Category Archives: Uncategorized

When the Path Isn’t What You Expected – A GSD Post!

Bridge GSD

I hope you are all having a wonderful, and even relaxing Labor Day. Our kids will finally be starting school this week! This is the first time in 5 years that our district is starting after Labor Day and I can tell you that I am not a fan. Even my kids were ready to get back into a routine a few weeks ago. 🙂

This summer our family took a vacation over in Wisconsin. During that trip we spent a day hiking for awhile to see some beautiful waterfalls. As I hiked I discovered how much the ever changing path we walked on reminded me of my journey in life. It hasn’t always been easy or fun, but there have been beautiful memories along the way and I am learning to be grateful for the ways that God is refining me as I go.

I wrote more about this over at the God-sized Dreams site today and would be honored if you would jump on over to read more!

31 Days of Seeking Him – Joy

31 Days of Seeking Him

I can’t believe that we are almost through this month. 26 of my 31 posts were written in advance so I knew I just had to get the chosen word each week and write one post.

Easy peasy one would think. But can I admit that I groaned a little when I saw the choice for this Friday….Joy.

Normally it would be easy for me to snap out a post on what the word Joy means to me…but today, if I am being honest I was just not feeling it.

It has been a tough week. One of those weeks that is painful getting through. Most of it my own doing, which is hard to admit, but joy has been about the farthest feeling from me.

I can be a pretty negative person and very quickly can fall into the “everything is hopeless trap”.

It is a terrible place to stay and I know that it isn’t where God wants me to live.

And then I came across a reading in Psalm 28: 6-7 Praise be to the Lordfor he has heard my cry for mercy. The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusts in him, and he helps me.
My heart leaps for joy, and with my song I praise him.”

There will be times in our lives that are not filled with joy. Times that are heavy and hurt-filled, hopeless and unsure.  Times when we need mercy and grace and other times we need to be the one to forgive.

I don’t typically walk through these trials with much joy. But these verses remind me that God has heard my heart cries. He IS with me. Even when I have failed Him, He is my strength and my shield.

What a blessing that little reminder was for me today.

If I believe the Word of God to be true, how can I not have a spirit of joy?

My circumstances may not have changed, but I can look at them with a different perspective. It is a reminder that we can have hope, we find joy in the Lord. I can’t let the happenings in my life, even the ones I cause by my own bad will, rule my emotions.

I don’t need to live in a pit of negativity, I can choose joy.

The Lord is my strength. He is my shield, my protector, the solid rock when I am unsteady, and today I rejoice in that truth. Just the act of seeking Him by searching for a verse on joy when I feel none, has power to change my attitude. I hope dear friend if you find yourself discouraged it gives you a bit of hope to keep chasing Him…

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Because I am a part of this fun #Write31Days community I have something extra fun to share with you for the rest of this month! DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions. Good luck, and thanks for reading! I’d love to see one of my readers win this so enter today!!  🙂

31 Days of Seeking Him – Green

31 Days of Seeking Him

The colors are changing quickly around town these days. The green that once filled the ground this summer is fast being replaced with browns. A sure sign of the ever changing seasons.

In the winter we hold onto hope that the green will come once again. We watch for it as the snow melts, we cheer when life appears again. In what at times seems like the endless drag of winter, the signs of new growth remind us that spring is just around the corner.

I love the changing seasons. This time of year is especially beautiful when the trees start to reveal their hidden beauty. What was once green begins to turn to yellows, oranges and brilliant reds. I have always wanted to travel to the Northeast where I hear they have some pretty magnificent displays! I am continually inspired by the beauty of the earth around me.

There is something about these changing seasons that reminds me of the growth I have had in my faith life.

At times I have felt cold and stuck in a repeated winter blah. God seems far away. (Usually it is me that has withdrawn and not Him) I fear that there won’t ever be new growth and yet I hold onto the hope of newness. Newness found in seeking Him.

And as it always has, spring comes again. New growth, new life….a greening of my faith as I experience life with God in a renewed way.

While the seasons change around me I can be  sure that there is one constant in all of it, and that is God. He is the same in each season of my life. He has always been there…even when I have pushed Him away, fought Him, blamed Him. God has always been beside me.

As I continue to seek God more and more I become more secure in His presence in my life. I see Him in the changing colors, I feel His presence even in the depths of winter and I find hope in the promise of new life that comes with the greens of spring.

He is and always has been there and I walk in faith knowing that will never change!

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Because I am a part of this fun #Write31Days community I have something extra fun to share with you for the rest of this month! DaySpring.com is celebrating all of the amazing Write 31 Days readers who are supporting nearly 2,000 writers this October! To enter to win a $500 DaySpring shopping spree, just click on this link & follow the giveaway widget instructions. Good luck, and thanks for reading! I’d love to see one of my readers win this so enter today!! 🙂

Why Our Individual Stories Matter

Journal 1

The word “blog” was something I hadn’t even heard of until early 2008. My husband and I had tickets to attend a Selah/Point of Grace concert and we heard that the lead singer of Selah wasn’t going to be able to attend. His wife was carrying a baby that was “incompatible with life” and she was due to deliver the same week as the concert.

