Saturday, August 5, 2017

Let Them Be Children

What was your childhood like? I remember mine being filled with days of running around the yard, using my imagination and toys to create adventures with my siblings and our friend who lived around the corner from us. I probably spent 8 hours a day outside, playing and enjoying the sunshine during the summer. During winter, I spent my days playing dolls, making crafts or reading after school hours were over. It was a great childhood.

My mom did a great job raising my siblings and me. Our childhood was filled with encouragement in the right places, and careful discouragement in areas that would harm us if we went down those paths. Our TV shows were monitored, and if you got caught trying to watch something that was trash, you had better be prepared for a week of no TV privileges. Music was carefully selected, and there were even Veggie Tales songs we didn't listen to! Certain toys weren't allowed to cross the threshold of our home, because they were (and still are, in my opinion) trash. We had a bedtime and chores. The girls weren't allowed to pierce their ears until we were 12, and no makeup until 15- we were taught we were beautiful as God created us and didn't need artificial beauty. Didn't need a curfew because my mom had enough common sense to know that children shouldn't be allowed to go out on their own!

Things you would never find in our home were:
Bratz dolls and fashion dolls that dressed indecently (Which I'm still trying to understand why any parent would allow their daughter to have these, I mean, what kind of impression do they make on young girls about their appearance?!)
Anything that had to do with Halloween.
Harry Potter, or any kind of magic (And yes, we watched Disney movies but had to fast forward the magic parts when watching our video cassettes. And this is something that still goes for my young siblings)
90% of TV shows and movies that were for 'kids' (especially when we had satellite TV for a brief time). Most of them would be considered clean compared to the shows now days, but they were no good back then and still aren't.
Games and movies that encouraged excessive violence and destruction. The worst you could have found as far as violence was my brother had a cap gun, a GI Joe (which he threw away because we girls made him marry our Barbie dolls, and, as you know, girl toys have cooties) and he watched the old Ninja Turtles.
Pop music. Still a no and for good reason.
Anything that encouraged the need for boyfriends/girlfriends at young ages. I remember there was this one board game with a phone and had something to do with crushes or whatever? Yeah, that was a no.

You might be thinking, well, your family was probably Amish or something, that's so strict. Eh, no. We are Independent Baptist, and conservative, but we're not so strict we couldn't have or do anything.

See, my family believes childhood should be just that: childhood. Not 'getting ready to be a teenager'-hood. We were encouraged to play and use our imagination and have toys for as long as we wanted to, because we were children. It's bad enough that you only have about 15-16 years of being a child. Why would we make that time any shorter?

Nothing makes me more upset or sick than to see parents allowing their children be bombarded by the world during their childhood. Not just allowed, but it is encouraged.

Young girls are put in bikini's and skimpy clothes as soon as they are born now days (Babies in bikinis?!?!?! No one should be in one, but certainly not anyone under the age of 18)
They're encouraged to dress in styles that would be indecent on adults, and is perverted for children when they're only 8 years old.
By the time they hit 10, they are taught they need makeup and allowed to go out with faces painted.
By 13 they think they need to look like every model out there to be considered pretty, with as much skin showing as possible, and the tighter the clothes the better.
They're given fashion dolls that dress, in a word, trashy and encouraged to try to look like them.
They're taught to look up to singers like Arianna Grande and Miley Cyrus and Justin Bieber who are some of the most ungodly role models a child could find, and walk around singing lyrics to songs that an adult should be ashamed to sing- all when they're under 15 years old!
Boys are taught that they need to dress like a gang member, and walk around eying every girl they come across in a vulgar way.
They're given violent video games and encouraged to spend all their time playing them (and then parents wonder why they are violent!)
Children are allowed to watch movies of kids and teens 'falling in love' and worrying so much about their crushes/boyfriend/girlfriend instead of their education, and the idea that if you don't have a relationship by the time you're 16, you are an outcast is pushed on children.

Parents think it's funny and cute that their 10 year old has a crush or a boyfriend/girlfriend. It's NOT! This is a child we are talking about! The farthest thing from their minds should be crushes and relationships, people! Teach them to focus on their education and relationship with God!

It's time to stop taking baby dolls out of little girls' hands and cramming a cellphone in them.
It's time to stop taking toy cars from little boys' and putting a video game in them.
It's time to stop pumping music that You should be ashamed to listen to into young ears and minds.
It's time to stop dressing children like adults, in clothes that even adults shouldn't be wearing.
It's time to stop encouraging children to have crushes and have boyfriends/girlfriends.
It's time to stop letting our kids look to the world for their guidance in how they look, act and think.
It's time to stop cramming the influences of the world into children's minds.

Why can't children be children anymore? Why can't they have toys that don't require a charger or batteries? Why can't they play outside and use their imagination instead of sitting in front of a computer playing on Facebook? Why can't they spend time playing games with friends instead of watching shows that will do thing but encourage them to act in a worldly manner? Why can't we teach them that while they are growing up, there's no need for boyfriends and girlfriends and crushes? Why can't we teach our kids to be proud of their appearance enough to keep themselves well kept, and teach them to rejoice in how God created them to look without artificial beauty? Why can't we teach them to respect the Bible and the commands God has given us regarding our separation from the way the world lives?

They only get to be children once, and then they have the difficult task of being an adult for the rest of their lives. Don't take that time of childhood away from their prematurely, and don't let the world steal it either.

I know all this isn't something that can be fixed in a day. But godly men and women who are raising children should see what is going on and stop their children from having their childhood ruined by what the world says children should be.
God gave parents the responsibility of raising their children according to His Word, and it's something they need to take seriously because what they teach and allow is what the next generation will believe and teach. Childhood seems to be growing shorter and shorter with each generation, and that breaks my heart.

I wish every child could have the simple, uncomplicated childhood I had. I was allowed to be a child until I grew up at the proper time.

Yes, I am a bit passionate about this topic. I love working with children and so it breaks my heart when I see the world stealing away what should be the happiest time of their lives. I don't care to see parents let their children's lives be molded by the world and then hear the complaints when the kids fall into sin that they were encouraged to go towards while they were growing up.

So, I beg you...

Let them be children.







Thursday, July 27, 2017

Not Desperate, Single and Serving Contentedly!

Why is it that when a girl is single and of marriageable age, everyone thinks she is desperate for a relationship?

Okay, so some girls are.

But not all girls.

Believe it or not, some of us have come to the point where we grew up and realized we don't have to have a boyfriend or husband to be happy. We can be happy and live our lives without a man in them for the time being.

It's not that we don't look forward to the day when God gives us a relationship, if He does. It's just that we know there are more important things to do with our lives than sit around and pine for a relationship!

It doesn't mean that we don't have hopes for 'one day'. It doesn't mean that we ignore all men, believe we are too good for them and have no need for them. It doesn't mean we can't have a hope chest or collect things for our future homes, for our future families.

It simply means we are living life now how God has called us.

Yes, with all my heart, I want a husband and family of my own. But I know that those will come in God's time, if He so wills for my life, and I'm more than willing to wait on His timing.

But I refuse to get jealous each time one of my friends starts a relationship. I refuse to sit around with my life on hold until I have a wedding ring on my hand. I don't want my life to be dependent on whether or not I get married.

In short, my happiness is not dependent on a man, on another human being.

I have my family. I have my friends. I have my shop. I have my Sunday school class. I have my church. I have all that I could ask for.

Most importantly, I have my relationship with Jesus. I have all that I need in Him.

My happiness and my joy, my peace and my hope are secured in Him because He is the only unchanging anchor in my life.

And the place in life He has chosen for me right now? I like it. I like my life the way it is right now.

If I get married one day, that is wonderful. I'll be happy and rejoice.

If I don't, I will still be happy.

Obviously, God has a reason why He wants me to serve Him as single right now. I may not understand the why or for how long, but I don't need to. As long as I'm serving God, I know I will be happy because I'll be in the center of His Will for my life.

While I know most people mean well, I do wish they'd stop viewing single people as desperate. It makes those of us who aren't racing for the altar feel like we are outcasts or something.

Just because I am single does not mean I am desperate.

To my friends out there who have came to the point where they can happily say they are single but serving contentedly, isn't this better than wasting our time searching for what only God can bring? We can do so much more if we are willing to serve Him joyfully as singles than to waste our time whining and complaining that He hasn't given us a spouse.

