Is the reward worth the effort?

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When going on a trail walk with my family, I began to think of it like our journey in life. Sometimes, we are on the mountain top where everything is good. We can look out and see God’s perfect creation and His plan. There are other times we go in the valley of life (trials) and need a peace in our lives. When we were in the valley of our trail we saw a stream of water coming from a waterfall. It was very calming and peaceful to me. It made me think of those times where we need peace in our difficult “valley” (trial) of life. As we journey up “the mountain top” of life, we may have a few “rocks” or obstacles we have to overcome. So, my question to you: is the reward in the end worth the effort?

James 1:12

Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.

As a Christian, I know my end. I know what awaits for me in eternity. I say it is worth the effort (the good and the bad).

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The Month of Thankfulness

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During the month of November, I read all kinds of “Thankful” posts. I think it’s a wonderful idea to share our wonderful blessings! Being thankful is something everyone can share. Even if life seems horrible at the moment, you can always think of something to be grateful for. Try it today! It may even make you feel better and change your attitude or perspective about your situation. Do not take life and your necessities and even your wants for granted. Do not take the people in your life for granted either. There are many others who have more than us and also many others who have less than we do. Our life situation can change at any moment. Be thankful today. I would love for you to leave a comment about what you are most thankful for in your life. I will begin first. My favorite thanks are for my relationship with Christ, my husband & kids, our families and friends, church, and knowing that our needs are met.

Don’t RUN!!!

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Jonah 1:1-3 NIV

1The word of The Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ”
2″Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because it’s wickedness has come upon me.” 3But Jonah ran away from The Lord and headed for Tarshish.

God told Jonah to got to Ninevah and give a message to the people. Ninevah was a wicked town. The country was an enemy with Jonah’s home country of Israel. Jonah ran in a different direction than what God told him to do. Can you imagine how he felt? What would his friends, family, and even his own country think of him if he went to Ninevah? He had no desire to go there.

What if God is calling YOU to do something that doesn’t seem normal? What if your friends, family, and maybe even your country think you are crazy?! Would you do it, or would you run as far away as you can?

Jonah was given a message to take to the Ninevites. In the end, this was to save them of their wickedness, but Jonah did not want to think of their spirituality. We as Christians are to reach out and spread the message of the Good news of Jesus Christ. We are to do this no matter a person’s background, culture, religion, or what kind of a person whether good or bad that they are.

I think missionaries who go all in for God are in a similar place in life as Jonah. Some may have ran but others go all in not caring what others think. Some missionaries may have family or friends not wanting them to go off to a far away country. We have to do what Jesus Christ asks of us to do in life. It can’t depend upon what others think of us or what they feel we should do. Yes, seek wisdom from godly counsel, but ultimately if God is calling you to witness to someone or to do something, you better do it. While continuing to read Jonah Chapter 1, we know in the end that Jonah was in a massive storm and swallowed by a big fish. (Read the next post to find out what happened to Jonah.) I would rather do God’s will then to find out what would happen to me if I didn’t do it.

If God is calling you to do something, that is part of the purpose He has set out for you to do. Don’t Run!!!

Another year older!?

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Have you ever dreaded a birthday and becoming another year older??? The birthday I turned 25, I dreaded it up until the day. Then, it passed and I had to “look forward” to turning the big 30…. Before the day approached I had many (especially my younger husband) remind me (daily) of the day. I couldn’t believe I was actually 30. It didn’t feel right to have been married and have two kids (one being age 5).

I had a goal that I wanted to accomplish of running in a 5K for my 30th birthday. This was a big accomplishment for me being that I am a heart patient. I had always been taught not to go too far past my limitations. During that year, my husband began to help me reach past all of that. I focused upon God each day that I ran. He gave me the strength to push farther than I had ever imagined. I did finish the 5K and ran most of it like I had wanted to do. It made my 30th birthday complete.

Now, last weekend, I turned 31. Up to the day, I was beginning to dread it again. However, God began to deal with me about my birthday… I needed to celebrate the life He has given me. As people began to tease me (all in fun), I began to be proud of turning 31!

Recently, I had my yearly heart check-up and found out that my heart is not working properly like it should be. I had to have some tests ran to check it all out. It really got me to thinking. I’m even more thankful for God touching my life and the doctors that He gives knowledge to. The Lord has allowed this congenital heart defect girl to survive 31 years of life. Since then, my tests showed that everything is looking ok right now and I don’t have to go back for another year to see the doctor! God has been so good to me through it all!

Here’s what I have learned: we do not know our future and when the day will come that our time on earth is done. We also do not know when Christ will come back for The Church. We must be ready every day to meet Him.

Birthdays are something to celebrate. I hear middle aged and older people (and even myself) say “it’s just another day.” Well, I want it to be a celebration! I think every year for every individual no matter how young or old needs to look at birthdays as another year to: learn more about Christ, love others, and follow through with the Purpose you are created for in life.

Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

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.

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My husband and I celebrating my 31st Birthday.

Leaving A Legacy

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May 11, 2002 was just two weeks before my high school graduation. It was a Saturday, the day before Mother’s Day. Less than two months prior to this day, my father’s dad had passed away due to a short battle with cancer. The weekend prior to this day, my brother had asked me to go visit my grandmother with him. I had not seen her since my grandfather’s funeral because she lived several hours away in another state. I had a lot going on with school ending and preparing for a Mother’s Day program, but my parents allowed me to go.

As I entered her door, my Grandma Frost handed me my grandfather’s Bible that he had used for preaching. She said, “you’re going to be our preacher girl so I want you to have this.” I tried telling her no for her to keep it a little longer but she insisted on me having it. (Side note- My grandmother was also a minister.)

Let us go back to the day of May 11th. My grandmother was to be on her way to our house to spend several weeks with us. The plan was for her to see my uncle. Then come stay with us. I had a purity conference that morning, and that evening we were having a ceremony where my parents would give me a purity ring. Then, Grandma would be there the next day to celebrate Mother’s Day. She and my dad were to do some traveling together. Then they would be back for my graduation and other celebrations.

May 11th changed all of the above…. That morning I went to the purity celebration. I was super excited for the evening’s events and to see my grandma. As I came home to get ready for the service, I realized my grandmother’s vehicle wasn’t at the house yet. I walked inside and my parents set me on the couch to tell me she had been in a wreck. She had passed away immediately. So many emotions began to go through my mind.

From that day forward, our lives were forever changed. The next day we decided to not go to church especially since it was Mother’s Day. (I don’t even know who did my part in the program at church.) My dad was the pastor and I have no idea who even ended up taking charge of the service. I know we had some awesome people in our church to keep things going.

I did receive my ring, but not like I had planned. I did graduate High school and had a celebration, but not in the way I had planned. I didn’t even finish my last week at school with my peers. We were back at my grandparents’ home making funeral arrangements (yet again within 2 months).

Life doesn’t always go as planned. Do we still make plans not knowing the future? Yes. What if the future looks dark? Yes. How can we have hope even in the darkest of times? My hope is in Christ alone. There is no way I would have been able to go through that time in my life had it not been for Christ being my strength. I continue to need Him daily. I also know that both of my grandparents had a relationship with Jesus Christ and so do I. Therefore, I will see them again in Heaven.

It has been 12 years to this day that I am writing this post. I still ache so much over the loss of my grandparents. You see, they were my best friends. They knew most everything about me. I believe they knew my future and what God had planned for me. God allowed me to make a trip to see my grandmother for her to pass the “mantle” of ministry on to me. When I have doubted my calling, I try to go back to that instance (along with a few others) where God used my Grandma Frost to speak into my life. I pray as she passed the mantle to me that I continue on her legacy. I pray I pass it down to the generations after me.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9
New International Version (NIV)
4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.[a] 5 Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

A Mother’s Day Tribute

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As a child my mom helped me fix my hair, choose my clothes, made sure everything went as it was supposed to for me. As I got older, she became more of a friend. In my pre-teen years she was beside me and all of my drama during two academic pageants that were life experiences. We had an entire weekend together. I would change from one outfit to another and go from place to place. She made sure I was where I was to be at each event. Not only did I make wonderful memories during those pageants, but I spent quality time with my mother I that will cherish forever. During those years, she taught me about relationships and waiting to date the right person. She was my missionettes teacher at church, and she had my friends and I make a list of what we wanted in a future spouse. Even during my “boy crazy” years she helped me keep my head on straight. She had me look for a godly person and to set my standards high. (I will be forever grateful for this.)
As I became a teen, we began a friendship like none other. I went to her for everything especially godly advice for myself and even for my friends. She was my “cheerleader” during the three years of cheerleading tryouts and ball games. There were so many frustrating moments of “my hair isn’t right”, “my clothes aren’t just so,” and she endured all those moments with me.
She was with me when my cardiologist said it was time for another heart surgery at the age of 17. She cried with me and comforted me that evening and the days ahead. Then, she took care of me with a mother’s love during all of my recovery time. A mother’s intuition is not to be taken lightly. The night after my surgery, my breathing began to go down to 5 breaths a minute. She stayed beside me realizing something wasn’t right. She continued to question the hospital staff until something was done. I’m blessed that she was right beside me through it all and I’ll never forget her being there.
She continued to be one of my closest friends through college and my wedding. I’m so thankful for the time she spent in preparation for my special day. She made it Perfect.
Since then she has been with me through the birth of my two kids. She is the greatest Nana to those two! They love her to the moon and back!

