You Are Loved

In celebration of February 14th, the day dedicated to all things love, I decided to make heart shaped pancakes this morning. What I didn’t expect though, was to see God in the midst of my breakfast plans. It’s just like God though, to show up when we’re not expecting him. After the first pancake was cooked, not too deformed and still resembling a heart shape, I had an inclination that something else was needed. I walked across the kitchen, opened a drawer and pulled out an edible marker that was unknowingly being saved for this very moment. And with marker in hand, I looked down and knew exactly what was missing. I wrote in black, “You Are Loved”. Simple words with heavy truth. I wanted my kids to know they were loved, and God wanted them to know it also. You see, as soon as I finished writing on the first pancake, a song played on the radio with the exact words, “You are loved”. As they listened to the song, their faces lit up with wide smiles. A sign, from our Father in Heaven, that they were loved by him. God moves in ways we don’t expect, when we’re not expecting him to. Like during breakfast, using a pancake, a marker, and a song. If I can encourage you in anyway today, I hope you know that you are loved this day and everyday. And just as God saw me making pancakes this morning, waiting to send word of his love, he sees you and he’s sending the same words to you. It’s been a long while since I’ve wrote, but I had to write this morning because I have this inclination that someone else needs to read these words also…

 

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Let Love

Let Love overpower the hate and fear

Let Love silence the evil in our ear

Let Love heal the hurt

Let Love be the words

Let Love be the position

Let Love not be deterred by my beliefs verses yours

Let Love make a way and heal our hearts

Let Love lay down every false assumption

until Love is the only thing we’re fighting for

Insecure and Unsure

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Photo Credit: Foothills Bible Church

Every morning for the past week, awakening in the dark I walk out of my room in the early morning hours and glance to the empty bedroom with two empty beds; each adorned with pink comforters. And immediately the questions come… With all but one home study in the bag and the anticipation of two little girls arriving at our home, who knows when, I have to be honest, I’m a little scared. Jumping into this endeavor wasn’t so terrifying, but the closer we get to becoming foster parents the more terrified I become. “Did God really put this on my heart? “Am I enough to be a mom to six kids?” These questions come and go like the tide…There’s one question though that has never crossed my mind, and its answer is my anchor when waves of doubt roar my way. Never have I wondered if I will have enough love. Is it not love that has stirred us to take on possibly more than we can handle? Is it not love that has broken our hearts for the broken? Therefore, is it not love that will give us the strength to press on in the difficult parts of this journey, and is it not love that will enable us and sustain us when we’re weary….I read Psalm 16 this morning; it says, “Lord you alone are my portion and my cup.” When these doubts try to break upon my soul, I have to lift my eyes off of myself and onto Jesus. When I’m not enough surely He is; and He is all I need. So, this day I again surrender my inabilities to God. My weaknesses are no match for His strength. There are so many wonderful scriptures that God keeps pressing on my heart every time I begin to feel insecure. 2 Corinthians 12:9, Joshua 1:9, Isiah 40: 28-31, Psalm 121: 1-2 are some of the words that breathe life, strength, and hope to my unsure heart; allowing me to continue to climb this mountain with nothing more, and nothing less, than love in my hands.

A Helpful Reminder From The Past…

Sitting here in the quiet of the morning, a light illuminates over my cup of coffee and I try this writing thing once again. It amazes me that all of a sudden I can’t find any words to put on these pages… And it looks like this is as far as I will get today, two sleepy boys have awoken before 7 am and one is in need of a diaper change and both will be wanting their morning hot chocolate. I might have a little help from Luke though, he offered to get his little brothers milk…very sweet and kind, and very helpful. One thing I want to remember this day is how blessed I am to be here for my kids, that the mundane tasks I do every day are more important than I realize at this time. God has blessed me with the amazing responsibility to love, guide, care for and serve our children. While I may not get a notable award for all that I do for them, I do get to make sure that they never doubt how much they are loved and valued. And hopefully my love will inspire them to go out into the world with kindness, compassion, empathy, patience, and most of all LOVE as well. The world could definitely use a little more love…

 

 