The radio station gave the name of Angie Smith’s blog, and asked us to pray.

I wasn’t even sure what I would find on this blog, but I wanted to read more about this family. So that night, while using my incredibly slow dial up internet service, I logged on and found myself engrossed in a story I hadn’t expected.

Here was a woman, who had made a choice to carry a baby they were being told wouldn’t survive, and she was praising God in the middle of it.

I was heartbroken for her and yet inspired by her faith. My own prayer life changed as I found myself praying for Angie and her family. I watched as a community of strangers left comments and encouragement, offered up prayers and showered them with love.

Until that time I didn’t know that community could be formed online.

And then in February of that same year my husband and I had a miscarriage.  I was really struggling with the loss, even though it was early in the pregnancy, and I needed a way to process everything.

I had journaled as a teenager and thought that maybe this blog thing might help me. And so my first family blog was born.

I had 4 readers, literally 4. My parents and my grandparents. 🙂

Initially, I was writing for me….finding a way to work out my faith in this grief process I was going through.

The writing was healing for me and while I didn’t have an audience of 10,000….I was so encouraged by the community that I had seen form online that I kept going.

Then somehow I stumbled onto a few more blogs and “met” other women who were dealing with pregnancy loss and infertility struggles. I was not alone. And while none of us had the same story, I recognized that each individual story mattered.  (<=== Click to Tweet)

I am sharing the rest of the story over at Laura Rath’s blog today – will you join me over there?!

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Original Photo Credit: Walt Stoneburner modified by Kristin Smith

 

You Are Not A Failure

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When I was 16 I knew that I wanted to be a Physical Therapist when I “grew up”. One of my dad’s best friend’s was a PT and he allowed me to go to the clinic after school and shadow there to see what it might be like.

Before I even started college I had hours of volunteer time built up. I loved it. I felt like it was the perfect job for me and set my mind to achieving my goals.

As a Junior I was pre-accepted to the private college of my choice, located in my hometown, with scholarships. It was the college that my parents had both graduated from….everything was falling into place, perfectly

I had no doubt that this was God’s plan for my life.

My first semester of college was tough, but I worked hard and did well. Then in my 2nd semester as a Freshman I took Organic Chemistry. It was HARD and didn’t come easy. I studied and studied for my first quiz….I think I got 20 out of 25 wrong.

A complete and miserable failure.

I am sharing the rest of the story over at God-sized Dreams today – join me there won’t you?!

Original Photo Credit: Derek Keats

New Life

Flowers 1

On Thursday I turned 39.

In less than 365 days I will be 40. When I was 20, 40 seemed SOOO old! 😉 Today I would tell you that 40 is vibrant and young and wonderful….we will see how I feel about it when it actually comes though!

I have shared about my friend Karlena here before. She was my best friend and her loss in 2010 was and has been so difficult for me.  Her death left a friendship void that was heavy on my heart.

Then last year I became a part of the God-sized Dream Team. I thought I was joining a group of bloggers to help launch a book for an author I respected.

What I didn’t expect was the community that would be formed and the friendships that would flourish because of it.

There is a group of us that stay connected through FB and Voxer – Voxer is such an amazing little app – it is basically a voice messaging system…you vox a recorded message to a person or group without having to call their #.  Oh if we had only had Voxer when Karlena was alive….I would have loved that!

Flowers 2

Two women in particular and I have formed, what is, a blessing of a friendship in my life. One of daily encouragement and prayer. Christine and Gindi are both amazing, Godly, women and I can’t imagine my life without them in it.

They are a gift to me every day.

And for my birthday they sent me these beautiful flowers.

Flowers 3

While Karlena will never be “replaced”, God has filled that void in my heart for relationship with encouraging women.

The flowers that they sent to me represent new life.

The beauty Christine and Gindi both bring to my life, the color and laughter, encouragement and prayer….I just can’t say enough how blessed I am.

While we live all over the country and can’t have “coffee” together – we share life, every day.

Today I am experiencing new life, and it is beautiful – just like those flowers are.

Gindi and Christine, You ladies are a constant blessing to me. It is a honor to pray for you and do life together. Thank you not only for the flowers, but for the gift you give me each day. I thank God for you both!

The Condition of My Heart

Pyrite

When settlers came to America and started traveling West looking for gold many people were “fooled” by this mineral. Pyrite looks a lot like real gold but it isn’t the actual thing and is basically worthless.  So it was named “fools gold”.

