FAITH

Fear of uncertainty

How to Let Go of the Fear of Uncertainty

  Hi, my name is Felicia and I am learning how to overcome the fear of uncertainty.  Over the past year, I have been on a journey of valleys, mountains, valleys, and did I mention valleys.  If there is one thing that I have learned it’s that life is full of uncertainties and moments in which you have no clue which way to turn.  Well friend I have learned a few lessons along the way that I hope will help you through life’s certain uncertainties.  I remember it was a Friday in March and I was called into my new boss’s office.  I was feeling pretty confident because I just knew that my work and reputation would speak for itself so my job was safe.  Well as the meeting concluded it finally dawned on me that they were not going to renew my contract.  My new boss wanted to start afresh which meant I was out the door.  I went back to my then office and just stood in the middle of the floor.  I was fired.  I felt helpless, numb and the fear of uncertainty gripped my heart.  This seemingly perfect world that I had built was now crashing and burning.  So I had no job and no clue what was next.  The only thing I knew to do was to call my husband. Prayer For the believer, prayer is a vital part of our relationship with the Father.  Prayer doesn’t have to be complicated or scripted.  My prayer that day was simply, “Lord help me”!  The fear of uncertainty had a grip on my heart, mind, and soul and I needed to be rescued. Remember prayer is simply communication between you and your Heavenly Father.  He wants to hear from you and we need to hear from Him.  As believers, we see that Jesus was always communicating with his Father.  He would sneak away from the disciples and crowds to receive instruction, encouragement, and to be filled up so that he can continue to care for others.  I imagine that they discussed everything!  That is so encouraging because our prayers should be about everything.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  I Peter 5:7 Pray continually.  I Thessalonians 5:17 I believe he tells us this because of l all the ups and downs that life brings.  So whenever a feeling a doubt, uneasiness, or fear tries to grip you get quiet and go directly to your Father.  He’s waiting.  Remove distractions I remember when I was fired from my job, I was so embarrassed and mortified.  I did not want to see anyone or speak to anyone.  That dynamic created an awesome opportunity to remove distractions.  Distractions such as social media, text messages, phone calls, group chats and did I say social media.  Now let me be clear I’m not saying shut yourself off from the world.  I am encouraging you to create space for praying, thinking, decompressing, and breathing.  The fear of the unknown can cloud your ability to make great, rational decisions.  Usually, if I am uncertain about something I want to rectify the situation as soon as possible.  Oftentimes we need to take a step back to reassess before we make a decision.  Many times we do not allow ourselves to do that because of distractions.  Those things vie for our attention when what we really need is laser-sharp wisdom and guidance.  The main thing that we need when facing uncertainty is wisdom from our Heavenly Father.  The only way that we can receive it is through intentional time spent in the Word and prayer.  Decide to put first things first!  Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the in that so easily entangles.  Hebrews 12:1 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5 Continue to dream and plan I remember feeling like my goals, dreams, and aspirations were destroyed when I got fired.  Fear of uncertainty can cause you to stop and feel stuck.  Why?  You are not sure what to do. There might be skepticism or anxiety swirling around your next steps.  Fear hinders forward progression, while faith causes us to move forward.  It was during those days of uncertainty that I had to choose to continue to keep going.  There were moments when I just wanted to hide under the covers but my faith in Christ kept me going.  Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1 I had to remind myself to revisit my aspirations.  I could not allow one setback combined with fear to prevent me from putting one foot in front of the other.  Dreaming, planning, creating are the antithesis of fear.  Friend if you feel stuck because you are unsure of your next move or fearful of what might happen…..grab a pen and paper.  I want to encourage you to get quiet, remove distractions, pray, and dream.  Dream big and write down where you want to go, who you want to be, and how you’re going to get there.  Don’t stop…keep moving! Put your trust in the Lord Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.  Proverbs 3:5-6   These words are so true and it is one of my life’s mottos.  I thought I was trusting the Lord but it wasn’t until I felt like I hit rock bottom that it was tested.  During those days I found myself questioning why this happened but immediately I was reminded that He was with me.  Christ never left me and because of that my trust and dependence on Him grew.  I had to trust that He had my next steps

