by Renee Scott 

It’s hard to sum up this semester in just a few words of a blog post.  I’ve learned life changing lessons that will remain a part of the fabric of my existence.  God decided to carve out some time in my life to hang out together.  He would give me eight weeks to snuggle and love on Him.  Let’s just call our time together, “forced relaxation.”  I would have loved for our time together to have come from an experience at a Christ centered retreat or Him loving on me  during a visit to the mountains, instead, it was by way of surgery recovery. 

That’s how I started the semester.

Life as I knew it was placed on pause while I spent eight weeks recovering and resting.  I focused on my healing in a way that was different from recoveries of the past.  Even though I knew this time in my life was orchestrated by God, my failure to take better care of myself, caused the need for major surgery. 

Going and doing.  Doing and going.

It was the story of my life and it was time to write another story.  The recovery period allowed me to spend more time with my kids and husband.  I could actually focus on my thoughts.  Write in my journal.  Study God’s word.  Read books and take notes.  I even found time to organize hundreds of photos. 

I quickly realized that time moves swiftly

It doesn’t stop or slow down for anyone.  God gives us time as a gift and we must make the most of it.  We were created to be in relationship with Him and it can only come by spending time with Him.  Our wilderness experiences provide opportunities to draw close to Him.  Prayer, fasting, and studying the Bible help strengthen our relationship with Him.  Read the passage below from Hosea 2:14-15 (MSG):

14-15 “And now, here’s what I’m going to do:
    I’m going to start all over again.
I’m taking her back out into the wilderness
    where we had our first date, and I’ll court her.
I’ll give her bouquets of roses.
    I’ll turn Heartbreak Valley into Acres of Hope.
She’ll respond like she did as a young girl,
    those days when she was fresh out of Egypt”

I learned an invaluable lesson in the eight weeks of my surgery recovery. Let’s grow from each other’s teachings, and please share with us some lessons you’ve learned during a time of “forced relaxation”.  

* (Picture above: two weeks after surgery!) 

Renee ScottRenee Scott is co-founder of the popular blog, http://doubleportioninspiration.blogspot.com, where she shares encouragement and inspiration to men and women all over the world.  She’s been a member of Grace Family Church for four years. She loves to run and recently completed her first half marathon. She is a wife of over 14 years and mother of two children.

by Dawn Smiling 

This has been an awesome semester for me.  I have seen God move in my life, and in the lives of so many beautiful women.  This semester, God has shown me the beauty in waiting on Him.

I don’t do this intentionally, but I tend to be impatient.   I may be in the supermarket, or at a stop light in traffic.  I don’t seem to have time to wait.  Either the cashier is not moving fast enough in the supermarket, or the light has not turned green quick enough in traffic.  I just did not know how to savor the moments.

I decided not to take full responsibility for this. After all, we live in a microware society.  Facebook, Twitter, Internet, and texting has trained me to jump onto the computer world instantly to get results.  I don’t have to go the mall.  If I have a few days to wait for delivery, I can order online and pay for express shipping.  Why wait? 

This semester has opened my eyes to the fact that God is not a computer.  While living in the fast pace of life is not bad, I think I fell into seeking immediate fulfillment, and immediate results from God.  This also gives me lack of patience while waiting on God.

I learned there is a beauty in waiting on God, and the importance of hearing His voice.  I think impatience existed before computers.  Would Abraham have acted differently when God told him a son would be born?   Not from Hagar, but from his wife, Sarah?  Abraham could not reason within himself how this could possibly be done, which led him and Sarah to take matters into their own hands.  Well, this caused all kinds of problems in his household.  Yet in spite of their impatience, 14 years later, God kept his promise and Sarah conceived.  God knew Abraham and Sarah were going to be impatient, and He also knew He would keep His promise.

There is truly beauty in waiting on God to move through your circumstances.  God told Noah to build a boat and to wait for His instructions.  No matter how many times Pharaoh in Egypt said “no”, Moses persisted in the release of the Israelites, and waiting for God to do it.  And one day in the upper room in the book of Acts, the disciples patiently waited for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, and they turned this world upside down with the gospel of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Sometimes as women we tend to be impatient.  We want our children to behave and our husbands to cooperate.  We want our co-workers to fall in line, and our desires met immediately.  Yet, we can miss the most important things in our life.  By waiting on God in prayer, we get to experience the movement of God in and through us as He grants our request.    Praying and waiting for increase on our jobs and new business ventures.  Praying for our husband, children, and loved ones and believing that God will do the transforming.

