31 Days of Seeking Him – Purple

31 Days of Seeking Him

When I think of the color purple I immediately think of Lydia.

In Acts 16 we hear about her. Paul and Silas were traveling through Macedonia and come to a river to pray and meet some women and one of those women was Lydia.

The Bible describes her as “a dealer in purple cloth” (v.14) who was a worshiper of God. She listened to the preachings of Paul and Silas and was baptized, along with her household. (v.15)

And then I love these words…”If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.”

A woman who is hard working, a business woman who dyes and sells her purple garments. A woman hungry for the Lord with a heart of hospitality.

What an encouragement Lydia was to me as I studied these verses again.

Sometimes I feel guilty as a full-time working mother. I love my family but I also love the business I get to work at with Dominic. We work hard and we love God and our family.

I don’t know why I think I can’t do both well.

Lydia is a woman that was doing both well. She was a successful business woman and had a heart for the Lord and for hospitality.

She served her family and was an example to her entire household. Because of her faith her entire household was also baptized! Isn’t that amazing?!

We have that same potential.

We can work hard at whatever “job” God has called us to, in the home or out. And we can serve God and others and be an example of faith to our families.

Every time I see the color purple I am going to be reminded of this story that I saw with fresh eyes today. A reminder that we can work and serve and seek God with all of our life and make an impact on others.

31 Days of Seeking Him – Love

31 Days of Seeking Him

Karlena has this teddy bear that was a gift when she was a baby. It is worn and ragged and missing some of its fur. There is a hole that needs to be fixed in one of its legs and it is no longer pink but more of a dirty grey/pink.

It isn’t pretty to look at and a good washing is no longer helping to restore its appearance. But when Karlena holds that bear, and she looks at it, all she sees is love.

Her teddy has been with her for almost 5 years. When we can’t find it there is a crisis. She talks to teddy and puts teddy down for naps, she has loved the life out of that bear.

Teddy Bear

Dominic has threatened to throw it away, it really is kind of gross…but I won’t let him. I know that some day she won’t need to have it with her like she does now. But for now it is her companion.

I picked teddy up the other day and really looked at it. And the thought crossed my mind, that bear isn’t much different than I am.

Often I am worn and ragged, dirty from my sin and faults. I have scars and imperfections and my outside doesn’t look as beautiful as it once did.

But yet when my Father looks at me all He sees is love.

It is hard to wrap my mind around this idea of God’s unconditional love for me. I have said it before here, the thought that God knew the person that I would be..all my failures, my bad choices and complete disobedience to His calling…and inspite of all of that He saw love.

So much love that He wanted to provide a way for me to be with Him in eternity. So much love that He sent His only Son to die for my sins.

Even if I had been the only one worth dying for….

Can you even fathom that kind of love?

I am not always grateful for that sacrifice. But seeing that teddy and knowing how much Karlena loves it…and realizing that God’s love for me, for you, is even greater….

Well sometimes we just need to sit and revel in that a moment don’t we?

Friends, we all have scars and broken pieces. We all make mistakes and if you are like me you feel like you don’t deserve that kind of lavish love. And you know what, we don’t. How incredible is it that we get to be the recipient of it anyways!

My prayer for you as you seek God would be that you would be flooded with His love for you, that you would know deep in your soul that you are His treasure. Find rest and comfort in that today!

31 Days of Seeking Him – Possible

31 Days of Seeking Him

“I just can’t do it” I told him.

I was frustrated and angry with myself, mostly because I was filled with fear and my words and actions revealed the depth of that fear.

When my husband started his own business he faced fear too but with great faith he stepped forward anyways. After a year of working by himself, handling all of the calls, scheduling, paperwork…he was a bit overwhelmed.

We started talking about possible solutions and he asked if I would consider working with him. I had been working at a financial advisor’s office for a little less than a year and the guilt at leaving was just one issue I had.

“I just don’t know if it is possible. What if we can’t work together, what if we can’t generate enough business to cover the guaranteed salary that I will be giving up?!”

Fear. Plain and simple fear of the unknown kept me stuck. I didn’t believe in all that was possible if I just trusted God’s leading on this.

So I did what I often do in these situations and I attempted to manage it all myself. I asked my employer if I could work part time so that I could help Dominic out “just to get him caught up.”

They agreed and I started my split schedule. Because guilt has often been a motivator for me I worked really hard at both jobs. I didn’t want anyone to have to do more because I was doing less. I was stressed out upon waking each morning.

“I can’t do this Lord!”

This went on for a few months, it is a wonder that I lasted that long really. A stomach ulcer that made itself known on a short vacation was the tipping point. Something had to change.

