Tag Archives: beauty

Give God Your Failed Plans…God Prospers and  Encourages Us with Silver Linings, Smiles, and Truth

Sometimes you’re feeling down, maybe really down… and your eyes light on something out of the blue… something that makes you smile. Today it’s one of my daughter’s simple deer drawings. The notepad is lying open, because she’s working on her book, in my room, on the floor… because she never likes to be alone. They are all over the house, the books she creates… millions of them! She’s already the author and illustrator of many animal books about puppy dogs, deer, and lions!  If you’re struggling today, I hope this brightens your day; I find that children’s art always makes me smile. I love the innocence and cute charm of their simple pictures, don’t you? 

Today I can choose to look for the silver lining… the many gifts God gives me in spite of my struggles. There’s a mockingbird chirping outside of my window. Her mate has been feeding her yellow flowers all week long. It’s been so much fun to discover the male sitting atop our shed, being the lookout, then sailing into the woods, only to return and dash in to please her feeding her the delicious food he has found just for her. She’s chirped for him to come when she’s hungry. We’ve watched in awe at how he’s taken care of her. We laughed as I tried to capture the beautiful moment, only to see her “poop” on the deck. My daughter and I laughed until we almost cried! It was the silver lining in a moment that was not perfect.

I had perfection in mind for this weekend, with everything laid out exactly how it should go. But I forgot, as I still sometimes do, that my God doesn’t work like that. Everybody has free will, and because of that free will, there will be interruptions and problems which may interfere with my plans coming to fruition. But God’s plans always come to fruition, and His plans are the best, no matter what it looks like on the outside. I know this is how God works, but I forgot this weekend. I became extremely discouraged when a family argument prevented us from getting something completed that I felt was extremely important. 

And now as I write, God is at this moment revealing to me that He allowed it; not only because our family needed prayer time more than project time, but that He wanted me to see that this is often the struggle my husband has. My husband wants to “check things off the list.” He is learning that his list often does not coincide with what God wants him to do first. Well… in experiencing this frustration for myself this weekend, I realize now that God allowed it, so I could experience all the emotions my husband experiences when he doesn’t get to “check off that important item.” This helps me to better understand my husband, so I can keep praying for him. It also provides my husband an opportunity to empathize with me, because he knows exactly how it feels when something doesn’t get done.

God has a different checklist in mind than ours. His checklist is less about things getting done, and more about people’s hearts being changed to be more like Jesus. It’s a guarantee that if it comes down to a project getting done, or prayer time for hearts to be changed, God is going with the heart. Maybe we need to be less about getting things done, and more about spending time with God so he can change us. Yes, God cares about our projects too; but He cares more about our individual walk with Jesus. He cares so much, that when He knows a stormy argument is going to cause an upset, He provides the silver linings along the way; to give us hope, and to encourage us so we won’t give up! 

During the weekend which did not go as planned, God planned His gifts ahead of time, because He knew I’d need them to keep my spirit afloat when I felt myself sinking. Because of my abusive childhood, I tend to get extremely discouraged when there’s a family argument. I begin to listen to lies that tell me no one cares and that I’m not loved. As a child scapegoat living in a completely dysfunctional home, I was blamed for everything; neglected and ignored, told I should feel guilty, and that I ruined everything. The problems were not even about me. But when circumstances come along that feel familiar, so comes a spiritual attack, and I will feel myself drowning in discouragement. Though I’ve learned to battle the lies with the truth, sometimes I forget to use my power and authority in Jesus Christ and tell the devil to sit on a tack! 

The only way to chase away those lies is through prayer. Why? Because we can’t count on our emotions. Evil spirits lie to us, and strive to cause strife, division, and isolation in our families. But as my husband reminded my whole family last night; because our kids are fed and clothed and live in a nice clean house, some people may think from the outside that our family has it all together; just as people might have thought my family had it all together when I was a child. However, the truth is that all families struggle, but there is a vast difference when Jesus is in the middle of a family, as opposed to when he is not. My husband remarked that though Jesus was not at the center of my family when I was growing up, Jesus is at the center of OUR family now! All five of us have received Jesus into our hearts, and we all desire to have a relationship with him. 