Read More »
4 ways to choose joy

Four ways that you can choose joy

I believe that you can choose joy.  Joy is defined as a feeling of pleasure or happiness.  During these uncertain times of the pandemic, racial inequality, social unrest, economic uncertainty, and the list goes on it is important that we choose joy.  It can be very easy to hide or fall into despair, anxiety, or depression.  The circumstances of life will try to drown any reason to be happy.  It is in those moments where we must hunker down and choose joy.  As a believer in Christ Jesus, we know that joy is rooted in our confidence in Him alone.  Why can we be so confident?   I encourage you to keep reading!  Let’s choose joy.  Joy = Confidence   I can choose to have joy because my confidence rests in the one who knows my past, present, and future.  As a believer in Christ, I can trust that he is with me through every valley and mountain.  One of my favorite scriptures says,  “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.  Philippians 1:6  So how does it equate to joy?  I have joy in my heart because my life is in His hands.   The world is going crazy around us and there are times when I can feel my heart racing because of what I perceive to be uncertainty in my life.  As I begin to take a deep breath I am reminded of Philippians 1:6 and my thoughts are centered on the wonderful promises of His word that this isn’t over!!!!  Did you hear me?  This is not the end.  Life might look bleak.  Situations, bills, stress, and anxiety might be surrounding your heart and mind but the best is yet to come.  Joy is KNOWING that He is still writing your story.  Allow Him to continue to make you more like Him every day.  The more we act and think like our Heavenly Father, the more joy will fill our hearts.  Why?  We know that He is with us and will continue to be with us throughout eternity.   “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:2-4 Joy = Gratitude   I am a firm believer that gratitude and joy are siblings.  When we focus on the goodness, faithfulness, consistency, and love of the Lord it does something to the condition of our hearts.  It causes our heart to fill with joy which produces peace and causes us to throw our worries and cares on Him.   Why?  We remember all the ways that he has made, the blessings that have overtaken us, and how we are ALIVE.  It can be so easy to wallow in self-pity, comparison, and regret but we have been set free from all of those things which would hinder us from seeing our Heavenly Father as righteous and just.   Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever.  Psalm 107:1 You are good, and what you do is good; teach me your decrees.  Psalm 119:68 Oftentimes our situations and circumstances can become bigger than our God.  I have been there!  It seems as if nothing is going right, you feel alone and you want to quit.  Don’t quit!  Spend time in His word and find scripture that will remind you of the goodness and faithfulness of God!  Joy for the believer is a constant knowing that we serve a faithful God who is for us and not against us.  Therefore, although our situations might be shaky He is a firm foundation that holds us still. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.  Psalm 62:6 Praise the Lord, my soul, and forget not all his benefits- who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagles.  Psalm 103:2-5 One of the greatest gifts that he has given us as believers is the gift of eternal life when we accept His son, Jesus into our hearts.  That is a promise from our Heavenly Father that causes me to choose joy.   Joy = Perspective   Just like we have to ability to choose joy, we have to ability to choose how we view the world around us.  Let me tell you….2020 has been an unforgettable year.  There have been plenty of times where I have laid on my bed and thought this can’t get any worse and then I turn on the news to see more bad news.  Immediately thoughts of cynicism, despair, fear, worry, and doubt will try to take up space in my heart.  During those moments I must make a decision on how I will respond to those thoughts that rob me of joy.  I have listed some practice things that have helped me to refocus my perspective.    Practical steps to change your perspective Monitor and limit the amount of news, commentary that you digest Listen to podcasts, music, scripture that will keep you looking towards the Father Choose one thing to be grateful for each day In addition, I think it is important that we remember to frame our perspective through the lenses of eternity.   Valley moments will cause us to think that we will be in there forever.  I have felt like this is the end and that I have run out of options.  Not true!   We have been given eternal hope, a good future and as believers in Christ Jesus, we will spend eternity with Him.   Take joy in knowing that there is more to believe in than what we