“I am finally ready to trust you with this Lord.”

I went in and quit my job and started working full time with my husband. I wasn’t convinced that we would manage…I still didn’t believe it would be possible to make up my lost wages.

But even in my doubt (and after all that holding on to the reins myself) we moved forward and can I just tell you that God has taken my “I don’t think it is possible”  fears and blown them out of the water.

We have been working together successfully for a few years now. It is a gift really. No it isn’t always easy, but we are learning through the growing pains. Some days we are frustrated and overwhelmed, just like we would be with any job. But I get to walk this road WITH my husband, each day.

When we seek God He will make the impossible, possible. I have seen it in my own life time and time again.

Yes it may be uncertain, and scary but when we trust God with those doubts and fears He will use them to grow our faith and give Him the glory. Our business is successful today because of all God has done. Yes we show up and do the work each day…but He makes it possible.

What impossible roadblock are you facing today? Can you open your hands and trust God with it? I can’t wait to see all that He will do!

31 Days of Seeking Him – Home

31 Days of Seeking Him

So often the pressures of this life, the need I feel to measure up and fit in, perform at top capacity, be a wonderful wife and mother…all of it becomes overwhelming.

Do you ever find yourself there? Frustrated, exhausted, and just plain done?

I know that I can’t do it all and yet I work myself ragged trying to do it anyway. I don’t like to ask for help and don’t want to admit that I don’t have it all together. I put on the nice clothes and the plastered smile and I pretend that everything is fine and the reality is, I am dying inside.

I set my standards to what I see in the world. I have made this place my home and I am laboring to fit in an environment that I really don’t “belong” to. No wonder it is so difficult!

Every once and awhile I pause though, I seek rest and comfort in the presence of my God. I open up my hands as an offering of myself. Admitting that I am struggling and I need help.

Guide me Lord.

I want my life to be a reflection of His grace. That abundant love that He has poured out on me, I want to be that towards those I come in contact with. I want my home to be a place of safety and refuge. A home where the striving for perfection is left at the door, and one where we are daily recognizing who we are IN Christ, BECAUSE of Christ.

I want to be His. Forever His.

I need to remember that this place is not my home, we are sojourners here. With one job really, how can I make the biggest impact for Christ during my time here?

So my focus starts to change as I seek Him. I am learning how to be brave as the unique woman He has created me to be. How to be a light in my home and my community.

Fully His, all for His glory.

And some day I will leave this earthly body and meet my Father in person and my prayer would be that I would be warmly greeted…”Welcome Home, Good and Faithful Servant.”

31 Days of Seeking Him – Embrace

31 Days of Seeking Him

For many years “change” was a swear word in my mind. I didn’t like it, didn’t accept it or walk through it well. It was more of a kicking and screaming type of scenario if we are being honest.

Change meant having to learn something new, I wasn’t at the top of my game any longer. It meant being uncomfortable or stretched. And while I can always see the benefits of a growing period after the fact, while I am in the thick of it I am pretty miserable.

But change is inevitable. Do you have a hard time embracing it like I do?!

I have 4 kids, one in college, another in middle school, kindergarten and preschool. There is a lot of change in our home ALL.THE.TIME. I work with my husband every day. When we started working together there was some change that had to happen, most specifically in my attitude.

It was painful, mostly for Dominic, because I was fighting it the entire time.

But recently I have come to embrace the changes that are happening, and continue to happen in our lives.

Sending our oldest off to college was a big deal for this “feeling” mama. I worried about all of the things he might be faced with, wondered if he could handle his tough course load and being away from our family…it was enough to suffocate me.

And then the morning after we moved him into his dorm, God gave me a picture of him. I can’t explain it really but to say that I saw him in his cap and gown. I knew he was graduating…he had done it. And at that moment I knew he would be ok.

Sure he will face difficult times, there will be change and challenges and probably a few mistakes along the way…but it is a natural part of the growing process.

He too will learn from these changes if he embraces them, presses into them. I am confident that he will succeed. And I am excited to be a part of that journey, cheering him on.

When I am seeking God, searching for His guidance during these times of change and uncertainty, I can move forward and embrace all that is to come.

31 Days of Seeking Him – Capture

31 Days of Seeking Him

I am not a professional when it comes to taking pictures, but I have always dreamed of learning some day. I have a fairly nice camera but I only know how to operate it on the manual settings. I don’t know anything about shutter speed, or aperture.

But I love that pictures capture a snapshot of a moment in time. 

I was driving out of town one evening and the sunset that was displayed across the sky behind me was amazing.