To those of you who haven't reached that point, can I tell you something? If your happiness resides solely in your relationship status, you will never be happy. You can never know true happiness and contentment until you understand that God is the source of true joy and peace and happiness. Please stop putting such emphasis on finding someone. Instead, find your happiness in God and where He has called you for now.



Friday, July 21, 2017

Introductions to More Friends!

I thought I'd take a moment to say something about some other friends of mine who mean a great deal to me!

First off I'll start with one of my fellow writers. She's the best poet I know. She's a published author. She makes the best flavored sugars you'll ever taste. She had a vast knowledge of just about anything you ask her about. She is surrounded by books, kitties, and majestic floofs (aka her bunny). I met her a while back on a crochet and knitting website, followed each other on Pinterest and Instagram, and she quickly became one of my best friends.

Her name is Annie, and she is Awesome. And if you argue with that fact, I will probably never speak to you again.

I can be assured that if I need advice of any nature, Annie will have a common sense answer for me. Writer issues like thinking up a name or new country? She's got that too. Just need to vent? Yep, she is amazing at listening and not judging when I'm being whiney or ranting over something trivial. In short, she's the kind of friend everyone needs, because she's everything in one cute, awesome and very brilliant person. Also, she makes paper butterflies.

The next friend I want to introduce y'all to is one who is very dear to my heart. She comes from a very similar life as I do, and she's always there to provide encouragement and help when I need it. She's probably my most faithful reader of this blog too, a fact which doesn't go unnoticed to this writer! And when it comes to knowledge of home remedies, she's an encyclopedia of wisdom. When I want to discuss my brother's corny puns, annoying habits or greatly admired overprotectiveness, I know who will always understand because her brother and mine are almost twins. When it comes to friends who I can rely on for prayer requests, she is at the top of the list. We might not get to speak to each other often, but she is truly my sister in heart!

May I introduce, Taz, one of the best adopted sisters a girl can have.

Did I also mention Taz can, without fail, make me laugh until my sides hurt? And her brother is just as awesome as she is! I can't thank the Lord enough for bringing this wonderful friend into my life, and for letting us meet thru the same crochet/knitting website! When I need a heart to heart talk about what is bothering me, Taz understands better than anyone else and always helps keep me straightened out when I get angry and upset.

The next friend, or should I say friends, I want to introduce I haven't known for the longest time, but they are truly some of the sweetest girls you could ever know. They sing, they sew, they have survived having a bunch of brothers. And they are two of the few people in the world who won't judge when I tell them I spent my life savings on yarn and fabric. In fact, they might even encourage me to do so, just a little ;)

Danielle and Laura, you two are the best!

And finally I want to introduce one of the sweetest ladies I've had the privilege to know thru social media. She's strong, she is loving, and she is the best first-time grandma I know (Her grandbaby is ADORABLE!). She's also one of the best mothers I know. And when it comes to Snapchat filters, she is the master! She's been an encouragement to me and without fail makes me smile each time I hear from her!

Mrs. Connie is one of the most wonderful examples of what a truly loving mom and grandma should be. The world needs more Snapchatting, encouraging and godly grandmas like you!

So, those are just a few of my very special friends I wanted to introduce to y'all. If you have the privilege to know these special ladies, know that you are blessed beyond belief. I know I am! The best part about these friends of mine are they aren't just friends. They're my sisters in Christ.


Saturday, July 8, 2017

The Seeds I'm Sowing

To every person who has hurt me, made fun of me, insulted me, or made me feel like I was unwanted, worthless, useless, unnecessary, ugly, stupid, unloved, disliked...

Thank you, Not for hurting me or any of the cruel, hateful things you did and said. But thank you for teaching me some valuable lessons.

Thank you for showing me what it's like to be the person who is pushed away as unwanted, unnecessary or unloved, because now I will never let another person feel that way.

Thank you for showing me that making fun of me, for calling me names and making me feel like ignorant, says a whole lot more about YOU than it does ME.

Thank you for showing me what harm cutting someone down, criticizing them and insulting them can do, because now I guard my mouth and thoughts to make sure I never harm someone the way you hurt me.

Thank you for showing me just how ignorant it is to gossip and lie about someone, because I'll think of how your sin hurt me before I let gossip take root in my life.

Thank you for showing me that the person saying I'm useless and that no one likes, is trying to make me feel bad so they feel better.

Thank you for showing me that just because someone says something negative, hateful or downright evil about you or to you doesn't make it true.

But most importantly, thank you for showing me that you needed someone to be kind to you, to be your friend, and to pray for you, despite the way you treat others.

You might think you hurt me- and truth be told, you did- but I outgrew that hurt. I learned from it. God used what you did to teach me what I shouldn't do, shouldn't say, and shouldn't be.

Thanks to you, I've learned how to help those who are hurt by people like you. I have a better understanding of how to help them, and how to teach them to learn and grow from the actions of people like you. When I see someone hurting the way you made me hurt, I can now help that person because I understand what they are feeling.

So, that being said... I'm praying for you. It may have been recently you hurt me, or years ago, doesn't matter, I don't care. God loves you, and because of that, I will love you enough to pray for you. Obviously, you've gone through things that made you the person who would hurt me, and that person needs God's salvation and grace and mercy every bit as much as I do.

The truth is, nothing you said to me was true.

I am loved, and I am wanted By God, by my family, and by my true friends.
I am valued by the One who gave His life for me, and what a person thinks of me matters so little in comparison to that.
I am not ugly or stupid, because I was created to be exactly the way I look by the Creator of the Universe, and He makes nothing that is worthless.

See, there's this wonderful verse in the Bible, and I'm going to share it with you.

Galatians 6:7 (KJV)
 Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

Instead of allowing myself to sow seeds of bitterness and hatred against you, I'm going to sow seeds of forgiveness and love. I'm going to pray for you with the love of Christ, because I don't know what you went thru to make you the way you are. 

I'm not going to let you hurt me again, because I'm putting it in God's Hands. Maybe you'll come to know Jesus Christ as your savior, maybe you'll get right with the Lord, and I'm not going to let bitterness cause me to keep you from that by retaliating and hurting you in return. All I can do is pray for you now. 


Sincerely,
Wanted,
Loved,
Useful,
Valuable,
Appreciated,
Forgiven,
Happy,
And hoping you become the same one day,
Melissa

Monday, July 3, 2017

Give Yourself a Break From Heartbreaks

How many secular songs have been written about broken hearts? Probably too many, right? I mean, we can't walk through a store without hearing a song about two star crossed lovers who called it all off and one party is whining and/or fussing about the other. I'm not belittling true broken hearts, as I understand they can be painful, especially when they are a result of an ended relationship that had moved into something like engagement and had to been called off for genuine reasons. But I think too many times, we set ourselves up for heartbreak by our own actions in little things. And we end up with a broken heart, a heart that's in pieces, that could have been intact for the right person by giving a little of our hearts away in different ways.

For instance, crushes and flirting.

A friend once told me not to get my hopes up when it comes to a guy, because it sets me up for heartbreak. You know what? She was right. Having been disappointed a few times over crushes (Yes, I'll admit I've had my share of them) that never went anywhere, I realized I had been setting myself up for heartbreak. I think that's the true danger behind crushes. We get ourselves convinced someone is perfect and the right one and we can't imagine a future with anyone else but them. We start planning our futures (in my case, I plan the dream wedding *rolls eyes*) and we even begin to push all reason, and even God at times, to the side in order to maintain the belief that we are right and things will be perfect.

This is really a sad and dangerous place to be, this wandering in 'crushland'. Because at the end of the road through this place, we end up at heartbreak and hurt. And can we be honest? We all know nothing is going to come of it. No matter what we convince ourselves of, deep down, we know.

The worst part is, we rob ourselves of the joy we would have if we guarded our hearts and truly waited for the right one to come along. We trade emotional ups and downs for the patience we should have had in waiting. We lose that focus on serving God wholly when we begin to focus on people.

Ladies, those of us who are waiting on God to send the right guy, do we realize that somewhere out there really is a guy who is waiting for us and praying for us? That's not just a bunch of quotes on Pinterest that we can save and go 'aww yeah he's out there somewhere!' when we're feeling desperate, lonely and like we will be old maids forever. He's really out there. Your future husband. Do you honestly believe he's going to want a girl who is carrying around the memories of a hundred and one crushes? If not for your own sake (And Your Own Sake is important, I'm not saying it isn't) then for his, don't you think these crushes are doing more harm than good?