Sometimes, when things look all nice and shiny on the outside of my life, I start to get lazy in the things that are important.

One of those things is time in God’s Word.

I have been participating in the Hello Mornings challenge and we recently just finished a 13 week study.  The past few weeks have been really busy here as we prepared for our vacation away and while I was reading the verses I was only doing it half-heartedly.

While we were on vacation I didn’t do a lot of praying and I basically skipped 4 mornings and didn’t even do my readings at all. I justified it because things were going really well. Dominic and I were getting along and having fun. I had this thing right??

But the condition of my heart, while maybe looking like the “real thing”, was really dark inside.

When things feel good on the surface I get a little self-righteous. I start to feel like I don’t desperately need God like I have, I put my needs before God’s needs, I put down my armor because I feel like I have the enemy beat and I am safe.

Funny how this past week we read these verses in Ephesians. Sad that I read them, but didn’t apply them to my own life.

Ephesians 6: 10-18

10 Finally, brothers and sisters, draw your strength and might from God. 11 Put on the full armor of God to protect yourselves from the devil and his evil schemes. 12 We’re not waging war against enemies of flesh and blood alone. No, this fight is against tyrants, against authorities, against supernatural powers and demon princes that slither in the darkness of this world, and against wicked spiritual armies that lurk about in heavenly places.

13 And this is why you need to be head-to-toe in the full armor of God: so you can resist during these evil days and be fully prepared to hold your ground. 14 Yes, stand—truth banded around your waist, righteousness as your chest plate, 15 and feet protected in preparation to proclaim the good news of peace. 16 Don’t forget to raise the shield of faith above all else, so you will be able to extinguish flaming spears hurled at you from the wicked one. 17 Take also the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

18 Pray always. Pray in the Spirit. Pray about everything in every way you know how! And keeping all this in mind, pray on behalf of God’s people. Keep on praying feverishly, and be on the lookout until evil has been stayed.

I believe in the presence of the enemy in this world. I have seen in my own life the times we have been under attack. When we are doing well, when we are making right choices and putting others needs before our own…we are a threat and the enemy will attack with full on vengeance.

And he attacks me at where he knows I am the most weak.

So here I am, after a week of fun with Dominic, and when we find ourselves back in the “reality” of work and family life, I start to let the little things annoy me.

We all have things that irritate us and most of the time I can let it go. When the condition of my heart is well, it is easy.

When I have stopped reading the Bible, stopped praying continuously, I start to hear those things that bother me louder and louder and my response to them changes.

So I found myself seeing only negative when my entire life is surrounded with the evidence of the positive.

And for a day I engaged in the enemy’s attack, allowing myself to behave in a self righteous way and I turned on Dominic. And in a way that is most damaging……with my words.  I said hurtful things to him because I was angry with myself and a mistake I had made. I wanted someone else to blame because I don’t own up to responsibility well. He was an easy target and he was the victim of my darts.

Words have a lasting impact.

I say things in “the moment” and don’t consider the long lasting impact or cost.

Have you found yourself there as well??

I messaged a few of my girlfriends and shared how ugly I had let myself be and that it hurt him….and now in a day of silence, because I wasn’t willing to own up to my part, we had gone from happy to hurting.

The disconect was real and it isn’t a fun place to be.

And I had caused it.

In my selfishness, I had placed a ugly strain on our marriage.

One of my girlfriends responded about having been there…and how these situations can reveal the condition of our hearts.

Yes that was it…..the condition of my heart was not that of gold. It isn’t easy to admit that I allowed myself to get to that point…again. But here I was.

I had not put on the full armor of God, not stayed alert and the enemy had attacked and I was an easy target. Oh me who has it all together who wants to look pretty on the outside, this Christian example! Ha!

So I do the only thing I know how to do….I run back to the Word. I place those truths in my heart and I pray. I ask for forgiveness and I pray for healing of the hurts I have caused with my words.

I don’t know where you find yourself this morning. Maybe you have hurt someone with your words, maybe you have felt the enemy’s attacks and have justified your behavior like I did.  There is One thing that will get the condition of your heart back into the right place.

That is Jesus.

Run to Him, read God’s Word and put on that armor because the attacks are real and they are many. Be fully prepared to stand your ground and know that if you are in the Word and praying – God IS with you.

I am standing with you there today friends….

A Few Minor Changes

There are going to be a few changes here at The Riches of His Love….

Let me explain.

I started blogging on my other blog The Smith Family Journey in 2008 after a miscarriage, one that I wasn’t dealing well with and I used writing as a way to heal. Then I started posting updates about my family and it became a little online journal.  I didn’t have time to scrapbook and my blog allowed me the opportunity to post pictures and make memories for my family.

Every once and awhile I would post a review or a story about my faith walk.  Then last November when I was asked to be a part of the God Sized Dream Team I felt I needed a space that could be used just for my “faith stories”. And in December this blog was born!

