Monthly Archives: November 2014

In Everything Give Thanks

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” ~1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

I have a started a half dozen different posts in recent weeks and months that I can’t seem to complete for the simple reason that I can’t seem to express properly how much I am changed. A new woman. Never able to be 100% the same girl I used to be.

And I am grateful to the point of tears that God in His mercy renews us. Renews me. At some point in every day, He uses little things to remind me when I need a shift in perspective, but He loves us too much to only use the little things.

I am one who holds on tightly to the little things. I have spent years applauding anything and anyone who shined a light on the importance of people, moments, and things that don’t seem significant. This will always be a part of who I am, and I don’t want to completely rid myself of this mindset because it truly is the little things that make all the difference in the world.

Those five minutes extra I spend with my kids at bed time, sending that text to say hello to a friend, sharing an evening watching TV with my husband, a hug, a funny video, a clean sink – the little things are things to intentionally keep a part of our lives because they work together to complete our purpose on this earth.

But what about the big things?

They don’t come every day or even every year, but they will come. I’m not referring to the happy kind of big things. I’m talking about the daunting, overwhelming, oppressive, stop-you-in-your-tracks kind of big things. A devastating illness, death, a broken relationship – you’ve already filled in the blank if you’ve faced your big thing.

The truth is, big things will change you. No matter how much you try to convince yourself that they won’t. Anytime you lose the ability to live your life in the same way you were accustomed, something has to change.

The big things make you realize how many happy little things you took for granted before. The big things make you see the little habits that you’ve held onto that you should have purged long ago. The big things tempt you to take on one little negative thought and let your mind run with it until you have a million lies taking you captive.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says that God’s will for me is to give thanks in everything. That means my big, ugly things as well as my mundane little things. As much as we say that it’s hard to remember to give thanks for the little things, I’m going to propose that perhaps that’s not always the case. Those big things are big. They’re hard. They hurt. They won’t go away and let you go back to the way life was before.

In Everything Give Thanks

And yet, I’m more grateful for my big things than I ever was for the culmination of all the little things I took notice of before. It’s because of my big things that I became aware of my need to change. Before my big things, I took my gratitude for the little things a bit too far and never wanted to step outside the comfy little nest I’d built for myself. When the big things forced me out of my nest, however, I saw that I needed real freedom, genuine change.

For the first time, I have an understanding of what God meant when He said His will was for me to give thanks in everything. Even when I wasn’t able to give thanks for the tough stuff, I realized that I could at least be thankful to God in the middle of the worst days. Eventually, God conquered them, and I could get a peek into why I needed to go through the experience.

So this year, I’m thankful for the many gifts God has given me. Some of them are happy little things that kept me going in while I was grappling with the big things. Others have been beasts that threatened to destroy me. The great thing is, they succeeded in obliterating parts of me that needed to change, and as a result I have been made new because of God’s beautiful grace. They worked together for my good, for my freedom.

My Newest Ministry Opportunity (And I Need Your Help!)

Passion is a good thing, but passion that God places in your heart is incredible and pretty close to unstoppable.

I’ve been experiencing that God-given passion over the last few months about a ministry that I can. not. wait. to share with you! It’s called the Women’s Empowerment Program sponsored by Convoy of Hope. You likely haven’t heard of it yet unless you read my post a few months ago where I shared briefly about it. In short, the program is set up in various impoverished areas around the world where women are continuing the unhealthy cycle of living lives that are going nowhere. They are uneducated and lacking a support system to help them break the cycle. That’s where Convoy steps in and offers them the opportunity to go through a 12-week program to teach them how to become empowered to break the cycle and become flourishing entrepreneurs in their communities.

This is where it gets even better. Yes, the women go through training to learn how to be businesswomen so that they can provide for themselves and their families, but Convoy of Hope recognizes that this is not worth much long-term if they don’t take time to empower the whole woman.

Think about that statement for a minute. Can you even imagine the impact we could have on our world if we took care to empower the whole woman? You all, this is where our culture is missing the mark in countless areas.

The world says,

“Get a good education and then you’ll be a powerful force.”

“Get healthy and then you’ll be the best you can be.”

“Achieve your dreams and you will fulfill your purpose in life.”

As Christians, we would add, “Make peace with God and He will fulfill you.”

None of those statements are wrong, but the problem takes place when we only focus on one and neglect the others. I fully believe that God will work out the details of all aspects of our life when we look to Him for our fulfillment; however, in order to be truly empowered to live the life of freedom that He intended for us, we must take great care that we are working to be empowered in all areas of our life. Being completely fulfilled and free in Christ means that we are empowered in every aspect possible.

Womens Empowerment

I have been given the incredible honor and opportunity to be a contributor for the curriculum Convoy of Hope is compiling to use in their various sites for up and coming participants who have chosen to be brave and become empowered rather than continuing down the only way of life they’ve ever known.

These past few months, I’ve been pouring all of my “writing time” into putting together a spiritual empowerment course (or Bible study for those of you who prefer that terminology) for these women who have already inspired me even though I’ve never met them. I love the fact that they are setting an example to the rest of the world on how we as women can be empowered, by carefully choosing to learn how they can be the best possible version of themselves in their spiritual and physical health as well as their professional lives.

The main theme throughout the study is finding freedom in Christ. Freedom is something we all strive to achieve, and the when we start the journey to find it, the task before us can seem daunting.

Would you like to be a part of this incredible investment? I’d love to have as many different perspectives as possible from various women. Would you share in a sentence or two something that has made you feel hopeless at one point in your life that God has since given you freedom over? Here are some examples I shared from my own life, and it would be fantastic to add yours to the list!

I’ve been in the depths of despair because I’d been betrayed by people I trusted.

I’ve been wrongly judged or treated poorly by others.

I’ve been devastated by death taking away those I love.

I’ve been stretched to my limit with the pressures of being a woman and a mother in a world that doesn’t stop when I need rest.

I’ve had to pray that God would provide the money our family needed to pay our bills and buy our groceries when it wasn’t there.

I’ve held myself back because I’ve felt unworthy and insecure to accomplish dreams.

If you have any ideas you’d like to contribute, please leave a comment or send me an email as soon as possible! The deadline for completion on this project is fast approaching, but I know it will be that much richer with your words in it!

You will hear me talk more about the study, the women, and the program in the future. I’m praying for God to do a mighty work in the lives of women in all continents and countries to find freedom in Christ so that they can be completely empowered to live life on purpose.