08Jul

Leaving the Waiting Place & Chasing Dreams

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God-Sized Dreams
I’m honored to be guest posting over at the Allume blog today :)

Can I make a confession? I have a God-sized dream buried deep in my heart.

It has been there as long as I can remember, but I’ve only recently gained the courage to give voice to it.

Maybe you do, too. Maybe you have a dream so big that you keep it tucked safely away where this world of disappointments can’t touch it.

I’m reminded of a movie I watched a few years ago, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton (don’t laugh!). In this movie, one of the main characters (Pete) is secretly in love with the female lead (Rosalee). And the wise bartender challenges him to go after her. Here’s part of their exchange:

Pete: I’ve tried everything.
Angelica: What did she say when you told her that you love her?
Pete: Well, actually, maybe not everything, but…
Angelica: What did she say when you kissed her?
Pete: OK, maybe it’s more like two things I haven’t tried.
Angelica: Well, what have you tried?
Pete: I have very unsubtly implied how I feel about her.

Aren’t we a lot like Pete sometimes? We have this dream. A dream so big that it  fills our hearts with longing, and we just have to follow after it.

Except we can’t. Because what if we fail?

Read the rest over at the Allume Blog today.

Do you have a dream that is yet unfulfilled?  What steps can you take to get closer to achieving it?  What’s holding you back?


 
24Aug

Contentment Series: With Yourself

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God has been dealing with my heart about contentment in finances, mothering, more mothering and marriage. At the same time, I want to help build up other bloggers, so this week, I am hosting some awesome women who are talking about contentment in various aspects of our lives. I pray that you’ll be blessed by these posts like I was, and that you’ll discover some new-to-you awesome bloggers in the process!

I’m excited to introduce Alicia from Confessions of a Snowflake.  She hosts a weekly weightloss link-up every Wednesday, and her words and story are very inspiring. 

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Who Determines Beauty?

I had to laugh when Crystal asked me to write about contentment with weight/body issues.  Obviously God has a sense of humor.  He alone would know that this is one area of contentment where I still struggle.

You would think I would be at peace with my body.  I lost 60 pounds in the last 18 months.  I went from a size 16 to a size 6.  I now have more muscle than I’ve ever had in my life.

But that isn’t what I see in the mirror.

I still see the size 16 me staring back at me.  I see the big hips and the bulging belly that continue to plague me.  And I wonder if I’ll ever have the body I want.

In the back of my mind I question the ideal body image.

Will I ever be skinny enough?

The truth hit me like a lightning bolt last week.

NEVER

I will never be skinny enough…

…beautiful enough…

…good enough…

You see those are worldly standards.  And the enemy of our souls will always tell us we are never enough.  Unfortunately he’s been haunting me a little too much lately.

The enemy has tested my courage and made me afraid.  I’m afraid that I’ll go back to my old self.  I’m afraid that this new me is temporary.  I’m afraid to quit trying to lose weight because I might gain it all back.

So I keep pushing myself a little harder.  I keep working a little harder to try to be good enough.

But the reality is I will never be enough…in my own strength.

That’s why I need Jesus.

When Jesus died on the cross He made me enough.  He perfected me in a way that no diet or exercise could ever do.  And it’s only by His grace that I can learn to accept myself.

Because the truth of the matter is God thinks I am beautiful just the way I am.

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  Ecclesiastes 3:11

I love this verse.  It not only says God made everything beautiful.  It says God makes everything beautiful in its time.  That means me…and you, my friend.  He made us beautiful in our time…at whatever stage we are in our life…big thighs, stretchmarks, wrinkles, and all.

I am slowly learning to accept this truth.  I am learning it’s not about a number on the scale…or a size in my closet. It’s about how my Heavenly Father sees me.  And HIS opinion matters more than the world’s standards.

“The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord.”  Psalm 45:11

Dear Lord, we thank You today that You love us just the way we are.  Thank You for reminding us that we are beautiful in your sight.  Help us to understand that truth in our heart and to know your goodness always.  Thank You for life and the ability to enjoy it.  May we forever give You praise.  In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

About Alicia:
I am married to my best friend and together we homeschool our 13 year old son. I also work part-time for our family business & I am extremely involved in my homeschool group. All of this leaves me more than a little flaky. So join me, as we share life, from one snowflake to another.