Therefore, Jesus has always been with our family, even when we’ve been on different walks in our pursuit of him, and even when we haven’t understood how a healthy family functions. For, neither of us experienced God’s truths taught in our families; the truth that we are completely forgiven for all of our sins, the truth that we can battle lies with prayer, the truth that we are loved and cherished by God unconditionally, and so much more! We are creating a whole new generation for our children and children’s children; as we all pursue God and learn together, and find that we are loved beyond measure! Because our family pursues Jesus, and because our family prays together, we can have hope, and be encouraged that God is taking care of us through it all! 

And God knows we need tangible proof of His love for us. After all, we are only human. A huge silver lining that carried us through this weekend was an on-the-spot invitation from our dear family friends, as we left church. It came when George said, ” Hey! Do you guys wanna come over later for a barbecue?” My daughter couldn’t wait. She was watching the time, and asked if our friends still had their cats. They did.

It was the most delightful evening we’ve had in a long time: laughter with friends, delicious grilled chicken, and another unexpected guest to add to the fun. My precious friend, Kim, even served homemade strawberry shortcake in honor of my boys’ belated birthday. She also served my husband’s favorite; rhubarb sauce. We even had the heavy whipping cream at home, which we were gratefully able to contribute, because my husband had bought some the day just the day before. We don’t normally have this item in hand, but we bought some to use with our new ice cream maker. God even cares about the tiny details! The night ended with everyone hanging out near the chicken coop. The chickens’ silly antics made us laugh. Their individual personalities came out, and many of them enjoyed being carried or sitting on laps! It was just a really special night, when another family made our family feel important and loved. God orchestrated that! 

I know that it’s these silver linings on which God wants me to focus; not the hardships, even though it’s difficult when you  feel those strong emotions, and the lies feel so true. Though yesterday was tough, there was an absolutely glorious sunset last night, reminding me that God is Lord above us all; watching over everything and everyone. And right before I went to bed, a text message came from my pretty, cheerful friend, asking if she could take my daughter today for a play date. It couldn’t have come at a better time, and with a girlfriend my daughter absolutely adores! Now I will have some time to write, clean, and be creative; which I’ve been trying to do, but just have not been able to find a slice of time that works for me. Even though things are far from perfect, the silver lining which shines brightest, is knowing my family is pursuing Jesus through it all… every single day… together. 

I pray for you to find the sweet silver linings today, which God has already gifted to you in advance, because he wants to bring a smile to your face. When things don’t go as planned, don’t be dismayed. Remember this: “For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you” (Jer. 29:11-12 New International Version).

I’m going to meet with God today, and ask Him to brighten my day, and the day of anyone who reads this message of hope, truth, and encouragement. Today, I pray God reveals many of the silver linings He has prepared just for you, in Jesus’ name. May God continue to brighten my day… and yours!  

A Love Beyond Beautiful Birds

My daughter woke me this morning, so I could enjoy this beautiful gift! If God created even the birds to love and care for one another, then imagine how much more He loves and cares for US!

“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care” (Matt. 10:29 New International Version).​​​

In His infinite love, God created beautiful living creatures, and He gave them a natural instinct to care for one another. But God sent His own Son to die on a cross for you and me! God’s glorious, infinite love for human beings extends beyond that of any other creature in the entire universe. When you feel alone, unappreciated, and insignificant; look towards the silver lining…  In God’s eyes you are of great value and worth. Remember that the love God has for you is immeasurable!  

God is The Potter

Today is my birthday, and I’m thankful to God for giving me life, and offering me the gift of salvation through Jesus Christ. Because Jesus lives in me, The Holy Spirit changes me every year, molding me to become more like Jesus. 

When you’re a Christian, getting older is a reason to celebrate, for we gain wisdom, and we get closer and closer to living eternally in Heaven with our Savior.

God, you are my Potter. I am your clay. I’ve been dropped, broken, and repaired. But the silver lining is that Your light shines through the cracks. Thank you for creating me. Let my life inspire others as you shape me into a beautiful masterpiece. 

“Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand” (Is. 64:8).

