HE IS. Peace.

Ashley Jorgenson, GFC Waters

“Peace” was my word for 2020.

At the beginning of the year, this word was perfect. It was fitting. I felt peace. I had peace about everything lined up for this year. I was going to get a new job. I had mission trips and vacations planned. I had the best friends. The best family. I was in a perfect place in my relationship. Finances and health were good. For the first time in a long time, I felt complete peace about every area in my life.

Then the “real 2020” showed up. COVID. Lost job opportunities. Family moved away. Friends strayed. My seemingly perfect relationship became rocky. Close loved ones faced health problems. That perfect peace that I previously felt started to slip away. For the first in my life, I felt true anxiety. My new word for 2020 started to become ‘anxious’. The COMPLETE opposite of how the year started. I felt like everything that I had planned for the year was slowing being pulled away. One by one.

Then I remembered a scripture verse. Isaiah 60:22 says, “When the time is right, I the Lord, will make it happen.” Suddenly it clicked for me. The things God promised me, the PEACE God promises me, were still right in front of me. I just need to be still. He WILL make it happen.

When I looked closer at all the areas of my life causing me anxiety, I started to find peace in each one. I now get to visit Nashville like I’ve always wanted. The rocky areas in my relationship brought us to a place where we grew closer to each other. I have grown closer and deeper in relationship with SO many incredible women (most of whom I met through Beautiful 😉). Just because God was not working on my timeline, doesn’t mean He wasn’t working. It also doesn’t mean He’s not going to give all the things He promised at the beginning of the year. This week I pray that each one of you goes back to that place where God last promised you something and find peace in the fact that we serve a God who ALWAYS comes through. He’s never failed us yet and he won’t start now.

“Godversations”

By Nathalie Corniel

 

Isaiah 40:29-31

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youth grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

 

Recently I wrote and shared through a Beautiful Blog about how I measure my spiritual health – through rest! When I prioritize rest and live with margin I find my soul refilled. I’ve also found that prayer is an important component of rest. God wants me to come to Him in prayer and through prayer rest is found – a rest that is in and of Him. He is willing to give us what we need if we come to Him and ask. Mathew 7:7-11 Says, “What you seek you will find. You don’t have because you don’t ask.”

 

I have found when I don’t go to God in prayer I quickly become weary and tired. Today’s key scripture states, “Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.” My hope needs to be placed in God. He is the one who refills with hope and strength. Prayer reminds me that I am not in control, that I have a heavenly Father who is ready to listen. Prayer aligns my agenda and my will to His. God knows what I need when I need it, nothing takes him by surprise, and He WANTS me to speak with Him in prayer.

He is ready to provide every need and even the desires of our hearts. God is an intentional father who desires to be part of our daily routine and prayer reminds me that I do not walk this life alone. He is a constant friend and the things that burden me are also on His heart. Through my conversations with God I discover more of him and the areas of my life that need growth. He is alive and active, and through prayer I get to see where He is at work and join in!

 

What about you – what does your prayer life look like? How can we all be more intentional in our praying? Let’s carve out prayer time this week and be expectant to hear His promptings.

Thieves of Peace

By Jennifer Clements, GFC Land O’ Lakes

How do you feel about porch pirates? We’ve all seen videos of people stealing long-awaited packages of Christmas presents and unknown treasure. To protect myself from these thieves, I subscribed to USPS Informed Delivery. I love this service; it tells me exactly what’s coming in the mail before it gets there.  I get to decide if I want to be home when the mail arrives, if the package that I’ve ordered (undoubtedly from Amazon) will be delivered that day or if I wish to spare my husband the heart attack of seeing the utility bills first. I like being prepared for what’s to come.

Don’t we all wish life was that way?  What if God sent you an email in the morning and said, coffee spill at 8:05am or fender bender at 5pm? Would we consume ourselves with trying to avoid the inevitable? After all, we like to have control, don’t we? God goes to elaborate lengths to tell us, “He’s got this!” No matter how good we think we are at managing chaos, we can’t cover it all.

God gives us simple and powerful instructions in Philippians 4:6-7, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.” Dr. Tony Evans says, “Prayer gives heaven permission to intervene in earthly matters.” I don’t know about you, but I need divine intervention for the seen and unseen things of this life. I am incredibly aware of my own limitations but have confident faith in our God who sees everything.

Let’s choose today to trust Him because trusting God is the best security from peace pirates, and he already gave you a personal Informed Delivery, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33

Holding Thoughts Hostage

By Lisa Tobias, GFC South Tampa

I have a daughter who challenges me and often exhausts me.
If you’ve ever dealt with a defiant child then you’ve probably experienced the roller coaster of thoughts and emotions that comes with constantly trying to figure out another way to discipline that child. After all, we are to “train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6

One year when she was experiencing extreme anxiety at school and fits of rage at home, I was in the process of trying to get her the right help, but I had a complete meltdown myself. I’m sure you’ve had meltdowns before? Gone through a box of tissues? Me too. But this one was different. I wasn’t just sobbing uncontrollably; I was spewing hateful and destructive words at myself. Whoa.

Proverbs 23:7 says, “As a man thinks in his heart, so is he.”
Thoughts about being an inadequate mother had taken root in my heart. I had to realize I had a defiant, disobedient spirit inside of me. How could I reign in my own child if I couldn’t reign in my own thoughts?

I didn’t always understand the scripture from 2 Corinthians 10:5 that says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take
captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” After this scary, personal meltdown I leaned into this verse. How can we make negative, destructive thoughts obedient to God’s truth?
We have to view those thoughts as a disobedient, defiant spirit that is NOT of us, because we were not given a spirit of fear, but of a sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)

See yourself as the authoritative figure over these defiant thoughts and speak to them with the authoritative power of the Holy Spirit in you. Make them obedient to you and the Holy spirit by replacing the lies with God’s truth. This takes practice and discipline, and it’s often an internal wrestling match. When I can wrestle well between my faith and my feelings, I find I have more patience and wisdom when dealing with others, including my daughter.

Offended

By Jennifer Clements, GFC Land O’ Lakes

 

When an offense comes, are we controlled by our emotions? Recently, I learned a very valuable lesson after one of my Zoom calls.  I led a meeting to discuss a new process roll out.  There were a few questions, so I addressed each and asked if everyone felt secure about the information I provided. The response was crickets, and I mean absolute silence. It was awkward, but I gave the right answers, and then moved on.

 

Later on, someone asked my superior a question, the same question they had asked me, and he provided the same directive. When he finished, there were smiles and nods of confirmation, and I was frustrated. After all, he communicated the same thing I had just said! I didn’t stop to think about why this information could have sounded better coming from someone else.

 

I was upset but didn’t say a word because the Bible says in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry but do not sin,” and I was literally repeating Psalms 141:3, under my breath, “Set a guard over my mouth, Lord; keep watch over the door of my lips.” I must admit, sometimes my lips need deliverance. After several hours, I was still upset, and decided to call a friend/co-worker to vent. But, first, I asked how she thought the meeting went, and she said, “I thought it was productive, but we couldn’t understand a word you said, your internet connection was terrible.”

 

Well, there it was! It wasn’t that they didn’t like the information coming from me; it was a bad connection! The result of seven people working or e-learning from home! I was about to embarrass myself because I allowed my emotions to control me.  Being offended is often the choice when failing to understand. This week when there’s an opportunity to get upset, let us strive to understand and not be offended.