Read More »
walk by faith

How to walk by faith when life gets tough

How to walk by faith when life gets tough   What does walking by faith mean?  If you have been chatting with me over the past year you know that faith, forgiveness, and moving forward have been the themes of my life. During the pandemic, I have been thinking and processing what it means to walk by faith.   I have been reading in scripture about men and women who walked by faith against great odds, disappointments, and setbacks. The more I think and ponder, the more I realize that they all had a few things in common. Do you see what this means – all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on?  It means we’d better get on with it.  Strip down, start running – and never quit!  No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins.  Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we’re in.  Study how he did it.  Because he never lost sight of where he was headed that exhilarating finish in and with God – he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever.  And now he’s there, in the place of honor, right alongside God.    Hebrews 12:1-2 (Message) These four principles caught my eye: Start running Never quit Keep your eyes on Jesus Study how he did it I hope to break each of these phrases down in a way that is both applicable and encouraging. Start running Scripture uses phrases set as renew mind, set your mind, or think on things as it pertains to our way of thinking. In other words, it all starts with the right mindset. For the past 18 years, I have worked in college athletics and had the privilege of working with some phenomenal athletes. During my time I have noticed that while preparing your body and fine-tuning your skills are very important, the mind is what separates good athletes from the great athletes. I remember having a student-athlete who struggled with one of our conditioning tests, the three-mile run. This run was part of our preseason routine and every year she struggled. She would hit a mental block at the 2-mile marker and her body would follow suit. She would begin to slow down her pace from a jog to a shuffle. By then the allotted time to complete the run was over, however it was over when she THOUGHT that she couldn’t do it. Ready, set, go To start over and walk by faith, you must decide that this is what you are going to do. Walking by faith requires action which is rooted in knowing what scripture says about you and your purpose. Make the decision to not allow your past to dictate your future.  Read and apply the promises that he has spoken over your life. 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.  Jeremiah 29:11 Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.  Proverbs 19:21 Commit to the Lord whatever you do, and he will establish your plans.  Proverbs 16:3 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.  Colossians 3:2 Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5b Friend, it doesn’t matter what you have been through or currently experiencing. Set your mind on Christ, immerse yourself in His Word, and begin to change your mindset from victim to victor. I want to encourage you to find a verse, write it down, place it on your bathroom mirror, and read it every day. Those words will begin to shape your thoughts which in turn guide your actions. Never quit Deciding to keep going even when life is hard is not easy and oftentimes you just want to quit.  I remember feeling as if the dreams and goals that I set for myself would never come to pass because of setbacks or personal miscues.  I wanted to give up but I knew that was not an option.  During my faith walk, I decided to study Joseph.  If you have never read his account in Genesis 37-50, I encourage you to do so.  His story is filled with hope, betrayal, loss, disappointments, and redemption.  As Joseph went from peaks to valleys, he never quit or lost sight of the dream that the Lord gave him.  I’m sure he had moments when he was discouraged and even angry but he kept going.  Friends….KEEP GOING! I believe that three things occurred during his valley moments:  He continued to work in excellence  Guarded his tongue  Trusted the Lord The Lord was preparing Joseph for his next assignment during those hard times.   That is why we must continue to keep going and never stop.  Now does keep going mean that we try to remove ourselves from the hard times.  No, it means that we continue to press through them, trusting the Lord the entire time.  We surrender our will and trust His plan. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 3:13-14 You see friend the ultimate prize isn’t things or wealth, its to be in the presence of the one He created us and knows us.  Jesus is our prize!  Let us never quit pursuing Him. Keep your eyes on Jesus Walking by faith means that we must keep our eyes on Jesus.  This world is filled with so many distractions and competing forces that can cause us to focus on everything but Jesus.  What is a practical

Read More »
Faith is an action word

Faith is an action word: Let’s Work!