The Heart of a Child Seeks Wisdom

Last night, while praying with my family, and discussing the Proverbs, my seven-year old daughter reminded me that she wanted to read the Proverbs too! Convicted, I realized this was the second night in a row that she had mentioned it to me, and that I had not included her when I had invited my family, friends, and readers; to read a Proverb a day during Lent. Though we were reading her bible stories, I had not thought about taking her on this journey of gaining wisdom through my favorite book of The Holy Bible: Proverbs.  

My heart was touched by my child’s yearning to grow even more in wisdom, knowledge, and understanding. She wanted to learn more about God’s promises,and His commands which protect us, and keep us from going down the wrong path. I read a few to her and explained them, while promising to find her a children’s book of Proverbs, because she also likes to read by herself. My young artist’s eyes lit up, as her little fingers reached for the thin pages of my coloring bible, as she realized she could also draw and color, while reading her way through the scriptures. I realized I needed to get her a coloring bible too!

I was filled with joy, as I took in the truth: Even with all my imperfections, my child is watching me walk with Jesus, and making the choice to walk with him too. Our family found out she knew Jesus, and already had a relationship with him, while she was yet only the tender age of three years old. My daughter showed a gift for discerning and understanding scriptures, forgiving easily, and  comforting others by perceiving their pain, along with ability to melt it away; even before her preschool years. She has wisdom beyond her years, and it is not credited to me; it is because God has given her these beautiful gifts. I marvel at them, just as I do at the gifts he has given to my twin boys, who are now young adults, and just as I see gifts within the children of my friends, and the children who have attended my Sunday school classes. 

The Proverb I read to my daughter last night happened to be: “These proverbs will give insight to the simple, knowledge and discernment to the young. let the wise listen and add to their learning, and let the discerning get guidance–for understanding proverbs and parables, the sayings and riddles of the wise” (Prov. 1:4-6 New International Version). Never assume someone is too young to follow Jesus, for the innocence of children is clean and pure. They don’t have the dirt and lies of the world to spoil their view, so they can see truth and love more clearly. Share God’s wisdom, truth, and love with a precious child today! 

“My child, listen to what I say, and treasure my commands.  Tune your ears to wisdom, and concentrate on understanding. Cry out for insight, and ask for understanding. Search for them as you would for silver; seek them like hidden treasures. Then you will understand what it means to fear the LORD, and you will gain knowledge of God” (Prov. 2:1-5 New Living Translation).

*Bible page pictured from Inspire ~ The Bible for Creative Journaling ~ NLT

Dear Daddy, Please Dance with Me! (Father Daughter Dance: An Open Invitation)

Daddy you might have missed out on some love when you were my age. I understand. Daddy, don’t you know that’s why God gave me to you, to help heal that sad place in your heart? When you take me dancing you will forget your pain as we slip and slide on the dance floor. We will laugh, and we will eat sweets together. Then we will get a tummy ache from all the sugar.

You will teach me how a girl should be treated. You will tell me I am the prettiest girl in the room, and ask for a kiss on the cheek. We will get our picture taken; just the two of us together. At the cookie table, you’ll help me with my plate, and serve me a glass of fruit punch. Then, we will sit down to eat and tell jokes. When you ask me for a dance, I’ll put my feet on yours, and stand on my tiptoes!  You’re taller than me, but that’s part of the fun, because you can pick me up and twirl me around until my curls come undone! 

If I cry at the dance because I suddenly feel shy, you will hold me in your warm safe arms, and take your thumb and wipe the tears from my eyes. Then you will kiss both of my wet cheeks, and rub my back, and I will feel better. You will be happy when you see me do the Choo Choo train dance with my friends. You will watch my dress swirl around me as I spin in circles. You will be happy to see me running wild and free in my stockinged feet, because I kicked off my fancy shoes as soon as we got to the dance. 

If you’re a social daddy, we will cut up the dance floor and people will cheer. If you’re a shy daddy, you will watch me, and you will smile as I dance with my friends. If you’re a daddy with two left feet, you will just hug me for the slow dance, and we will figure it out by shuffling our feet around in a circle. You will laugh, and I won’t be able to control my giggles. If you’re a sharp dresser, you’ll wear your suit and tie. If you’re a more casual daddy, you’ll wear your jeans. Because Daddy, all the daddies are just right for the Father Daughter Dance. It’s easy, because you don’t have to know how to dance; the daddies just need to bring their daughters! And Daddy, if you bring me to the dance, and we just hang out and give each other hugs, that’s dancing enough for me! 

