Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Seasons Change. Jesus Doesn't.


In fact, I love fall so much, I could shout it to the world!


There's something so magical about that crisp feeling in the air. It's a feeling I can't quite find the words to describe but there are moments when the sun is shining, the leaves are changing colors, the air is crisp and it just tugs at my heart strings.
To me, fall is another piece of evidence of how much our Creator truly loves us! :)

Entering into this years season of Fall, God has placed a few things on my heart that I'd love to share.

The simple minded part of me, loves fall for these reasons:
* Changing leaves 
* Thanksgiving!
* Change of weather. Which brings me to..
* Cute, cozy sweaters to wear
* Bonfires and SMORES (gluten free of course!) 
* The promise that Christmas is coming!

But this year I thought to try and tap into the spiritual reasons there are to love Fall and came up with this:
Fall is a beautiful reminder that all things change; nothing ever stays the same. Seasons or trials will come and go. Things will grow and things will die. I am in a season of my life now where I feel things are forever changing. A lesson that God was teaching me last week is nothing even remotely relatable to what He's teaching me this week! Our church is forever growing and changing, along with, our Worship Team. (PRAISE JESUS!) My family just went through a rather tough little season. Our country is about to go though some major change as well. Change is everywhere!

Like I just said, nothing stays the same. Things are constantly revolving. Life is so unpredictable; so unstable Except ONE thing.


A couple of verses that I discovered that fit this topic are some I'd love to share with you.

"The grass withers, the flower fades
when the breath of the Lord blows on it; 
surely the people are grass.
The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever."
-Isaiah 40: 7-8

"Jesus is the same yesterday and today and today and forever."
-Hebrews 13:8

"For I the Lord do not change."
-Malachi 3:6

So while the trees are changing colors and the leaves are dying and falling off the trees..while the temperature outside changes from hot into cooler weather, our God DOESN'T CHANGE.

His love, His mercy, His grace, His power, His patience, His strength, and His holiness remains the absolute same.
What promise and hope we can get from this truth in an ever-changing and evolving world!
What promise and hope we can get from turning to His Word and knowing that it will never be different. That everything He said and meant 1,000's of years ago, He still means them today!

His victory on the cross? Remains the same.

His promises for us? Remains the same.

His plans for us? Remains the same. We were born with God already knowing every move we would make and every thought we would have. And in this moment, even as you're reading this, He is WORKING things for our good. (Romans 8:28) WHAT A GOOD FATHER! 

So I promise that even though much can change in our lives and outside our windows, God will never ever change. His Being and His nature will remain true and the same for forever.

So with all that said, Happy Fall! Hope you are all able to drink some apple cider and enjoy a snuggly fire :)
Much love sweet friends! 

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Nothing Is Wasted

I will honestly admit that this is one story I do NOT want to share. It's a story that for the past 6 weeks, I've been wanting to forget. A story that I never thought would be mine to share.
But I know and truly realize I was given this story for many reasons. I've been learning how much God really does use our pain for purpose. I was given this story, not to remain silent, but to share with many and boast about His goodness and His unwavering amount of grace and strength. It's a story about hope and how, even through the worst of situations, He can still can take a tragedy and turn it into triumph
So please, treat this story as fragile as feels, for it's still a healing wound.

This October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
I have known and heard personal stories of women experiencing miscarriages. I've read, in prayer threads online, the desperate cries of women who were asking for prayer and hanging on to the last bit of hope they had. My heart always ached for them but as they say "You never know what someone else is going through until you've experienced it for yourself." I never knew how much this statement would resonate with me. Until it all started to happen to me.

