Creating A Purposeful Season of Thanks: Study 2

“Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mineWhen thou passest through the waters, I will be with thee; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee: when thou walkest through the fire, thou shalt not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon theeFor I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Saviour: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honourable, and I have loved thee.”  ~Isaiah 43:1b-4a

Labels.  They are often a necessity, and when in the right context they are SO helpful!  I  for one am thankful my hairspray has a label on it!  If it didn’t, I would end up accidentally picking up a can of something else and instead of having a hairstyle that stays in place, I could have a radical new hair color!

What about labels in the kitchen?  Labels on spices are helpful aren’t they?  The dinners in our household would  quickly turn into something awfully peculiar if we suddenly had WB0933574nothing on the bottles to distinguish one seasoning from another!  We rely on labels to be correct, true, real!

When it comes to many household products, brands of clothing, labels on groceries, etc these can be so helpful and very needed.  Yet, how often do we carry false labels around that we or others have placed on us?

When we stand in front of our mirror, instead of seeing ourselves the way God sees us, we are often blinded by false branding.

“Failure”, “Incompetent”, “Ugly”, “Loner”, “Introvert”, “Perfectionist”, “Messy”, “Unworthy”, and on the list goes.

We consistently find ourselves so busy believing those descriptions, that we are unable to quiet our minds and hear what God calls us.  I’ve been there, have you?

The past several weeks or so I found myself in this battle.  I would look in the mirror or lie in bed at night and only see the headline, “Wendy, also synonymous with failure!”

 I felt as if I was falling so short as a wife, making far to many mistakes as a mom, inundated with the sense of failing in my role as Pastor’s wife, and then when it came to getting my book published, goodness what was I thinking?  How could God ever use this book in the life of someone else?  There I sat in my defeat, having an early Thanksgiving feast on the lies that my enemy willingly fed me by the spoonfuls!  Failure was etched loved_newacross my forehead, or so I thought.

Oh friend, how thankful we can be that God takes the time to remind us, He calls us different names then we call ourselves.  When we look in the mirror and see “failure”, God says, “No, you are victorious through Me!”  Romans 8:37, “In all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.”

When we lay in bed engulfed by loneliness, He says, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee”, Hebrews 13:5b.  Then reminds us He is, “a friend that sticketh closer than a thumb-forgivenbrother.” Proverbs 18:24

We tend to be so hard on ourselves, berating ourselves again and again with sins we have already been forgiven for.  God says, “And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;” Colossians 2:13-14

God has a whole other set of names He calls us and all of them are the complete opposite of what the enemy shouts to us.  God speaks in a still small voice, the enemy does not.

Believe what God calls you and says about you!  Cling to the names He has given you!  Remember, when Satan begins to heap doubt on us, when he begins to bring up the labels that are not ours to begin with, remember, the enemy is a liar!  Let Christ speak truth to your heart!

Be encouraged!

Many Blessings,

Wendy

ps: If this has been an encouragement, please feel free to share it with others!

Images courtesy of this website.

Ten Years and Still Going Strong!

To my dearest Husband,

Years ago in my home in northern California, I began to pray for you.  As a young teenager, I remember God began to prod my heart to really begin praying for my future husband, wherever he may be.  Little did I know he was a teenager as well, growing up in the middle of corn fields in a small Michigan town.

My prayers for you were filled with prayers of protection over you, purity in your heart, mind, and body, prayers for God to build your character and that you would be a man after God’s own heart.  A man who only desired to do God’s will, for as long as God gave him breath.  I had no idea your parents were simultaneously praying similar prayers for me.

When we met, all those years ago in college, I knew right away you were the one.  There was never a doubt in my mind.  How incredible it was to see God bring us together and grow our relationship.

Now, ten years of marriage later, here we are.  Man and wife, hand in hand, deeper in love than we ever imagined possible.  Three children running around our home with faces that resemble our own when we were young.  Symbols of our love for each other, gifts from God granted to us to raise for Him.