Faith is an action word Hi friends!  I’m sure you’re asking what do you mean faith is an action word.  Love is an action word but how is faith an action word.  As a believer in Christ, it has taken me some years to fully understand this concept.  You see for me I knew scriptures about faith but was I actively applying them in my life.  Faith had become a passive word that I barely acted upon because I had grown comfortable.  I was cruising through life and allowing the waves to carry me to whatever destination they saw fit.  It wasn’t until a drastic life change occurred that my eyes were opened and I had to make some adjustments.  I knew that my journey needed to be infused with Lord but was I willing to do the work?  Before we get down to business allow me to paint a visual of how faith is an action word.   Faith is a verb Growing up I remember watching the grammar edition of Schoolhouse Rock and falling in love with the video that talked about verbs.  The lead character was a black superhero dressed in a red super suit and sporting a pair of the coolest sunglasses.  This superhero was taking nouns such bat, boat, rake, and plow then turn them into verbs.  I learned that verbs are an action word and action is power.  Why else would a superhero be teaching this lesson?   As I grew older I  learned a saying courtesy of DC Talk….love is a verb.  I believe that we can all agree that love requires action, sacrifice and the Father shows this love towards us daily.  Now that I have grown in my walk with Christ I am beginning to understand that faith is an action word as well.  I’m sure many of you might be saying well “duh Felicia” but for me knowing about faith and acting in faith has been a journey that I continue to walk out on a daily basis.  We are familiar with one of the most famous scriptures on faith Hebrews 11:1.   Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  Hebrews 11:1 I grew up memorizing that scripture but never really applying it to my life.  As life and being a believer in Christ would have it I eventually had to tackle this scripture head-on.  If you have been tracking with me over the past year, you know that my family and I  have experienced some tough times. However, it was during those times that my faith has grown tremendously and my understanding of who Christ is has solidified an unshakeable hope that keeps me going.   Faith and obedience Let’s look at the Message version of Hebrews 11:1-2. The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.  Hebrews 11:1-2 So how does this translate into faith being an action word?  Faith says I am going to trust God no matter what it looks like around me.  Choosing to trust the Lord is a daily decision.  By choosing to trust Him I am saying that my actions, thoughts, and tendencies will learn towards His leading in my life.  Our big brother, Jesus, gave us the blueprint on how to do this.   saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup [of divine wrath] from Me; yet not My will, but [always] Yours be done.” Luke 22:42 AMP Jesus had to decide to submit his desires/will to his Father.  He did not want to go the cross and die a horrific death but he understood why it had to be done.  Jesus was sent to Earth to bridge the gap between his Holy Father and sinful man.  He understood that his death would allow us to be in a relationship with the Father and to have eternal life.   I could not imagine where I would be if He had not chosen to surrender his life for me.  I know I would be a mess!  Jesus showed us that the firm foundation of faith in God is what we need to make this life worth living.  Faith is obedience to His will for our lives.   Faith and hope What is hope and how is related to faith?  Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  Faith is complete trust or confidence in someone or something.  As believers, our complete trust is in Christ.  We trust that He is kind, compassionate, just, righteous, and faithful.  We trust that His word is true.  The sum of Your word is truth, and every one of your righteous ordinances is everlasting.  Psalm 199:160 So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. Isaiah 55:11 Faith fuels our hope.  It keeps us expecting, waiting, and believing His word because we know that it is true.  I know what it’s like to feel hopeless and it feels as if everything around you is crumbling and there is no light at the end of the tunnel.  It was during those times when I felt that hope was lost that I had to cling to faith.  Why?  Christ is the only constant and consistent person who I can put my complete trust and confidence in every day, all day.   As I begin to remember who He is and how faithful he has been to me, I can start to fan the flames of hope.   Faith in action How can I write about faith being an action word with such conviction?  I have had to do everything that is written in this post.  I

Read More »
Declutter your life

How to Declutter your Life…not your home!

Declutter your life   I know what you’re thinking….what exactly does it mean to declutter your life?  Especially because as a mom I am constantly thinking about how I can declutter and clean my home.  Also, I am caring for the needs of my family which oftentimes leaves very little time for myself.  During this time of social unrest, a global pandemic, and social distancing I have done a lot of introspection.  While stealing a rare moment of quiet I realized the similarities between a cluttered home and life. For this article, a cluttered life is frazzled, all over the place, stressed, and in search of peace.  Listen to me family….I have been there and it requires work to declutter your life but it can be done!  So let’s get to work. As a believer in Jesus Christ, I understand (but sometimes forget) that He is the ultimate giver of joy and peace.  In my house whenever I see clutter or if the mail starts to pile up I get anxious and antsy because to me that represents disorder.  The same is true in my personal life. If it is hard for me to concentrate or something is weighing heavy on my heart I feel very uneasy.  As a result, I find it difficult to sleep, my joy tank takes a hit and I can find myself in a slump.  The only way out is to go back to the beginning and that starts with my relationship with Christ. Prayer   The first step to decluttering your life is spending time with the one who loves you and knows you better than anyone else….your Heavenly Father.  Prayer is simply communication with the Lord.  Remember communication is a two-way street where both listening and speaking are important.  Prayer allows you to focus on your creator and not your circumstances.  Many times a cluttered life is the result of us holding onto excess baggage, meaning worries, fears, unmet expectations, and regret.  1 Peter 5:7 says “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.  Get rid of the things that are stealing your joy and focus on the one who cares for every part of your life.  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26 Let that sink in!    But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 What are things?  Oftentimes we deduce things down to material things only, however; peace of mind, the ability to sleep, and confidence that He is faithful to His word are promises that far outweigh any material gain.  Isaiah 26:3 says You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast because they trust in you. Mamas….be encouraged he has you, your family, your circumstances in his hand.  Let’s exchange our worries for his peace and the cares of this world for his promises.  Spend time reading your Bible find scripture that speaks about the greatness and goodness of our God.  Take those scriptures and meditate on them and use them as personal prayers.  Let’s be free!   Be intentional    If you want to declutter your life it doesn’t occur by chance it’s intentional.  Intentional means deliberate or with a purpose.  As moms, we must be intentional about our peace of mind just as we are intentional about keeping a clean home.  We have all heard about the importance of self-care but let’s dive a bit deeper because this goes beyond a manicure and pedicure.  How do we become intentional about ridding our personal lives of clutter?  I believe it requires two simple actions: prioritizing and learning the art of saying “no”.  My priorities happen to align with my two of my core values: faith and family.  As a result, I prioritize my quiet time (prayer and reading my Word), the well-being of my family, my health, and personal development.  I challenge you to sit down and think about your priorities.  Once you have them outlined, make decisions about what you can keep on your plate and what you can release.  Now that you have identified your priorities we can complete the following steps: Practical steps for intentional living: Identify your priorities Designate a specific time to complete the tasks associated with your priorities Develop a plan with action steps to complete your outlined priorities   Repeat Practical example: I prioritize my health.  I know that I am at my best in the morning so I set my alarm to complete my 30-45 minute workout for early in the morning.  I make sure that I designate 4 days/week to exercise.  My workout plan is structured by an exercise app.   The next component of being intentional is the ability to say “no”.  For me to stay focused on what matters most I must be willing to say “no” to things that are secondary or not as important.  As moms and women, we are wired to be people pleasers.  We tend to take on additional responsibilities, spread ourselves thin, and become irritable due to self-imposed stress.  It is ok to say “no” to that do not align with your priorities, especially if they create stress or are done out of obligation not joy.  It is time to focus on what matters most with great intention. When we do we can declutter our lives and live free! Be Disciplined   Yup…..the the dreaded “d” word….discipline.   Discipline means to train oneself to do something in a controlled and habitual way.  To declutter your life, you must be disciplined.  We can implement the two steps listed above but if they are not coupled with consistent action then you will be spinning your wheels.  I am speaking from experience!!  I always knew that I needed to spend time in prayer and the Word daily but I would