I understand, we battle the flesh. Crushes are hard to avoid at times. But honestly, you could probably avoid 90% of them by reminding yourself that your future spouse is out there and until you are actually in a REAL relationship (aka, courting or engagement) and on the road to marriage with them, you have no use for feelings for someone who you might not (probably won't, even) marry.

And to be honest, for those of you who struggle with flirting, the same rules applies. What good is flirting with every person you come across going to do? That's just as bad as a crush, worse even, because you are encouraging someone who you may not marry. Learn to be friendly and a friend to someone Without flirting. It's not impossible.

I understand this post may sound a little harsh, but I'm reminding myself right alongside y'all. Melissa Holliday needs reminding just as much as anyone else that crushes are useless emotional phases that are based off feelings rather than facts. None of us are perfect, we all are still growing in the Lord and learning. We're still battling our flesh and that's a fight that won't end until we're in Heaven. But we can take precautions to guard our hearts and not allow things to come between us and the Lord as we wait on the right guy. We don't have to set ourselves up for heartbreak.

So, I've come up with a few tips to help y'all (and myself!) Here they are:

1. Stop with the celebrity crushes. I don't care what musician, what actor, what famous star they are. Stop it. Of course they are going to appear perfect- that's the image they want you to see! You're not going to marry that celebrity, odds are, and having a crush on them is going to do nothing to help you. It's only going to encourage you in letting yourself have an infatuation on every person you come across. And if I'm honest, and you are too, the celebrity probably Isn't a believer or leading a godly lifestyle, so why would you even allow yourself to become enamored with them?! As believers, we are called to be different from the world and separate from it, not in love with it!

2. Learn to see people as friends and not crushes. Don't even give in a little on this. If someone is genuinely interested in you, they will be honest and tell you. You don't have to have a crush on them and make yourself believe they like you. IF they do, they will tell you. Learn to be just a friend to people. And this works in reverse too. Be honest with the ones who show genuine interest in you, so that you don't accidentally encourage a crush.

3. Focus on God. Stay in His Word. Stay in prayer. The more time you spend with your Savior and thinking and meditating on the Scriptures, the less time your mind will have to focus on people and crushes. Don't give excuses why you can't be reading your Bible or praying when you can spend time on social media (or even reading this blog). Put your phone down, turn the computer or laptop off and open your Bible. Get out from in front of the TV and get on your knees in prayer.

4. Seek Godly friends and get encouragement from them. Truly godly friend will not encourage your crushes, but rather will encourage you to see the Lord and His Will. While all friends are happy for their friends when there's a new 'possibility', the best friends will encourage you to pray and truly seek God about someone before you start falling into the infatuation trap.

5. Instead of flirting and encouraging flirting, try being a genuine friend and just having conversations with the opposite gender. It's not impossible. You don't have to flirt.

6. Remember the One who created your heart knows what is in it. God sees and knows what we go through. He isn't blind. He wants what is best for us, but sometimes that means He has to teach us the hard way when we insist on going our own way in matters of our hearts. Remember my post on not following your heart? Our hearts CAN deceive us, and we need to rely on God rather that our feelings and emotions.

It really doesn't matter if you're a teenager, or (like me) in your 20's, or maybe even your 30s. It's important we learn to guard ourselves against heartbreaks like crushes and flirting for fun. They don't only hurt us, they can hurt others.

Be the one who considers your future spouse is waiting for you and determines not to let a little piece of your heart be given to everyone that comes along so that you don't have a broken heart before you ever find the right person.






Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Abstain from all Appearance of Evil

Several times this past week, this verse has came up either in conversation or across my mind when reading something. Different situations, different scenarios, but that verse held as common to all of them.

1 Thessalonians 5:22 King James Version
22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

Have you ever stopped and just thought about that verse, what it means and how powerful it is? It applies to so many things in our lives! I want to start with the dictionary definitions of the words abstain, appearance and evil.

Abstain: To hold one's self aloof; to forbear or refrain voluntarily, and especially from an indulgence of the passions or appetites.

Appearance: Semblance, or apparent likeness; external show. pl. Outward signs, or circumstances, fitted to make a particular impression or to determine the judgment as to the character of a person or a thing, an act or a state.

Evil: Having qualities tending to injury and mischief; having a nature or properties which tend to badness; mischievous; not good; having or exhibiting bad moral qualities; morally corrupt; wicked; wrong; vicious;  producing or threatening sorrow, distress, injury, or calamity; unpropitious; calamitous

Okay, so, having read those definitions... I think it's safe to say that when that verse says to abstain from all appearance of evil, it's pretty specific, right? We are to voluntarily keep ourselves away from having the apparent likeness or outward signs of anything that is not good, corrupt or wicked. Pretty simple, right? 

Wrong. It's incredibly hard, I'll be the first to admit, although it does get easier.

As a believers, we are to be Christ like. We're to walk, talk, dress and have attitudes that reflect Him. People should be able to tell by our words, by the way we react to situations, by the way we act and the things we do, and the places we go, that we are followers of Christ. Part of that means abstaining from things we know are not glorifying to God. It means not giving room for doubt, not allowing yourself to get into a situation where others could say you compromised and letting your testimony be ruined.

I know I've talked on this before, but I'm going to reiterate that I believe 100% in chaperones. I don't care if you are 15 or 50. If you're not married to them, you shouldn't be alone with the opposite gender (unless it's a parents or siblings or relative). If for no other reason than, again, your testimony, you should want someone (a friend or family member, but definitely someone you know) there as a witness that the two of you did nothing you can be accused of later.

And I don't want to hear "Well, we were in public, there were witnesses!" Umm, do you know those strangers' names and numbers so I find out if you're telling the truth? No, you don't. Sorry. Anyone can say there were 'other people there' but you don't have an actual witness that can say from the time the outing started to the time it ended -the whole time the two of you were together- nothing happened. I'm not for that. I want accountability. I want there to be no room for doubt, gossip or lies.
I'm going to abstain from all appearance of evil by never being alone in a room or vehicle with a guy unless it's my brothers or husband (Not future husband, mind you, but my husband!)

It's so, so, so easy to fall into acting like the world. We're bombarded on every side by the world, and the flesh loves to give in. I could easily act just like girls around me that aren't saved. I could walk the same, talk the same, and go to the same places and dress the same- but I choose not to. I choose to abstain from all appearance of evil.

I don't flirt and throw myself at guys.

I don't worship and idolize and spend all my time following after celebrities and musicians who are obviously not believers and are living ungodly lives.

I don't use cuss words or swear words (Who honestly wants to look that ignorant?)

I don't dress in skimpy no-nothing, shorty-short clothes with my body hanging out and more skin showing than is covered by clothes that look painted on.

I don't spend my time in place with rock or rap or country music blaring.

I don't go in places I know that no truly born again Christian has any business being (And believe me, my local mall is FULL of them).

I don't listen to music that praises everything but God, and encourages ungodly behavior, thoughts and actions.

If I did all those things, would I look any different from the world to a random stranger walking by? NO! They would not see that I'm a saved person who is trying to live for the Lord. They wouldn't be able to tell by my appearance that I'm a Christian. 

Can I be blunt? If you're doing those things, don't expect people to know or even believe when you tell them that you are born again. This is where the verses about knowing people by their fruits comes into play. You act like the world, people will think you are of the world.

I know that God knows each of us by heart. But I also know the world only sees what is on the outside. They only see what we talk like, what we do, how we dress and where we go and judge by that.

You could ruin a chance to witness to someone by being just like them. 

I've heard people in the past try to justify acting, talking and dressing like the world as a means of winning others to Christ. That's a really ignorant way of thinking and trying to justify sin, let's be honest. I'm not going to drink poison along with someone to keep them from dying. I'm not going to rob a bank to pay someone else's bills. I'm not going to pop three tires on a car to keep one from going flat.

God won't bless acting like the devil to win someone to Him. He never has nor will He ever tell you to sin to be a witness to someone. He doesn't condone acting like the world to win a lost person to the Lord.

And Anyone who tells you that you have to act like the world to win them seriously needs to read their Bible and study God's Word better, because they lack understanding what God's Will is for believers!