I'll start by saying how much Eric and I ADORE parenthood. I mean adore it. Makenna saved us in so many ways and she is truly our miracle child. We prayed and hoped for her for years. Being her parent has been the most incredible thing and one of the greatest gifts God could have ever given us. It felt only natural that after 6 months of having Makenna with us that we wanted to start trying for another.
As I expected there to be, there were complications. But it felt a lot easier to deal with the second time around because I truly was in a place where I relied more on Jesus and stuck with that it would happen in His PEFECT timing.
We kept trying for almost a year and half with, for the most part, complete peace and relaxation about it.
The middle of this past July brought some great news. After grabbing a pizza lunch with a couple, Eric and I ran to Target and I felt the need to buy a pregnancy test. I had "unloaded my pizza" in the bathroom when first getting into the store and it wasn't the first time that week I had "tossed my cookies" that week.
I took it immediately when we got home and received the brightest positive I had ever seen! I felt dizzy, excited, nervous all at once and looked my first baby. I told her she was going to be a big sister and held her while I cried with joy.
Makenna and I walked out of the bathroom and met Eric in the kitchen where I told him I had a surprise. I held out the test and he, equally, joined in my excitement.
The following Monday would be our first baby appointment and we couldn't wait.
Our appointment finally arrived and we could hardly stand the wait to our see our new baby!
The ultrasound seemed to be going fine until I noticed that the technician wasn't saying anything. She wasn't pointing out where the baby was and didn't let us hear a heartbeat. My heart sank. I knew right then and there that something was wrong. I remember thinking in my head "Please God, I'll do anything. Please."
The ultrasound technician stated how she wasn't able to say anything about the ultrasound and that our doctor would meet with us and explain it all. We didn't get good news from her either. It looked like what I had was a blighted ovum. It's where the baby is lost super early in pregnancy but yet the body still thinks and acts like it's pregnant. Seemed like complete unfairness and pure cruelty to me.
We were given the option to terminate the pregnancy but for moral reasons, we decided to wait. Either for God to perform a miracle or at least for my body to do what it needed to, naturally. The wait would be another 2 weeks to have another ultrasound.
Fast forward to most agonizing and stressful weeks of my life to ultrasound #2 where we discovered that there were 2 yolk sacs meaning 2 babies. My doctor was struck with such confusion and said she no longer felt comfortable with termination and I needed to come back another week later for ultrasound #3, stating that since we were possibly dealing with twins, that changed the entire situation. However, we received the news that my hormone levels were dropping with the doctor explaining it didn't look good.
That next Monday, before my next ultrasound, my miscarriage started.
There's not too much to explain after that. It was over. It was a loss. Two babies that we wouldn't hold in our arms. I was devastated and in a way I still am.
However this verse has never been more true:
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Romans 8:28
It's become my mantra. My life verse. The weeks that we experienced the waiting to see what would happen, the desperate pleas and cries to God, the trying to understand the meaning and the purpose behind all this...this verse popped up everywhere.
It reminds me that through the pain, through the hardships, the trials, through our mess and even our darkest hour..God works all things for our good and His glory, as long as we love Him. It may not seem good, but we can rest assure that it is. God is using our pain for purpose and as my Pastor says often "Nothing is wasted." Nothing in God goes in vain. 
It's been a HUGE test of faith and character for both Eric and I. And I never thought I would be that 1 in 4 to have to go through this but I am and it happened. The choice is mine to sit around and mope or to use my circumstances to reach out to others who may be going through something similar.

I thank Him for using and working through me. I praise Him for being a good Father. I worship Him for giving me the strength that brought me through such agonizing weeks of waiting then healing. And I put my complete hope in Him as we move on and try for our next miracle baby. 

There IS hope at the end of, what seems like, a dark and lonely tunnel. If this is something you've experience and you need an outlet, someone to talk to..I am here! GOD is here! I pray for overwhelming amounts of peace and understanding to fall upon you.

A serious thank you for all who read this. It's not a fun, happy topic but miscarriages happen and they are not as uncommon as we may think. Let's not just draw awareness to it but allow others to share their stories.

Much love, as always, friends! 

Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Prayer For Our Wayward Nation

Oh Lord hear this prayer,
Jesus, as a mother, as a wife, as an American citizen, I am honestly scared.
As this country seems to spiral out of country, Lord I cry out to you in desperation. Help us. 
I feel as though we are literally falling apart at the seems. Between this terrifying excuse of an election, to the complete chaos on the streets, I go to bed at night and lay awake thinking "What's next? What's life going to be like for my child?"
Lord, I first and foremost pray for my own heart. I need help realizing that in order to see change I first need to be that change I long to see. I pray from this day forward that you banish any feelings that come directly from the enemy, including but not limited to: hate, ignorance, hostility, jealousy, anger, impatience, and unkindness. 
I pray Jesus that you allow nothing but love, kindness, tolerance, patience and pure joy to settle into my soul, heart, spirit. I pray that you allow me to see others how YOU see them God. That I can stand up for what is right and true in Your eyes and settle for nothing less. Do any work through me as You wish. Place me in the right places at the right time, allow good, wholesome conversations to happen with Your people, God, that only point them straight back to You and Your goodness. Give me the words to say and the things I need to do for You and for this country. Any way that You need to work through me Jesus, I am ready and willing.
Rescue this nation God. I pray for the current leaders of this country and that they feel convicted of any and all wrong doings. That they can change their ways and turn straight to You. I pray for this upcoming election and beg of You to place the right leaders into office.  That you make them honest and righteous people that can start to pick up the pieces of this broken nation.
Jesus, I pray for the people of this country and that You soften their bruised, broken and hurting hearts. Lord please have the fighting against each other stop and have us come together as one nation. Please Jesus, have us all accept each others differences and allow us to see others as You see them for You love every single person that walks this earth. I pray that more heads and hearts can turn to You and Your gift of salvation. That more dead hearts can come alive because of You. That Your salvation can reach the ends the earth.
Lord, allow those that already love and believe in You to set Your example. That we show love and kindness regardless of how we are treated or any anger we may feel inside. Allow us to show this country Your glory and goodness. Allow us to let Your light shine so bright. 
It's all these things I pray in Your name Jesus, Amen.

This is a prayer I wrote out in my journal yesterday morning after turning on my local news station to see what's been happening in Charlotte, NC. I felt myself reaching for my journal to vent and complain when it then dawned on me:
We must pray for this nation and for each other as much as we want to complain about it. 
We all say how much we can't stand what's going on around us but yet sit back and expect it to become somebody else's responsibility to fix it. (Trust me, I'm preaching to myself here!)
If the ONLY thing we are able to do is to show love, smile at somebody who walks past us, pay for somebody's gas or groceries, help a mom you see struggling at the store (the list seriously goes on and on) then we are contributing to the change more than we realize.
I love you all. Seriously, I do. This is a super great nation and I am so proud and honored to be considered an American. I want nothing more than to see this country thrive.
Be kind souls today and every day.
Much love <3

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Thrifty Galifty

Hello again!
I would first like to say a HUGE thank you to all who read, commented, and messaged me regarding my last post! Thank you for being an awesome blog community and some pretty cool friends/fam!

Secondly, when I decided to jump back into the blogging world, I knew I wanted to start branching out into other topics besides my faith and life lessons. (Which are 2 of my fave topics.) I have so many passions and interests that I would love to start writing about!

SO! With that being said..
Today I am going to talk about thrifting and what I am learning about it so far. I'm pretty much a newbie.

Earlier today, I went with Makenna (HUGE mistake haha) to a Goodwill store that's pretty much right down the street from our home. I will say that I do like to check out more local thrift shops then chains but I always seem to strike gold when I go to this Goodwill and plus, I was looking for something very specific.
The first I've learned about thrifting is to drop my daughter off with my parents, haha!
This goes along with the second thing I've learned about thrifting:
And it is quite hard to be patient when my 2 year old is trying to escape the cart and grab everything she sees! So going solo or just without a child is better. No but seriously patience is much needed when on the quest to find awesome items. It takes time to sift through things (especially clothes) and find the hidden gems.

Here are a few things I found today!
I literally spend $10.48 on all of this. Everything except the picture frame all the way to the right (which is BRAND NEW from Walmart, still in the package and cost $.50!) is from Target. Everything but the grey shorts (I like grey, can you tell?) still had tags on it..including the cute, oversized grey sweatshirt, the lamp and that cute, little wall decor.