Photo Credit:Monty Winters

When it Hurts

The cries of pain catch my ears. I see you coming towards me, tears pouring down your face. You’re hurting, and I know exactly where. Your hand covers your heart, I see you trying to hold the broken pieces together. I want to embrace you so you know you’re not alone. If you let me, I’ll hold you forever, as long as it takes. I’ll hold you close. I’ll tell you that the pain won’t last forever, that I understand how it hurts. I know my words won’t take all the pain away, but I want to give you hope to help you endure until joy comes in the morning, until your cries turn into laughter, your tears disapear, and you get a glimpse of the goodness I am bringing. For now though, you can just rest in my embrace and find shelter from the storm. In my arms, I whisper my promises over you, count on them…

I will not leave you or forsake you…Deuteronomy 31:6

I will make all things work together for your good…Romans 8:28

These troubles are only light and momentary when compared to the glory that will last forever…2 Corinthians 4:17

I know the plans I have for you, they are for good, not harm or evil… Jeremiah 29:11

I love you…John 3:16

~ Your Heavenly Father



“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” ~Romans 15:13

Reality and a Pep Talk

FB_IMG_1503267232508Woke up this morning, that’s good! So far I’ve managed to get a load of laundry in and make coffee (and hot chocolate for the little one’s). If my 7 year old could have it his way, he’d already be trading his hot chocolate for a nice cup of joe. My four year old is dressed, all by himself he did it, mismatched clothes, backwards short, mohawk and all….it’s a sight! A good one though, with everyday my children are becoming more and more independent. I try to hold on to what I can as long as I can without smothering them, but I love watching them grow. And grow, they will do. But we have today, sure to be filled with toddler tantrums, lots of assistance, defiance, and lots of love in the middle of it all. Let’s do this!

My Best Friend: My Personal Testimony

Honestly, I don’t know how people do life without Jesus. Maybe I’m just weaker, or a bigger mess than those that seem to manage without God. Or maybe what I see isn’t reality. Maybe people have a more difficult time than they let on. Quite possibly, it’s a little bit of both….

I just wanted to take a moment to share why on earth I have put my faith in Christ and do my best to follow Him…When I was a young child, my little heart hurt often. I won’t go into detail, but when I found out there was a God that loved me I was hooked. Something inside of me had to know and get close to Him. A few years down the road I heard about Jesus and because Jesus was God’s son I let Him in my heart… the best I knew how. I struggled often though, not knowing what it actually meant to have Jesus in my heart. And then one day someone told me that Jesus wanted to be my best friend. When I realized I could be best friends with God, my life changed! As a struggling, hurting, and broken teenager I felt peace and joy in God’s presence. I felt loved beyond anything I’ve ever known. And when I say feel, I really mean I was overwhelmed with these feelings; out of nowhere peace, joy, and love washed over me.

That was the begininng, and it’s that moment and others that have allowed me to stay the course. It is only through God’s unfailing love and His presence moving in my life that I can keep going everyday. If it was up to me I would have wandered from God by now; lured away by my own selfishness and lack of faith…but God has not allowed me to leave. Even when questions arise, reasoning fails, and hurt stings, something inside me won’t let me abandon my best friend. I call this saving grace. I know my brokenness all too well, which can be a blessing because it keeps me close to the One who saves me from it. When we realize how wrong we can be, we realize how much we need a savior. What I didn’t fully understand as I child, I understand more as an adult. God did not send Jesus to condemn the world but instead to save the world through him. I know to some, this is foolishness, I can understand why someone who has not experienced the depth of God’s love would think this way. I can see why people who have endured immense suffering would think a loving God is insane. Perhaps, if you’re reading this and you feel this way could I ask you to consider the cross… Jesus suffered much. Much more than most of us will ever suffer; bearing the punishment of our rebellion against God so that we could have hope and a way into His presence… in this life and the next. You see, Christians do not follow a God of make believe to make us feel better. Instead, we realize that our attempts to comfort and save ourselves are futile. What is impossible with man though, becomes possible with God. And we live by loving Him and loving others because of His love for us. I follow a God that shows me love, and that I can love back, and I don’t have to be perfect in doing so. I follow a God that welcomes the worst of sinners into His presence. So when you see the Christian Church, don’t be surprised to find imperfect people. I follow a God that does not abandon me and will never leave my side. I follow a God who has proven himself trustworthy, even when pain cuts deep. My faith is not about religion, it is about my relationship with God. Do I have all the answers, nope. Do I have questions…yes! Sometimes having faith comes easy and sometimes it’s more of a struggle. No matter where I am on this scale though, God’s love has always remained. If God had not drawn my heart to Him, or if I had resisted, I would not be the person I am today. I would not have access to the hope and peace that sustains me. My friend Jesus didn’t just save me though, that was only the begining of our beautiful friendship. He holds me together, He’s right by my side every moment encourging me on; my trustworthy companion whom I can confide in, who I can hide in. He gives me peace and comfort beyond understanding, strength to endure, joy and hope for eternity… My heart’s prayer is that everyone would come to know this same love and friendship I’ve found in Christ. It’s for you just as it is for me, He loves you ♡