God has set us apart on purpose, to be different than the world so others can see Him in us. If you're acting just like the world, no one is going to see God in you!

Abstaining from all appearance can be hard, but the more we do, the easier it gets. Saying no is difficult, I understand, but not impossible. Especially when we choose friends who are not living godly lives, we make it harder for ourselves.
That's why it's so important to surround yourself with believers who are trying to live for God and are also abstaining from all appearance of evil. That's why it's important to avoid going to places where we will be tempted to sin. That's why it's important to guard what our eyes and ears are filled with. That's why it's important we be careful watch we watch and what we listen to. That's why it is important we don't idolize and follow every move of famous people who we Know are not living for God by their words and actions. That's why it's important we live every moment of our lives as if Christ were coming back, and ask ourselves would we be comfortable doing that/saying those words/dressing that way/listening to that song/acting like that/walking like that if Jesus were standing right next to us? Would you really? Would you see Jesus joining in? 

Honestly, it boils down to this: God has given us commands and specifics about how we are to live our lives. Those things that are sin, He died to forgive us of them. Do you really feel no conviction over living like the world, even though it cost Christ His life to pay for those sins?

If you are a child of God, if you are saved, then God will chastise you- He promised to in the Bible. You won't get away with living that way for long without God correcting you like a earthly father corrects his child. He wants us to understand why He said in His Word to abstain from all appearance of evil, and He corrects us when we start to drift and stray away from Him. It's a dangerous place to live when you are saved and purposefully ignoring the commands God has given us. You not only lose the blessings God would have given you if you were living your life according to His Word, but you lose the ability to serve Him wholly and have your service blessed!

If you feel no conviction over living in sin and living like the world, then I hope you would truly search your heart and make sure of your salvation today, because God says in the Scripture that if you are not chastised then you are not His child. There can be no more important decision you can make in your life than choosing to accept the free gift of salvation Christ offers to anyone who will call on His Name. 

If you are saved, and you've been letting the world and the flesh win, and haven't been living for God... why continue another day in that? I'm SO thankful God will forgive us when we sin, and is always ready to hear our prayers when we come to Him confessing our sins!

I know I am in need of that forgiveness everyday of my life. I need God's grace and mercy every minute of my life, and I could never repay Him for it. But what I can do is to live for Him, to live not to please anyone- not even myself- but God, and to encourage others to also 'abstain from all appearance of evil' so that we can be an effective witness to those around us.

To those who are striving to abstain from all appearance of evil, I hope this has been an encouragement to you. I hope you know that you are not alone. I pray God strengthens you in your desire to please Him by your actions, your choices and your appearance. Please don't give up your standards or give in to the flesh when it looks easier to be like the world than to fight against it. God sees your life and knows your desire is to please Him, and He will bless that.

Your sister in the Lord,
Missy

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Convincing Youself

Time for a rather serious discussion, my friends. Something that has been weighing on my mind for a while now. I debated whether I should write this or not, but it keeps going thru my mind and I think I need to. Maybe one of you needs to read this because you are struggling with this. Maybe I just need to say what's on my mind. Who knows! But I pray this helps someone else out there.

How many times have you heard someone say "Tell yourself you can do this, and you can do it." Basically convince yourself you can do whatever it is you need to do. Yes, I understand this is meant to be encouraging and help you get thru whatever it is you are trying to do. And that in itself isn't bad. Sometimes we need someone to tell us we have what it takes to get thru our situation, to get us to convince ourselves we can finish our tasks.

But there's a negative side in convincing ourselves of things. There's a danger in talking ourselves into things. I'm completely guilty of doing this far too often. I can talk myself into almost anything. Give me a couple days and I can convince myself of almost anything. The problem with this is I'm usually A. Following my emotions, B. Going on little bits of information I convince myself is fact and C. I'm not praying about it, but blindly following my own will. It's a dangerous habit that can have consequences we don't foresee.

Let's use some examples.

I can convince myself that someone is mad at me (I've done this so many times). If someone I know acts the least bit different from their normal attitude when they are around me, by the end of the day, I can talk myself into believing I've offended them or they are mad at me for some reason or another.

I can convince myself that a decision I've made it the logical one when in all honesty, it's the stupidest choice I've made in my life. I can convince myself that I have peace over a choice I've made when it's really just me hoping for peace and ignoring God (I've done this too, too many times. Way too many times.)

I can convince myself that how I'm handling matters is the best way, and that I've got everything under control when the truth is I am wrecking everything.

Do you see the common theme in all these? I'm convincing myself that what I want is what is right. I'm following my own desires, my own judgement. Kind of goes along with the post on following your heart versus following God.

I guess what I'm trying to say is, when we talk ourselves into something, we're hurting ourselves. We're taking away God's ability to bless us with what He wants to do or give us, and replacing it with setting ourselves up for failure and pain. By convincing ourselves that what we want is what is right, or what we did is right, or what we have decided is right, we are choosing to walk a path that leads to pain, disappointment, and consequences that we will have to face.

Another thing to consider is, when making a decision that affects those around you and not yourself only, convincing yourself that your decision is right hurts them too. Talking yourself into believing what you are doing is right for everyone can be a life altering choice for more than yourself.

I know it's hard when you can talk yourself into something, but it's even worse when you have others encouraging you to walk the wrong way, or encouraging you to convince yourself that you are making the right choice when you know it's not. To make decisions that at present look good, but in the future will hurt you. Though they may mean well (or may not, as the case may be), listening to the advice of those who will talk you into running away from God and listening to your own voice convincing yourself that your opinion is the only one that matters is going to destroy you. No if, and, or buts. You will end up ruined and in pain.

The obvious solution? Stop.

Stop talking yourself into believing what you want is what is right.
Stop ignoring God.
Stop pretending that what you want is what God's Will is.
Stop turning a blind eye to the warnings that you're going down the wrong path.
Stop following the advice of others that encourages you to ignore God.
Stop letting yourself ignore your prayer and Bible time thinking that if you don't listen to God you can get peace.
Stop ignoring the warning signs, the red flags.

Once you've stopped doing those things, do me another favor (or ten)?

Do listen to God. God isn't the author of confusion. He's not going to lead you down a path that will ruin your life or hurt you. He isn't a cruel Maker who wants you to suffer and languish. He wouldn't give you peace over something isn't what is best for you, or over something that wouldn't honor and glorify Him.
Do listen to the counsel of those who are in tune with God. Parents, pastors, and older people (most older people, for the most part) are wiser and follow the Lord because they know from experience that He won't lead you down the wrong path. If your elders are telling you something is not right or that a decision you are talking yourself into isn't going to be good, odds are they are right.
Do pray about it. Earnestly seek God's Will and don't ignore when He answers, even if it isn't the answer you want. If you ask Him to show you, and He does but it's not what you want, don't keep praying in hopes He changes His answer. Ask God to change your heart and mind about it instead.
Do be willing to listen to what God says. Don't ask for an answer then reject it. Don't seek God's Will and then ignore it when He shows you what that is.

I know most of the do's and stop's are easier said than done. It's a constant struggle to battle the flesh and our own desires. But the more time you spend with God in prayer and His Word, the easier it's going to be to avoid convincing yourself that what you want is what He wants. It'll be easier to avoid talking yourself into decisions you will regret later. It'll be easier to follow His Will with a joyful heart and true peace.

Listen, I'm praying for any of you that have trouble with this. I'm one of you, too, so pray for me. Sometimes it's easier to know that I'm not the only one who struggles with this, and that makes it easier to tell myself I need to stop listening to my own voice and listen to God's. And that pretty much sums this up...

Listen to God's voice, not your own.



Friday, May 19, 2017

A Little Encouragement

Hello, everyone!

I don't have a big, long, detailed blog post today. Actually, this is the third or fourth attempt at starting a post today, because I just can't seem to put into words my thoughts today. But the feeling that maybe y'all need some more encouragement keeps popping up, so I thought I'd give a little. I'll just cover a wide variety of things since I don't know what each of you are going thru at the moment.