 
23Aug

Contentment Series: In the Here and Now

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God has been dealing with my heart about contentment in finances, mothering, more mothering and marriage. At the same time, I want to help build up other bloggers, so this week, I am hosting some awesome women who are talking about contentment in various aspects of our lives. I pray that you’ll be blessed by these posts like I was, and that you’ll discover some new-to-you awesome bloggers in the process!

I’m excited today to introduce Trina from Guiding the House. I have been loving her blog, as nearly every post speaks straight to my life in some way.  Check it out–you won’t be disappointed!

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What Are You Waiting For? 

Sometimes I feel as though I am unfulfilled, waiting for that next thing to happen. Thoughts sneak into my mind. Ones like:

As soon as our financial life is in better shape I will be less stressed.”

“Once our house is more decluttered things will run smoother.”

“When we start our new homeschooling schedule (or curriculum) our learning time will go so much better.”

It’s a feeling of not yet having “arrived”.

As moms we are constantly planning for the future. We are trying to get our families and homes to a place where things are running smoothly.  We want what’s best for our little ones, and are continuously reassessing how best to train them up to be the godly man or woman they are called to be.

Although planning things out is a good thing, and actually repeatedly talked about in the Bible, we still need to realize that these are our plans.

I have found that I can become so focused on my next goal, that I can lose site of today. When I think to myself that I am soon going to be starting a new homeschool curriculum, all of a sudden the old one is so“yesterday” that I lose-out on what we could be learning today.

If I am going to be waiting until all of those expected things come to be, I won’t get anything done. Even though I am focusing on decluttering my house, I can’t let those rooms that I haven’t gotten to yet just go by the wayside.

Go to now, ye that say, To day or to morrow we will go into such a city, and continue there a year, and buy and sell, and get gain: Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away. For that ye ought to say, If the Lord will, we shall live, and do this, or that.” James 4:13-15

I love how to the point the book of James is. It hits hard, with little room for misunderstandings. Obviously, these men had made plans and were assuming they were going to come to be. But only God knows what each day will bring.

Each day we need to commit that day to the Lord. We make our plans, and then we live that day for Him. You never know, God might completely change your plans for you.

If I asked you to think of things that you are waiting for, you would probably be able to come up with at least a few things pretty quickly. That’s not a bad thing, unless it is stealing the joy from today.

Today is a gift, and you don’t want to waste it waiting for tomorrow. Rejoice in the day that God has given you!

“Thisis the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.”Psalms 118:24

 
Trina is a homeschooling mommy of 4, and she blogs at Guiding the House.  She blogs about faith, family, marriage, and anything else that comes up in her life as a homemaker.

 
21Aug

Contentment Series: In Everyday Life

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.

It is my pleasure to introduce Heather from Our Cultivated Life. God has been dealing with my heart about contentment in finances, mothering, more mothering and marriage. At the same time, I want to help build up other bloggers, so this week, I am hosting some awesome women who are talking about contentment in various aspects of our lives. I pray that you’ll be blessed by these posts like I was, and that you’ll discover some new-to-you awesome bloggers in the process!

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“Am I content?”

“Is my life marked by a satisfaction that does not depend on my external circumstances?”

I have to be honest and say that the answer is usually no. When difficult times come, I grumble. When my child is struggling with the same sin issue, day after day, I lose heart. When sickness and heartache come, I groan from the weight. When I experience loss, I despair. I wonder why it is so difficult. Why can’t it be easier? I look to my circumstances and become dissatisfied.

When I spend my days driven by dissatisfaction, I fail to realize the blessings that I have. Dissatisfaction leads me to always look for what I think I need in order to be content. A dissatisfied heart rarely drinks deeply from the well of the present moment and this present moment is all we are guaranteed.

I must receive each day, no matter what it may bring, as from the hand of the Father. If I believe that He is sovereign over my life and trust Him for my soul then I must trust that He is also in control of every aspect of my life. The seemingly mundane daily issues as well as the big life events. Nothing passes into my life that hasn’t first passed through His hands.

I cannot view God’s character in light of my circumstances. The only way to have a proper perspective is to view my circumstances in light of His character.

He is faithful and true. His character is unchanging. Whatever He allows in my life is for my good and sanctification, even if it doesn’t seem so at the moment.

Christ determines the content of my life and I trust that He knows what is best for me. I am content in my life, no matter the circumstances, when I put my hope in His character. I cannot trust my own concept of how I feel my life should be. I am complete in Him.