I have had a hard time keeping up with 2 blogs over the past 11 months and my family blog has taken the worst of the neglect.  I have decided to stop posting there (for now) and make this space here my “home”.

That means that not only will I share stories about me here, I may from time to time share about my family updates as well.  I will also be doing some reviews and giveaways in the coming months as I have partnered with a publishing company that has lots of Christian books, movies etc. available for review.  I promise that anything I share is something I believe in and would feel comfortable sharing with my little children.  I also promise that this space won’t be overfilled with review posts.

Since 2008 I have made less than $100 in “blogging income”.  That is NOT why I blog! 🙂 I have signed up with several affiliate sites in the past and just got tired of having to try so hard to push a product for an $0.08 payout! 😉  So at this time there won’t be a lot of that here. But it is always fun to get something free for review – so that is likely the most of what I will share.

Finally as I mentioned before I am making a commitment here to share an “Impact Opportunity” with you around the first of each month.  I believe strongly in giving back and there are so many organizations and people that could use our help. I know you will be blessed by them as well

So if you have been with me awhile — I hope you will stay in spite of these changes. And if you are new here – Welcome!!  My family is one of the biggest reasons I have this space to begin with so I think it will be a good fit to combine the two spaces into one home.

Five Minute Friday – Ordinary

5-minute-friday-1

Linking up with Lisa Jo again this week to participate in Five Minute Friday.

Today’s word is ORDINARY– ready, set go –

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Sometimes I forget to stop and see it.

The beauty in the ordinary all around me.

My kids recognize it without even thinking about it. My head seems so clouded with stress and fear, anxiety and worry about all I need to do in the little time I have in a day. I don’t stop to see the beauty around me.

We were having family pictures taken and as we were posing a dragon fly landed on Dominic’s knee.  The kids got all excited and everything stopped so that they could look at it.

What’s even better is that our photographer Heather took pictures of it!

She saw the beauty in the ordinary too.

As I look at this picture I can see it.

I can remember how excited the kids were, especially the younger 2. How Isaac wanted to capture his own picture, how they all stopped to see the beauty in the ordinary.

It is all around us. As I type I can see glimpses of the trees swaying in the breeze and the colors starting to change in the sky as the sun starts to rise.

If we are open to seeing it, what once seemed ordinary, is amazing and beautiful.

Are you looking for it??

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Getting Ready for Allume – Things My Roomies Need to Know!

Allume

In just 10 short weeks I will be stepping out of my comfort zone and flying (all by myself) to Greenville, SC to attend a blogging conference called Allume. So what the heck is this all about anyways right?? Well in their words “Our goal at Allume is to minister to the woman, the blogger, the story teller. We want to love well, encourage, and spur women on to shine the Light that lives within them. We want to serve you in ways that cultivate the Light of Christ in you, help you expand your influence, use your influence well (in your home, your community, or around the world) and encourage you with stories of those who are living out that Light.”

So I am excitedly anticipating this trip and meeting some wonderful friends IRL for the first time and learning how to be a more effective light for Christ in this space here.

One of the women attending Laura, created a fun link up for us to share some things that our roommates should know about us before we go.  Since many of us are sharing rooms with people we haven’t ever met in real life before – I thought this would be fun…so here we go!

1) I am totally a morning person. Like up with my first alarm ready for the day, kind of girl. But will be very quiet for those of you who aren’t!

2) I have longer, curly and often times (in my opinion) unmanageable hair…so I like to shower early so I have enough time to let it dry etc.

3) I am NOT a coffee drinker. But I will drink hot chocolate and just hang with you as you drink yours! 🙂

4) I am already nervous about what I need to pack. Afraid to pack the wrong thing, or too little or too much. I worry about silly things and this is one of them.

5) I don’t have a “smart” phone. I may be the last blogger on the planet NOT to have one. I may have to change that before October! 😉

6) I get nervous speaking in front of people and making small talk. Once a conversation is started I can join in…but I always feel awkward starting a conversation.

7)  I am worried that I won’t remember people’s names, faces etc. I am considering printing pics off of FB for those of you I really want to connect with…but if I don’t recognize you please don’t take it personally…I am just bad at that kind of stuff!

8) This is the first time I have ever done something like this so I am intimated by just about everything. I am an introvert by nature and shy – but once I get to know you I will come out of my shell!

9) I decided to come an evening early so will be there on Wednesday and helping with “dressing” the rooms and decorating etc. I am super excited about this part!!

10) I really just want to be filled this weekend. I pray that I learn a lot, but also see a better direction that God has for me and this space and of course my hope is to develop the friendships that have started with so many of you! I anticipate that there will be little sleep, lots of laughs and maybe even some tears but I know it is going to be worth it!!

Are you coming to Allume? What is your biggest fear about the weekend?!

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