About that yellow wall decor!
Check out the original price on the price tag:
Can't see it? (Notice it's still in the box)
That's right, the original price of this little, glass thing for the wall cost $16.99!! WHAT?! I remember seeing this in target and thought, no way dude..I'll wait till they mark it down but even their clearance price was way too much to spend on this. I purchased this, brand new, still in the box for $1.25. Now THAT price is more like it!

The thing that I like the most about this Goodwill is that every week, Target brings over their clearance items that just aren't selling in the store and they donate it to the store. They had TONS of things (with tags still on it) such as shoes, jackets, other clothes, lamps (like the one you see in the picture) but all at a Goodwill price. 
It's all about learning which days to go! (Another thrifting tip!!)

Lindsey Turner, from the blog Thrift and Shout, has an awesome page of Thrift tips that I love to read and that you can to by clicking here. Her blog is also filled with all of her super cute thrift finds!

One more thing I'd like to chat about when it comes to thrifting lessons, is to not judge a book by its cover and give things a chance.
Take this lamp for example:
I have been looking for a small, cute lamp for the desk that we just put in our living room. I really couldn't bring myself to spend almost $20 on a CUTE, new lamp (that didn't even include the lamp shade) when all I needed it was for my desk. I found this one, with the tag still on it and didn't like it. I circled around the store and looked at the other lamps that were just poopy and made my way to picking this one up again. I decided that after some new paint to get rid of that black, some distressing, and a cute lamp shade from the store (that I can handle to spend, I guess) this, not my style, lamp could work! I am unaware of the original price but it only cost me $2.50 at Goodwill. I'll take that as a win :) I'll make sure to post the "after"! 

Well, that's all from my end friends! If any local pals ever want to take a thrift trip, just holler :)
Happy Thursday! Yay for Friyay tomorrow!!!
Much love!

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Behind "Live Loved"

Hello there friends and Happy September!!
I literally have one million excuses for why I have fallen behind on this blog.
Honestly, life took a huge turn for the busy and our family has finally found some peace, calm, and new routine has made coming back to this blog even sweeter. And football season is back. YES!

Anyhoo! Welcome to the new, revamped blog! Everything from the layout and the title has had some work done to it and I pray you love it as much as I do!
If you're new to viewing, I would love for you to check out the "Get to know the blogger" page on the left column :)
I wanted to take today's post and lay out the reasoning behind the blogs new title "Live Loved." 

Let me start by saying, I had been wanting to return to this blog for several weeks now. Eric, Makenna and I had some events happen to us and I felt like the Lord has been pressing me to get our story out there. (Which will come at a later time.) Unfortunately, satan had some other plans. He wanted to see me take our recent life events and use them as an excuse to be bitter and angry and to pull away from Jesus. Which is exactly what had started to happen...
I quickly found myself heading down a road of depression. I had no appetite, I didn't want to see anybody except my child and my husband and even then, poor Eric received the blunt of my hurt, pain and frustration. All the while satan was behind the scenes grinning as wide as he could because he knew he was getting his way.
It wasn't until a huge argument on the home front that I (thanks to the Lord working tirelessly through my husband) had the chance to banish satan and his antics out loud and declare to move forward!
That was August 28th.
September 1st started MY official fall season. It was a brand new month and I could already feel a shift in the atmosphere and in my bones. I felt Jesus tugging and pulling at my heart for all sorts of different reasons. I woke up early that morning and immediately turned to my bible and journal and started praying and proclaiming away. I promised myself that I would never let my heart and spirit get that low again. That I would stay consistently in His word and in prayer. I prayed fiercely that Jesus would, that day, send me some kind of sign that I was going to be ok; that the dark trial was over for good.