The reds, oranges and yellows painted the sky, the clouds danced in its beauty and I wanted to just stop and take it all in.

I snapped a quick picture of my review mirror view because I wanted to capture the sight. Sunsets happen quickly, within moments the sun had set and the sky lost its brilliance.

mirror sunset

As I drove I praised God for His creation.

So often I forget, I don’t take the time to really see the beauty that is around me.

I get hurried and stressed and can’t see past my own “problems”, if you can even call life that. It’s just life. Yes at times it is a frenzy, if you are in my home there may just be a child screaming at one point or another. It is not typically the type of environment that you sit and just drink in the beauty around you! 😉

But God’s creation IS all around us. Sometimes we just have to stop and see it. Really see it. Recognize it as the handiwork of a pretty talented Creator.

Snap a picture, write it down, sit quietly in prayer, capture these moments and thank God for them. If we are seeking Him with our lives we will see them.

And the view, whether in front of us or in our rear-view mirror, is stunning.

31 Days of Seeking Him – Family

31 Days of Seeking Him

It has been almost a week since we gathered together to celebrate a man who has had such an impact on our entire family.

My grandpa passed away suddenly a little over a week ago. It was a shock to all of us and while the weekend was filled with tears and the reality of our loss, it was also filled with precious time with family.

We found places to sit in all corners of my grandma’s home. Voices filled the air, sharing stories about grandpa and also about their own lives. The young kids found joy in playing with one another and giggled in the depths of the “hidey hole” under the stairs.

I met the husband of one cousin for the first time and heard stories of another who is teaching in Columbia.

We ate good food and celebrated family. It wasn’t the reason we had hoped to gather together, but we didn’t waste an opportunity to soak it all in.

We didn’t take a single picture. I had good intention to do so, but the reality was we just spent those hours doing life together. We don’t have a physical picture to remember the time but instead we created memories that will last a lifetime.

They are a gift.

I haven’t always appreciated taking the time to gather in that way. When we lose someone we love it is easy to feel guilty about all the opportunities missed. My husband had said just a month ago or so that we should take a trip up to visit my grandparents….he said we never know how much time we have left. We had no idea how true that statement would be.

We never made time for the trip and I wish we would have. But instead of focusing on those regrets that we can’t change now, we made the most of the time that we had together in that moment.

It is a honor to be a part of this family, this legacy of love and faith.

God brought us together and I was so aware of the strong family of faith that we have as a result. It is my prayer that I might carry on that legacy in my own family. It is why seeking after Him with my whole heart is so important.

My mom said it herself that my grandpa was a man that sought after God every day. Even in his death he wanted the focus of his funeral to be on God and not what he did…but all that God did.

Seeking God in our daily lives can have a lasting impact on our family. And the blessings that come from that faith are such a gift.

31 Days of Seeking Him – Calling

31 Days of Seeking Him

Can I be honest with you? I struggle with the idea of a calling at times. Not only do I wonder IF I have been called to anything specific, what if I am not prepared, what if I can’t handle it or don’t want to handle it?!

And even worse, what if I haven’t heard my calling…maybe I missed it and am on a wrong path all together?!

We can spend a lot of time spinning our wheels in the drudgery of “what ifs” can’t we?!

And then I read the verses from 2 Timothy 1:8-9 “So do not be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord or of me his prisoner. Rather, join with me in suffering for the gospel, by the power of God. He has saved is and called us to a holy life – not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.” (NIV)

God has called us to a holy life.

I don’t need to get caught up in all of the other things I think I should be doing. Worried that I am not measuring up.

Because of grace, not because of anything I have done, God has called me. He has saved me.

Shouldn’t that always be our starting point?

When we are trying to determine what it is that God wants us to do, start first here. He has called us to a holy life.

Am I starting my day in prayerful consideration of what I might do FOR God instead of what He is doing for me?

Honestly, most days no.

But these verses are a reminder to me where I can start…where I should start.

I have been called as one of His children. If I am seeking His face each day, bringing my joys and my pains to Him…seeking ways to be a testimony of His grace to others in everything that I do…well as we say around here “everybody wins”!

Rest in the knowledge dear friend that you too have been called by a Father who loves you beyond measure.

Seeking Him First

31 Days of Seeking Him

Tomorrow starts my series of 31 Days of Seeking Him and I invite you to join me in the journey.

I wrote these words initially for this space here, but as I am entering into this new month I am seeing that these words were meant for me as well.

I have been hearing a song on the radio recently that speaks so completely to what I want to see in my own life of seeking God. Lauren Daigle’s FIRST.