You have seen my good days, my hard days, my ugly days, and you still love me and pursue 884352-R1-197-1me, just as Christ pursues His own bride.  You have seen the best and worst of me, and you are still loving me even more than ever before.  In a society where it seems there is an epidemic of men walking out on their families, you have stayed and stand proudly as a husband and father.  You have shown what it truly means to be a man of your vows, both to me and to God.  You have shown what a truly godly man looks like, and I am forever thankful for your faithfulness to me and our children.

We have climbed to mountain tops together and we have lived in the valleys together.  We have lived through the stress of busy days and the calm of ordinary days, hand in hand.  Countless hours we have spent praying over our marriage and children, open Bibles have been on our laps as we soak in the truths of God’s Word, together.

God answered my prayers, and even went above what I could have ever asked or thought, when He gave me you.  He took those prayers of a young teenage girl and multiplied and blessed them again and again.  You are such a priceless treasure God has given me.

Ten years ago we said “I Do”, and I am forever grateful to our God for gifting you to me!  I am SO proud to be your wife, for as long as we both shall live, and I am so thankful I get to spend an eternity together with you!

I love you, my sweet man!

Yours Forever,

Me

The beginning of Our Happily Ever After

In just a few weeks my hubby and I will celebrate another anniversary.  How is it that we have been married for 7 years already?  Goodness it’s gone quickly!  I thought I’d do a little “in the beginning of our happily ever after” for your enjoyment!

Waaaaaaaaaay back when I was 16 my mom handed me a Focus on the Family magazine (do they still make those?) and in it was an article she thought I would be interested in.  So I read the article about this girl who at the age of 16 began a journal for her future husband.  I thought it was such a neat idea!  So I began one myself. I wrote letters to my future mate whom I did not know at the time and ended each letter with a prayer for him. 

I vowed I only wanted to date the guy I was going to marry.  Boy, that was tough!  I didn’t know God’s plan for me was to wait so long to finally meet him 🙂

College started in fall of 2000 and little did I know that my future husband was right there on campus.  I went throughout my college years with dates sprinkled here and there and with many a complaint to my mom about never having a serious relationship.  My mom would always remind me of my decision to wait for *The One*.  It kind of annoyed me a little bit….. but she was right.

My college years were anything but boring though! I made some wonderful friendships with some girls who loved the Lord and we always had a great time together!  We made so many memories and looking back, I am thankful that the Lord reserved the relationship with my now husband for later in my college years because I probably wouldn’t have made such great friendships with these girls.

In 2003 I remember meeting my hunka burnin’ love 🙂  As crazy as it may seem, we actually had many mutual friends and it took us all the way until our Jr. year to actually meet.  My good friend and I often went off campus together and one day we needed to return her car to her brother so that he could go off campus as well.  I didn’t think much of the guy who was with her brother because we often met up with her brother to swap keys.  If I had known better I would have paid better attention!

The fall semester of my Senior year I felt a tremendous burden to pray harder for my future husband.  I prayed much for his character to be built.  I prayed that he would be a man after God’s own heart.  I prayed that if he must go through trials to make him that man, that God would send the encouragement he needed to make it through those trials.  I had never felt more burdened for this man I did not yet know would be my future mate.  My journal to him along with my prayer journal began to fill quickly with the constant prayers for him.

In January of our Sr. year just after the semester began, my phone rang.  It was a Sunday afternoon and I had just woken up from a nap.  I answered the phone feeling a bit groggy and trying to be quiet because my roommates and a friend of mine were sleeping on the other bunks.

“Hello?” I answered.

“Uh, hi, Wendy?” the voice on the other end asked.

“Yes?”

“Hi, I don’t know if you remember me at all, but my name is Chad and I was just wondering if you would like to meet me and some friends after church for dinner.”  He worked at a church off campus and he wanted to meet up after church.

Be still my heart.

Okay, Wendy, play it cool.  Don’t let on that you have thought this guy was totally good looking and has impressed you for quite some time.  Can he hear my heart through the phone?

“Sure” was my response.

So the plans were made and I hung up the phone.

AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH!!!!

I had a date!!

To be continued……