Almost 10 minutes after that prayer, I logged into my email and found a random devotional from Lysa Terkeurst in my inbox. It was a 5 day plan you had to subscribe to called Untangling Hurt From Your Heart and it was labeled Day 1. The crazy thing I didn't subscribe to anything from her. As I read through it, I kept thinking how a lot of what was written could be applied to my life but it wasn't hitting me directly and I had planned to just tuck this devotion away for later use until I read this line: "The Lord can quiet our crazy thoughts with His love" and it went on saying about how we need to "live from the abundant place that you are loved." 
Then these two words appeared:
It hit me. I felt like the blood had drained from my face and I started to weep. I thought about those 2 words so hard.
I thought about how Jesus just literally pulled me out from an awful and sad place. How He silenced those voices from the enemy because He loves me that much.
I thought about how it doesn't matter what hurtful circumstances have come and gone, it doesn't matter what hard and maybe hurtful trails are to come in the future. It doesn't matter who likes me and who doesn't. It doesn't matter who's approval I get and who's I don't. It doesn't matter if I try something and fail.
You know why?
I am a princess in the eyes of my Father. He loves and cares for me SO MUCH that He sent His son to take my place on the cross.  He sent His son to die for my sin, my hurt and my shame.
It's the kind of love I want and my pray for my daughter to grow up knowing, seeking and craving; a love that I pray she feels everyday!
When I thought about it that day (and I mean really thought about it) and studied and looked at those two words, it truly struck my heart like lightening.
I pray these 2 words to encourage you today. I want you to think about how much different our perspective and outlook would be on life and our daily situations or circumstances if we walked around with the idea that we are loved, IMMENSELY, by Jesus Christ.
Because we are :)

Thank you for reading this friends! I look forward to being back on the blogging band wagon and have some yummy recipes that I'll soon be adding to "My Favorite Gluten Free Recipes" page so be on the lookout!

Much love!

**Oh and because I know you want to see how beautiful my, now, TWO year old is! ;)..

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Hi Amanda, meet Amanda

Well HELLO! 
Phew, it's been a minute hasn't it?
I can't even begin to tell you how many times life has, straight up, gotten in the way of me blogging. Literally, it has been non-stop since January. God has been moving and doing SO MUCH GOOD STUFF in the Janson household.
I became the worship leader at an exceptional, not-so-little, church named DECIDEDchurch and WOW what a ride that has been. The family and relationships that have already been formed are just more than incredible. I could go on and on about this church but..maybe another blog post ;)
I'm the mother to an almost 2 year old and well, that's always interesting! She's growing up to be such a sweet and precious little baby...we couldn't be more blessed! But TWO years old?!! WHOA! Motherhood is making time fly way too fast!
So much has been happening in our lives and in our hearts. I have learned so very much about myself and Jesus so far in 2016. I feel, almost, like a brand new person and I would love to share 5 things I've learned in the past 5 months!

1) God really DOES move. All.the.time.
Of course I know God is constantly working behind the scenes. He's shifting things sideways and upways and downways and putting all the puzzle pieces together. It's one thing to know and it's another thing to know AND SEE it happen. From the very beginning of my new journey at DECIDEDchurch I have seen God work in ways that I've never seen Him work before. I've watched Him orchestrate such beautiful and awesome things together, right before my eyes. He went above and beyond any of my expectations of what He can do and He STILL is! I see so many reasons as to what He was doing in certain areas of our life..why we couldn't buy a house when we wanted to, why He lead us to Irmo, etc!

2) It's never too late
I am turning 26 in less than a month. 26!!!! While this doesn't seem like a big deal to most, it is most definitely huge to me. Confession time.. I don't embrace age very well. It scares sometimes with how fast life seems to be going and a lot of the times I do not feel as old as I am! I mean, seriously, I feel like I just graduated high school! When going into this year and with the opportunity God was placing in front of me, I honestly thought that it was just too late to still go after my dreams and what I truly felt my calling always was. When He first laid on my heart (more like pounded and hammered) that I was meant to go to DECIDED and lead worship, I kept asking so many darn questions and one of them went something like: "I am almost 26 years old God. Why should I start investing in my future now? Maybe I am just meant to be a mom and wife for the rest of my life and thats it.. right?" Umm, WRONG! It's NEVER too late! 26 is obviously still young but I mean, even at 65 years old, if God is willing to go to the lengths of convicting me with my next move, I pray and hope that I still know then to do it. It's never too late to do something you love and use a skill or talent that God has given you. After all, it's only going to advance His kingdom!