For so many years I have used God when it suited me. I came calling in the midst of crisis, asking for help. I had a heart of thankfulness for all He has done but I wasn’t living in that gratitude.

I want my life to be a seeking of God FIRST.

Before I bring my requests, my sorrows and demands…I want to seek Him, to know Him fully first.

Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
Before I lift my cares
I will lift my arms
I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I bring my need
I will bring my heart
And seek You

Before everything else, I want to seek God.

This doesn’t come naturally to me, I’ve got to be honest. I am selfish and self centered and look out for what makes ME feel best first.

But there are some strongholds in my life that have been present for FAR TOO LONG. I am over them, I want them out and I am coming to the realization once again that I need to let go of it all and first seek God.

Before I speak a word
Let me hear Your voice
And in the midst of pain
Let me feel Your joy
Ooh, I wanna know You
I wanna find You
In every season
In every moment
Before I speak a word
I will bring my heart
And seek You

So it is my prayer that through this month we might walk together on this path of seeking God first. Of listening to His voice and finding Him in every moment of our day.

You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
You are my treasure and my reward
Let nothing ever come before
I seek You

Our treasure and reward is God Himself. What a gift to have a Father that loves us so unconditionally and seeks to bless us. Oh that my life would be a reflection of gratitude for all God has done for me.

I am sharing the video of the song below. I hope it blesses you as it has me. Email Subscribers, please click here to watch the video!

YouTube Preview Image

A Rich History

church 2

Today we honored a man who has provided such a rich history for our extended family. A husband, father, grandpa, uncle, brother and friend…a man who touched many lives. And yet this man, deserving of honor and praise, wanted those attending his funeral to know that it wasn’t about him, but about Him.

His greatest wish in leaving instructions about his service was that the message be about the God that offered immeasurable grace to him. The God that poured out His blessings on my extended family. My grandpa wanted everyone to know his Savior. THAT was what is most important about today.

The message shared was filled with hope. Hope in the eternal life offered by trusting in Jesus. My grandpa was able to see God’s hand throughout his life and while it wasn’t always easy…he trusted God.

What an amazing legacy he left us.

The committal ceremony was at the cemetery across from the church my grandparents were married in. We had an opportunity to go into that church after the ceremony and see where they had exchanged nuptials a little over 67 years ago.

My great uncle Al, who grew up in the church, told us a few stories about the history of the building. Re-built in the early 30’s after a fire destroyed it, the church that stands today looks just like the church before the fire. They rebuilt it exactly the same!

The walls were lined with huge stained glass windows. Windows that apparently cost $66 back in 1932. Cheap in todays standards, but in the Depression it was a lot of money.

church 1

The original organ was destroyed in the fire and a new one was placed in the balcony. It was HUGE and apparently made beautiful music.

church 3

Al told the story of when the church was on fire all the farmers from around the area were called and they worked to save as much as they could before the fire destroyed it all. The pews were screwed to the floor and somehow in the fight to save them, these men ripped the pews out of the ground without unscrewing them! They also worked to save the alter before the rest was lost.

church 4

The wall behind the alter was destroyed but then rebuilt. The stunning beauty of all of that woodwork was amazing.

Apparently earlier that day a couple had exchanged marriage vows, just like my grandparents did 67 years ago.

I felt very aware of the juxtaposition of one new life full of hope and promise just beginning and another life lived so well, ending. 

67 years ago I would guess that my grandparents exchanged vows filled with excitement and hope. Promising to love one another until death would part them, they stepped out in faith and trusted God with their new life together.

church 5

They would face heartache yes, but also experienced years filled with the blessing of family and God was with them through it all. My grandpa loved his community and worked to serve others. He volunteered on different boards and committees. He gave generously in so many ways. He sought to share the blessings God had given him. He had a true servants heart.

Some of those very things that are a part of my natural makeup come from him. What a rich history he left me.

I am so fortunate to have been raised in a Christian home. The legacy of faith passed along from generation to generation will make an impact that even I can’t fully appreciate right now. Just like the beauty in the walls of an old church, we each have a story to tell.

I think that is one reason I love to write and tell stories, the good and the bad. When I share all that God has done in my life, I am establishing that rich history. There have been fires at times, situations that felt overwhelming. But as I look back at all the ways God has been with us, I can see how He made beauty out of ashes.

Yes today we remembered my grandpa and celebrated his life, but even more so we praised the God that offered grace to each one of us by sending His Son. My grandpa wanted everyone to know that peace. To experience the full life that can be found in a life lived with God. I am honored to have had him as my grandpa and grateful that his faith will live on in my life and my family.

A rich history indeed.

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