Read More »

How does Forgiveness bring Freedom

Forgiveness can be tough, but it is necessary.  Forgiving means freedom from an endless cycle of spinning your wheels and getting nowhere.  How can we make sure that our lives are being lived to the fullest?  I believe that oftentimes the one thing that is holding us back from the best that the Lord has for us is bitterness.  If we become stuck and unable to forgive it will take root and cause bitterness to grow.  Bitterness is anger and disappointment for being mistreated.  How many of us have been mistreated?  I will raise my hand and share my story at the same time. Forgiveness is a choice Over the past year I have experienced some trauma that hit me at my core.  I remember for a while I went into hiding because I felt shame, embarrassment and I could not figure out how I was going to make it out with my dignity.  It felt like everyone’s eyes were on me.  After some time I finally started to “resurface” and I left like I was ready to move on. However my actions and especially my thoughts proved otherwise.  I could feel bitterness begin to creep in and as a result I became very cynical and distant.  If you know me then cynicism and isolation are not part of my DNA.  I wish I could point out one particular moment where I snapped out of that funk but the reality is that it took time and effort on my part.   David and Forgiveness One day I was reading Psalm 62, verse six stuck out in my mind. You are alone are my rock and salvation; my fortress I will never be shaken. Psalm 62:2 For some reason that verse really stuck with me, and I immediately thought about David.  When he wrote the Psalms he wrote from a place of good, bad, desperation, uncertainty, joy, and pain.  As I read that passage I thought about how he continued to love and serve a guy who wanted to murder him.  King Saul was obsessed with David, and he would not be content until he was dead.  How was David able to love someone who was hunting him?  I had to find out because I knew I needed to be set free and move forward. Identity crisis I think oftentimes the reason we struggle with unforgiveness is that we allow their words and actions define us.  I allowed those things to seep into my spirit which in turn affected my thoughts.  In turn those thoughts would stop me from venturing out and showing my face for fear that others knew what was said of me.  I had to combat those words with the truth.  The kind of truth that is only found in the word of God. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy- think about such things. Philippians 4:8 Who am I? I had to remind myself to think about good things and leave the other stuff in the past.  Also, I had to remind myself of who I am.  In society we oftentimes identify ourselves by our gifts or talents.  I was one of those people, and it took me going through this situation to realize that I was experiencing an identity crisis.  As a believer in Christ my identity is found in Christ alone.  I no longer have to try and prove my worth to anyone.  Scripture is filled with verses that tell us who we are and how much He loves us. For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:10 But you are a chose people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  1 Peter 2:9  So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.  John 8:36 See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children God!  And that is what we are?  The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  1 John 3:1 Do words hurt?  Absolutely!  Should we hold onto those words and allow them to stymy our growth.  No!  Why because those words do not define us.  The Father’s love towards us does and he says that we are His.  So let those words go and be free! Meant for Good I remember someone telling me that it’s all going to work out in the end.  What good can come from this situation? What good can come from David hiding in a cave and running for his life from a madman?  The crazy part is David has opportunities to kill King Saul and take over as king but he knew that the Lord was with him.  I have to remind myself that the Lord is with me. Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.  Hebrews 13:5b During those times when David was in hiding he poured out his devotion to the Lord.  When he was on the battlefield he sang heartfelt prayers.  In victory he gave his best praise and even when he made mistakes he offered up sincere apologies.  David knew that through it all the Lord was doing a work in his life.  What would his life look like If he held had onto unforgiveness and harbored bitterness? One can only imagine but for me I would have forever played the role of a victim and missed out on all the good that can come from bad.  You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.  Genesis 50:20 The tough, uncertain, and UNFAIR times in life are meant to build