I don’t care which kind of Daddy you are at the dance; I just want you to come to the dance with me. I don’t want an absent daddy, unless, of course, you can’t help it. It might be because you are saving someone’s life, or working to get us money for food, or you’re fighting for our country. Or, you might be out making sure there are no bad guys in the streets, or you might be making sure no houses are burning down… or you might even be sick. I understand, Daddy. If that happens, we can have our own Father Daughter Dance at home. I’ll be ready. We can make cookies, and play a game, and dance to the radio. 

I just want to know that you love me Daddy, that you think I’m smart and beautiful and fun. I need to know I am special enough for you to want to spend time with me. I want to know that I’m a princess in my daddy’s eyes. Because Daddy, this is how I learn that my Heavenly Father loves and cherishes me. The way you treat me is how I first view GOD! And I will learn to follow, trust, and believe in GOD as my Heavenly Father; just the way I learn to follow, trust, and believe in you! Daddy, I need you to lead me!

So thank you, Daddy, for bringing me to the dance. And for all the little girls who don’t have a daddy like you; I want to tell them to look for the silver lining: Girls, God loves YOU! God is your Heavenly Father! He thinks you are beautiful, and smart and fun, and He wants to spend time with YOU! His name is ABBA, and He is perfect! 

God loves you so much, He came down to earth as a baby. That baby grew into a man. That man died on the cross for all of our sins. That man is Jesus, the Son of God! All the daddies and mommies and daughters and sons who believe in HIS name, will get to dance in Heaven one day. Believe me, you will not want to miss that party! 

Daddy, please make sure you meet Jesus and become friends with him; because this way we will never, ever miss a dance in Heaven, and we will be together forever and ever! I love you Daddy! 


Your Daughter

“A psalm of David. The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing. He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his name’s sake.”

(Psalm 23: 1-3  New International Version)

Daddy, lead me on The Lord’s path of righteousness and love! 

Let God Reveal True Beauty…not Society

Everywhere I look, society is insisting that it knows the true definition of beauty. If I didn’t know Jesus, I might fall for the myths too. Is beauty a woman after a makeover, or one who bares her natural face? Does it finally come when we lose our extra weight, or is it just when we are eating healthy and can fit into our clothes? Is it a perfect sunny day, or a rainstorm? Is it a picture perfect holiday party setting with family and friends, where nothing goes wrong? Is it little kids running through crunchy colorful fall leaves, or is it a wife running to greet her soldier who is coming home, broken from battle? Is beauty all, none, or some of these things?

We don’t all have the opportunity to create, or live in, our ideal surroundings of what we consider beautiful. Real life is messy and time-consuming. There are sick people to care for, ugly emergencies, life that goes on, without allowing you to unpack your stacks and stacks of cardboard of boxes. There’s illness, stress, depression, and life’s demands. Try as we might, we can’t live up to those picture perfect lives from the magazines, where homes stay clean, families are perfectly dressed and styled, toys are non-existent unless strategically placed, gourmet meals are a given, and home improvement projects are effortless. It seems so beautiful, but the magazines aren’t selling real life; they are selling dreams.

Some of us want to walk around outside and enjoy the nature around us, but life gets in the way. We may have an injury, or too much work to do. Perhaps we struggle with depression, which makes it harder to get up and go outside. Some of us would love to create a beautiful moment by lighting a candle, and enjoying a mug of tea with a favorite book. But we can’t seem to get there either. When you have toddlers, your relaxing bubble bath turns into a swimming pool filled with bath toys. That nap you were going to take on your crisp white sheets sprayed with lavender oil, just got spit up on by your newborn baby. Are these things beautiful? Maybe they are!