If you look for him wholeheartedly, you will find him ~Jeremiah 29:13

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Hope for the Climb

When the days blur together, when exhaustion, pain, or the boredom of routine continue day after day, getting up in the morning can be challenging. I have found this encouragement though…If we wake up alive, Jesus has called us to get up. As long as we are breathing we have purpose. God works and moves in every season of our journey…Life is a mountain, sometimes the walk is easy and the view is breathtaking. Then, there are times when the terrain is steep, rocky, and barren with seemingly impossible to climb moments. When the upward ascent becomes difficult or wearisome I hope you remember that our struggle is not wasted, God uses these times to shape our character, if we allow Him. Perseverance, faithfulness, hope, trust, forgiveness, love, humility, and patience can become the beauty of adversity. During these character refining seasons we often need a strength other than our own. You see, God wants us to draw close and trust in Him…this happens best when we come to the end of ourselves. (As a mom of four, I find myself here quite often…) Placing our confidence in Christ’s strength, the strength that allowed Him to selflessly surrender His life for our own, enables us to endure, persevere, and keep climbing. This dependence is not weakness though, it takes great humility and trust to surrender and rely on God in our most vulnerable and challenging seasons. If you are struggling to climb, walk, or even rise to your feet I want to encourage you to keep your eyes on Christ, not on the mountain. Reach out to Him and He will take your hand and show you how to navigate this part of your journey with hope, faith, and trust. Rest and surrender your weary heart in His love, listen for His guidence…Christ will not fail you or leave you alone. He is faithful and will lead you to a place where everything will become clearer; allowing you to once again gaze upon a view more beautiful than you ever could of imagined. And eventually He will bring you to the top of the mountain where an eternity of comfort and joy in His presence is yours forever. 

With love,

Shawny

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=64sJP94X7uE&list=RD64sJP94X7uE

Mending

​As a society we are completely broken. Like a piece of shattered glass- fear, division, injustice, lack of compassion, pride, ignorance, and selfish motives have left us…broken in our wrongness. My heart breaks for everyone who suffers in injustice, whatever form it has come to them. God does not look away from those that cry out to him, the needy, orphaned, widowed, trafficked, abused, wrongly accused, murdered… so neither should we his children. In our heartache we must decide to do everything we can, to pursue all that is right, and to defend those that may be powerless against the dark powers of injustice. We need fearless men and women of honor, integrity, and compassion to rise up and become the leaders and power holders within our community, nation, and world. We need to care more about what actually matters and less about the empty things we try to fill our lives with. We need more unity and less division, more hope and less fear, more love and compassion and less hate. If we want to see change happen, we need to first change ourselves. I would love to see our society come together to resolve it’s issues instead of fighting, dividing, and drowning in fear, violence, and hate. I will do my part, however I can, with all the love I can to make our world better and right…I will also try to make the future brighter by teaching my daughters and sons to love God and follow his command to love their neighbors to the extent of loving their enemies as well. I will teach them to respect everyone and to do their best to remain humble before others and God. Lastly I will teach them that love conquers fear every time and we need to use that love to serve and protect others. We have the ability to make it right,to pursue all that is just, and to unite and fight together instead of against each other. We also have the power to lead our children to make right choices for their families, communities, and their world. The choice is ours, will we allow ourselves to live in love and be moved in love on behalf of others so they may live…

The Journey Unkown

He leads us to places we can’t see. Beside us, along the winding path, He is our guide.

Even though there is mystery in the plan, our dreams and our life surrendered, we’re safe in His hands.

Quieting our spirit, we remain in His love.
Resting our hearts in His, we keep our eyes fixed above…

To the heavenly throne and a heavenly home, where He sees and establishes all that will be.

Because of His salvation our spirit remains secure. With hope, every step we walk, we walk sure.

Confident of His love in this place, living for all that endures and what will remain.

Letting it all go, following the One who knows… our path, His plans, and the way our unknown journey goes.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all of your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. -Proverbs 3:5&6