Read More »
Grace

How to give yourself grace as a mom

Perfectionism is the enemy of grace.  As a mom, I oftentimes struggle with perfectionism.  I will always remember my mom telling me, “Felicia you are too hard on yourself”.  In other words, relax and give yourself some grace.  How do we show ourselves grace?  Who can we look to provide an example of consistent grace? Well friend I’m glad that you asked….let’s take a look at the ultimate grace giver. Grace Giver “For it is by grace you are saved through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works so that no man can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9 When Jesus came to earth and died for our sins He took all of our striving and best attempts to earn salvation. In addition, he has equipped us with everything that we need to not only be a follower of Christ but an awesome mother.  We can look to Christ to help us be the moms that he has called us to be.  When we do that we can stop putting pressure on ourselves to be perfect and to raise perfect children. Instead, we can rest in the grace that He has given us to shape this next generation for his glory.  If Jesus relied on the Father to teach and inspire multitudes of people why can’t we rely on Him to lead us as moms? Grace eliminates perfection and pride which ultimately leads us to freedom!   Grace = Freedom Jesus is the great grace giver and freedom fighter. John 8:36 says “So if the Son sets you free, you are free indeed.” So what are we free from? Free from our own expectations of what motherhood should be. Freedom from other people’s expectations of who you should be as a mom. Freedom in Christ trickles down to our daily lives because we know that our Heavenly Father is leading and guiding us. We are not alone in this parenting journey!  Self-reliance now becomes reliance on Christ.  Be free mama, He wired your children so he knows what they need. Ask Him to show you, trust, and do! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not until your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him and he will make your path straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6 So now that we are walking in grace and freedom what practical steps can we take to ensure that we allow for grace. Control what you can control Whew! For me, this has always been a struggle because I like being in control. In my home, we are on the backend of potty training our son, Ethan. It has not been an easy road and oftentimes I get frustrated that he isn’t showing any signs of getting out of diapers.  I was determined to take him through potty training boot camp just like I did with his siblings!  Major fail.  Thoughts of him not being able to attend pre-k and me failing as a mother began to flood my mind.  Panic and anxiety were knocking on the door and it began to manifest itself as frustration.  One day I began praying about it and I heard the Lord say “Cast all your cares on me because I care for you” – I Peter 5:7. A light bulbub went off!  No boot camp, incentives or worrying was going to make him learn how to use the potty so I needed to chill!! I changed my approach and in a matter of three days, he began to tell me when he needed to go potty!! This was a lesson in adapting, surrendering control, and trusting the process.  He is still learning but we are making progress. Build your supporting cast We are made to be in community with one another. As moms, we need other moms to help encourage, support, and hold us accountable. Why?  We are all walking similar paths with shared experiences. Instead of trying to do it alone, we can share our lives and foster community.  So how do you build a supporting cast? It first starts with you. Be friendly, create opportunities to meet other moms whether it be through your child’s school, a playgroup, or even your small group. Be a giver, not just a receiver and sow into the lives of other moms who need your love. This simple act of kindness will be reciprocated back into your life. Finally, pray that the Lord would send you a mom tribe because He already knows what you need. “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 4:19 Related: Community: Ways to Foster Friendships Take a time out In scripture we oftentimes see Jesus remove himself from the crowds and even His disciples to spend time with His father. “Jesus went up on a mountainside by himself to pray.” Matthew 14:23 I have had to take several timeouts during this time of quarantine so that my six-year-old and I could be productive during Mommy School. In all seriousness, we as moms try to do it all and that only leads to frustration and resentment.  Jesus is our greatest example and if he had to get away and spend time with the Father then so do we. Throughout the day we are continuously on the go and for me, even during nap time, my mind is already on the next task. How can I sustain as a mom if I am not being filled up with something other than coffee? I can’t. That is why my time in prayer and reading the Bible is critical to my ability to function in the way that He has called me. “Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:38 I need that living water that is constantly flowing, watering, and replenishing my soul. Jesus needed that connection as well which is why He was intentional about spending