For those who are single- Remember, we're still waiting together. I'm praying with you and for you. Keep in mind that waiting on God to send the right person gives us time to develop the traits and skills He has given us and find uses for them. Don't sit around waiting, get out and do something for the Lord! Being single isn't an excuse to be lazy in your spiritual walk, especially when you are old enough to marry but haven't met anyone yet.
(I will add, those of my readers who are teenagers... Please don't focus on a relationship right now. Do yourself a favor, forget about 'being single' and trying to find someone. Give yourself time to grow up and  focus on finishing your education. Take time to serve God and find where He would have you be. Relationships can wait until you are older. Give yourself time to enjoy your youth years and serving the Lord with your whole heart, and don't follow what the world is telling you about needing a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. I know it this may sound harsh but the last thing you need right now is someone who will take your focus off growing in God, learning and growing up. You have many years ahead of you that will give time for a relationship. I'll be praying God sends the right person when you are grown up and ready, because He won't send someone until you are- and what a blessing that is!)

For those who are waiting on a prayer to be answered- God knows what you're asking for. He also knows what you need. Maybe it's just not time for that prayer to be answered. Maybe the answer isn't what you want it to be and He is trying to help you realize that. Maybe the prayer isn't wrong or for something that isn't good, but it's not for what would be best for you, and God wants to show you that there is a better answer than what you are asking for. Either way, please trust God. Don't keep pushing if He has told you no, don't give up if He hasn't given a clear answer yet, and don't forget to thank Him when He answers, no matter what the answer may be.

For those who are struggling- I'm praying for you. God knows and sees where you are. He hasn't forgotten you. He isn't blind to what you are going through. Perhaps He is building your faith, or maybe He is testing you. Maybe you've started going astray from God's Word and your Heavenly Father is trying to bring you back to Him. Wherever you are, whatever it is that is going on, there is a reason for it. Stay close to the Lord, stay right with the Lord, and the Lord will help you through this.

For those who are hurting- I don't know what caused your pain. I don't know what loss or grief you are bearing. I might not even be able to share that burden if you told me. But I know two things: God can help lift that pain, and God can give you peace. God isn't some cruel Master who only allows pain in our lives as punishment. He Loves Us. He wants us to rely on Him for our peace and comfort. Don't allow yourself to believe that the world can offer any kind of relief from pain and sorrow. Alcohol and drugs won't help you. A relationship won't help you. Music won't help you. Possessions, places, pets, experiences, food, things, distractions... those won't help you. There's nothing that will comfort you on this earth that can compare to the comfort of your Maker. Drop those things and run to God. Seek your comfort from the One who knows your heart better than you do.

For those who are rejoicing- Praise God! I'm glad you have a reason to be joyful and happy! Isn't our Father wonderful? Aren't His blessings, given in His timing, the greatest? I rejoice with you! Don't forget to thank God for His blessings!

And lastly- for those who are readers of this blog, and faithful followers of my posts- You don't know what an encouragement you are to me. I might not know each of you. Might not ever seen anything other than a map with no names showing where my readers are from... But I thank each of you for being the encouragement I need to keep writing posts. Every time someone messages me with feedback, every time someone tells me that a post was exactly what they needed to read because of their situation, every comment, every share of a post... It's a blessing to me!

I hope y'all have a great day today, and that your weekend is wonderfully blessed by God!

Friday, May 5, 2017

Friday Chat

Since my day tomorrow is going to be crazy and I know I won't have time to chat tomorrow, I thought I'd do a quick chat today. So, let's get into it!

First off... My shop. I didn't realize it was going to be as much work as it is. Not that I don't mind, but at times it gets a little overwhelming thinking about everything I need or ought to do. Thankfully it's not a full blown, 8 hours a day kind of business. It's a cross between hobby and fledgling business. But the Lord has blessed and I'm thankful to be where I am!

Friends... Oh, boy. My friends. They're hilarious, they're encouraging and they're the best people I know. From telling me what I need to hear instead of what I want to hear, to sending puns, memes and jokes... What would I do without their constant texts of support and sometimes awkward conversations? I know what I'd do, I'd go crazy.

Family... We're battling some allergies and it's not been fun lately. Hopefully as the weather clears up, we'll get to feeling better. I'm hoping this summer is going to be a great one for us. I'd love to take some day trips around and about Georgia to places I've seen but my younger siblings have not, I know they'd love that. Besides, one can only go to the Air Force Museum so many times before you have everything memorized...

Hobbies... Okay so lately I picked back up with my sewing, more than what I had been. Three attempts at an Easter dress, some future husband and children projects, a ton of pin cushions- I've been busy. I also rearranged my sewing area to give me more space and organized things a little better so I could get to my projects quickly and easily. Hard to say whether the sewing made me want to rearrange or if the rearranging made me want to sew more.
And my crocheting, I've been working on my wedding veil lace again. I'm up to 130 inches, I think. Still a far cry from the final length, but it's working up slowly. I'm still trying to decide what kind of embellishments I could add (Pearls? Sequins? Crystals?) and if I even want to. I'm all for glitter, but I don't want to look cheesy.
I've started back to practicing my musical abilities. Which basically means I sit in front of my keyboard piano trying to play songs I've heard over the past few days without sheet music. It's going okay. I've got one song down (oh yeah!) and another about half way figured out. Maybe by June I'll have my whole YouTube playlist memorized!
Crafting other than sewing, crocheting and music... Eh, well... I painted with water colors for the first time. Well, I mean, official first time. I don't count years as a child making horrid stick figures and weird looking houses. Yeah, those 'paintings' have pretty much disappeared over the years, thankfully. Oh, and here's some advice: Water color paints Don't stick on glass. At least, they didn't for me. Maybe y'all have better results but I didn't. Major disappointment.

Isn't it amazing how God knows exactly what we need far before we need it? Sometimes the answers we need to questions God has already began working on answering before we even ask the question. The blessing we need has already been started before we came to the Lord with our request. Our God is truly a loving Father who wants what is best for His children, and I'm so thankful for that fact!

I have an ongoing struggle with my social media accounts. Snapchat comes and goes, as I miss the filters but don't have the time or space for it. Right now it's gone. It'll probably be another couple months before I decide to start annoying my friends with it again.
Instagram is still up. I guess I'll always be on there. Pinterest also remains, though I had some trouble with it for a while and the account wouldn't let me in. Oh, and Ravelry is still there, although I've been kind of busy lately and haven't kept a check on it much.

Important notice. Your best friend should live within a day's drive of you. Mine don't and I wish they did. Your states are too far away, best friends. It'd be awesome to have you close enough to go get ice cream or Chick-Fil-A with whenever we wanted to, or to take shopping for yarn and fabric when I need someone to help me feel less guilty for going on a spree 😉. Ladies, y'all need to move to Georgia- now. Okay? Okay, good. Glad we've got that settled.

Dear Future Husband... You really, really need to like gray silk because I made you a tie out of it. Also, please don't hate me for making you weird print ties. I know that one fabric looks like nursery curtains but think how awesome the pastel colors will look at Easter! Besides, the ties are made with love and I promise you won't look entirely like a clown- I hate clowns. So, see, you're good!

I may or may not have changed my mind on some wedding details. Again. Pinterest is an awful temptation when it comes to wedding planning. There's just so many things on there to inspire you...

Is there anything better than a mom who actually cares? I'm blessed to have a mom who genuinely wants what is best for her children. She listens and cares about us and our futures. She takes time to make sure we are taught and educated, not just left to struggle. My mom is awesome!

My recent Bible studies have been so varied lately, it's not funny. One day it was a word study on righteous. Another was on couples in the Bible and their ages. Recently it's been studying out 'basic' verses that everyone knows but I think we kind of miss the point of because we've memorized them. Oh, and can't forget the comparing of verses on Repentance!

Okey dokey, I gotta go. My baby sister is crying to open the mail, there's chores still waiting and it's already 11 and I have very little done, to my shame. Talk to you later everyone!

PS. Feel free to comment on things you'd like to chat about next time, questions you'd like answered or topics you'd like to see posts about. I'm always open to suggestions!

God Given Means to Minister, Part One- Your Words

Lately I've been tossing around in my mind different ways believers minister to other believers, and thinking on how I can best use the abilities God has given me. I've been encouraged by my Christian friends and have seen first hand the different means to minister God has given different people. Hopefully these posts will be a blessing to you, and maybe will encourage you to use the abilities God has given you to be a blessing to someone else!

"Stick and stones may break my bones..."