I can cultivate a spirit of contentment by pursuing a daily walk with the Lord. Study of the Word teaches me more about His character. I must spend intentional time in prayer over the details of my life. I should spend time in prayer pouring out my heart to the Father over the details of my life. He cares deeply for us. But I shouldn’t ask Him to change my circumstance to suit my comfort level or even my convenience. I must pray, no matter how difficult it is that He would use my present circumstances to change and sanctify me.

So what is true contentment? It is not the fulfillment of what I think I want. It is rather the heart realization that, in Christ, I already have everything I need.

Heather is a lover of Jesus, wife to her college sweetie and a homeschooling mom to three little blessings. She is passionate about cultivating a home for her family and spends most of her days teaching her children, experimenting with recipes and sneaking in the occasional run. She blogs about is all at Our Cultivated Life. You can also find her on Facebook.

 


 
21Aug

Contentment Series: In Marriage

This post may contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting Serving Joyfully.

It’s my pleasure to introduce Tonya today at the start of our contentment series.  God has been dealing with my heart about contentment in finances, mothering, more mothering and marriage.  At the same time, I want to help build up other bloggers, so this week, I am hosting some awesome bloggers who are talking about contentment in various aspects of our lives.  I pray that you’ll be touched by these upcoming posts like I was, and that you’ll discover some new-to-you awesome women in the process!

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Hi, Serving Joyfully readers! What an honor to be here with you today.

I’m Tonya, a midwest mom of 4, 3 of those munchkins arriving in 3 years.

IMG_4630-my edit
The words spoken most often at my house:

Hello”, “Goodbye” and “I’m Pregnant.”

I guess if I was being truthful, you’d also hear the words:

I said No!” and “I need FIRST time obedience” as well.

All this, set to the backdrop of , “It’s MIIIIINE“!!!!!!!

Hey, I have a 2 toddlers, what do you expect? :)

Being a stay at home mom is wonderful, but really, does the phone have to ring the same time the baby is crying, the kids are fighting, I am changing the 2nd poopy diaper in 10 minutes (deja’ poo), the pot on the stove is boiling over, someone is knocking on the door, AND the dog is barking?!

I blog over at 4 little Fergusons, and recently, my blog has taken a more serious tone…..

Because I have spent the last year, fighting the devil for my marriage.

We won, by the way. Praise be to God.

I Do Part 2 collage

Crystal asked me to share today about contentment in marriage. I had to really think about it…..AM I content in my marriage?

Am I content in our current state of hurting, healing and choosing forgiveness every moment of every day?

The answer is YES.

YES, because I choose it.

Philippians 4:11-12 “Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.”

Want to know the secret?

Keeping my eyes on Jesus.

Not looking around at the marriages others have. Not looking back and wondering why God had me save myself for a man who would not do the same. Why God would allow my marriage to nearly fail, to make it new and whole again. The Lord disciplines those He loves. He is in the business of ALL THINGS NEW.

I am learning to be content in my marriage all over again, because even though my love story includes betrayal, it also includes tragedy turned TRIUMPH!

To be content simply means to be mentally and emotionally satisfied with the way things are. Someone who is content is willing to accept their current circumstances with peace of mind.

I choose to focus on the good that has come from our tragedy. Letting go of the thoughts of getting even, or walking away, but choosing instead to leap again into the arms of love, even though I am scared sometimes.

I thought I had the perfect marriage.

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I was happy. My husband was happy. Our marriage light hearted, fulfilling and fun. The tone of our home, peaceful and joyful. I thought this would protect us from the devil’s attacks on our marriage.

I Do Part 2 collage 2

I had no idea it meant we had a BIGGER target than ever.

Listen, the perfect marriage does not exist. It doesn’t.

But if you keep your eyes on Jesus and face life with a positive attitude, and a willingness to stay and fight for your marriage, even when it might seem easier to give up and walk away…..You can enjoy a fun-loving marriage that withstands the test of time.

In a society that throws away broken things, rather than taking the time to repair them, we need to remember…..

Marriage is FOREVER.

I choose to be content.

I choose to fully invest my heart back into my marriage.

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I choose us.

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I choose contentment.

Right here.

Right now.

Even in the midst of all the hurting and healing, tears and sorrow, joy and laughter.

If you’d like to read our story: “Surviving Infidelity: Shattered Hearts, Broken Promises”, head on over to our blog. This series was hard to write, even harder to share with the world, but God is using them for HIS glory, each and every day.

Don’t EVER forget, God IS a God who can make beauty from the ashes of our lives, if only we will let Him. You CAN fight for your marriage, and you WILL win, because victory is ours by the blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Praise His glorious name!

Hugs,

~T


 
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