Gods Timing

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. 

 

Pray in Expectation

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? 

The Seeds of Gods Love

by Julie Jaunese

As Christians, we often times may find ourselves being concerned about the salvation of our friends; of course we want our friends to be with us in heaven. I want to share with you some ways that I explain salvation to others as well as the story of how my daughter accepted Jesus as her Savior.

There are many ways to share and explain Gods love. When I was a teenager I carried the “Four Spiritual Laws”, so I could explain every inch of Gods love for us:

  1. God loves you and offers a wonderful plan for your life. (John 3:16, John 10:10)
  2. Man is sinful and separated from God. Therefore, he cannot know and experience God’s love and plan for his life. (Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23)
  3. Jesus Christ is God’s only provision for man’s sin. Through Him you can know and experience God’s love and plan for your life. (Romans 5:8, 1 Corinthians 15:3-6, John 14:6)
  4. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord then we can know and experience God’s love and plan for our lives. (John 1:12, Ephesians 2:8,9, John 3:1~8, Revelation 3:20)

But, there are also other ways to explain salvation and to say that you have accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.  Some say they are “saved”, some say they are ‘born again”, some say they are a “child of God”  and some just say they are “going to heaven.”  It is important to listen to the words people say and hear with the heart God gave you.

When my oldest daughter, Holly, was very young, she “accepted Jesus into her heart.” (Which is another way to say she became “saved”). When she was about 6 years old I took her to the dentist- who was Christian. My friend who reffered me to the doctor, told me that no one left his office without knowing about salvation. 

We arrived at the office early for the appointment so we could fill out paper work.  When the time came for Holly to be seen, they said it would be better if I waited in the waiting room and she go into the office alone.  I waited and waited and waited for her to be brought back to me, but she was gone a very long time.  When they finally brought her back out to me she had a certificate that said she was “born again” on that date.  I turned to her and said “Where does Jesus live?” Her reply was “Jesus lives in my heart.”  The terminology “born again” was different to me at that time, but the result was the same. 

Sometimes when trying to lead someone to the Lord, we may use our own words and terms, when in turn we should first find a commonground; find out some information about the person. One way you might begin is by asking about how old they were the first time they went to church, or even if they have gone to church.  Perhaps ask if they went to church all the time as a child. Or, maybe ask how they feel about God today! Or, you can always invite them to attend your small group.  One of my favorite questions to ask is what their favotire scripture is!

God’s word says we are to “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel” (Mark 16:15). If there is one thing I want to pray for, it is how we all can become a witness to those around us. I pray that God will give you a heart to listen to words, as well as see where you can plant a seed that will lead another sister to salvation.  Remember, it is your job to plant the seed, but it is God’s grace that makes the seeds flourish by His watering and His fertilizer.  

So ladies, I want to leave you with this question: How have you been a witness to those around you? 

Julie Jaunese has been married to her husband Michael for 41 years. She has two daughters and three grandchildren. She works at Moffitt Cancer Center and hosts two women’s small groups, the Yada Book Club and the Fabulous Fems. Mike and Julie have been part of Grace Family Church since it began with 40 people in a house.

Rescued

by Dani Catherine 

I was raised Catholic, and Catholicism was always a big part of my life when I was young. Attending Catholic school, Sunday mass, saying my prayers before meals and bed, attending religion class, and receiving my First Holy Communion was what I thought I “needed” to do in order to fulfill the portrait of a “good Catholic girl.” And, I did consider myself a “good Catholic girl.” I attended Catholic school until 8th grade and then continued my education in the public school system. Attending public school started a whole new ball game. I instantly rebelled to seek the approval of my peers and wanted to become “the popular girl.” So, I found myself giving into peer pressure, partaking in things that I knew I shouldn’t be doing, and losing my soul.

After high school, while in undergrad, I was still living the same life of seeking approval from society, except my need for approval increased. I was then partying, hanging out with the wrong types of men, and I forgot everything I was taught in Catholic School and the morals and values that were instilled in me as a young child. At this point, I didn’t even think there was a God. But, did I even truly KNOW The Lord when I was young? Or did I just memorize all the prayers and hymns that were on my Religion tests? I started to realize that I didn’t truly know The Lord, and because I didn’t know Him, I didn’t believe in Him anymore. 

Rock bottom was where I found The Lord. I can remember every detail, every smell and every sound that was made the moment I found Him. I woke up from a night of wanting to die-I didn’t think I was going to make it out alive-but I did, and I am blessed that the Lords hand of protection was on me. Because I was breathing, I knew that there was a God. His hand of protection, love and forgiveness was on me. I smelt fresh air, I heard myself breathing; I could hear the sound of my heartbeat beating so loudly. And when I looked in the mirror, I saw a new me. It was the first time in years that I kneeled on the floor and prayed. But it wasn’t a prayer I had ever prayed before. I recognized that I was living in sin and by that sin, I was broken. I asked Jesus to forgive me and to be the Lord and Savior of my life.

I was rescued. I was saved. I was made new.

I will forever be grateful for where I used to be, to where I am now. Looking back, God was there all along…I just had to seek and find Him.

But from there you will seek the Lord your God and you will find him, if you search after him with all your heart and with all your soul.” Deuteronomy 4:29

 


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. 

Faith Matured

by Renee Scott 

Joy. Excitement. Eagerness.

That’s the way I should feel when asked to share my salvation story, however, it wasn’t.  I struggled with what to write about my journey to Christ and I thought about how my story would compare to the others.  I felt like I didn’t have a story, at least not a juicy one. 

Church is all I’ve known.  I don’t remember a time without Christ.  He’s always been a part of my life.  I grew up in a home with parents who love Him and they shared their love with us throughout our childhood.  Our Sunday’s were filled with Sunday school and church service.  We weren’t allowed to watch television before church and our weekly attendance in the house of the Lord was not an option.  During the week we would attend bible study.  Scriptures were spoken frequently in our home.  We took part in the Young People’s Department, played piano for the Sunday school, and attended youth conferences on a regular basis.  We were saturated in the love of Christ.  It was a mandate.  Our parents believe wholeheartedly in Joshua 24:15b (KJV) ”but as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  I fully know that I would not be the woman of God I am today if I didn’t have the prayers and faith of my parents. 

So what is my story? 

God knows I’m not perfect.  Even with my upbringing, I made mistake after mistake after mistake.  I may not remember the journey to Christ like others but I definitely recall my return to Him my last year of college.  It was a pivotal time in my life.  I was getting ready to graduate and within a matter of a month I attended the funeral of three family members, one of which was my grandfather’s.  On top of that, my twin sister was heading south to marry her high school sweetheart, getting ready to start a new career and was driving a new shiny red Jetta. On the other hand, I was heading back home to live with my parents in the car we were given during college, with no job and not even a guy I dated on a regular basis. 

I felt lonely.

My mom told me to pray and embrace this time in my life.  God was writing a story and His purpose for this season would be fulfilled.  She suggested that I specifically ask God in detail for what I wanted.  Before I could ask for all the “stuff” though, I wanted and needed a stronger relationship with Him.  I was going to seek Him first and I figured everything else would fall into place.  I focused my energy on reading God’s word and learning more about His promises for my life.  I rededicated my life to Christ and I finally found joy and peace with all that God was doing in and through me.  It was a bumpy road, but each moment along the way served to mature me and my faith.  

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.