Everyone knows the next line. "But words can never hurt me." Eh, sorry, that's not true. Words can hurt more sometimes than physical pain. One slip of the tongue can leave a heart broken, a life ruined or a relationship severed. Sometimes it's intentional, other times by accident, but either way, our words can hurt people.
Sadly, I'm guilty of hurting others with my words. I know I've done it. I'd give anything to take back those words. But knowing I've done it in the past is one of the reasons I'm so careful now of what my words are.

Words can hurt, but words can also heal. They can build up, they can comfort, they can strengthen. Our words are our best tool for encouraging each other, for defending each other and for being a blessing to one another. Using our words wisely isn't an easy thing to learn. Sometimes it takes saying the most foolish thing and hearing our own words to teach us a lesson. Sometimes it takes writing something and regretting it later to remind us that we haven't yet reached that place where our words do more good than harm. Keep in mind Colossians 4:6:

"Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man."

I know we say things like 'think about your words before you say them' and such phrases. But this verse really sums up how our words need to be used- always with grace. A mouth that speaks with grace won't say something harsh or cruel. A tongue that speaks with grace won't say something to tear another person down. A person who speaks with grace won't spread gossip or lies about others.

And think about that, the last part says so that 'ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.' I don't think this necessarily means you'll always be able to answer every question correctly every time you're asked about anything, although that'd be nice. But I do feel it means we're to take our study of God's Word seriously so that we someone asks us about our Faith, we can defend and explain it in a coherent manner.

Another good Scripture I'd point out is Matthew 12:33-35:

33 Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit.
34 O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.
35 A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.

Your words say A LOT about you. If you're constantly saying or writing cruel and hateful words, people will take note. If you always speak with kindness and support, people will also see that and remember it. Your words, according to these verses, come from the abundance of your heart- what you're thinking is going to come out of your mouth. If your heart is full of evil thoughts, what do you think is going to come out of your mouth? Thankfully, the opposite is also true! If our hearts are filled with the love of the Lord, it'll be that much easier for His love to come from our mouths.

Thinking about God's love... there's a great goal for our words, you know.
To glorify God.
The same One who created your mouth wants you to use it to honor Him. The Creator who gave you hands to write with wants you to write what will bring praise to His Name. This isn't a chore or a burden. It's an honor.

It's an honor to be able to write to glorify God. The minute you really get the full meaning of that statement, you'll understand what a privilege it really is to give glory to our Lord through our words. We have an amazing freedom to speak up and write about our Saviour's wonderful love to us! We have the ability during our short lifetimes to share the Gospel and tell others how Jesus saved us! We have the chance to change the world by telling them that it's God who can change their lives!

Why let that opportunity go to waste? Why use our words to hurt others when we can encourage them? Why use words, whether in person or online, that would give someone the impression we're not a follow of Jesus Christ? I hope when the temptation to use ungodly language appears, you'll think of this... Would you say that to the Lord's face, would you say that word to the One who died for you?

If your God given talent is to use words, in whatever form... Use your words for His Glory.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Compliments



What's the best compliment you've ever been given? It probably made you smile, right? The best compliments always do. There's nothing like knowing someone appreciates you, after all. A good compliment can brighten a day, can make you smile when you really didn't feel like it, and can keep that smile on your face for days, sometimes weeks.
What's the worst compliment you've been given? Not exactly a pleasant memory, is it? Maybe it was really awkward, or maybe it was meant well but hurt more than it helped. The world could use less of the latter kind of compliments, in my opinion. I know the giver doesn't always see the compliment's effect on you as you do, and they don't mean to hurt, but it still makes your smile falter a little and rolls through your mind for a while afterwards.
Compliments come in all shapes and sizes, just like the people who give and receive them. There's short compliments, long compliments, awkward compliments, genuine compliments, 'I'm being polite' compliments... I've been given them all. And you know what? Most of them, I didn't like one bit.
Before I get into this post any further, let me just say, this is not a post against compliments. I just want to explain a few compliments I've found are not as wonderful to the receiver as the giver thinks and a few suggestions as how to give a better compliment.

Okay, think about this. When you tell someone "You look beautiful today", you might mean it with the best of intentions, I understand that. You really think the person looks nice. But think about that wording. You look beautiful today. Not 'You are beautiful', but 'You look beautiful today'. You're only complimenting their temporary appearance at the moment? Don't you think they are beautiful the rest of the week, the rest of the year? Don't you think the person is beautiful, not just their looks? I'm not saying you can't tell someone you appreciate how they look dressed up, don't get me wrong.
Remember, looks are temporary. They can do their hair up nice, put on nice clothes, and a lady might put on makeup. But that doesn't make the person any more beautiful, nor does wearing their hair a mess, wearing comfortable clothes and a girl with nothing on her face make them less beautiful. It's the person you should be complimenting, not their appearance. Again, not saying you can't compliment when someone dresses up. But I think this kind of compliment does more harm than good most of the time, especially for younger ladies who are already struggling with their looks. A girl who wears no makeup is just as beautiful as the one who uses makeup to subtly enhance her natural beauty. A girl who loves wearing sneakers and tees is not less beautiful than a girl who goes everywhere dressed for tea. Clothes, jewelry and makeup don't make the girl, after all.
And please don't compliment someone on their size, shape or weight. It's just not necessary, and will make those around them self conscious about their weight. No one needs to hear someone thinner than them being complimented on being tiny and be made to feel ugly for their size. I know you can find something better to compliment someone on than this.
Instead of complimenting someone for their appearance (which gets old after a while anyway, you can only tell someone so many times they are pretty before it becomes a bland compliment they don't see as genuine), compliment their character or their attitude or their accomplishments!

How about this... The comparing compliment. The kind of compliment that compares the receiver to someone else and makes them feel like their competing for the attention. "You look just as nice as so-and-so". Let's just let this kind of compliment die, can we? Don't compare one person to another. God created each person to be unique, an individual fashioned to look like no one but them. Comparing one person to another is like comparing cupcakes to a whole cake, they're both the same batter and icing and everyone loves both equally because of it. Instead of comparing Joey's painting to Jimmy's when complimenting Joey by saying "I love the colors in your painting just as much as I love Jimmy's color choices" why don't you leave Jimmy out? Joey's painting deserves to be admired on it's own!

Awkward compliments, here's a category of compliments that make better jokes than anything else. They're not all bad. They come out sounding a lot different in words than they did in your head, maybe. Or they kind of get jumbled up and their meaning isn't quite what you expected. The harmless ones, I laugh them off, especially when it's little kids giving them. I've been complimented (at least I think it was intended as one) for the lines in my forehead, for my hair being a mess (I had worn it differently than I usually did) and for a variety of completely random things that I wouldn't have even thought of being compliment worthy by little kids. Those kind make me smile, and I stifle the laughter until I can get somewhere and let it go.
But then there's the awkward ones that just plain make you uncomfortable. Strangers telling you how beautiful you are multiple times, or people who find the oddest thing about you and try to compliment it and just make you cringe because you don't know how to respond. Perhaps the world will never be rid of awkward compliments of this type, but we can at least try not to add anymore to the long list that have been given already, can't we? Think long and hard about any compliment you might give that might not come out exactly as you meant it or might make the person uncomfortable and confused as how to respond, and if in doubt, forget about it all together.

Genuine compliments deserve a honorable mention. Sometimes they have a hint of the awkward in them, but when you boil them down, they're always given out of love by someone who genuinely wants to let you know you are appreciated. The best kind of this type of compliment is one for someone's effort or accomplishments. There's nothing like knowing something you have worked hard on has been noticed and appreciated by others. Whether it's a cake you've baked, a song you've sang, a skill you've perfected, or a little deed you thought went unnoticed... Someone letting you know they respect what you've done and think it's worthy of notice, that makes you feel good. This is the kind of compliment that needs to be given more often. Tell your friend when they've worked hard on something that they did a good job. Let your church family member know you appreciate their service every week working in the nursery or as a door greeter. Let your sibling know their efforts to keep the books straight hasn't gone unnoticed. Make sure your parent knows you appreciate that they made your favorite food when they had planned to make something else. Complimenting someone for something they have done will always be held in higher regard than complimenting someone for something they can't change like their eye color or appearance, in my book. I especially love to hear people complimenting others on things like their kindheartedness or their willingness to listen, because those traits are something that the person receiving the compliment has had to work on to develop and that deserves honor.