Now that I am older and a mother myself, I truly see so much more. I know that a mother’s love is selfless. My mom has always made sure we had everything my brother and I needed and pretty much anything we wanted (without us being spoiled brats). My mother will give her help in any way she can to others – strangers or friends. She loves her husband, kids, and grand kids more than anything. I pray to be just like my mother whom I believe is a Proverbs 31 Woman.
Today, honor your mother whether she is still here today or if she has passed away. Find a way to honor her or do something in her honor.
To my longest best friend, Happy Mother’s Day!!!
I love you MOM!!!

Proverbs 31: 10-31

10 [b]A wife of noble character who can find?
She is worth far more than rubies.
11 Her husband has full confidence in her
and lacks nothing of value.
12 She brings him good, not harm,
all the days of her life.
13 She selects wool and flax
and works with eager hands.
14 She is like the merchant ships,
bringing her food from afar.
15 She gets up while it is still night;
she provides food for her family
and portions for her female servants.
16 She considers a field and buys it;
out of her earnings she plants a vineyard.
17 She sets about her work vigorously;
her arms are strong for her tasks.
18 She sees that her trading is profitable,
and her lamp does not go out at night.
19 In her hand she holds the distaff
and grasps the spindle with her fingers.
20 She opens her arms to the poor
and extends her hands to the needy.
21 When it snows, she has no fear for her household;
for all of them are clothed in scarlet.
22 She makes coverings for her bed;
she is clothed in fine linen and purple.
23 Her husband is respected at the city gate,
where he takes his seat among the elders of the land.
24 She makes linen garments and sells them,
and supplies the merchants with sashes.
25 She is clothed with strength and dignity;
she can laugh at the days to come.
26 She speaks with wisdom,
and faithful instruction is on her tongue.
27 She watches over the affairs of her household
and does not eat the bread of idleness.
28 Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
29 “Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
31 Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.

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What is MY purpose in life?

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Have you ever asked yourself this question – “What is my purpose in life?” I know I have asked it more than once at different times in my life. Why did God create me and what is my purpose here in life?

As I began to pray about a title for this blog, the word “purpose” came to my mind. I personally believe that Jesus Christ has us here on Earth for a specific purpose. We are the ones who must figure it out by seeking our Heavenly Father. We must learn why HE created each one of us.

I remember being younger and wondering why God created me as a female when I had an older brother and all boy cousins. I didn’t have any girl cousins (or sisters) around me. I remember a specific instance where I said it to my grandmother, and she said so I could be a mommy someday. She named off several other reasons, too. In my young child mind, I didn’t understand, but she knew there was a reason and purpose for my future because God created me. Likewise, God has made each of us unique and has a plan for each one of us. He has made us just the way we are, in the exact family we are in, and exactly right where we are at this very moment. Sometimes we end up somewhere in life that may not have been His will but it’s what we do with our lives once we realize this. We must find His purpose and do His will. I believe the people who are around us and who we come in contact with are for a specific purpose.

Esther Chapter 4 states,
12 When Esther’s words were reported to Mordecai, 13 he sent back this answer: “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. 14 For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”

Just like Esther in the Bible, she was created and purposed for “Such a time as this.” If you read this story, you realize that her cousin tells her if she doesn’t deliver her people than God will use someone else to deliver her people and she and her family will die. I don’t know about you, but if God has a specific purpose for my life, I want Him to use me and not someone else to accomplish MY purpose. We must seek His purpose.

This blog has been entitled “A Purposeful Journey” for this reason. I believe God has allowed my purpose at this moment in time to be part of this blog. I also like to think of life as a journey. I will share pieces of my life that has been my purpose here on earth with others. I may share events that have occurred in my lifetime, and I may share spiritual thoughts that The Lord has spoken to me. Please note this is to bring ALL Glory to Jesus Christ. I just want to be a vessel used by Him. Everything that has occurred in my life’s journey so far needs to be a testimony of God.

Working with teens, they are trying to find their purpose in life and what they are suppose to do when they graduate. They think of colleges, careers, spouses, etc. the list can go on and on. These are all things they need to be thinking about for their future. Those who have no idea, we like to tell them to begin praying about their purpose. #1 – if you are a Christian, your first priority and purpose in life should be to tell and show others about Christ’s love. Secondly, seek God’s plan for your life. Realize that whatever your goals and dreams may be, God has created you that way to fulfill His purpose for your life. (I can now look back at what my grandmother said. I absolutely know God created me to be a Mommy to two precious children.) Seek after those goals and dreams. As opportunities begin to open up, step into those “open doors.” God will guide you. Seek opportunities to share Christ with those around you. God has a purpose for your life. You must be prayerful and open your heart to those doors of opportunities. We only have one life and one chance.

Remember: you are created “for such a time as this.”