Read More »
10 scriptures

10 verses to help you choose faith over fear

This is not the end We live in a world where faith and fear are choices that determine our thoughts and ultimately our behavior.  While I was preparing to leave work on Friday for the remainder of the semester so many thoughts ran through my mind. As I was telling an athlete goodbye I could tell that she was gripped with uncertainty and fear.  The Coronavirus is wreaking so much havoc and creating an environment of fear.  As a believer, I simply told her I am cannot worry about what will happen because I know that this is not the end…… Second Thoughts As I left the training room on Friday I then began to think about my family, specifically my children.  They are living in a time where things are uncertain, schools are closing and hope seems to be lost.  If I’m honest I had to quickly remind myself of the words that I spoke to my student-athlete….”I know that this is not the end.”  Instead of focusing on the uncertain, I began to turn my heart and mind to the Word of God.  So friend be encouraged, Philippians 4:8 says that we are to think on things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy.  Let’s build up our faith by diving into the Word of God and filling our lives with truth instead of fear. Fear not In the Bible the command “fear not” is mentioned 365 times.  I remember my mom telling me that one day.  How awesome is that!  A “fear not” for every day of the year! Isaiah 41:10 says, “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed for I am your God.”  I believe that the Lord emphasized this so much because He knew that we will have days when everything around us seems to be falling apart.  For me “fear not” means to choose me over whatever it is that is trying to swallow you alive.  Choose to have faith in my Word, in my promises, in my faithfulness towards you because I can be trusted to carry your load.  I Peter 5:7 says, “Cast all your anxiety on Him because he cares for you.” Let Faith Arise So because we know that He cares for us and that His word is true our response should be one of faith.  Faith in the only one who sustains us.  Psalm 54:4 says, “God is my help; the Lord is the one who sustains me. Faith in the only who keeps His promises.  Hebrews 10:23 says, “Let us hold unswervingly to the hope that we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”  His Word will come true! Faith in the only one who always makes a way even when it seems like there is no way.  Jesus says about himself.  I John 14:6, “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” You see friend we have to reason not to fear or doubt.  Our God is with us, He knows us and He is not surprised by where we are in life.  He sent His son to die for us just so that we can be in relationship with Him.  Would He ever leave us alone in what appears to be our darkest hour?  No….that is not the character of our loving Father. Remember He said, “I will never leave you or forsake you.”  Hebrews 13:5b. Be encouraged!  Fill your life with His word and meditate on it because that will help you stand during uncertain times. Faith builders, fear destroyers We want to encourage you to get into the Bible.  In order to help you take that first step we have listed some scripture for you to write down, post, memorize or just speak over your life. “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will go with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9 “So do not fear, for I am with you, do. It be dismayed for I am your God. I will strengthen and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”  Isaiah 41:10 “The Lord is my light and my salvation- whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life – of whom shall I be afraid.”  Psalms 27:1 “But now this what the Lord says – he who created you Jacob, he who formed you Israel; Do not fear for I have redeemed you, I have summoned you by name and you are mine.”  Isaiah 43:1 “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”  Psalms 23:4 “Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6 “I sought the Lord and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”  Psalms 34:4 “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy.”  Psalms 94:19 “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”  John 14:27 “The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid. What can mere mortals do to me. ” Psalms 118:6 Final Thoughts It is so important to fill our hearts and minds with truth.  I want to encourage you to start with these verses and allow them to wash over your fears, anxious thoughts, doubts and worries.  Stand on the truth of the Word of God and let faith rise!

Read More »