In short, here's a sort of checklist on compliments, courtesy of yours truly:
If you really like something someone has done, tell them. You might be the only one who lets them know you appreciate their efforts.
When complimenting a child on something they did, let them know you like it because they did something special. Focus on the child, not what they've done. Actually, do this for Anyone you compliment.
It's okay to tell someone they look nice, but make sure they know it's because they look nice, not their clothes or hair or makeup.
Don't compliment strangers or acquaintances you barely know, especially on looks and especially if they're a girl. Most times you'll just come off as creepy.
Guys, please don't ever, ever, ever tell a girl she is 'hot'. It is not the compliment you think it is. Find a word other than hot to describe a lady.
Girls, act like a lady if you want to be complimented like one.
Compliment a trait or skill that a person has developed rather than looks when at all possible because looks are temporary.
Never compare someone or someone's accomplishment to someone else or someone else's. Compliment them for their own worth, not because you think they're on the same level as someone else.
If you don't mean it, don't say it. This goes for everything, though...
You don't have to add flourish or flounces to a compliment. Be genuine, be sincere and be short, because it's almost always better than a five minute long speech.
Once you've paid a compliment, you don't have to repeat it. You said it once, you don't have to keep reminding them.
When given a compliment, just say thank you. You don't have to explain or say anything else. Smile and say thanks, that's all it takes. (And yes, I'm guilty of breaking this 'rule')
Laugh off the well meant but awkward compliments, and ignore or play off the ones that make you uncomfortable.
Don't give compliments that would make someone uncomfortable. If you wouldn't want someone to compliment you on it, don't compliment someone else on it.
And finally... Let's not touch people's hair when complimenting it, okay! Most girls will not appreciate someone messing up their hair, especially when it's done up fancy. You don't have to touch their hair to say it looks nice. You wouldn't want me to rub your eyebrows when telling you I like them, would you? (I know that's a silly comparison but think about how awkward that would be and keep your hands to yourself the next time to go to reach out and touch someone's hair, haha)



Okay, that's about it for now. Might I just say, as I get ready to go do the laundry and piece together my crocheted afghan, that I thank everyone who has told me who much they love reading my blog posts and for all the compliments about it. Those compliments are the only reason I keep coming back to write, especially when someone tells me the post I have written helped them through something going on in their personal life. You all are awesome and I'm blessed to have you as my readers!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Sewing And The Bible

As you already know, I love sewing. Dresses, dolls, bags, ties... Sewing is an important part of my life. Thankfully, the Lord has allowed me to learn rather quickly when it comes to this skill. I went from barely able to sew a square pillow that wasn't misshapen to where I am today with barely any help. In fact, the most help I had up until about a year ago was mostly criticism from people outside my home on what I had done wrong rather than what I did right. I've been blessed with people who genuinely care and have helped me in my learning process.
You're probably wondering why I'm bringing this up, aren't you?
My Bible reading during dinner was in Acts today. After reading about the conversion of Saul, I came to the story of Tabitha or Dorcas in chapter nine. I'll be honest, I had never really given much thought to this woman before. Her story isn't a very long one, only eight verses long. We don't even really know much about Dorcas, really. All the Bible tells us is that she 'was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did.' and that she grew sick and died.
But then I read verse 39. The Bible says the widows showed Peter the coats and garments Dorcas had made them as they wept. Maybe it's just me, but I like to think those must have been some good quality, nice looking garments! Surely a woman as highly praised as Dorcas would not have half done a sewing project or slapped together worn, ragged scraps for clothing to give these she ministered to, I would think. No, if I were a guessing person, Dorcas most likely had made these people very nice pieces of clothing, and not just a few!
Thinking about Dorcas got me to thinking about sewing in the Bible. The Proverbs 31 woman sewed and did handwork (verses 13, 19, 21, 22, 24) and I know many women use this as their goals for being a godly woman. She provided clothing for her household and herself, and her merchandise was good, apparently well sought after.
But sewing goes back farther than that in the Bible. All the way to Genesis 3:7 in the garden where Adam and Eve, after realizing they were naked, sewed fig leaves together. Then God kills an animal and use the skin to make coats for Adam and Eve, probably the saddest making of clothing in the Bible. What a drastic contrast to Dorcas and the Proverbs 31 woman's sewing!
Sewing is a great skill for women to have as wives and mother's. Even if you can't sew a huge ball gown, you ought at least be able to patch and mend clothing. It's just common sense! But there is something to be said for those who develop this skill and learn to use it more than just for personal gain or pleasure, I feel. It's the woman who takes the talent God has given her and becomes a Dorcas, who uses what her hands create to comfort and help others, who sees needs and tries to fill them with what she can make... It's this woman who deserves a special recognition!
Dorcas used the ability God gave her to bless others. She didn't hoard it, sewing only fine garments for herself so she could appear better dressed than those around her. No, look at who it was who showed what she had made or them- widows.
Probably poor, unable to care for themselves, and most likely barely able to find their meals. These were the ones who brought Dorcas' blessings to show Peter. It wasn't rich, high class women of society. It was noblemen of high rank. It wasn't princes. All these people could have paid  anyone to make fine coats and garments for them. It was the widows. These widows were probably unable to repay Dorcas' kindness to them, but still they had been blessed by this godly woman, who the Lord decided was important enough to have her story told in the Bible. No doubt Dorcas had won many friends who were genuinely grieved at her death because of her kindness and compassion for them even though she knew they'd never be able to repay her with anything but friendship.
I think a great role model for women today would be Dorcas. She was busy working and blessing others. Her life was cut short because of illness but the Lord allowed her to be raised from the dead, something which caused many to trust Christ as their Savior.
Thinking about it, the Bible says many believed in the Lord. I don't know about you but I would guess that when the story of her rising from the dead spread, most people probably already knew who she was and that caused it to go even further. I can just imagine some poor widow telling her friends of Dorcas being brought to life again and of the Lord as she showed them the warm coat Dorcas had sewn for her!
Do you think this woman got up and said 'Now I can serve myself, I'm relieved of any obligation to help anyone again'? I doubt it. I have all idea she went right back to making garments and coats and robes to help those in need around her.
I, for one, would love when my life is over for those who knew me to say I was another Dorcas- someone who helped those in need without asking in return- because to me, I think that would be even greater a compliment than to say I was a Proverbs 31 woman or a Titus 2 woman.
So, if I can encourage you, as your sister in the Lord, to do anything this year, I'd probably say "Take up sewing". Start small. Learn, and don't rush yourself through the learning process. And once you have reached the point where you can make anything to help someone who is in need, help them! Find a place to donate baby blankets, or remake coats and give them to homeless shelters as the weather turns cold. Anywhere you can use this skill, do it and remember to give God the glory while you do. Be the next Dorcas!

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Prayers in My Lifetime

Prayer is a very important and wonderful blessing in our relationship with the Lord. God has given us a direct means of contact with Him thru prayer, with only Jesus Christ as our Mediator. I'm so thankful I can go directly to the One who answers my prayers without needing anyone else as go-between!
I know there have been many, many books written on prayer, but I'd much rather go directly to God's Word when studying and reading on prayer.

Matthew 6:9-13 King James Version
After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.
10 Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven.
11 Give us this day our daily bread.
12 And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Our Lord gives us the perfect example of how to pray. Just think about it, Jesus Himself teaches us how to pray! Not only that, but He prayed for us in the garden before His death.

John 17 King James Version
17 These words spake Jesus, and lifted up his eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee:
As thou hast given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given him.
And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.
I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do.
And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.
I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word.
Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee.
For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me.
I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.
10 And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them.
11 And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.
12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.
13 And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.
14 I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
15 I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.
16 They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.
17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
18 As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.
19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.
20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:
23 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
24 Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world.
25 O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.
26 And I have declared unto them thy name, and will declare it: that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them.

Verse 20.... My Lord prayed for me! How wonderful a thought, to know that He didn't only die in my place to take away my sins, but He prayed for me before He died on the Cross!

I thought I'd share some of the important prayers in my life. I guess the best place to start would actually be before I was born, haha. Like many others, my mom prayed for me before I was born. Obviously, I don't know exactly what she prayed (Did she pray for my curly hair? Did she pray I'd have blue eyes?) but I know she prayed for me, just like she prayed for each of my siblings.