3) I have the most supportive husband
I have to say that I appreciate my husband more and more every day. To be able to witness the transformation that Jesus has done on his life is one of my greatest joys. Through the entire process of making a decision to either leave the church we were out and take a next step or to just stay where we were..he never tried convinced me to stay where we both felt comfortable. He was firm on "If He's telling you to move, then move." And not only did he support my decision to leave our, then current, church but he trusted in what God was telling me to do and we made the move as a family. WOW! He is so dedicated to our marriage, to our family, to our church and to God. I am SO thankful for him!!!

4) Motherhood does not need to inhibit your plans at all
Before jumping into anything, I always question how it will affect Makenna and my time with her. I take staying home with her very seriously. It's been such a HUGE blessing and I'm thankful God has allowed it to go on as long as it has! I also feel as though I've been really reluctant to try anything new or jump into anything in fear that it would jeopardize how I go about motherhood. I've been using Makenna as a crutch to not try anything new.
But, at the same and somewhat confusing time, motherhood has also made me really brave. God has used Makenna to teach me so much about myself and these past 5 months have been such an eye opener as to how I treat my responsibility and joy of being a mom. Motherhood should NEVER prevent me from taking risks and doing things that I love! I've witnessed and just know that so many moms lose themselves in motherhood and forget about themselves. I feel that there's a way to accomplish both and I feel like I've finally found a great middle ground. I want Makenna to grow up and see what it's like to take risks and to listen to Jesus and do what He says to do. I realize that by sheltering myself from life, I'm also sheltering her. I love the lessons He teaches.
SIDE NOTE: I also have a GREAT support system. My parents are always around when I need them to be and take such great and gentle care of her. It really does take a village to raise a child.They are my people and my go-to sitters and I love them dearly for all their help!

5) I can do ALL things through CHRIST who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13)
My belief in God and what He can do has grown at an incredible rate since starting this year. But it's been a growing season for how I view myself too. I've built a confidence that I never used to have. He's made me so bold and brave and it's a HUGE first for me. When everything first started with what God was laying on my heart, I had so many "but why me?" moments. I questioned His judgment! (Like..what?!!) I questioned His belief in me. "Lord, I appreciate it but what in heavens creation, makes you think I can do this. That I can lead people. That I can start a worship ministry from the ground up when I am still learning so much about You and about worship?! WHY ME!" But He's come through. Each and every week that I get up there and get to be used as a vessel for HIS church is such a blessing. I still can't believe I get to do it. I've never had to worry (ok I have maybe once or twice ;)) about what's happening next because He's already brought everything this far already. He's taught me to love the gift He's given me, even when others have something negative to say about it. He's taught me to LOVE, TRUST, and BELIEVE in myself, and more importantly, Him! To say that I've seen the fruit from that would be an understatement. We really can accomplish anything with His grace and strength. Two things of His I am so grateful for!

I could go on and on about how life has been the past 5 months but then a short blog post would turn into something like a research paper!
What was the point in writing all of this??
I can't express enough about how WORTH IT it is to follow Jesus, listen to Him and do what He tells you to do. I can't express enough about how wonderful He makes life and yes, there are hard seasons and while I'm soaring on eagles wings right now, I know hardship can still come at any minute. But I am SO DONE living my life constantly wondering when the other shoe will drop.
Life is so, so short and we have the options to make it so, so sweet. To use every day to take opportunities that He's placing in our hearts and in our hands and DO SOMETHING WITH IT!
Be encouraged, encourage somebody else. CHANGE THE WORLD!
I hope 2016 has been good, so far, for all of you and if it hasn''s not too late. It's never too late. Tell me what you'e learned so far this year! I'd love to hear!