I also learned to monitor my posture while I wait.  This means it is okay to pray at the stop light and read a scripture while waiting on line at the supermarket. That is such an excellent time to pull out that cell phone and look up a scripture and even take out time to enjoy the view and seeking opportunities to talk about the goodness of Jesus to others.

More importantly, there is beauty in waiting on God as we guide other women in our lives, as we exercise patience in prayer for our sisters, and lift them up in during their trials.  Waiting for God to move in their lives and see miracles comes forth as our sisters  grow and learn with us.

Sometimes we know that God is going to move, but we don’t know when God is going to move.  Sometimes we are unsure of what the outcome is going to be.  I have learned that God wants me to be confident in Him and His power by displaying trust in His perfect timing in my life and in the lives of those He places me in contact with.

God Bless You!

Dawn Smiling enjoys volunteering at Grace Family Church as a prayer counselor, part of the soul care ministry, and as a table leader for Beautiful Monday Nights.

 

by Dani Catherine 

This past semester and season has been a tough one for me. In January, I injured my knee, lost my job because of it and endured a painful knee surgery that required 2 months of being laid up. Also, the news that my knee wouldn’t be fully healed for a year, decreased my faith; I found my faith starting to dim. My negative circumstances started to define my relationship with God. I kept asking God “Why?” instead of “What are you showing me”?

It wasn’t until I heard Paige Eavenson speak about the story of Mary and Elizabeth that my faith was back to where it should ultimately be; which is putting all my troubles and worries into Gods faithful hands. Paige really emphasized the fact that as we believe, God provides blessings (Luke 1:45). It was that moment that I knew God was close to me, even though I felt like He was distant. He sent a laborer, Paige (who I couldn’t live without) to remind me of His faithfulness and that He had a greater purpose for the storm I was enduring and it will be used for His glory. Also, the story of Mary and Elizabeth emphasized on how important it is to seek support from friends- something new that I have to work on that God showed me. Once I started to believe that there was a greater purpose for my story, things started to change and I could see the blessings God was pouring in little by little rather than focusing on what I thought He wasn’t doing; which in reality, He was and always is doing, providing and blessing! I wasn’t blinded by my circumstances anymore.

Within 2 months of being laid up and not thinking I’d get a job or walk again, I was not only blessed with 1 job, but 2 jobs! I was not only blessed with a family who helped me through my physical pain, but I was blessed with a family who helped my through my emotional pain. I was not only blessed with friends and a boyfriend who cared and accepted my down moments, but with friends and a boyfriend who helped me see the light. I was not only blessed with a new knee, but I was able to walk without feeling the pain from my knee injury. What I take from this past semester and season in my life is that as we are faithful to God, He is ever so faithful to us- no matter the timing, His timing is always perfect. 

So, I want to leave you with this question: What are you believing God for? 

Dani Catherine is the Communications Coordinator for the Beautiful Ministry, as well as a full time Substance Abuse Therapist. Dani loves to bake, eat ice cream, paint, snap photos and spend time with her loved ones. 

 

Today we begin a new series on A Beautiful Blog! During the month of May, our writers will be sharing what God has shown them this past semester at Beautiful! We hope our stories bring you encouragement! 

by Evelyn Ayala

I have faithfully attended the Beautiful Monday Night Bible Study for the past year. I’ve grown tremendously in my personal walk with Jesus, but it wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that the Holy Spirit gave me a revelation about my prayer life.

When Sharon Tubbs spoke, she shared that individuals are often surprised when their prayer is answered. I related completely. I was going through the motions of casting my cares upon the Lord but not really believing that he would hear me. Specifically, my ongoing prayer was that my husband would start attending service with me.  Initially, he was not interested in attending church and his work schedule kept him from being able to come, however, God answered my prayer! To my surprise his schedule was changed in the beginning of March which allowed him the weekends off and he hasn’t missed a service yet!

I now pray in expectation that my prayer will be answered!  Beautiful has been a tremendous blessing to my spiritual walk and I am so grateful for Sharon’s teaching. I now understand that God is always at work and He will always answer my prayers as long as I believe and my requests are in line with His will.

“Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12

What are you having faith for as you patiently wait for answered prayers?