How can we understand godly beauty?  We invite Jesus into our lives, for nothing is truly beautiful without God. God will reveal the beauty around us. God created everything. A rainbow is beautiful, because we don’t see one everyday, and only God can create one. God is also the illustrator of beautiful sunsets and starry skies, which are mentioned in the bible. Beaches, trees, butterflies, animals, and people are beautiful. People’s opinions vary on the beauty of these things. Some believe that tall trees, overlooking a babbling brook, are more beautiful than a glistening, white sandy beach. That’s because God made us unique, with our own joyful experiences, as we witness beauty throughout our lives. When it comes to people, God looks inside our hearts for beauty. God did this when He chose King David: “But the LORD said to Samuel, ‘Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart” (1 Sam. 16:7 New International Version).

Sin steals beauty. Sin attempts to ruin the beautiful things and people that God has created. A smashed butterfly is no longer beautiful. Nor, is a beach littered with trash, or an animal that’s been killed on the side of the road. There was no death, until Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, in the Garden of Eden. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in the way death came to all people, because all sinned” (Rom. 5:12)– Grass died, flowers began to wilt, animals fought, people murdered each other, and childbirth hurt. Those things aren’t pretty. Sin is ugly. Jealousy, anger, lies, rebellion, and pain came along when sin began insidiously seeping its way into the world. That first sin of disobedience destroyed much of the perfect beauty God meant for us to have.

Let’s not be fooled into thinking that anyone lives a perfectly beautiful life, in perfectly beautiful surroundings, with perfectly beautiful people. Pictures shared on social media are not an accurate representation of our lives, but people share them, because we desire the beauty and perfection, which can only come from God. “From Zion, perfect in beauty, God shines forth” (Ps. 50:2). The reality is, that most of our not-so-beautiful life events, are not shared publicly. Imagine if everyone were to share those!

In real life, people are dealing with sins and strongholds, and just trying to make it through each day. Some people are caring for a sick family member or dealing with a family member going through addiction. Some people are victims of domestic violence or abuse, and others are dealing with anger or depression. We are all affected by each other’s sinful actions. Sometimes there are no choices about the situations in which we find ourselves, but we do have the choice to trust in God and follow Jesus. It’s a promise that God’s path will lead to beauty in your life.

The silver lining is found when God makes beauty out of the brokenness in our lives. He can make beauty from ashes. The bible says, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end” (Ecc. 3:11). He will take away our pain and damage, and create something new and beautiful. This brings us hope and healing, and ultimately brings God glory. During the storm, He will lead us to see the beautiful things that He knows will give us the greatest joy. Then we will gain wisdom. It may be a rainbow that surprises you after you’ve cried your eyes out. It may be the beauty of seeing a family member healed, or set free, after many prayers. You may find beauty in the soft, elderly hands you hold as you gaze into your grandmother’s blue or brown eyes, knowing time is running out. Your child is beautiful when she or he gives you a hug after a really hard day. Beauty is reconciliation after answered prayers, when you thought all was lost. Beautiful is the adopted child who comes to his or her forever home to live with you, after you miscarried twice, and thought the hurt would never mend.

Because God is here in our world, because Jesus lives within the brokenhearted, and makes them brand new in him, we can find beauty in imperfections. This is why an old broken down cabin sitting up on a grassy, green hill, looks beautiful with the pink and orange sun going down behind it. The cabin represents history filled with pain and life experiences. Broken people have lived there. But God’s expansive sky surrounds it, and the windows are lit with a soft yellow glow, showing signs of life inside. If you know people who have come to Christ, after rejecting him over and over again, you’ll now see light in their eyes, where once there was darkness. Their lives are not perfect; none of us has a perfect life. But when we walk and talk with Jesus, he makes us beautiful, and he helps us to see the beauty around us.

Ask God to reveal the truth about beauty for you. It matters not what people say or what people believe about beauty. God’s truth about beauty is the only definition we need. If God says it’s ugly, it is, and if God says it’s beautiful, it is! Follow Him, and get excited about the beauty He will reveal to you about yourself, others, and the situations in your life. Not everyone or everything is beautiful. Outward beauty fades, but no one can take away the beauty of Christ within our hearts. “Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised” (Prov. 31:30). God’s beauty is eternal!


The Year of the LORD’S Favor

The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the LORD’S favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
Isaiah 61: 1-3IMG_9316