of sharing his glory." ~ Colossians 1:27

When I reflect on this truth, it brings me to my hands and knees singing . . . "Here am I, all of me, take my life, it's all for Thee…"

***

In January 2013 I launched my current blog ~ withlove-simplybeth. My writing may have begun with a plan of sharing the journey of being a military family but God had another plan. His plan? For me to simply share how He has transformed my life.

What I hope you find here is love . . . as this is what God is teaching me: to love more and more. I pray you find encouragement here no matter where you are in your faith journey.

I often wonder if my posts are to inward focused but all I know to give you is my heart — so I share my heart with love. It’s a love He planted in my heart three years ago — His love. I pray you see Him and His love for you through the words I write.

"God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them." ~ 1 John 4:16

And the words from 1 Corinthians 13:13 . . . they are no longer just words. They are so much more.