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.