Much love friends!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Modern Day Christianity

From the moment I started this blog to this very post that I am typing right now, I've prayed about each topic I blog about. I choose my words carefully, truly hoping to not offend or hurt anybody. I've never wanted to get into politics or any topic that was too heavy.
But today, with this post, there is something I want, scratch that, NEED to address.
And that is how much the culture, that todays Christians have created, deeply bothers me.
I'll start by saying that I, myself, am not perfect and if you have been keeping up with my blog faithfully, you'll know that I am the first to call myself out. I'm messy and every bit as much a sinner as Joe Schmoe over there. I promise.

2015 felt like a CRAZY year. So much happened across the globe including but not limited to, the entire ordeal with Planned Parenthood, legalization of gay marriage, racial hate crimes, terrorist attacks and so much more. Everyone had something to say about each of these events but the opinions that I noticed the most were those of Christians. (In reference to articles, posts, statuses, etc. on social media/news)
And man oh man was I disappointed.
I understand completely and totally get why there are so many people out there that are absolutely opposed and turned off by how we portray Jesus, turned off by the church and turned off by Christianity. Sometimes we really don't make it appealing!
We take modern day blessings and allow Satan to help us use them for evil.
How DARE we hide behind a computer and spew hate! How dare we hide behind our bibles and judge so loudly and so boldly? Who in the world do we think we are to judge so.darn.much??!
Because the Jesus that I follow, love and worship would never say or preach such ludicrous and hurtful things. He loves His children way more than that.

I also think about this culture that has been created. Where did this weird vibe and pressure come from that we need to dress, act and talk a certain way to be accepted by fellow Jesus followers? That we need to feel the need to constantly post pictures of our Starbucks sitting next to our Mac Book which is sitting next to our bible on a pallet made table and post it all over social media, to make sure others know where we stand? So that they know we are reading our bibles?
(Side note on this: I've totally been guilty of this and I am by no means talking about sharing scripture, etc. to spread His love and news. 2 TOTALLY different things.)
That we need to journal a certain way, give back a certain way and even worship a certain way?
I truly feel that Christians as a whole need to get back to basics. We need to rewind and rethink the reasons why we do church, community, have social media accounts, even why we get out of bed in the morning. Is everything we do, post, say, think, love, giving glory to our Savior? I mean come on, I absolutely struggle!! But it just seems this is really getting out of hand.

I'm reading through the book of Ephesians (it's so good!) with one of my small groups and today was chapter 4. Paul (the author of Ephesians) writes about, as followers of Jesus, we are called to walk in a certain manner of humility, gentleness, patience, tolerance and to do all these things out of, you guessed it,
You guys think about it, grace was given to each of us. Every single person that has and does and will exist on this earth is given this gift. Not just a special group of people. Not just the ones who don't do drugs or don't curse or don't drink; are straight, democratic, republican, black, white, purple, have tattoos or don't have tattoos.
Jesus wanted all of us to have this gift and guess what, we ALL fall short of it too. Even you.
Definitely me.
The Lord is so forgiving and kind and loving to us and that's exactly how He wants us to be with each other. We want to build the church up, not drive people away or prevent them from coming by the way we speak or act toward one another.

One final thought.
We are getting a new president soon and, so far, this political race has been nothing short of an embarrassing circus. I encourage each of us to pray over who will be the next leader of our country. If you don't pray, then please continue to watch and pay attention. But mostly, to my Christian readers, lets not let this be an opportunity for the enemy to take over our tongues. Lets think and choose over the words we have to say to each other about any of this. Lets make sure we are not tearing others down that don't view things the same way we do.
Remember what your mama said growing up? "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Oh friends, I speak from the heart and mean all this in the most effective and positive way. I am truly just a mom and wife who loves Jesus with all she has. I promise, on my part, that I am trying super hard this year to be the Christian I am sure God instructed me to be. I am clinging to His promises and His word because that has any instruction, on who to be like, that I'll ever need.

Happy Tuesday!
Much love.