6 Bible verses to use when life gets tough

Plan A As believers, our secret weapon is the Bible, especially when life gets tough.  When life gets tough who or what do we look too?  When  If we are keeping it real…I know for me scripture can oftentimes be my last option. My standard response is to shut down, eat, and sleep. While this provides some temporary relief it does not bring any hope, joy or peace.  So…I had to make some changes. When life gets real… For the past year, my husband and I have had to navigate some tough and uncertain times.  We have seen the loss of jobs, loss of friends, death of family members, financial changes and the list could go on and on.  As a type-A personality type who likes to have control over every part of my life, these challenges created a bit of anxiety and worry in my life.  During the middle of the storm, which if I am honest continues to brew, I must have something to hold onto. Although I have been a believer since I was five my walk with Christ has never been tested in such a real way. This past year I believe my faith has grown because of the tests and my willingness to search the Bible for answers and hope.   He has equipped us with everything that we need but it’s up to us to do the work. Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.  Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take YOUR stand against the devil’s schemes.  Ephesians 6:10-11 Are you willing to do the work? Why do we need the Bible? Throughout the Bible there are countless accounts of men and women who faced challenging and downright hard times. David was chased and hunted down by a paranoid king. The book of Psalm gives a detailed blueprint of the emotional rollercoaster that was David’s life.  His days were filed with great joy, sorrow, disappointment and shame. Hannah, Samuel’s mother, was barren and desired child. To make matters worse her husbands other wife, Peninnah, ridiculed her to the point where she wouldn’t eat (1 Samuel 1:7) because she was childless. Jesus, our beloved Savior and son of God, was no stranger to tough times. He died as an innocent man for the sins of the entire world. That means He died for me and you, for our past, present and future mistakes. These stories were not included in the Bible just for us to read over and forget. They are given to us as gifts (see Hebrews 12) and as reminders that we 1. We are not alone and 2. The Lord is faithful in every situation. Rooted in truth: Bible verses for tough times Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress I will never be shaken.  Psalm 62:6 Application: Jesus Christ is a sure foundation so we can depend on him when we feel uncertain, confused, disappointed or lost. The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in my spirit.  Psalm 34:18 Application: He is always near even when we feel at our lowest and loneliest moments. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us and eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 Application: We have an eternal hope and future that will last forever. Let us keep our eyes on the one who knows our beginning and end.   The Sovereign Lord is my strength; he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to tread on the heights. Habakkuk 3:19 Application: We are going to face some tough situations where it feels like our footing is ensured but the Lord will strengthen us through His power to navigate those times.  It will not be in our strength but through His strength, power, and guidance. God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth gives way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though it’s waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.  Psalm 46:1-3 Application: He is always there! He will never shy away from hard, challenging, or bad situations. Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!  Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?  I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.  Isaiah 43:18-19 Application: Like the old folks used to say….”Trouble don’t last always”!  God is the ultimate creator and maker of new things.  Be encouraged that this is not where you will remain, have an eternal focus, and realize that He makes all things new! Final Thoughts For the believer the Word of God provides encouragement, correction, admonishment, examples and most importantly hope.  Be encouraged during these tough times and know that your heavenly Father sees you and knows your story.  Lean on and into His word because that is where life begins.  

Read More »
The ABC's of Gratitude

The ABC’s of Gratitude for Believers

The ABC’s of gratitude is a great tool that we can use to remember the goodness of our Heavenly Father.  Oftentimes we forget the many benefits of being a believer. We can get stuck in our day to day struggles but we must remember that our God is faithful and consistent. The alphabet provides a way to remember the things He has done and who He is in our lives. As you read through them you can simply say “Lord thank you for being or “Lord thank you for”. A: Answering our prayers This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears.  And if we know that he hears us-whatever we ask-we know that we have what we asked of him.  I John 5:14-15 B: Blessings Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who take refuge in Him.  Psalm 34:8 C: Calm in the middle of a storm He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed.  They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.  Psalms 107:29-30 D: Discipline that sparks maturity “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”  Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.  For what children are not disciplined by their father. Hebrews 12:5b-7 E: Eternal life Jesus said to her, “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.  Do you believe this?”  John 11:25 F: Faith the move mountains “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.  Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in your prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.  Mark 11:22-24 G: Grace For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.  Ephesians 2:8-9 H: Hope May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 I: Interceding on my behalf In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.  Romans 8:26-27 J: Joy that is my strength Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is holy to our Lord.  “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength”.  Nehemiah 8:10b K: Kind The Lord appeared to us in the past, saying: “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.  Jeremiah 31:3 L: Life The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.  John 10:10 M: Mercy It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassion’s fail not.  They are new every morning; great is they faithfulness.  Lamentations 3:22-23 N: Near The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.  Psalms 34:18 O: Omniscient But whoever loves God is known by God.  I Corinthians 8:3 P: Peace And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7 Q: Quenching our thirst On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.” John 7:37-38 R: Refuge God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Psalms 46:1 S: Salvation If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved. Romans 10:9-10 T: Truth But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth.  He will not speak on his own; he will speak what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come.  John 16:13 U: Unconditional love My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.  Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.  John 15:12-13 V: Victory For everyone born of God overcomes the world.  This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.  Who is it that overcomes the world?  Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.  I John 5:4-5 W: Wisdom If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.  James 1:5  Y: Yahweh I am the Lord; this is my name!  I will not yield my glory to another or my praise to idols.  Isaiah 42:8 Z: Zealous (as He is zealous for us, we are to be zealous for Him as well) Who gave himself for us, that

Read More »