The next prayer in my life would probably be my mother's prayers that I would trust Jesus Christ as my Saviour and ask Him to save me. I think there's something special about parents who start praying before they have children that they'll ask the Lord to save them. The fact that a parent loves their child enough to start praying before they're even born that they'll get saved shows a love few can understand.

Big prayer: When I trusted Christ as my Saviour! I don't remember the exact words I said, or even the exact date. I was a little girl when I understood my need to ask Jesus to save me. This is without argument the most important prayer in my life. This is the most important prayer ANYONE can pray, that the Lord will forgive their sins and save them from an eternity in a real place called Hell! If you haven't asked the Lord to save you, please do not wait any longer. He died for you and offers the free gift of eternal life to whosoever will ask!

Fast forward a few years- quite a few years. Now I have more an a few siblings and I am praying for their salvation. So far, all but one of my siblings has accepted Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour (The youngest is still too young to understand). I'm so thankful the Lord has answered this prayer!

I've been praying for a long time (almost ten years) for my future husband. At times the prayer was "Lord, can you let us meet soon?" but lately it's changed. Now I would much rather pray "Lord, let him be growing in You and learning to be a godly husband and father." Praying for your future spouse is a wonderful thing to do.
And if you're one of the ones who feels like the Lord's will for your life is to find a spouse but rather serve Him as single, that's fine! The time you would have spent praying for your future spouse, use to pray for those around you who are seeking a husband or wife!

Praying for my future children is another of my prayers. Should the Lord ever give me and my husband children, I want to see them grow up, get saved and serve the Lord with all their being.

I pray for my friends. Yes, every single one. When a friend comes to me with a prayer request (or even if they don't) I want them to know that I am actually praying for them and not just repeating a phrase when I say they will. My friends take up a considerable amount of my prayer time, and I ask that God would draw them closer to Him than anyone or anything else in their life.

As anyone should, I pray for the lost around me. I don't ask God to bless them or give them what they are asking for, but I DO ask God to work on their heart and bring them to the place where they will ask Him to save them.

There have been times when I've had times when my prayers were of fear or worry. When my younger brother split his head open when he fell, when my mom was in the pains of labor, when my family was being verbally attacked... In those moments I was able to turn to my Heavenly Father with my concern, my panic and fear, and receive His peace and comfort. He brought us through each of those times, and used them to teach us (to teach Me!) to trust Him no matter what is going on around me.

I've had more than one time when my prayer was one of disappointment and pain. When something didn't go as planned, when I didn't receive the answer to a prayer I was expecting, when I have been hurt by circumstance or person... It's then that the Lord is my Friend who sticks closer than a brother. I can pour out my grief and anguish, all the tears and sorrow, and He listens. Isn't it wonderful to know that even if we don't have anyone else, we have Jesus to listen?

Of course, there have been many, many times when I've had to go to God asking forgiveness. I am human, I have a flesh nature that I must fight. There are times when I sin and have to ask the Father to forgive me. I go directly to Him and get the forgiveness and mercy I do not deserve! It's a relief to know that no matter how greatly I slip and fall, He waits to forgive me like the father forgave the prodigal son. Thank God for grace and mercy! And never be afraid to confess your sins to your Heavenly Father- you'll always find forgiveness and love when you come to Him. It's important we always ask God to forgive us to keep from letting sin get between Him and us.

I know there have been times when my prayers were selfish, or centered on the wrong thing. Not that what I was asking for wasn't necessarily a good thing, but it wasn't what I needed. I asked for things I did not need, or prayed for one thing to happen when I should have been asking for something different. I'm thankful the Lord sometimes answers my prayers with a loving but firm "No" instead of always giving me the request I asked of Him!

Prayer, our direct connection with our Heavenly Father, is a beautiful, precious thing. Don't underestimate what your prayers can do. You never know if the one you are praying for will come to know the Lord because of your earnest prayers, or if the blessings you repeatedly ask your Father for will be given to you today.  As His child, God is always ready to hear you!

I hope that as we get ready to celebrate Easter tomorrow, everyone of you has prayed and asked Jesus Christ to be your personal Lord and Saviour and to forgive you of your sins. I pray that each of you, as His children, are blessed and that you remember the real reason for Easter is not new clothes, candy, rabbits or eggs but a cruel cross and a Sinless Lamb who died on it. Easter Blessings to you all!








Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Inbox of Laughter- A Short Story

This hasn't happened to me, although I have had some odd messages before! Hope y'all enjoy it!

"What have I gotten myself into...."
Caroline groaned as she looked at the number by the inbox. 74 messages. And they had all come within two hours of Caroline taking over for her friend who moderated a book discussion group online. Her friend had warned her that the messages could be overwhelming at times, especially with over 300 members in the group.
"I seriously should have reconsidered offering to help Hannah with this for the weekend..." Caroline muttered as she started opening messages. "I don't care if she is maid of honor at Rebekah's wedding!"
Pushing back the frustration, Caroline read the first message.
"Dear Moderator,
I'm hoping you'll agree and send permission for me to advertise-"
Deleted. Hannah had said specifically, no advertising. That was taken care of.
"Dear Moderator,
I have a question. I'm supposed to be studying for my test, and I was wondering if you could help me with a math problem- maybe you could give me the answer? See, I'm taking trigonometry-"
Nope. Caroline almost laughed. She wasn't good at math, and she certainly wasn't going to help when they should be studying instead of sending messages looking for the answer.
"Dear Mod,
I'm hurt by the way you seem to ignore all of my messages. I've asked you repeatedly why you won't respond, and you still haven't! Why won't you answer when I ask you why you won't answer?!"
Caroline cringed. That sounded like something Hannah needed to handle when she got back from the long weekend of her sister's wedding. Next message.
"Dear Moderator,
I've been wanting to ask your opinion on a matter. See, I have five guys from school all texting me at the same time, and I know all of them must like me a great deal, but which one do I choose if they all like me? I know I'm smart, pretty, and funny, and they don't have to tell me that. I just wish they'd tell me that they like me so I could choose one of them to like back!"
Caroline's nose wrinkled. What? How could anyone think so highly of themselves? She'd just leave that one for Hannah, she was pretty sure it could wait a few days to be answered.
"Dear Moderator,
I have a really funny story I want to share with you, and see if you think it should be posted in the group. If you don't think it should that's fine, but if you do, I'd like to make the other members smile a bit."
Hmm, this had potential. Caroline read on.
"I was walking through the grocery store the other day, when I heard the creepiest laughter behind me. I couldn't find where it was coming from, so I kept browsing the cereal. TEE-HEE-HEE-HEE. There it was again! I looked around, but nothing! No one! Not even a store worker was in sight! I was starting to get a little scared, but needed to finish my shopping. I reached up for a box of cereal and something touched my leg! I let out a yelp and jumped back- knocking several boxes of oatmeal off the shelves behind him. Something grabbed my ankle! In a panic, I threw myself to the ground, began shoving my shopping cart ahead and crawled down the aisle, sobbing and unable to call out for help. I reached the end of the aisle and looked back in time to see two kids- maybe five years old at the most- crawl out from behind boxed products on either side of the aisle. Now, I know this sounds like a scene straight from a horror movie, and I would have agreed it was, except a manager came tearing around the corner, stopped when he saw me and went pale. 'I'm so sorry! Those are my twins! It's bring your child to work day!' I looked up at him, almost in tears, and he stooped down to help me to my feet. 'You'll have to excuse them, their uncle is a writer for a prank show and they've just got back from spending a week with him.' The cause of my tears went from panicked horror to uncontrollable laughter. The manager took a moment before he joined in the laughter. I thanked him for giving my heart a good jolt for the day, and kept going with my shopping while he went to find his kids. Unfortunately, he must not have found them in time, because I heard a similar scream-cry-and-apology come from the baby care aisle not two minutes later.
I just thought I'd share that story with you and see if you thought it'd be okay to tell the rest of the group."
By now, Caroline was doubled over, her eyes watered to the point she could hardly see to read, and her chest hurting from laughing so hard. She answered quickly that it was fine to post, and moved to the next message.
"Hey Mod,
Yo, I gots a q for you. Wut's up with u? That's all. Smiles From Hannah- texting at the rehearsal dinner ;)"
Caroline grinned and prepared to copy and paste the last message for Hannah to laugh at. If it tickled her as much as it had Caroline, Hannah would be laughing for no explainable reason during the rehearsal.